Throughout the current campaign the Harvard men's basketball team has not been a stranger to the fast-paced excitement generated by a close game. But the team consistently has lacked the maturity to perform down the final stretch of a contest and squeak out a hard-fought victory.
Last evening's thrilling but disappointing 84-81 loss to Yale at the IAB proved to be no exception to the long list of futile efforts that have plagued the Crimson--now 5-8 in the Ivies 10-15 overall all year.
Down in 74-68 with only 1.52 remaining in the game, Harvard put together another missed-it-by-that-much rally on sophomore forward Joe Carrabino's two successful free throw's and senior captain Donald Fleming's steal and subsequent lay up.
But Harvard--trailing by only two with 1:15 to go--failed protect the top of the key and close up the lane, as Yale freshman forward Chris Kelly pumped in a 19-ft jumper and sophomore guard Butch Graves connected on a fast break layup. The pair sandwiched their tallies around another Fleming hoop to put the Bulldogs up by four, 78-74 at 56 seconds.
During the next 30 seconds the Crimson offense folded as Fleming and junior guard Calvin Dixon committed costly fouls, Graves and teammate Bart Williams put the game out of reach by popping in their two free throws each.
Carrabino paced the Crimson five for most of the second half with his hide away jumpers--10 out of 15 from the field--and reliable free throw shooting (6-7). The sophomore forward contributed a game-high 26 points while his aggressive play under the boards resulted in 13 rebounds.
Throughout the game the hoopsters constantly approached the Bulldogs but the lost the momentum before taking the lead. Four times in the second half, Harvard reached its way to within two points of the Eli only to squander its attempts and fall back to a five or six point deficit.
Finally at 10:31, Dixon's free throw capped a drive that gave the Crimson a one point, 55-54, lead, after having rebounded from five points down. But to no avail, Yale cagers reeled off three straight buckets, and the Harvard team discovered that it was once again down by five.
Flemming after the game, maintained that Harvard's inability to manufacture a game-winning surge is not a "syndrome" adding that "it just comes down to their making the best shots and your missing them. I think it just something that happens.
The score remained close through the first 20 minutes, Besides an early eight-point Yale advantage, neither team led by more than five. For most of the stanzas the Elis maintained a two-point advantage. Harvard trudged to the lockerroom at halftime faced with a one-basket deficit, 40-38.
Freshman forward Bob Ferry contributed live long-range jumpers and two free throws to the Crimson's first-half cause. He accumulated 18 points on the evening.
A factor that hurt Harvard throughout the contest but more so in the first half--was the squad's inability to box out and grab defensive rebounds. Except for Carrabino's under the basket tenacity. Harvard could not prevent Yale from capitalizing on second or third shots. In the game's opening 20 minutes the Elis tallied 12 points off their offensive boards.
The Crimson couldn't overtaked the bulldogs even when two Yale starters--sophomore forward Gerry Parker and junior forward Steve Leondis--fouled out of the game midway through the second half. But Harvard coach Frank McLaughlin said, "When a team gets into foul trouble and the other guys dig down real well, that's a credit to them.
McLaughlin added, "Yale spread us out real good, and they ran a couple of back doors, We just didn't reach well."
But perhaps Fleming summed it up best: "They played well. We played mediocre. They were more hungry than we were. They played harder than we did."
Tonight Harvard closes out the year--and its historic stay at the IAB--when it takes on Brown at 7:30.
HARVARD (81)-Bob Ferry 8-2-18: Calvin Dixon 0-1-1: Joe Carrabino 10-6-26: Donald Fleming 5-4-14: George White 1-1-3: Kevin Boyle 0-2-2: Kyle Standley 1-2-4: Bob McCabe 3-1-8: Monroe Trout 2-2-6: Totals 30-21-81.
YALE (84)-Gerry Parker 4-3-11: Steve Leondis 6-3-15: Tim Daaleman 3-0-6: Butch Graves 6-3-15: Bart Williams 0-3-3: Chris Kelly 4-4-12: Jim Petela 8-6-22, James Boas-herg 0-0-0: Totals 31-22-84.
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