November 18, 2009

Holy Cross Returns To The Hart Center To Face Loyola (Ill.)

Complete Release in PDF Format

Video: Bob Fouracre interviews Devin Brown

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams:
Holy Cross (0-2, 0-0 PL) vs. Loyola (1-1, 0-0 Horizon)
Date: November 20, 2009
Time: 9:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Live Video Streaming: Crusader Vision
Unofficial Live Statistics: Click Here
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Dick Lutsk, play-by-play; Click Here for Internet Broadcast
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester
Loyola Radio: WLUW 88.7 FM, Chicago; John Fitzgerald, play-by-play
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 4-2
Last Meeting: Loyola 58, Holy Cross 53 (November 29, 2008; Chicago, Ill.)

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
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 LOYOLA: This will be only the seventh meeting between the Crusaders and the Ramblers on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 4-2. Holy Cross won the first four games in the series, which were all played between 1948-1951 in Boston. Loyola then posted a 77-61 victory during the Rochester (N.Y.) Basketball Classic on Dec. 27, 1985, and won 58-53 at the Gentile Center last season. This year's game will mark the first contest in the series to be played on the campus of Holy Cross.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 4-2
In Worcester: First Meeting
At the Hart Center: First Meeting
Sean Kearney vs. Loyola: 0-0
Jim Whitesell vs. Holy Cross: 1-0
Current Win Streak: Loyola, two games
In Overtime: 0-0

CRUSADERS AGAINST THE HORIZON LEAGUE: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 9-5 against the 10 schools which currently compete in the Horizon League. Prior to last season's game with Loyola, the Crusaders had not faced a Horizon League opponent since Dec. 30, 1993, when they defeated Butler 78-67 at the Cable Car Classic in Santa Clara, Calif. Holy Cross stands 1-0 all-time against Butler, 1-1 vs. Detroit, 4-2 against Loyola and 3-2 vs. Valparaiso.

KEISTER BUILDS ON STRONG SOPHOMORE SEASON: Junior forward Andrew Keister (Galloway, N.J.) has been one of the top low post players in the Patriot League over the last two years. During the St. Joseph's game, he posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Previously against Harvard, Keister led the team with 22 points and eight rebounds, while making 8 of 13 shots from the field. Last year, he earned first team All-Patriot League honors after averaging 12.5 points and 8.8 rebounds in conference regular season play, and 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 325 points and 255 rebounds, while making 53.2 percent (132 of 248) of his field goal attempts.

BROWN PLAYS KEY MINUTES OFF THE BENCH: Sophomore guard Devin Brown (Baltimore, Md.) looks to once again be the first player off the bench in the Holy Cross backcourt this season. During the game at St. Joseph's, he led the team in scoring with 17 points, in addition to pulling down three rebounds. Previously against Harvard, Brown totaled 12 points, five rebounds and two assists. Last year, he averaged 5.8 points and 1.6 rebounds per game, while leading the Patriot League by making 88.0 percent of his free throws (73 of 83). A few of Brown's top games in 2008-2009 came against Fairfield (22 points, five of nine shooting from the field, 10 of 10 shooting at the foul line) and San Francisco (22 points, five assists, 11 of 12 shooting on free throws).

CAVATAIO SHINES IN HOLY CROSS DEBUT: Sophomore guard Mike Cavataio (Forest Hills, N.Y.) turned in a strong performance against Harvard, in his first game in a Holy Cross uniform. Cavataio totaled 11 points, five assists, three rebounds and two assists against the Crimson, while hitting five of six shots from the field. He then recorded nine points, eight rebounds and four assists at St. Joseph's. Cavataio sat out the 2008-2009 season, after transferring to Holy Cross from St. John's University, where totaled 23 points and 20 rebounds during his only year with the Red Storm. As a senior at St. Francis Prep, Cavataio averaged 25.0 points per game.

EVANS LOOKS TO HAVE ANOTHER STELLAR YEAR: Sophomore guard R.J. Evans (Salem, Conn.) returns as the leading scorer for the Crusaders, after earning Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors last season. During the game at St. Joseph's, Evans recorded 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. Previously against Harvard, he totaled 12 points, two rebounds and two assists. 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.

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 and junior forward Andrew Keister were 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.

ST. JOSEPH'S RECAP: St. Joseph's guard Carl Jones scored 18 points, including 12 of his team's final 14 points, to lead the Hawks to a 69-67 victory over Holy Cross at Hagan Arena. Devin Brown led the Crusaders with 17 points and three rebounds. The Crusaders held an early 8-6 lead after the first six minutes of play, before the Hawks went on a 7-0 run to pull in front. St. Joseph's would eventually go ahead by as many as eight points, before taking a 37-31 advantage into the locker room. The St. Joseph's lead would stay between three and eight points for most of the second half, and the Hawks were up 63-56 with 3:41 left to play. But Holy Cross then went on a 7-0 run, with Brown hitting a three-pointer to tie the score at 63-63 with 2:26 remaining on the clock. Jones hit a jumper to put St. Joseph's back in front, before Andrew Beinert knocked down a jump shot of his own to make the score 65-65 at the 1:43-mark. But Jones hit a pair of three throws on the next possession to give the Hawks a lead they would never relinquish. St. Joseph's eventually went up 69-65 on two more free throws by Jones, before a layup by Brown concluded the scoring for Holy Cross. R.J. Evans finished the game with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Andrew Keister posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Holy Cross did an outstanding job of rebounding the ball, holding a 50-33 advantage on the glass.

