Crusaders Set To Open The Season On Friday Night Against Harvard

Adam May

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Video: Andrew Keister on the 2009-2010 Season
Video: Adam May on the 2009-2010 Season

The Teams: Holy Cross (0-0, 0-0 PL) vs. Harvard (0-0, 0-0 Ivy)
Date: November 13, 2009
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Click Here for Internet Broadcast
Unofficial Live Statistics: Click Here
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 41-21
Last Meeting: Harvard 69, Holy Cross 59; November 25, 2008; Cambridge, Mass.

Pos., No., Name (Ht., Wt., Cl.)
F, 5, Mike Cavataio (6-4, 190, So.)
F, 34, Andrew Keister (6-9, 235, Jr.) 
C, 53, Eric Meister (6-8, 225, Sr.)
G, 10, R.J. Evans (6-3, 200, So.)
G, 22, Andrew Beinert (6-4, 185, Jr.)

THE SERIES WITH HARVARD: This will be the 63rd meeting between the Crusaders and the Crimson on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 41-21. The Crusaders have won seven of the last nine meetings in the series, but Harvard did post a 69-59 victory in Cambridge last season. For games played in Worcester, Holy Cross holds a 16-13 advantage, including a 10-6 record at the Hart Center. Holy Cross and Harvard first met on January 15, 1901, with the Crimson posting a 20-10 victory in Worcester.

Overall: Holy Cross leads, 41-21
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 16-13
At the Hart Center: Holy Cross leads, 10-6
Sean Kearney vs. Harvard: 0-0
Tommy Amaker vs. Holy Cross: 1-1
Current Win Streak: Harvard, one game
In Overtime: Harvard leads, 1-0

FOR OPENERS: Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 65-25 in its opening game of the season, with six straight victories. This year will mark the 46th time the Crusaders have opened the season at home, with Holy Cross posting a 39-6 mark in the previous 45 contests. Over the last 10 years, the Crusaders stand 8-2 in season openers. During that time, Holy Cross has defeated Providence (54-43 in 1999-2000), Quinnipiac (85-57 in 2001-2002), Boston University (59-57 in 2003-2004; 58-48 in 2004-2005), High Point (85-73 in 2005-2006), Fairfield (67-65 in overtime in 2006-2007), Hofstra (61-47 in 2007-2008) and Sacred Heart (67-58 in 2008-2009) on opening day, while falling to Providence (63-57 in 2000-2001) and Kansas (81-57 in 2002-2003). The longest season-opening win streak for the Crusaders came from 1945-1946 through 1957-1958, when Holy Cross won 13 straight season-opening contests.

HOLY CROSS IN HOME OPENERS: The Crusaders have an all-time record of 73-14 in their opening home contest of the season. Since moving into the Hart Center, Holy Cross has posted a 27-7 mark in its home opener. The Crusaders have won three straight home openers, and are 8-1 in their first home game of the season over the last nine years. Last season, Holy Cross posted a 67-58 victory over Sacred Heart in its opening home game of the year. The Crusaders also won five consecutive times in their home opener, from 2000-2001 through 2004-2005.

HOLY CROSS NAMES CAPTAINS: Junior guard Andrew Beinert (Floral Park, N.Y.), junior forward Andrew Keister (Galloway, N.J.) and senior center Eric Meister (Boalsburg, Pa.) have been selected as the Crusaders' captains for the 2009-2010 season. These three players will take over the leadership role from Colin Cunningham, Pat Doherty and Alex Vander Baan, who served as the Crusaders' senior captains during the 2008-2009 season.

CRUSADERS PICKED FIRST IN PRESEASON POLL: In the 2009-2010 Patriot League preseason poll, Holy Cross was picked to finish in first place in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 95 total points in the poll, including 13 first place votes. Lehigh placed second in the poll with 78 points and three first place votes, while Bucknell was third with 63 points. Rounding out the poll were Army (fourth, 59 points), Colgate (fifth, 51 points), American (sixth, 45 points), Navy (seventh, 43 points) and Lafayette (eighth, 14 points).

