For the third straight game, the Harvard men's basketball team vied for a comeback victory, but Holy Cross slipped by the Crimson at the buzzer, 61-59, last night at Briggs Cage.
The Crimson (2-2 overall, 0-1 in the Ivies) took the court without the power of strong forward Joe Carrabino, the squad's leading scorer of the season. Carrabino--out of action indefinitely and currently recuperating in the hospital--aggravated a back injury in the Crimson's 45-44 come-from-behind victory Saturday at UMass.
With Harvard trailing the Crusaders (3-1) by two points with only nine seconds remaining on the clock, freshman forward Greg Wildes--after driving full court and through a lot of Holy Cross traffic--missed the tying lay-up. The ball rolled off the rim with four seconds left, but Harvard was unable to put up another shot before time ran out.
"We had our chances," Crimson Coach Frank McLaughlin said after the game. "I think that Greg took a good shot that just didn't fall. We're not going to get a better shot than that."
Holy Cross compiled a 10-point halftime edge, courtesy of guard Champ Godbolt, who poured in 19 points in the first 20 minutes of play. Godbolt easily penetrated Harvard's 3-2 defense, drawing several fouls and also sinking jumpers from outside the key.
But in the second half, Harvard capitalized on Crusader foul trouble, eventually tying the score at 49 with 5:01 left to go. A few minutes after that, though, the Crimson defense softened and if found itself trailing by six--with :51 to go in the game--after Holy Cross notched a soft lay up and four free throws.
At :38, senior guard Calvin Dixon swished a high-arching jumper, then bounced back to commit a well-timed foul. Crusader failures at the line coupled with four free throws, compliments of sophomore Bob Ferry and Co-Captain George White to chop the Crusader lead to two. But when Wildes' lay-up slipped off of the rim, the Crimson comeback had failed.
The two squads combined for 47 personal fouls and 32 turnovers in the course of the sloppy game. Holy Cross sank only about 39% of their attempted field goals.
With Holy Cross taking 12 more shots than the Crimson, the only thing that kept Harvard in the game was its 23-27 free throw shooting.
Ken Plutnicki and Monroe Trout topped the Crimson in scoring with 14 each. In addition Plutnicki and Trout grabbed 10 and nine rebounds respectively. Godbolt tallied a game-high 27 points.