With 1:46 left in last night's 60-40 Crimson victory over Dartmouth, seaior co-captains Mark Harris and Tom Mannix came out of a game at the IAB for the last time. As the pair trotted to the bench, the IAB crowd of 500 rose to their feet, applauding not so much the performance of this particular evening, but four years of lasting commitment to the Harvard basketball team.
"This game and the season are more than anything a tribute to Tommy and Mark," Crimson coach Frank McLaughlin said after the game, "because they are in a large way responsible for all these guys [on the team] being here.
"Almost all these guys stayed in Tommy's and Mark's rooms when they visited the school," McLaughlin continued, "and that made a lasting impression on them. And who would've thought four years ago that a team would have to come to Harvard and hold the ball?"
With that rhetorical question, McLaughlin summed up a Dartmouth squad minus Larry Lawrence--the Big Green's all-Ivy forward and the League's leading scorer. Lawrence broke his foot last weekend in a game against Princeton, and didn't even make the trip from Hanover.
The 12 Dartmouth players that did come to Cambridge must have known that it would be fruitless to run the ball against a Crimson squad that had crushed the Green--even with 25 points from Lawrence--by 21 in Hanover earlier this season.
So, from the opening moments of the contest, the Dartmouth quintet held the ball, stalled the play, and put the fans to sleep. The band offered its well-known "Boring" chant, but soon gave up from ennul, and switched to a ragged version of the Mickey Mouse Club theme song.
"That's the only thing they could do," McLaughlin said of the stall, "I think they did it a little longer than they had to, though."
Freshman forward Joe Carrabino said in a few vengeful syllables what every Crimson fan had been thinking all night "They held the ball all game, and we still beat them by 20 points," he said. Then he started to laugh.
Lest anyone forget, the score at the half was Harvard, 24-16. Dartmouth shot 83 per cent from the field, and 86 per cent from the line. The only thing was, the Green only took six shots. Each team pulled down a grand total of three rebounds in the slow-motion first stanza.
In the second half-after football halfback Paul Scheper had thrown up a weak Bermuda Shoot attempt--things picked up a bit. After the first six minutes, when Dartmouth managed to pull to within two, at 24-22, the Crimson--or more specifically, Harris--turned on the juice.
At 15:32, the senior co-captain drove smoothly up the lane, dumping in a beautiful layup, getting fouled in the process. As the Green tried to get off a shot at the other end of the court, Harris was there, and blocked the shot.
On the next Crimson possession, a spinning Harris received a beautiful pass from Don Fleming, and converted a two-pointer. Harris excited the crowd yet again on the next Harvard possession, throwing up an impossible-looking half-jumper, half-layup to put the Crimson back up by five.
Harris finished the game with 12 points, just behind Fleming, who led all scorers with 15. With two games to go, Harvard is 8-4 Ivy, 15-9 overall.