Men Cagers Take MIT to School, 86-50

Phillips (14) Leads Parade of Fourteen Crimson Scorers

Stepping forward.

Don't be confused by the sub-.500 record of the Harvard men's basketball team, because the Crimson (now 2-3) is definitely stepping forward.

And last night's 86-50 massacre of a hapless MIT squad in front of 300 fans at Briggs Athletic Cage confirmed that fact.

"The thing I'm most pleased about is that we stayed under control and executed both offensively and defensively," Harvard Coach Pete Roby said. "It's important as a team to take another step forward, as we feel we've taken a step forward with each game."

Last season, after five games, the Crimson was 5-0. So the biggest step for the cagers thus far hasn't been in terms of quantity of victories, but rather quality of teamwork.


Three Harvard frontcourt standouts--Joe Carrabino, Bob Ferry and Arne Duncan--combined for 74 percent of the scoring on last year's 15-9 squad.

Last night, 14 Harvard players contributed to the scoring.

There are only 15 players on the Crimson roster.

And the one cager who didn't get on the board--senior guard Carmen Scarpa--saw a career-high 17 minutes of action, filling in as the on-court leader in the absence of starting guards Pat Smith (12 minutes) and Keith Webster (19).

"We thought, when we made our roster, that we had people who could play--from number one to number 15," Roby said.

All 15 enjoyed plenty of court time last night, as Roby gave the entire squad a chance to revel in the romp over the Engineers. But right from the start, a couple of old favorites got the Crimson in gear.

Sophomore center Bill Mohler hit a short jumper 36 seconds into play, and the cagers were off and rolling. Webster sunk a jumper from 15 feet out--and then the duo added another pair of baskets to give Harvard a quick 8-0 lead.

By the time MIT called its second time out, with 13:44 remaining in the half, each of the five Crimson starters had scored at least once to boost the lead to 18-7.

From that point on, the bench took over. Freshmen Mike Gielen and Fred Schernecker stepped in at guard and forward, and classmate David Lang soon joined them at center.

The Harvard bench had already shown that it could score, contributing 82 points over the previous four contests.

Last night, it demonstrated that it could play a mean defense as well.

Six-and-a-half minutes elapsed from the time that Roby began substituting to the time that the Engineers managed to get a point. And by that time, the game--with the Crimson sitting pretty on top of a 33-9 advantage--was as good as over.

"I take that personally," Roby said after the game. "If your second team comes out and executes, is poised, and plays good 'D', I really get excited about that."

At the half, Harvard held a 45-22 edge, on the strength of buckets by 10 team members.

And in the second period, four other cagers--Dave Wolkoff, Matt DeGreeff, Rutledge Simmons and Todd Litfin--added points for the Crimson.

The Engineers, who shot under 37 percent from the floor on the night, put together a meager string of six consecutive points midway through the half, but never succeeded in drawing closer than the 23-point halftime deficit.

The cagers should face a stickier challenge Saturday, when they journey to New York City to face Manhattan College.

"We're thinking about going down there and winning, and we're also thinking about continuing improving," Roby said. "If both occur at the same time, that's great.

THE NOTEBOOK: Last night's contest had a noteworthy precedent: in the first game ever played at Briggs, the Crimson faced the Engineers--and trounced them, 83-58... Harvard has now triumphed in six consecutive meetings with MIT. The two squads have faced off 56 times... Crimson forward freshman Neil Phillips led the squad with 14 points. He has scored in double figures in each of the cagers' five contests and paces the team in season points with 66...Engineer Mike McElvoy led both squads in scoring last night, pumping in 19 points... Harvard had an off night from the charity stripe. After leading the nation in free throw percentage for the past two seasons (82.2 percent two years ago, 81.1 percent last year) and hitting at a 83.8 percent rate in its first four contests, the cagers were only 14 for 21 (66.7 percent) from the line against MIT.