Dartmouth's Big Green did some wrestling, some boxing and even a little bleeding last night at the IAB, but the Harvard men's basketball team still walked away with an easy 80-64 victory in the two squads' Ivy League opener.
Caught slightly off guard by Dartmouth's scuffling attack, Harvard took its time in setting up an offense and then gradually wore down the badly under-sized Big Green with a combination of mid-range jumpers and punishing drives.
Crimson point guard Calvin Dixon took command of his team from the opening tip-off, scoring a team-high 21 points and baffling the opposition with his usual display of Globetrotter dribbling and look-away passing.
Inspired by Dixon's example and the confident shooting of freshman Bob Ferry (7-for-11, 17 points), the hoopsters shook off the lethargic funk that characterized last weekend's unimpressive win over Brandeis and embarrassing loss to Stanford.
Harvard showcased an improved zone defense, effectively shutting down Dartmouth's driving game and forcing the Big Green to turn the ball over 26 times, mostly on desperate traveling violations.
Though some of his teammates were a bit flustered against the vastly more talented Crimson squad, 5-ft., 9-in. Big Green guard Jon Edwards never said anything approaching "die."
Bleeding dramatically from a cut beneath his right eye for most of the second half, Edwards managed to muscle seven of 13 field goal attempts into the bucket for a total of 14 points.
Another 5-ft., 9-in. sparkplug, Derek Sells, joined Edwards in the second stanza and chipped in nine points from the outside. Forward Paul Anderson labored dutifully inside for the Greenmen and emerged with a game-high 22 points.
Anderson and Edwards led a valiant first-half effort to keep the Crimson away from the hoop, even if it meant sacrificing life and limb for the cause. With bodies sprawling all over the court, Dartmouth struggled to a 12-8 lead on three Edwards jumpers and tough offensive rebounding.
Annoyed at the Big Green's presumptuous start, the Crimson played exclusively for the steal on defense and repeatedly came up emptyhanded. But once Crimson coach Frank McLaughlin called for the zone, Dartmouth lost some of its spunk and Harvard began to pull away.
Late in the half, Dixon shifted the running game into high gear and converted two bobbled Dartmouth passes into screaming, full-court lay-ups. Fleming followed up with a rafter-rattling slam-dunk at the three-minute mark, and the Crimson took a 42-32 lead into the locker room at half-time.
Dartmouth never seriously threatened Harvard's lead in the second half, but the Crimson failed to execute consistently on offense, relying instead on Dixon's individual heroics and bursts of 15-foot bullets from Ferry and Carrabino.
"It wasn't even close to smooth, but we saw a lot of good plays, and no one played badly," McLaughlin said afterwards.
McLaughlin didn't mention center Monroe Trout's difficulties inside. Trout scored just four points and found himself boxed out for most of the game.
Another problem the coach neglected was Fleming's failure to score after netting 11 points in the first half. The Crimson's all-Ivy captain--who averaged 19.1 points per game last season--has yet to rediscover his offensive touch this fall.
And against tougher league opponents, McLaughlin has conceded that he will need all of his starters in top form to live up to some experts' predictions that the Crimson will sneak away with its first Ivy title.
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