The start of the second semester has been very instructive for the Harvard men's basketball team.
After Tuesday night's heartbreaking double-overtime loss to Dartmouth, the Crimson was taught that you can't count on lucky breaks to win close games.
The cagers, always good students, learned that lesson well and figured out that you don't need lucky breaks if you just beat the heck out of your opponents.
And Harvard did just that this weekend.
The Crimson earned its first "A" with an 89-68 trashing of Yale Saturday night in front of 1800 fans at Briggs Cage to complete a weekend sweep. Harvard had topped Brown Friday night, 77-64.
The Crimson win--Harvard Coach Pete Roby's first against the Elis--snapped Yale's five game winning streak against Harvard.
"I told the guys that if we didn't come out hard, we'd have wasted the effort against Dartmouth," Roby said.
By toppling the Bulldogs, Harvard (3-3 Ivy League) climbed into sole possession of fifth place in the Ivies while Yale (2-4) fell to sixth. With the squad's toughest games--Dartmouth and Cornell at lthaca--over, the Crimson (8-10 overall) should start to climb in the standings.
"Once we got through our non-league schedule, we felt that there was no one who could beat us if we played well," Roby said.
The biggest hero for the Crimson Saturday was Tri-Captain and point guard Mike Gielen, who fired in a career-high 30 points. The junior--who shot 8-for-13 from the field and hit 10-of-11 from the line--also grabbed seven rebounds for Harvard.
"He was playing well in practice all week, so I knew he'd play well this weekend," Roby said of Gielen. "He was fantastic on the court. I'm really happy for him."
Gielen wasn't the only Harvard player on the court who was fantastic, either. For the second consecutive outing, four Crimson players scored in double figures.
Junior Neil Phillips--who beat Yale earlier this year on the gridiron--netted 14 of his 19 points in the first half to help the Crimson jump to a 40-26 halftime lead. Freshman guard Ralph James fired in 16 points, for Harvard, while Tri-Captain Bill Mohler added 12.
James, the Crimson's leading scorer and rebounder, was held to 5-for-13 shooting and was the recipient of numerous double-teams.
"I think teams are starting to recognize that Ralph is a force," said Phillips, who had six steals against Yale. "Defenses are more aware of him, trying to help out, and Mike and I havebeen getting wide open-shots."