Hartford Thrashes M. Basketball, 97-72

Crimson Falls Victim to NBA Prospect Baker (21 points) and Poor Shooting

If the Harvard men's basketball team had guessed that its game against Hartford last night would provide a nice change of pace from Ivy League play, it guessed wrong.

Very wrong.

Hartford's superior athleticism and aggressive full-court attack carried the Hawks to a 97-72 blowout victory over the Crimson, who fell to 4-16 overall, 1-7 in the Ivy League.

The vocal crowd in Hartford's new arena had a lot to yell about as the leading scorer in NCAA basketball, senior center Vinnie Baker, tallied 21 points and led four other Hawks (9-12 overall, 3-6 league) to double figure scoring.

Baker also pulled down seven rebounds, helping the Hawks to a 68-64 advantage on the boards.


For Harvard, Captain Tyler Rullman and two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week, Mike Gilmore, tossed in 16 points each to go with freshman forward Darren Rankin's 14, but it simply was not enough against Hartford's relentless run-and-gun attack.

Going into the game, Harvard knew that it would have to shut down the 6'11 Baker, who is touted by most observers as an NBA first-round pick. For about the first ten minutes of the game the Crimson's shifting defenses worked, as Baker went two for eight from the field and Hartford barely led, 16-15.

Then all of Coach Frank Sullivan's best-laid plans went awry.

As in so many other Harvard matches in this long season, one quick, devastating run was enough to change the face of the entire game.

With Hartford defenders harrying the Harvard players into repeated traveling violations, errant passes and hurried shots, the Hawks went on a decisive 20-2 run to increase their lead to 36-17.

Hartford forced the Crimson into a shooting that can only be described as ugly. In the first half, Harvard shot a dismal .292 from the field, although the Crimson fared better from international waters, sinking three of six shots from behind the arc.

So when the Hawks cruised into halftime with a 41-21 advantage, they knew this win was in the bag. Finito. Caput. The lights, as veteran Lakers announcer Chick Hearn might say, were out.

The second half, while providing Sullivan with a good chance to try some younger players in a game situation, proved to be more of the same.

Every time the Crimson would threaten to make a run--that meant getting the lead under 20 points--Hartford would respond quickly with a few baskets of its own.

Hartford's lead reached as much as 37, at 78-41, with about six and half minutes to go before Hawks Coach Paul Brazeau began to clear his bench. As the clock wound down, the only suspense left lay in whether Hartford would break 100 points for the game. Much to the chagrin of the few remaining fans, the Hawks did not.

On a night when little else went right, it was a small moral victory for the Crimson defense.

Then again, the Crimson will take anything it can get these days.

As in so many other Harvard matches in this long season, one quick, devastating run was enough to change the entire face of the game. HARTFORD, 97-72 at Hartford, Conn. Hartford  41  56  --  97 Harvard  21  51  --  72

HARTFORD: Bond 5-7 1-2 11, pritkin 2-6 5-6 11, Baker 8-16 5-8 21; Ayer 5-8 2-2 15; Rodenck 5-5 0-0 10; Ellison 0-3 1-2 1; Spence 35 0-0 6; Stuckey 1-2 0-0 2; Campbell 2-4 0-1 4; Truesdale 2-2 0-0 4; Totals 36-68 20-28 97.

HARVARD: Campbell 3-9 4-8 11; Rullman 7-19 0-0 16; Gilmore 5-10 2-2 16; Mann 1-2 0-2 2; Liopis 3-4 1-2 7; Kubiak 0-1 0-0 0; White 0-7 0-0 0; Chabra 3-3 0-0 6; Rankin 6-9 2-2 14; Totals 28 64 916 72.