Tom Sanders's Crimson five edged a fired-up Columbia squad in a see-saw battle Saturday night, 64-57, and set a few milestones along the way. Although this week's Sports Illustrated will feature an article on Sanders and the team, only an estimated crowd of 164 attended this season's last IAB game.
Behind senior Tony Jenkins and Lou Silver, a 6 ft. 7 in. junior, the Crimson took a 41-39 lead with just 16 minutes to play in the second half and stayed out of the Lions' reach. Harvard withstood a last-minute rally by the Lions and held on for its 10th win in 22 outings.
The victory insured rookie coach Sanders and the team a winning Ivy League record. Standing 8-4 in the league, the Harvard five have away games remaining with Yale and Brown this coming weekend. Both teams lost in Cambridge to the Crimson and two wins on the road would give Harvard a .500 overall record.
And captain Jenkins, a 6-ft. 8-in. forward with pro-basketball aspirations, surpassed Gary Blanchard in career points (1028) with his first basket of the night. Jenkins is now number five on the list of all-time Harvard scorers with 1045 points.
Although the game was close and the lead changed hands several times, the lack of a crowd robbed the contest of excitement. The loudest noise of the night was produced by the musical duel between the Harvard and Columbia bands.
Silver snapped out of his recent scoring slump and dropped in 17 points and collected 12 rebounds. Jenkins was high man with 18 points and Arnie Needleman, a 6-ft. 2-in. junior, played a strong defensive game against Columbia's Mark Hardaway and finished with 12 points. Hardaway, leading scorer for Jack Rohan's Lions, ended up with 17 points and six rebounds.
After a first half 35-35 tie, the opening three minutes of the second stanza were characterized by the same back-and-forth action of the first half. But at 16:36, Needleman, running full tilt, took a pass from junior guard Steve Selinger and canned an unmolested fast-break layup. Ken Wolfe followed with another layup; Jenkins added a jumper and the Crimson owned a lead they would never relinquish.
Throughout the game Rohan used a half-court zone defense that employed elements of man-to-man. He stayed with that unusual defense until 1:59 was left; Harvard had possession of the basketball and a 59-53 lead. Then Rohan whistled to his team to apply full-court pressure. Sanders called for a freeze (a tactic that Penn and Princeton used effectively last weekend against the Crimson), and despite a few last-second jitters Harvard withstood the pressure.