EVANS & KEISTER NAMED PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE: Sophomore guard R.J. Evans (Salem, Conn.) and junior forward Andrew Keister have been selected to the preseason All-Patriot League team, in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. Evans and Keister were joined on the preseason all-conference team by Lehigh senior forward Zahir Carrington, Lehigh senior guard Marquis Hall and Army senior guard Cleveland Richard. In addition, Hall was selected as the preseason Patriot League Player of the Year. Keister and Hall both earned first team All-Patriot League honors at the conclusion of the 2008-2009 season, while Carrington and Richards were second team all-conference selections, and Evans was the Patriot League Rookie of the Year. 

KEARNEY ENTERS FIRST SEASON WITH THE CRUSADERS: Sean Kearney is in his first season as the head men's basketball coach at Holy Cross in 2009-2010. This is the first collegiate head coaching position in the career of Kearney, who is the 15th head coach in the history of the program. Kearney came to Holy Cross from the University of Notre Dame, where he served as associate head coach for nine years under Mike Brey, helping the Irish to an overall record of 188-101 and five trips to the NCAA Tournament. Prior to his time at Notre Dame, Kearney was an assistant coach at Delaware, Northwestern, Philadelphia University and Providence. A 1981 graduate of the University of Scranton, Kearney's teams have advanced to the NCAA Tournament 10 times and the National Invitation Tournament five times during his 23 seasons as a collegiate assistant coach.

CRUSADERS REMAIN DOMINANT AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 311-113 at the Hart Center, after posting its 300th win in the building against Sacred Heart on Nov. 14, 2008. The Crusaders had a 23-game winning streak at the Hart Center from Feb. 15, 2006-Jan. 2, 2008, which was the longest streak in the history of the building and the sixth-longest home court winning streak in the nation at the time. In 2006-2007 Holy Cross posted a perfect 14-0 mark at the Hart Center, setting a school record for the most home victories since it moved into the building. During the Hart Center's history, Holy Cross has posted a winning record at home in 30 out of 34 seasons, while recording double-figure home victories 16 times. The Crusaders stand 98-21 at home since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, including a 62-11 record against Patriot League foes and an 12-4 mark in 2008-2009.

HOLY CROSS HAS GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders look to once again be a strong rebounding team this year, after averaging 36.0 boards per contest and outrebounding their opponents by an average margin of 6.7 rebounds per game in 2008-2009. Last season, Holy Cross outrebounded its opponent in 26 out of 32 games played. The Crusaders were even more impressive in Patriot League regular season play, outrebounding their opponents by 7.4 boards per game. Forward Andrew Keister led the team with an average of 6.3 rebounds per game, while guard R.J. Evans stood second with 5.2 boards per contest. Forward Colin Cunningham averaged 4.8 rebounds per game, while forward Eric Meister pulled down 4.9 boards per contest and forward Alex Vander Baan chipped in with 3.3 rebounds per game. Entering 2009-2010, the Crusaders have posted a positive rebounding margin in 10 straight seasons, including eight years in which they outrebounded the opposition by at least four boards per game.

ASSUMPTION RECAP: R.J. Evans totaled 21 points and seven rebounds, as Holy Cross defeated Assumption 79-67 in an exhibition game at the Hart Center on Nov. 2, 2009. Devin Brown added 17 points for the Crusaders, while Eric Meister posted a double-double with 11 points and 18 rebounds. The Greyhounds held a 6-2 edge early in the game, before the Crusaders went on a 13-0 run to take the lead for good. Holy Cross eventually extended its lead to 20 points late in the first half, before taking a 38-20 advantage into the locker room. Assumption was never able to get any closer than 10 points during the second half, as the Crusaders cruised to a 12-point victory. Holy Cross shot 46.6 percent from the field (27 of 58) and 43.8 percent from three-point range (seven of 16) on the night, in addition to posting a 50-37 advantage on the boards. Assumption was led by Courtland Bluford with 16 points, five steals and four rebounds.

