PHILADELPHIA--It was the Harvard men's basketball team against the world.
The world lost.
And the Crimson finally won--at Princeton, 60-50, Friday night, and at Princeton, 60-50, Friday night, and at Pennsylvania Saturday night, 77-75, for Harvard's first-ever sweep of the perennial Ivy League powerhouses.
History, the odds, and the highly partisan crowds at the Tigers' intimidating Jadwin Gym and the Quaker's awesome Palestra were, to say the least, not in the visitors 'favor.
Neither was a 62-60 loss to Dartmouth last weekend at home. Even the airlines- return-trip reservations proved worthless when Northeastern Airlines went out of business last week-seemed to be against them.
But in the end, as Harvard's Keith Webster said after Saturday's victory "All adversity was against us and we just gutted it out".
Ignoring the fact that half the team members have final exams-not just this week, but trips, the squad headed south.
Or tried to- but the cagers almost didn't make it to Princeton.
Loaded onto an 11:40 a.m, flight to Newark on Friday, the squad had to disentangle itself from the plane when the door of aircraft wouldn't shut.
Re-loaded onto another plane and having checked freshman Eric Wanta's too- large luggage, the team took off an hour late, then endured a perilous 90-minute van ride on the snow-covered New Jersey highways to Princeton- minus Wanta's luggage, which did turn up in time for the trip to Philadelphia.
The adversity didn't end there,either. Going up against the godfather of Ivy League coaches. Pete Carril,and the raucous . Tiger fans in cavernous, chilly Jadwin,for a while it seemed the Crimson just couldn't get a break.
Senior Co-Captain Bob Ferry committed three offensive fouls to start off the first stanza, but with the Tigers keying on him and Co-Captain Carrabino -who thoroughly terrorized Princeton center Howard Levy-Webster went to work.
When the dust settled 40 minutes later, the sophomore guard had a career-high 21 points, the small but vocal Harvard contingent had sore throats, and the visitors had the victory.
But history was still against them. Only a week earlier. Harvard had used a combination of sloppy offense and atrocious defense to lose to a weaker Dartmouth squad that fell to Penn by 24.
And a year ago at the Palestra, Harvard took the Quakers into double overtime before losing, 77-74, on a controversial last-second call.