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Long Beach State Defeats Crimson in Overtime at Long Beach Classic

By Michael Stankiewicz, Special to The Crimson

LONG BEACH, Calif.--It was the story of the Harvard men's basketball team's season so far.

It was the story of its game against Long Beach St. December 27. And it was no surprise that it was the story of overtime in the Crimson's 81-77 loss to the 49ers in the second game of the Long Beach Classic here in Long Beach Arena.

That "it" is an inability to clear the defensive boards, which cost Harvard (2-9) a chance to end a two-week long losing skein.

49ers forward Frankie Edwards pulled down two offensive rebounds after Troy Joseph missed free throws to highlight a 7-0 Long Beach run and give the 49ers (4-5) a commanding 77-72 lead with two minutes remaining in the overtime period. Edwards' 12 and Josephs' 14 boards led Long Beach in a commanding 55-39 rebounding advantage over Harvard, which was hampered when its leading rebounder, Co-Captain Ron Mitchell, was in foul trouble throughout the second half.

"We made a couple of poor decisions offensively," Harvard Coach Peter Roby said, "but it was the rebounding that was the difference in overtime. We gave up 25 offensive rebounds and we lost by four in overtime."

But Edwards' heroics wouldn't have mattered if it hadn't been for 49ers forward Kevin Cutler's 10-foot lean-in jumper over Mitchell with nine seconds remaining in regulation. The basket capped Cutler's 18-point second-half effort including 10 points in the first eight minutes that converted a four-point Long Beach deficit into a five-point lead.

The 49ers extended their advantage to 66-58 with five minutes remaining in regulation on a 10-2 run. Cutler's two free throws and hook shot started the run and then the heartbreakers, a pair of three-point jumpers by Ronnie Winbush and Lucious Harris. Harris led Long Beach State with 28 points on 10-for-21 shooting.

"We made some key mistakes down the stretch," said Harvard Co-Captain Ralph James, who led Harvard with 20 points.

But Harvard center Peter Condakes responded with a pair of three-pointers to highlight a 10-0 run that gave the Crimson a a 68-66 lead with two minutes remaining in regulation. Condakes finished 4-for-5 from behind the three-point arc in the second half and overtime.

"When they went into a zone, we knocked down those threes, but Condakes came down and answered them," Long Beach Coach Seth Greenberg said. "It's all to his credit. Those weren't easy shots."

Mitchell's foul-line jumper with 35 seconds remaining in regulation gave Harvard its short-lived lead before Cutler's heroics tied the game.


James' 10 points and Tarik Campbell's seven points and four assists helped the Crimson jump out to a 35-31 halftime lead. With the Crimson up, 13-10, James canned a three-pointer from the right side while being fouled by Cutler. James' foul shot gave the Crimson an early seven-point lead, as the 49ers were missing from outside.

"The beginning of the game was a culmination of everything that's gone wrong in our first four games," Greenberg said. "We get the rebound, we're staring at the rim and we miss and miss and miss. We couldn't get the ball to drop."

"We had an abundance of bad shots," Greenberg added. "When we kicked it out, we'd take the shot instead of feeding it back into the post."

A pair of free throws by Campbell, a Campbell driving layup and a James coast-to-coast layup helped Harvard take a 30-25 lead with four minutes left in the half. And freshman Anikar Chhaabra's two baskets inside gave the Crimson its halftime advantage.

But just like the game against Colgate, the Crimson was unable to cling to its fragile intermission advantage.

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