When Columbia's Jon Dwyer hit a basket to put the Lions up by a point with 15 seconds left in Saturday's game, Harvard Coach Pete Roby did something that he usually does not do. He called a timeout.
When Harvard has a chance to win or tie the game on its final shot, as in the Lehigh game earlier this year and last year's Boston College game, Roby prefers not to call a timeout, because it gives the defense time to set up.
But against the Lions, he felt it was necessary.
"I called timeout because I wanted them to be organized," Roby said, "but I didn't set up anything specific. I just wanted them to be relaxed."
In the huddle, the Harvard coach called an inbounds pass play, but did not design a play to get someone free for a shot.
"If you have a set play, sometimes the players are so concerned about sticking to the play that they miss out on some opportunities," Roby said.
The un-play worked, as Tri-Captain Mike Gielen dribbled in and found Neil Phillips in the corner. Phillips jumped over Columbia's Steve Livingston, and swished a 15-footer at the buzzer to give the Crimson a victory.
The moral to the story: If it works, don't call it.
Good Ol' Glory: It may be just sour grapes, but Columbia's Wally Halas is our nominee for quote of the week.
The first-year Lion coach felt a little unlucky in losing to the Crimson on Phillips' last-second shot, especially when he thought back to an earlier three-point shot by Gielen which fell in after it bounced on the rim a few times.
"Do you remember Gielen's three-point shot from the corner?" asked Halas. "It hit everything but the American flag. It took about 10 seconds to get in."
Ralph and Joe: Freshman Ralph James is closing in on Joe Carrabino's all-time rookie scoring record. Carrabino, who also holds the mark for most points in a Crimson career, netted 380 points as freshman in the 1980-81 season.
After this weekend's action, James has 332 points, and needs to average a mere 12 points a match over the final four games to tie Carrabino's record.
Although the record would be nice, James said that it's not very important to him.
"It's not one of my major priorities," James said. "I'm more concerned about doing the things I have to do to help the team win."
Half and Half: "Some people say that if you watch the last two minutes of a basketball game, you've seen the whole game.
That statement doesn't apply to Harvard. Most of the Crimson's contests seem to have been decided in the first half.
In games in which Harvard has held the lead at halftime, the Crimson has a 7-1 record, while in the games the team went into the locker room trailing, it has a mark of 3-10.