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Princeton's overtime loss to Harvard puts Penn in control

(02/22/99 10:00am)

and Richard Perez The Harvard Crimson After 17 consecutive losses to Princeton, Tim Hill and the Harvard men's basketball team (11-13, 5-7 Ivy League) pulled off a stunning, season-making upset Saturday night at Lavietes Pavilion, stopping the three-time defending Ivy League champion Princeton Tigers (18-6, 9-2) by an 87-79 overtime final. "Without a doubt, it's the best win of my career," said Hill, who set a school record for career assists, passing Tarik Campbell '94 with 571. "This is the only team in the Ivy League that the seniors haven't beaten, and we couldn't have asked for a better night." The Crimson executed to near perfection, making 51 percent from the floor and 8-of-15 from three-point range while holding Princeton to 39.7 percent shooting. "The things that their guys do well, they did," Princeton Coach Bill Carmody said. "It was like, Clemente, open shot, bang! Beam, open shot, bang!" Hill led a frenzied Crimson attack with a game-high 27 points, in addition to five rebounds and four assists. Clemente scored 16 and pulled down five rebounds, and senior shooting guard Mike Beam scored 11 points, including a pair of critical overtime three-pointers to pace Harvard. But the second half was 20 minutes of pure indigestion, as the Tigers persistently threatened to break down a Harvard lead that got as high as 11 points at 40-29 with 18:27 to play. Princeton put the Crimson in a difficult position, hitting Ewing with his fourth personal with 9:26 remaining when he grabbed point guard Brian Earl. Clemente had picked up his fourth three minutes earlier attempting to press. But Clemente and Ewing survived, with Ewing not fouling out until 2:57 remained in regulation. The final 2:57 of regulation was a regular heavyweight fight, with both teams trading three-point bombs like would-be knockout punches. After Young's backdoor cut and Earl's pair of free throws had cut the Harvard lead to a precarious 60-59, Princeton forward Mason Rocca gave the Tigers their first lead since early in the first half with a three-point play that sent Ewing to the bench fighting back tears after fouling out. Beam tied the game with a jumper before the threes started flying. Beam sank a three and Lewullis responded with one of his own. Clemente then sank another for Harvard, before Lewullis tied the game at 68 with 36 seconds left. Princeton stuffed the Crimson's last possession, double-teaming Beam on the right wing and forcing him to pick up his dribble before flipping the ball to Clemente, who was far off on a buzzer-beater from just outside the arc. The Crimson dominated the overtime period -- making all three attempts from the floor and 11-of-14 from the foul line while holding the Tigers to 4-of-13 shooting and outscoring Princeton 19-11. Beam keyed an initial 8-3 run, making his first two three-point attempts. With the score 74-71, Gellert delivered with another fine play, beating Young off the dribble on the right baseline and cutting to the hole for a lay-up that opened up a 76-71 lead. Princeton was forced to foul, and the Crimson converted on 11-of-14 opportunities, with Hill making 6-of-6. When the point guard made both ends of a one-and-one to increase the lead to 82-72 with 56.6 seconds to play, the Crimson Crazies rained down the sweetest chant of the evening on the Tigers: "Overrated!"

Harvard's Clemente out for season with ankle injury

(11/06/98 10:00am)

The Harvard Crimson CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (U-WIRE) -- Talk about sophomore jinxes. Just two weeks before its season opener at Boston College, the Harvard men's basketball team has learned that standout power forward Dan Clemente must undergo season-ending surgery to repair a degenerative ankle condition. The 6'7" Clemente, last season's runaway Ivy League Rookie of the Year, aggravated a pre-existing weakness in his left ankle with several sprains over the summer. When the ankle did not respond to attempts by the Harvard training staff to treat and rehabilitate it, Clemente, coach Frank Sullivan and team physician Arthur Boland made the decision to do reconstructive surgery. "I sprained it for the last time at the end of August, just working out and shooting around by myself," Clemente said. "I was being an idiot and playing on it, not wearing a brace. Then I came to school and played on it, and it started getting ridiculous. I couldn't run on it or anything." Clemente and the Harvard training staff did not originally anticipate that surgery of this magnitude would be required -- as recently as the middle of October, Clemente was not expected to miss substantial time. In consultation with Boland, though, Clemente reached the point where surgery was inevitable. Clemente hopes to undergo the surgery around Thanksgiving, and his recovery timetable is roughly three months. Clemente will wear a cast for five to six weeks, then do rehabilitation for another five to six weeks if all goes according to plan. "Sometimes guys have ankle problems, do surgery and get right back on the court," Sullivan said. "This kind of surgery is a pretty big deal. It's about the biggest deal there is. Dan's going to be out for some time." Clemente emerged as one of the league's dominant four-men last season, finishing with 13.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, ninth and 11th in the Ivies, respectively. And in a conference chock full of sharpshooters, Clemente was seventh at 43.2 percent from three-point range, converting on 48 of 111 attempts. "We had the luxury of having a skilled shooter at the four position last year," Sullivan said. "Dan was somebody who could screen or step behind the line, and we don't have that caliber of shooter at the four anymore. This takes a lot of cute wrinkles away from our offense." His departure poses a host of questions for Sullivan and the Crimson's reconstituted lineup, particularly now that replacements are needed for two spots in the frontcourt instead of just one -- Clemente at power forward and 1998 graduate Mike Scott at small forward or swingman. "That it's a major blow for the frontcourt is the least I can say," Fisher said. "We were hoping Dan would build on what he accomplished last year, but now the spot is wide open." There was talk even before the severity of Clemente's injury was known of switching the sophomore to small forward while replacement candidates like sophomores Tim Coleman and Chris Lewis or senior Bill Ewing filled in at the four-spot. Though all three are veterans, Ewing, Coleman and Lewis have yet to establish themselves as scoring forces in the paint, and certainly none will contribute in the manner that Clemente did from outside. But Clemente's injury will increase the pressure on the Crimson to improve its defense, one of the biggest question marks entering the season. "The challenge is that we lose a significant volume of three-point shooting," Sullivan said. "Good three-point shooting was a buffer to poor defense last year. It bailed us out of some games, kept us close in others." The injury comes as a shock and a terrible piece of luck for a team in the midst of the most successful stretch in program history. With 45 wins in the last three seasons, Harvard tied a school record. The Crimson was picked to finish in the top half of the Ivy and to perhaps even challenge a graduation-depleted Princeton team for second place behind the University of Pennsylvania. Clemente's loss naturally makes a first-division finish more difficult, but team members remain optimistic. "If the people that do the predictions knew that Dan was going to be out for the year, they probably wouldn't think that second or third place was doable, more like third or fourth," Fisher said. "But if we pick things up, there's no reason for a decline."