EVANS COMING OFF STELLAR ROOKIE YEAR: Sophomore guard R.J. Evans returns as the leading scorer for the Crusaders, after earning Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors last season. A year ago, Evans averaged a team-best 13.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals per contest, while scoring in double-figures in 21 of his last 26 games. He also earned All-Patriot League Tournament honors after averaging 20.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in three postseason games, including  a career-high 31 points, six rebounds and three steals in the quarterfinal victory over Bucknell. A few of Evans' other top games in 2008-2009 came against San Francisco (26 points, 10 rebounds) and Siena (21 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals). Evans' 429 points scored last season were the second-most ever by a Holy Cross freshman, behind only Ronnie Perry with 574 points in 1976-1977. He also became the first freshman to lead the Crusaders in scoring since Ryan Serravalle, who averaged 11.6 points per game in 1998-1999.

KEISTER LOOKS TO BUILD ON STRONG SOPHOMORE SEASON: Junior forward Andrew Keister developed into the Crusaders' top player at the low post positions last season, and was named first team All-Patriot League. In Patriot League regular season play, Keister averaged 12.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest, while hitting 67.3 percent (72 of 107) of his field goal attempts. He led the team with seven double-doubles in 2008-2009, including a 27-point, 14-rebound performance at Navy. A few of Keister's other top games last season came against Army at home (21 points, 12 rebounds), at Bucknell (18 points, 10 rebounds) and at Central Florida (18 points, five rebounds). Overall last year, Keister averaged 8.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, while leading the Patriot League by hitting 58.8 percent (104 of 177) of his shots from the field. Over the course of his collegiate career, Keister has now totaled 293 points and 236 rebounds, while making 52.9 percent (119 of 225) of his field goal attempts.

BEINERT LEADS HOLY CROSS FROM THE POINT: Junior guard Andrew Beinert has been one of the Crusaders' top players in the backcourt over the last two seasons. Last year, he averaged 8.5 points, 2.1 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game, while leading the Patriot League by hitting 45.4 percent (49 of 108) of his three-point field goal attempts. Three of Beinert's top games in 2008-2009 came at American, against Bucknell and at Boston University, as he totaled 18 points and three assists in each of those contests. He also dished out a career-high 10 assists in the victory over San Francisco. Overall last season, Beinert scored in double-figures 12 times, while leading the team in scoring four times. During his career as a Crusader, Beinert has now totaled 385 points, 114 rebounds, 109 assists and 45 steals, while hitting 40.7 percent (68 of 167) of his three-point field goal attempts.

THE LAST MEETING WITH HARVARD: Harvard's Jeremy Lin totaled 30 points, nine rebounds and four steals, to lead the Crimson to a 69-59 victory over Holy Cross at Lavietes Pavilion. Greg McCarthy led the Crusaders with a career-high 18 points and eight rebounds. Holy Cross led 12-11 after the first seven minutes of play, before going on a 12-2 run to increase its lead to 11 points (24-13) with just over six minutes left in the half. R.J. Evans scored six of the Crusaders' points during that spurt. But Harvard responded with a 16-0 run of its own to claim the lead, scoring 10 of those points on the free throw line. Holy Cross came back to score the final five points of the half, and the score was tied 29-29 heading into the locker room. The Crimson scored the first five points of the second half to regain the lead, but Holy Cross came back with a 6-1 run to tie up the score once again. Harvard was back in front 48-43 with 10 minutes left to play, when an 8-1 run put the Crusaders in the lead, 51-49. But the Crimson then regained control of the game, using an 11-1 spurt to take the lead for good. Holy Cross would get no closer than seven points in the closing minutes, as Harvard held on for the win. Eric Meister totaled 10 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season, while Evans added 10 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. The Crimson made 32 of 39 free throw attempts on the night, while the Crusaders were just 10 of 14 from the foul line.

