BRONX, N.Y.--Harvard basketball coach Frank McLaughlin grew up near Woodlawn Cemetery here in the Bronx, and after the first half of Saturday night's game with Fordham it looked as though his cagers would leave the Rams with the epitaph "Fordham Basketball--R.I.P." Instead it was the Crimson that rolled over and played dead, giving up a 39-29 halftime lead to lose the game, 72-65.
After riddling the Fordham zone defense in the first half, the Crimson got off only nine shots from the floor in the second stanza. The cagers hit seven of 14 foul shots, and out-rebounded 29-12. In fact, the hoopsters had a chance to sink a pair of fou! snots on 18 occasions during the game, and converted both only four times.
For the second night of their New York odyssey the cagers leading scorers were senior center Brian Banks and junior forward Bob Hooft. Banks chalked up 21 points--shooting seven of nine from the field--while Hooft carded 18, hitting on seven of eight shots and drawing fouls on four of the buckets.
Harvard jumped out to a 6-0 lead the first two minutes of the game, with Fordham showing as much espegliere as a halibut on a slab.
Hooft came off the bench and began his plexiglass-pummeling performance to make it 13-8. Cy Booker then went into his rim-bending routine with a swooping slam dunk to keep the lead at five points eight minutes into the game.
With 9:16 left in the half Harvard came up with a four-point play to up the lead to 23-12. Banks hit the first of a one-and-one situation, but missed the second as Hooft netted the rebound and was fouled on the play.
Hooft scored off a steal to raise the Crimson margin to 13. The lead went as high as 15 after Glenn Fine raced the length of the court for a layup to make it 31-16.
After shooting a blistering 16-for-27 from the floor in a first half where the Rams connected on only 11 of 31 field goal attempts, the hoopsters might have been thinking about ending the game in a hurry so they could catch their Delta Tri-Star jet back to Cambridge with time to spare.
Instead, the cagers were in for a rude awakening when play resumed. After Fine netted a layup to give Harvard a 53-40 edge, the Rams proceeded to outscore the Crimson, 9-2. John Aiken's layup with 10:26 left to play pulled Fordham to within 55-49. Freshman Tyrone Holloway, the Rams' leading scorer on the night with 18 points, then scored with 6:37 in the game to cut the Harvard gap to 40-56.
Fordham's hit man down the stretch was Bill Lombardi, who made the team as a walk-on last year and was awarded a basketball scholarship. Lombardi scored all of his eight points in the last seven minutes, bagging a bucket off a rebound to pull the Rams within three with 5:36 showing on the clock.
Harvard was still clinging to a 62-61 lead after A1 Williams dropped a double-pump jumper for Fordham, but the Rams took the lead for keeps when Lombardi drilled home a ten-foot jumper to make it 63-62 with 4:25 left to play.
Banks canned a layup to keep the cagers within one, but then Williams intercepted a Bobby Allen pass and fed Lombardi, who picked up the foul. He sank both ends of the one-and-one to give the Rams a 68-65 lead with 16 seconds remaining.
Fine was called for charging the next time the Crimson came down the floor, and Tim Kavanagh hit four straight foul shots to seal the Fordham victory.
The only thing the hoopsters had to be happy about after the game was that the Long Island Limousine Company got them to LaGuardia in time for the flight home.