WORCESTER--When you're hot, you're hot, but when you're not, you fall way behind.
Last night against Holy Cross, when the Harvard men's basketball was hot, it put together scoring runs of 14-1, 9-2, and 7-0. The Crimson broke the Holy Cross trap defense, found the open man, and hit the open shots.
Bring on the charcoal. We got enough fire here to cook all night.
"When we made our runs, it was a matter of us executing on the offensive end," senior Co-Captain Scott Gilly said. "I don't think it was anything different on their part."
The Crusaders, who went on to win the game, 86-67, slipped some ice cubes onto the Crimson hands, and Harvard cooled off faster than you can say "Look out, zamboni on the basketball floor."
Holy Cross set the tone with a 10-2 run to start the game. Later in the first half, it pieced together 13 unanswered points to turn a five-point deficit into a 39-28 advantage.
In these spurts, the Crusaders trapped the Crimson, forcing turnover after turnover. Harvard's shooting bottomed out.
Hey, cancel that charcoal. Some jokester dressed in a knight uniform just threw a bucket of water on the flame.
"We had a hard time shooting, which contributed to some of their runs," said Gilly, who was 0-for-6 from the field and saw his team shoot a dismal 36 percent from the field and 42 percent from the free throw line.
Not so for Holy Cross.
"We started to push the ball up the court, look for the open man, and get the openshot," said Crusader sophomore Leon Dickerson, wholed the Holy Cross attack with 19 points.
In the second half, an 18-3 run by Holy Crosstransformed a feasible 12-point Harvard deficitinto an intimidating 27-point margin. With justover four minutes left, the game was out of reach.
"The defensive intensity just picked up," HolyCross Coach George Blaney said. "We got therunning game going. That resulted in some easybaskets for us."
Harvard walked away looking for answers.
"Who knows why things happen?" Harvard CoachPeter Roby said. "Shots go in sometimes. Sometimesthey don't. One team does a real good job oftaking people out of what they want to do."