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WORCESTER--"Get the stick. Get the stick."
After the Harvard men's basketball team had scored the first four points in the second half of last night's game against Holy Cross here at the Hart Center, Crusaders Coach George Blaney started yelling those words, "get the stick," which signalled a man-to-man trapping defense.
And "get the stick" his Crusaders (4-1) did, employing the stifling defense to near perfection and breaking out on a 30-8 run over the next 13 minutes to cruise to a 86-67 win over the Crimson.
For Harvard, sophomore forward Ron Mitchell had dominated the inside game, collecting 21 points and eight rebounds by the two-minute mark of the second half. The Crimson (2-4) trailed by only three points, 46-43. Then the roof caved in.
"We played very sloppy in the first four or five minutes of the second half," said Holy Cross sophomore forward Leon Dickerson, who scored 19 points. "After the timeout, we began to work the ball around better and tried to get the ball inside."
With Harvard being unable to work the ball inside to Mitchell on the trap, the Crimson players all too often watched the fleet Crusaders storm by them for some beautiful fastbreak baskets.
"They beat us down the court. They got a lot of fastbreak layups," said Harvard Co-Captain Scott Gilly, who scored no points after entering the game averaging 7.8 points per game. "I think that had to do with us breaking down in the offensive end. We were out of position. We were disorganized. We didn't get back, and they got easy layups."
Dickerson did most of the damage on the break, finishing 9-for-17 from the field. Point guard Dwight Pernell--averaging 20 points per game--was limited to eight points because of a poor shooting night (3-for-10 from the field). But the 6-ft., 1-in. co-captain did his damage on the front end of the break, dishing out 12 assists.
It was the defensive end that really won the game last night for Holy Cross, forcing Harvard--which shot only 36 percent on the night--to settle for poor shots.
Crusaders, 86-67 at Wercoster HARVARD 39-28--67 Holy Cross 46-40--86
HARVARD (67): Ron Mitchell 9-3--21; Ralph James 3-1--8; Fred Schernecker 7-1--17; Scott Gilly 0-0--0; Dana Smith 2-0--4; Brian Mackey 1-0--2; Tarik Campbell 0-0--0; Tyler Rullman 1-0--2; Peter Condakes 0-0--0; Eric Carter 0-1--1; Tchad Robinson 1-2--4; Mike Minor 0-0--0; Mal Hollensteiner 2-2--6; Ian Smith 0-0--0; Matt McClain 1-0--2.
Totals: 27-75 10-24 67
HOLY CROSS (86): Earl Weedon 6-0--12; Leon Dickerson 9-1--19; Scott Martzloff 1-1--3; Dwight Pernell 3-2--8; Lorn Davis 1-0--3; David Rothstein 0-0--0; Roger Breslin 0-0--0; Chris Fedina 2-1--5; Aaron Jordan 1-4--7; Kevin Kerwin 0-1--1; Derek Farkas 0-0--0; Bill Walker 5-0--11; Rick Mashburn 3-1--7; Frank Powell 4-2--10.
Totals: 35-72 13-20 86
Three-Pointers: Schernecker 2, James; Davis, Jordan, Walker. Rebounds: Harvard 45 (Mitchell, James 10); Holy Cross 50 (Dickerson 13). Assists: Harvard 18 (DSmith 6); Holy Cross 27 (Pernell 9). Steals: Harvard 8 (Rullman, McClain 2); Holy Cross 13 (Pernell 4). Blocked Shots: Harvard 1 (Rullman); Holy Cross 7 (Martzloff 3). Total fouls: Harvard 20, Holy Cross 23. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: Harvard 18, Holy Cross 16.
"We went straight man and we went to sometraps, too," Blaney said. "It was two things. Thedefensive intensity just picked up and once we gotour running game going, that resulted in some easybaskets for us."
And when the Crusaders did break down on "D,"they found that fouling the Crimson could be justas profitable. Harvard shot only 42 percent fromthe foul line, hitting only five of 12 attempts ineach half.
But even if Harvard hit all of its foul shots,it still would have lost by five. The problem wason the offensive end. After scoring his 21stpoint, Mitchell found his teammates unable to workthe ball back to him. He only managed one morefield goal attempt over the last 18 minutes of thegame.
"We didn't react well to the pressure. We shottoo quickly," Harvard Coach Peter Roby said."That's what the trap is designed to do. You'renot going to be able to run a set of play whenpeople are double-teaming you. You have to get theball reversed, take the ball into the lane andmake something happen."
But the only thing happening for the Crimsonwas seeing the Crusaders rebound its missed shotsand quickly start up the other way.
The Good Part
The entire game didn't belong to Holy Crossoutright. Trailing, 15-8, just six minutes intothe game, the Crimson exploded on a 20-8 runbehind Co-Captain Fred Schernecker, who finishedwith 17 points, and Mitchell.
Schernecker's two three-point buckets got theCrimson started as he and Mitchell both workedinside for three easy layups to spark Harvard to a28-23 lead with eight minutes remaining in thehalf.
Holy Cross responded with a 16-0 run of its ownover the next three minutes behind Dickerson andfreshman Bill Walker, who tallied 11 points on5-for-6 shooting. Mitchell's 10 points at the endof the first half and the beginning of the secondclosed the gap to 46-43.
And then the Crusaders got the stick
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