Despite making more turnovers in the first half than Sara Lee does in a year, the Crimson J.V. basketball squad, starting four freshmen and a sophomore, treated first year coach Bill Raynor to a victory in his Harvard debut, overcoming their Bentley College counterparts, 74-65, at the IAB last night.
"An inexperienced team often has ball-handling troubles early in the season." Raynor explained afterwards, adding, "We are not as bad a ball-handling team as it may have seemed. A coach comes to expect nervousness and the mistakes that come with it from young players in their first collegiate game."
Most of the early errors were a direct result a Bentley's hustling full-court zone defense, which often trapped the Crimson guards in the backcourt, forcing dribbling miscues and errant long passes.
Eventually, Harvard adjusted and the pressure defense backfired when the Crimson's big men, Kirk Mundy, Florian Homm, and Bob Sims, converted three-on-two situations four consecutive trips down the floor to spark the hoopsters to a 39-30 halftime lead.
The margin would have been greater but for a bogus technical foul charged to Sims on a fast-break slam dunk. The muchmaligned zebra claimed that Sims had hung on the rim, thus nullifying his hoop and awarding Bentley a free throw at the other end, a three point transition.
Crimson rebounding strength and Kirk Mundy's hot shooting hand initiated an early second half surge which saw the rebounders reel off 15 points while holding their opponents to only four, effectively clinching the game's outcome.
Coach Raynor, attempting to avert a rout, pulled most of his starting team when the score reached 59-34. Bentley responded by switching to an aggressive man-to-man defense which seemed to baffle the Crimson substitutes entering the game anticipating a zone.
Seven minutes and six Harvard turnovers later, the visitors trailed by only 69-65 and the Crimson starters were back on the floor. Freshmen Glen Mills and Bill Cambell directed a flawless slowdown which consumed eighty seconds and was capped by a perfectly executed Cambell to Mills backdoor play which clinched the victory.
Mundy led all scorers with 24 points and freshman forward Tom Clark chipped in with 12. Florian Homm dominated the boards, grabbing 16 rebounds.