In a season where wins may be hard to come by, this loss was hard to stomach.
After leading by as many as 12 points in the first half, the Harvard men's basketball team dropped a close game to Fairfield last night at Briggs Cage, 84-77.
A career high 23 points from senior power forward Eric Carter and 28 from captain Tyler Rullman could not overcome an avalanche of Fairfield three pointers in the second half.
The defeat drops Harvard to 1-3 on the season, while Fairfield moved to 4-0 for the first time since 1984.
The outcome of this game could have been different, though.
At the beginning of the contest, Harvard simply outplayed Fairfield.
"We wanted to establish a rhythm early, and we stressed the importance of getting off to a good start," Harvard Coach Frank Sullivan said.
With junior Tarik Campbell consistently breaking through the Fairfield press, Harvard's offense clicked as well as it has all season. Good passing kept the Crimson active, and Carter earned his 15 first half points with a sparkling seven for seven performance from the field.
On the other end of the court, Harvard's defense effectively shut down Fairfield's star center, Drew Henderson. Throughout the game, the Crimson shifted back and forth from a man-to-man to a 1-3-1 zone defense and confused the Stages, who responded by throwing up hurried jump shots.
With 10 minutes left in the first half, Harvard had taken a 25-13 lead and looked to have comfortable control of the game.
Then came the bad part.
Fairfield rallied behind a series of layups and three-pointers, slicing through the rapidly disintegrating Harvard defense.
"We gave a good effort, but we just weren't really solid on D at those key points," Carter said.
Fairfield guard Kevin George and center Tim Schwartz led the Stags on a 29-10 run to close the half, and the Crimson went into the locker room down by seven, 42-35.
At the start of the second period, Fairfield picked up where it left off.
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