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. Through two games played, Holy Cross is averaging 42.0 rebounds per game with a +8.5 rebound margin, including a season-best 50 rebounds at St. Joseph's. Last year, 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 center 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 had 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.

CRUSADERS REMAIN DOMINANT AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 311-114 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 98-22 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.

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.

THE LAST MEETING WITH LOYOLA: Colin Cunningham totaled 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals, but it was not enough as Holy Cross was defeated by Loyola (Ill.) 58-53 at the Gentile Center on Nov. 29, 2008. Holy Cross started the game with an 8-3 run, but Loyola came back with an 11-3 spurt of its own to claim the lead. The Crusaders tied the score up at 14-14, before the Ramblers used a 6-0 run to pull back in front. Loyola would hold onto the lead for the remainder of the first half, eventually taking a 31-26 advantage into the locker room. The Ramblers scored the first four points of the second half, to build their lead to nine points (35-26). Loyola was still up by nine (39-30) with 14 minutes remaining, when Holy Cross went on a 14-5 run to tie the score at 44-44. The Crusaders then claimed their first lead of the second half at the 6:04-mark (48-47), when Cunningham converted a three-point play. But the Ramblers scored the next seven points to go back in front (54-48) with 3:33 left to play. The Crusaders would cut the lead to 54-53 with one minute to play on a pair of baskets by Greg McCarthy, but Loyola made all four of its free throw attempts in the final 30 seconds to hold on for the win. McCarthy finished the game with 13 points, three rebounds and two steals. The Ramblers were led by J.R. Blount with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists.

BEINERT LEADS HOLY CROSS FROM THE POINT: Junior guard Andrew Beinert (Floral Park, N.Y.) has been one of the Crusaders' top players in the backcourt over the last three seasons. During the St. Joseph's game, he recorded seven points and four assists. Previously against Harvard, Beinert totaled seven points, four rebounds and four assists. 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 399 points, 118 rebounds, 117 assists and 48 steals, while hitting 40.2 percent (70 of 174) of his three-point field goal attempts.

HOLY CROSS NAMES CAPTAINS: Junior guard Andrew Beinert, junior forward Andrew Keister and senior center Eric Meister (Boalsburg, Pa.) have been selected as the Crusaders' captains for the 2009-2010 season. These three players have taken 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.

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. In the contest at St. Joseph's, Meister recorded six points and nine rebounds. Previously against Harvard, he totaled six points, four assists and three rebounds. 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 405 points, 360 rebounds and 58 blocked shots.

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 1282-829 (.607), 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.

THE JESUIT BASKETBALL SPOTLIGHT: The matchup between Holy Cross and Loyola (Ill.) is part of the nationwide Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project, using Jesuit basketball to raise awareness of Jesuit education. Both Holy Cross and Loyola are Jesuit schools. The Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project highlights more than 90 games this season between men's and women's teams from the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities across the United States. Each of the 28 is dedicated to strong academics and teaching women and men to serve others and live a faith that does justice. The spotlight project includes awareness announcements during these designated games and during gamecasts on radio and television. Jesuit, Catholic colleges and universities in the United States have more than 200,000 students currently and more than 1.7 million living alumni. The Jesuit educational mission began in Europe approximately 500 years ago. For more information on Jesuit higher education in the United States, visit ‘www.ajcunet.edu'.

SCOUTING THE RAMBLERS: Loyola enters the game with an overall record of 1-1 on the year. The Ramblers lost their season opener at Kansas State (92-54), before defeating Canisius (89-69) on Tuesday. Senior guard Marcus Thomas has averaged 13.5 points per game so far this season, while hitting 50.0 percent (seven of 14) of his three-point field goal attempts. Junior guard Geoff McCammon (11.5 points per game) and sophomore forward Walt Gibler (10.5 points per game) are also scoring in double-figures for the Ramblers. Loyola is led by head coach Jim Whitesell, who owns an 80-77 record during his six seasons with the Ramblers. Whitesell's career record stands at 358-271, including 12 years at Lewis University and five seasons at Elmhurst College.

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 www.patriotleague.org.

DRIBBLES: The Crusaders stand 0-1 so far this season when wearing their white uniforms, while going 0-1 in their purple uniforms. Holy Cross has not yet worn its black uniforms in 2009-2010 ... The Crusaders have a 12-3 record in overtime contests since the beginning of the 1999-2000 season.