Harvard's Indoor Athletic Building is a multisport complex, and the basketball gym is on the fourth floor. It is a poor place to play intercollegiate basketball, as Harvard's rivals in the recruiting wars are quick to point out. Still, Harvard out-maneuvered Penn to get Floyd Lewis from Washington, D.C., a sophomore and probably the best Crimson player. Calhoun, who always draws the toughest forward, was assigned to him.
Harvard raced out on the floor, a startling contrast to Penn: unsnapped leggings flopping, Afros, goatees, mustaches, loud rock music by the Temptations. Matt Bozek kept his overflowing locks out of his face with a Geronimo headband. Brian Newmark had bushy sideburns that birds could nest in. The Quakers' one touch of color was their new shoes—all red.
It used to be that only a few hundred students were willing to hike up the stairs for a Harvard home game, and some of those played bridge in the stands rather than watch the action. Times have changed. Lewis and classmate James Brown have sparked some interest, and the gym was packed for Pennsylvania. No card games and a lot of honest-to-shout rooting.
And there was something worth rooting for. While Calhoun neutralized Lewis, Brown was playing a little guard and a little forward, and frequently giving a good imitation of a pogo stick. He scored 16 points and took 10 rebounds, and Harvard led at the half 35-29.
But Penn, with hardly a game on its schedule that does not count toward a league or tournament championship, is accustomed to pressure. The Quakers came out for the second half determined to work the ball inside, and they did it beautifully. Passing well, fast breaking, feeding a talented sophomore of their own, Phil Hankinson, they outscored Harvard 19-5 and took a 48-40 lead. It was like an Olympic sprinter loping along lazily for 50 yards, then turning on the power and zooming past the outclassed club runner.
But then the Penn curse struck again. Just when the team seems to be ready to run away and leave the cleaning up to its excellent subs, at least one of whom many of the players feel should be a starter, there comes a lull. The Quakers, true to their nickname, lack a killer instinct. Harvard closed the gap to six. Penn called time out with 8:11 left and went into a slowdown. Little Bilsky is an expert at dribbling, dribbling, dribbling and finally drawing a foul. Seldom does he miss a free throw at the end of a game. Wohl works the same system pretty well, too. There was no way the Crimson could get the ball away without fouling, and Penn stretched the lead to 75-60 so the bench could be cleared. The boos from the crowd did not bother the players at all.
Later Harter had nothing but compliments—for one half of the game. "The first half was our worst of the year," he said, "and the second was unquestionably the best half since I've been at Pennsylvania."
Wohl was asked if Penn really belonged in the national championship picture. "I thought that no matter where I went to school I could play with anybody," he said. "This team is composed of guys who feel like that. We've seen UCLA and South Carolina on TV. They're good, but we're not awed."
In a way Harter was awed by Harvard. "Woo," he said. "It would have been the end of the hair program if we'd lost to those guys."