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The Harvard basketball team woke up in a strange position this morning. The hoopsters are perched on top of the Ivy's standings after their 59-44 win over Dartmouth in the league lid-lifter last night.
Forward Bob Hooft took the ball to the hoop for eight points in a three minute span midway through the second half as the Crimson padded a 53-32 bulge.
Hooft was not exactly a one-man show though as the Harvard quintet ran wild out of the locker room to start the second half. Harvard took the second-half tip, along with a 35-22 lead, and five minutes later, after Mike Stenhouse converted a steal into a lay-up, the scoreboard read 43-24. Goodnight Dartmouth.
Except for this flurry and a brief offensive outburst by the Crimson at the outset of the game, it was like any other Tuesday night in downtown Hanover. The crowd was sparse, the Big Green offense was impotent, and Dartmouth's star center, Sterling Edmons, didn't even get his 20 points.
But it is still a victory for the Harvard cagers, now 2-4 overall, and coach Frank McLaughlin and his charges must still consider it a big win, especially when they canned 17 of 21 free throws. The Crimson had been damaged in its previous contests by their inability to connect from the charity stripe.
Harvard raced to a 20-6 lead in the first nine minutes paced by a balanced attack. Six players scored in this surge as the Crimson rewrote the book on team basketball.
Center Brian Banks started it off with two short jump shots. Next, forwards Cyrus Booker and Gary Ackerman got in on the act by trading a pair of lay-ups. Then the guards anted up their share; Rich Bengel hit for a pair of shots from downtown and Glen Fine got his two.
Finally, that swingman, sixth man, Hooft, saw enough and came off the bench, stole an errant Dartmouth pass, and went in for a lay-up to finish the uprising at 10:43.
Harvard finally cooled and Edmonds gave the home-town fans a little good news, bad news. The 6 ft.-9 in. Edmonds gave the Dartmouth crowd the good news first. He hit eight of the Green's first 12 points in its short-lived rally.
Then came the bad news (for Dartmouth, that is). Edmonds picked up his third personal foul and headed for the bench at 8:43 of the first half. Edmond finished the game with only 14 points.
And no one else on the floor for Dartmouth wanted to shoot over Harvard's 2-3 zone. The Crimson "D" did not allow the Big Green to penetrate and the guards would not venture the perimeter shots. With Edmonds riding the pine, Dartmouth could manage but six points in the last seven minutes of the first half.
Meanwhile, even though 59 points is not a prolific production, everyone wanted to score for Harvard.
At the final buzzer, the stats showed that Hooft finished with 17 markers to lead the Crimson, and a host of other cagers pooled their points as eight others made their way into the box score.
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