Last night was a nightmare for the Harvard men's basketball team. Harvard traveled to Worcester in search of its first win, but instead was pummeled by Holy Cross, 100-75.
The loss lowered the Crimson's record to 0-4.
Just how bad was this game? Really, really bad. The Crimson could do little right.
"Holy Cross just took the game right to us," Harvard Coach Frank Sullivan said.
The Crimson's problems started with the Crusaders' seven-foot center Scott Martzloff, and ended with the blistering quickness of guards Billy Walker and Roger Breslin. Walker scored 24 points while Breslin dished out 12 assists to go with his three steals and only two turnovers.
But the real nightmare was Martzloff. Without the benefit of any shooting touch to speak of, Martzloff scored 18 points, mostly on dunks and layups. He also made his mark defensively, gathering 12 rebounds and blocking two shots while altering countless others.
"We tried to make him come and guard us, but he stayed low and changed a lot of our shots," Sullivan said.
It took the combined efforts of the Crimson's entire front line to keep Martzloff in check, mainly by fouling the gawky center hard enough to prevent him from dunking every time he touched the ball.
Despite Martzloff's obvious effects on the Harvard game, Crusaders' Coach George Blaney didn't even think his center had a great game.
"He had a number of opportunities that he did not convert, plus, he shot terrible from the free throw line," Blaney said. Despite four consecutive successful foul shots at the end of the game, Martzloff ended a woeful 6-for-11 from the charity stripe.
Holy Cross put the game away on the strength of two runs: a 22-5 run to open the game and a 22-6 run to open the second half.
"I was real happy with our aggressiveness out there," Blaney said. "We felt we could apply pressure and overplay the ball, which we did."
Junior forward Tyler Rullman provided one of the only bright spots for the Crimson, scoring 20 points on eight-for-eleven shooting. Rullman was perfect from three-point range, going four-for-four on the night.
The other lift was provided by junior forward Peter Condakes. Condakes scored eight straight points while the Crimson closed the first half deficit to nine points with just over three minutes remaining in the half.
"Pete did an excellent job," Sullivan said. "He gives us a good lift off the bench."