MEISTER CLEANS THE GLASS FOR THE CRUSADERS: Senior center Eric Meister will once again be a key player for Holy Cross in the low post this season. Last year, Meister earned All-Patriot League Tournament honors, after averaging 12.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in three postseason games, while hitting 15 of 26 field goal attempts (57.7 percent). During the Patriot League semifinal victory over Colgate, he scored a career-high 19 points on nine of 10 shooting from the field, in addition to grabbing nine rebounds. A few of Meister's other top performances during the 2008-2009 season came at Lehigh (15 points, four rebounds), at American in the Patriot League championship game (12 points, 12 rebounds) and against American in the regular season (12 points, eight rebounds). Overall last year, he averaged 6.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots per game. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Meister has now totaled 393 points, 348 rebounds and 58 blocked shots.

HOLY CROSS LOOKS TO REMAIN TOUGH ON DEFENSE: Holy Cross should once again be among the top defensive teams in the Patriot League in 2009-2010. In 32 games played last season, the Crusaders allowed just 62.2 points per game, while forcing 15.2 turnovers per contest and outrebounding the opposition by 6.7 boards per game. Holy Cross also averaged 8.5 steals and 3.2 blocked shots per contest a year ago. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, the Crusaders have now held their opponents to only 59.3 points per contest. In addition, Holy Cross has ranked in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense in five of the last eight seasons (sixth in 2001-2002 at 59.6; third in 2002-2003 at 58.7; seventh in 2003-2004 at 58.6; fifth in 2004-2005 at 56.8; and eighth in 2006-2007 at 57.5).

STEALING THE SHOW: In 32 games played last season, Holy Cross averaged a Patriot League-best 8.5 steals per game, including highs of 14 steals against Colgate and 13 steals at Boston University. Forward Colin Cunningham led the team with 56 steals, and guard R.J. Evans added 54 steals. Guard Andrew Beinert totaled 35 steals, and seven other Crusaders had at least 13 steals. Holy Cross has led the Patriot League in steals six times in the last seven seasons, while averaging over 10 steals per game in both 2003-2004 (10.7 steals per game) and 2004-2005 (10.3 steals per game).

CRUSADERS OWN FIVE PATRIOT LEAGUE REGULAR SEASON TITLES: Throughout its first 19 years of play in the conference, Holy Cross has won five Patriot League regular season titles. The last championship for the Crusaders came in 2006-2007, when they tied for first place in the conference with Bucknell, as both teams posted 13-1 records in league play. Prior to that, Holy Cross won outright Patriot League regular season titles in 2001, 2003 and 2005, while sharing the regular season championship in 1994. The Crusaders are the only team in league history to win more than two outright titles, while their five total championships are tied for the most in conference history with Navy (one outright, four shared) and Bucknell (two outright, three shared).

CRUSADERS HAVE FIVE PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT CROWNS: Three years ago, the Crusaders captured their fifth Patriot League Tournament with their 74-66 victory over Bucknell on March 9, 2007. Holy Cross' previous tournament titles came in 2003 (72-64 over American), 2002 (58-54 at American), 2001 (68-64 over Navy in overtime) and 1993 (98-73 at Bucknell). The Crusaders' five conference tournament championships are the most in Patriot League history, with Navy having the second most (three in 1994, 1997 and 1998). Holy Cross has also appeared in the championship game seven times in the last nine years. Overall, the Crusaders have made a conference-record 10 appearances in the Patriot League championship game.

