Harvard all-time moment No. 9: Beating Bill Bradley in 1964

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Harvard is next because eight U.S. presidents attended Harvard, exactly half the current Republican presidential candidate field.

On Feb. 7, 1964, Harvard took the floor in front of a packed Harvard Indoor Athletic Building to face Bill Bradley’s Princeton Tigers. That year, Bradley would be named an All-American for the third time, lead the conference in scoring with 33.1 points per game and set the still standing Ivy record for most points in a season (936). He would lead Princeton to a 12-2 record and the Ivy League championship and even win the gold medal on the U.S. Olympic Basketball Team. On this winter night in Cambridge, however, Bill Bradley’s banner year was rudely interrupted by the Ivy League’s perennial bottom feeder.

Bradley had a below average night against Harvard, scoring only 30 points. On the other side, Harvard’s Merle McClung matched Bradley with 30 points of his own, and Keith Sedlacek dropped 31 points, leading the Crimson to a remarkable 88-82 victory. The monumental win over the best player the Ivy League has ever witnessed was huge for the Crimson, as it put them in a tie for first place at the time. Unfortunately, Harvard finished a lackluster 6-8 in Ivy play that year, continuing an 18-year title drought which didn’t end until 47 years later.

3 thoughts on “Harvard all-time moment No. 9: Beating Bill Bradley in 1964”

  1. Gotta love a guy who went to Harvard named “Merle.” He probably had a gold-plated shotgun rack on his Mercedes 4×4.

    The AQ

    • Brought up poor, the son of a single mom in Montevideo Minnesota. Fell in love with Shakespeare at Harvard and became a Rhodes Scholar with Bradley.

  2. I would love to have witnessed this in person. Imagine that — 91 points scored by three players (and 79 scored by everyone else) — and there was no three-point line.


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