Cagers To Battle Duke Tonight; Blue Devils Ready for Crimson

DURHAM, N.C.--A capacity crowd of 8564 is expected at Duke's Cameron indoor stadium tonight, when the Harvard men's basketball team will make it's first-ever appearance in the heart of Atlantic Coast Conference basketball country

Harvard, whose non-Ivy schedule and longest road trip of the year comes to a close here tonight, is a decided underdog to Duke, the King of the ACC and the nation's sixthr-ranked team

ven so Harvard's visit has generated interest usually reserved for schools who consider the NCAA tournament part of their annual schedule

"We're approaching this game as if it were an ACC game," says the Blues Devils' Mark Alaric of the game than can be heard on WHRB-95 FM at approximately 9:45 pm today. "It could be very similar to a first round NCAA game."

What's got the powerful Blue Devils (15-3 overall, 5-3 ACC) concerned is the nagging memory of what happened one year ago in Cambridge.

Before a record Briggs Athletic Center crowd, the visitors surprisingly found themselves in a game, and with one minute to go, found themselves in a heap of trouble.

Only three Johnny Dawkins free throws in the final minute kept Harvard from pulling off the upset of the year, and allowed Duke to escape with an 89:86 victory.

"If we doubted Harvard at all," says Duke Coach Mike Kryzewski, "I hope we learned our lesson last year.

"We have a lot of respect for them," adds Coach K, "and that's why we look at this as a big game"

For Harvard, (11-2 overall, 3-1 Ivy) Duke's the "dt" of a five day, three-game road swing, says Crimson Coach Frank McLaughlin.

"Before we left, everyone was talking about Duke," says the eighth year Crimson mentor "But I explained to the guys that this was the Lehigh-Lafayette-Duke trip."

With a split in those first two games, Harvard knows it's now dessert time But Harvard also knows might just be the dessert.

"We know we're way overpowered," McLaughlin says. "But we're not concerned as much with Duke as we're concerned with ourselves.

"We've played well so far this trip, especially considering the long [19 day] layoff," adds McLauglin. "If we play well, it could mean a for as as the Ivy League goes."

That's what happened last year, when the Crimson used Duke as a springboard to its best Ancient Eight Finish in 40 years.