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The words may have changed, but the song remains the same.
That's about all one can say about the Harvard men's basketball team. During its present eight-game losing streak, the Crimson has faced a wide variety of opponents--big teams like Colgate, shooting teams like Princeton, and damn good teams like Penn.
But, other than that, the games are xerox copies of each other. In the first half, Harvard always plays pretty well--whether building a lead or crafting a respectable nine-point deficit to Penn. And in the second half, the Crimson always seems to watch a potential victory slip away.
Tuesday night's game against Hartford was, sadly for Harvard fans, no different. The Crimson (1-2 Ivy, 3-11 overall) got off to a blinding start, leading 16-4 early on. But the Hawks eventually took control of the game, winning by the score of 69-54.
None of this is really new.
"[Early in the game] we got a lot offense out of our defense--our traps seemed to get some easy baskets," junior forward Mike Gilmore said. "But Hartford crept back into it by halftime."
After the Crimson's initial rampage, the shooting in the rest of the first half turned abysmal. Harvard and Hartford shot 36.7 percent and 32.0 percent from the field, respectively. The Crimson led 25-22 at the break.
Doesn't exactly remind you of Lakers' glory years, does it? But that would change.
In Hartford's favor.
In the second half, the Hawks picked up the slack and took the lead for good. The Crimson was always a step behind. Another game, close and low-scoring initially, turned into a blowout.
"Looking back, it just seems that we didn't have the legs in the second half," senior guard James White said. "We came out flat, and they took advantage of it."
Take advantage they did. The Hawks drained 64.3 percent of their shots in the second half--compared to 41.9 percent for the Crimson.
Given Hartford's second-half blitz, it is safe to say that Harvard didn't have much of a chance, especially when the Hawks held a 16-4 edge on foul shots.
By some accounts, it was a game Harvard should have won. According to the players, the Crimson had every opportunity.
"It does get very frustrating," junior forward Darren Rankin said. "The players and coaches believe that we should have won."
Both the men and the women's team will make the trip for back-to-back games against the Big Green Saturday afternoon.
For the men, Hanover, N.H. may be a nice place to be. The Crimson has won the last three meetings and seven out of the last 10, including this year's come-from-behind victory at Briggs Cage.
More importantly, Dartmouth is an Ivy League team. A Harvard victory would improve its Ivy record to 2-2. And while an Ivy League title may not be in the offing, the season would at least be salvageable.
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