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HANOVER, N.H.--Clutch foul shooting by Dartmouth thwarted a last-ditch Harvard comeback as the Big Green held on to defeat the Crimson cagers, 77-74, here in Thompson Arena last night before a sparse gathering of 1300.
Behind by ten, 59-49, with 8:15 left in the contest, the Crimson, sparked by co-captains Glenn Fine (11 assists) and Bob Hooft (17 points) and freshman Don Fleming (16 points), gradually chipped away the deficit.
When Bob Allen successfully completed a three-point play with 4:59 showing on the clock, he pulled the Crimson to within five points of the faltering Dartmouth quintet, 65-60. Knocking a point a minute off the lead, the Crimson parlayed Fine's top-of-the-key jumper to narrow the gap to two with 2:15 to play, 66-64. However, the Harvard cagers couldn't move any closer as they failed to take advantage of two late Dartmouth turnovers.
With 30 seconds left, Harvard's full-court press trapped a Dartmouth guard deep in the backcourt and Hooft was fouled while chasing the ball down. Hooft coolly came to the line, adjusted his socks and sank both the charity tosses to move the Crimson to within two once again, 74-72.
Unfortunately, Dartmouth's Jim Panaggio followed his cue, as he too calmly sank a pair of foul shots to increase the Dartmouth lead to four points. Fine then took the inbounds pass with less than ten seconds left and drove the length of the court to lay in a hoop to keep the Crimson's waning hopes alive.
But when Dave Broll tossed in one of a pair of free throws, Harvard's fate was sealed as the buzzer sounded before the Crimson could put up another shot.
Harvard did little right in the first half. The squad was out-rebounded, out-hustled, out-shot, and out-executed throughout the opening period by their Dartmouth counterparts.
The Big Green quickly opened up a commanding lead, and held a 20-4 advantage with 11:29 remaining before intermission. Fleming had recorded the initial Crimson basket, pumping one in from long-range to knot the score at 2-2. But the careless Crimson did not even attempt another shot for five minutes.
Tom Clarke finally broke the ice, connecting on two free throws, but the damage had been done. Harvard tried to move within striking distance of the red-hot Dartmouth squad (they hit an unbelievable 85 per cent of their shots from the field in the first half, and 67 per cent for the game), but could never generate enough offensive power to make a serious charge and trailed, 39-26, at halftime.
Junior Larry Lawrence, "the L Train" from Macon, Georgia, and the Big Green's top scorer throughout the season, railroaded the Crimson, hitting eight of nine short jumpers and one foul shot for 17 points in the first half. He ended up with 25 points on the night.
Harvard centered its offense around Mark Harris, setting him up for short range jumpers with moderate success. Harris contributed 11 points to the cause while connecting on five of 12 attempts in the first half, and another seven in the final period. Missing from Harvard's scoring punch was Fleming, who saw only limited action in the period, and Hooft, who took only two shots in the first 20 minutes.
Hooft summed up the contest accurately without mincing words: "You can't start a game like that and expect to win."
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