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Diehard basketball fan Derek Bok has been waiting a long time to see Harvard on top of the Ivy League standings. He needn't wait any more.
Following two come-from-behind last-minute thrillers at the IAB over the weekend, the Crimson stands--at least temporarily--at 3-0 in conference competition, tied with Princeton for the top spot.
Reserve guard Robert Taylor hit a short jumper with 41 seconds left in the game to give the Crimson a 59-58 lead on the way to an eventual 61-58 win over Columbia Friday night, lifting the Crimson's overall record to 8-4.
Saturday night, Bok--a former varsity basketball player at Stanford--and the IAB crowd of 1000 saw Tom Mannix connect on one of his patented 20-ft. jump shots 4:57 into the first overtime period to push the Crimson past highly regarded Cornell, 71-69.
Princeton defeated a visiting UPenn contingent, 62-61, Saturday night to lift its own record to 3-0 and to give the Tigers a share of the Ivy League lead. UPenn, the preseason--and current--conference favorite, fell to 2-1.
In Saturday's contest, Crimson swingman Donald Fleming hit a pressure baseline jumper with two minutes left in regulation time to tie the game up at 63-all and cap a five-minute Crimson comeback from a nine-point deficit.
Neither team managed to score in the final two minutes of regulation time, as a Crimson attempt to stall for the last shot ended with a hurried Calvin Dixon jumper at the buzzer, and overtime started with the score 63-63.
Cornell controlled the tip, and jumped out in front on a Mike Lucas layup seconds later. The teams traded baskets--with the score tied or the Crimson down by two--until a Calvin Dixon underhand layup on a snappy Mannix assist gave the hoopsters a 69-67 lead with 1:40 left.
After Big Red forward Mike Allen tied it up at 69-all at the 3:26 mark, Crimson coach Frank McLaughlin sent the squad into a complex weave, designed to give the Crimson the last shot. Dixon directed the attack to perfection on the perimeter, but a tight Cornell defense denied a layup opportunity.
But Mannix--the Crimson's long-range specialist--took care of the problem by taking a pass from co-captain Mark Harris and popping a 20-ft. jumper with three seconds left.
"We were looking for a layup," Mannix said after the game, "but I could tell by the look on Mark's face that he wanted me to shoot it...I saw it in his eyes."
Robert Taylor has played only a few minutes all season, but he had his eyes fixed confidently on the basket when he shot up out of a crowd to hit the bucket that put Harvard on top for good against Columbia. A minute earlier, with the score tied at 57, Taylor had fouled the Lions' Darren Burnett, but the burly point guard missed his second free throw, giving Taylor a chance to make up for his mistake.
After Dixon blew an opportunity with 11 seconds left to put the game away at the foul line, Burnett managed to muscle an eight-footer past Taylor, but the ball bounced off the back of the rim, and Crimson forward Joe Carrabino was fouled in the ensuing tussel for the rebound. Capping a game-high 20-point performance, the cool freshman tossed in his freebies, leaving the Lions with one second of official time to consider what had happened to the ten-point lead they had held' midway through the second half.
When McLaughlin brought his troops into the locker room after 20 minutes, he probably had a few words to say about their .275 field goal percentage and 27-20 disadvantage. Flustered by Columbia's aggressive zone defense, Crimson shooters repeatedly launched low-percentage bombs and missed opportunities for back-door layups.
HARVARD 61, COLUMBIA 58'
at the IAB
COLUMBIA (4-10). Gordon 3 3-3 9; Hawkins 4 0-1 8; Burnett 2 4-5 8; Mahoney 9 0-0 18; Fields 0 0-0 0; Best 1 0-0 2; Boyle 2 0-1 4; Outlaw 2 1-2 5; Clarke 2 0-0 4. TEAM 25-50 8-12 58, 33 rebounds. HARVARD (8-4). Fleming 7 5-6 19; Harris 2 0-0 4; Carrabino 8 4-6 20; Mannix 3 0-0 6; Dixon 1 0-1 2; Taylor 2 0-1 4; Trout 1 4-6 6; McCabe 0 0-0 0. TEAM 24-55 13-20 61, 30 rebounds.
HARVARD 71, CORNELL 68
at the IAB
CORNELL (5-11): Hall 5 0-0 10; Tryon 1 0-0 2; Allen 5 5-5 15; Luces 7 1-3 15; Reynolds 7 1-1 15; Walton 0 0-0 0; McCarthy 0 0-0 0; Arand 0 0-0 0; Bomba 5 2-2 12. TEAM 30-50 9-11 69; 21 rebounds. HARVARD (9-4). Harris 1 2-3 4; Fleming 5 5-6 15; Carrabino 7 5-6 15; Dixon 4 3-4 11; Mannix 3 2-2 8; Trout 6 2-2 14; McCabe 0 0-0 0. TEAM 26-52 19-23 71; 21 rebounds.
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