HANOVER, N.H.--It finally happened. The Crimson played when it counted, and Robert Taylor broke out of his season long slump to single-handedly defeat Dartmouth in triple overtime, 77-75, in Hanover last night.
Taylor hit jumpers with only seconds remaining in regulation time and repeated the effort in each of the two bonus periods. With 11 seconds on the clock in the third overtime, he drove through the left side of the Big Green defense and hit the winning basket.
Co-captain Bob Allen, who has also struggled this year, stole the ball after Dartmouth rebounded, and held on for the Crimson win, the team's second against three defeats in the Ivies.
The reappearance of Harvard's shooting touch, absent during the squad's recent three game losing streak, made the victory even sweeter for Coach Frank MacLaughlin's troops.
Harvard did not, however, dominate any part of last night's thriller. Dartmouth grabbed a 35-31 halftime lead, after 20 minutes of sloppy, run-and-gun basketball.
Led by playmaker Jon Edwards and center Cleo Robertson, Dartmouth managed to dissect both the Crimson zone and man-to-man defenses in the first half. Robertson repeatedly penetrated underneath and hit for 15 of his 23 total points in the first half.
Scrapping for every lose ball, Edwards, who chipped in 14 points, inspired his teammates and brought the crowd to its feet several times with gutsy drives and steals.
Harvard kept up with the Big Green on the outside shooting of Tom Mannix and Don Fleming, who combined for 16 first-half points.
But Darmouth's Coach Tim Cohane was not satisfied with his four point lockerroom lead and switched from a fast-break attack to a sluggish four corner stall offense.
Displaying a coolness they have lacked for weeks, the Crimson cagers guardedly pursued the patient Greenmen until the game's final two seconds, when Taylor tied the score at 6.3 and sent the contest into its first bonus frame.
Dartmouth stalled the first four minutes of the first overtime period until Gene Hayward was fouled and converted on both of his free-throw attempts, pushing the score to 65-63.
Taylor responded with another game saving goal, knotting the score at 65 with 12 seconds remaining.
After dominating overtime period number two with a key bucket and daring steal. Taylor led the weary Crimson five back onto the floor for what would be the final five minutes of play. The overhead scoreboard in Thompson Arena read Harvard 69; Dartmouth 69.
Dartmouth's Gene Heyward put on a one man show good for six points while Mannix, Taylor and guard Calvin Dixon kept pace with a bucket apiece.
With II seconds on the clock, Robertson travelled and Harvard got the ball under the Dartmouth basket, 100 ft. away from victory.