HOLY CROSS A FIXTURE IN CONFERENCE TITLE GAME: When the Crusaders faced American in the Patriot League championship game last season, it marked the seventh time Holy Cross appeared in the conference title game in the last nine years. The Crusaders have gone 4-3 in their seven championship game appearances during that time, winning the title in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2007. Only five other teams in the nation have played in their conference championship game as many times as Holy Cross has over the last nine years.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 91st season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1282-827 (.608), while making 24 postseason tournament appearances - 12 trips to the NCAA Tournament and 12 to the National Invitation Tournament. In the history of collegiate basketball, Holy Cross is one of only 16 schools to have won the NCAA Tournament (1946-1947) as well as the National Invitational Tournament (1953-1954). Throughout its history, Holy Cross has had six first team All-America selections, sent 10 players to the National Basketball Association, had four players inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, had 23 players drafted by professional teams, had three players go on to coach professionally, and had 15 players who have coached in college.

SCOUTING THE CRIMSON: Harvard is coming off a 2008-2009 season in which it posted an overall record of 14-14, while placing sixth in the Ivy League with a 6-8 mark in conference games. The Crimson's top returning scorer is senior guard Jeremy Lin, who averaged 17.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last year ,while hitting 50.2 percent (166 of 331) of his field goal attempts. Sophomore forward Keith Wright looks to be Harvard's top player down low, after averaging 8.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in 2008-2009. The Crimson is led by Tommy Amaker, who is entering his third season as Harvard's head coach. Amaker stands 22-36 with the Crimson, while owning a career record of 199-174 (including six years at Michigan and four seasons at Seton Hall).

HOLY CROSS ON THE RADIO: Most of the Crusaders' basketball contests during the 2009-2010 season will be carried by The Pike, WWFX 100.1 FM in Worcester.  Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre will be in his 23rd season calling the play-by-play for Crusader basketball on the radio. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their sixth year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. The Pike is currently scheduled to air 24 of the Crusaders' 29 regular season games. All games aired on The Pike can also be heard live over the internet through the Worcester Pike website. The five games not carried on The Pike will be broadcast exclusively over the internet through SportsJuice. In addition, the Holy Cross student station, WCHC 88.1 FM, will carry a number of games this year.

CRUSADERS ON TELEVISION: Holy Cross will have at least four games shown on live television during the 2009-2010 season. The Crusaders had 10 television appearances last year, while appearing on television eight times in 2007-2008, 13 times in 2006-2007, 10 times in 2005-2006 and 10 times in 2004-2005. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2009-2010 season:

Jan. 9 at Lafayette: Lafayette Sports Network / MASN
Jan. 31 vs. Lehigh: CBS College Sports
Feb. 14 at Bucknell: CBS College Sports
Feb. 27 at Lehigh: Service Electric Cable

CRUSADER VISION: Live video streaming of three home non-conference games during the 2009-2010 season will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision. The contests against Loyola (Ill.), Marist and George Washington will be shown. The package, done in association with Stretch Internet, is available through individual game pay-per-view, or through an annual subscription. For details on how to view games through Crusader Vision, click here.

PATRIOT LEAGUE ALL-ACCESS: Live video streaming of all Patriot League regular season games during the 2009-2010 season will be available over the internet through Patriot League All-Access. The package, done in association with CBS College Sports Online, is available for a monthly subscription. For details on how to sign up for Patriot League All-Access, visit

DRIBBLES: The Crusaders went 11-4 last season when wearing their white uniforms, while going 1-1 in their black uniforms and 6-9 in their purple uniforms ... The Crusaders stand 12-3 in overtime contests over the last 10 seasons ... The New England Basketball Hall of Fame has established the Ronald S. Perry New England Basketball Legend Award, which will be presented at each New England Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony to an individual who, in demonstrating uncommon basketball excellence, has made an extraordinary contribution to the sport in the New England region. The award is named in honor of former Holy Cross student-athlete and athletic director Ron Perry (Class of 1954) ... At halftime of the game between Holy Cross and St. Joseph's on Nov. 16, 2008, four all-time Crusader basketball greats were honored. George Kaftan (Class of 1949), Bob Cousy (Class of 1950), Togo Palazzi (Class of 1954) and Tom Heinsohn (Class of 1956) were all on hand to witness their jerseys being lifted to the Hart Center rafters - the first time Holy Cross held such a ceremony for any former student-athlete.