Crusaders Travel To Rhode Island On Sunday

Eric Meister

Complete Release in PDF Format

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams:
Holy Cross (0-3, 0-0 PL) vs. Rhode Island (1-0, 0-0 A-10)
Date: November 22, 2009
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Thomas M. Ryan Center (7,657), Kingston, R.I.
Live Video Streaming: Rhody All-Access
Live Statistics: Gametracker
Holy Cross Radio: Jeremy Lechan, play-by-play; Click Here for Internet Broadcast
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester
Rhode Island Radio: WWBB 101.5 FM, Providence
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 26-12
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 51, Rhode Island 50 (January 2, 2005; Kingston, R.I.)

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 RHODE ISLAND: This will be the 39th meeting between the Crusaders and the Rams on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 26-12. The two schools have met only once since 1982, with the Crusaders posting a 51-50 victory in Kingston in 2005. Overall, Holy Cross has won three straight and four of the last five meetings in the series. For games played in Kingston, the Crusaders hold a 7-5 advantage, with a 1-0 mark at the Ryan Center. For all games between the schools played in the state of Rhode Island, Holy Cross leads the series 11-8, including a 4-3 record in Providence. The schools first met on January 23, 1909, with Holy Cross winning 47-18 in Worcester.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 26-12
In Kingston: Holy Cross leads, 7-5
At the Ryan Center: Holy Cross leads, 1-0
Sean Kearney vs. Rhode Island: 0-0
Jim Baron vs. Holy Cross: 0-1
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, three games
In Overtime: Tied, 1-1

CRUSADERS SET TO OPEN ROAD TRIP AT RHODE ISLAND: Holy Cross will begin a three-game road trip when it plays at Rhode Island on Sunday, Nov. 22, at 1:00 p.m. The Crusaders will then head out west to take on Nevada-Las Vegas on Wednesday, Nov. 25, at 10:00 p.m. (EST). Holy Cross then wraps up the road trip at Western Michigan with a 2:00 p.m. game on Saturday, Nov. 28. The next home contest for the Crusaders will not come until Monday, Nov. 30, when they play host to Marist at 7:00 p.m.

AMAZING AGAINST THE ATLANTIC 10: The Crusaders have enjoyed a great deal of success against schools from the Atlantic 10 Conference over the last 10 years. Holy Cross stands 12-6 against Atlantic 10 foes since the beginning of the 1999-2000 season, including last season's 73-69 overtime victory against St. Joseph's. From 1999-2005, the Crusaders won eight straight against Atlantic 10 opponents, but that streak was snapped with a 68-60 loss at St. Joseph's in the 2005 National Invitation Tournament. The Crusaders own an all-time record of 127-110 against the 14 schools which are currently members of the Atlantic 10 (0-1 vs. Charlotte, 1-3 against Dayton, 3-5 vs. Duquesne, 39-41 against Fordham, 0-2 vs. George Washington, 6-16 against La Salle, 36-18 vs. Massachusetts, 26-12 against Rhode Island, 3-2 vs. St. Bonaventure, 2-4 against St. Joseph's, 2-3 vs. St. Louis, 6-3 against Temple and 3-0 vs. Xavier).

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. In three games played so far this year, Beinert has averaged 10.3 points, 4.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals per contest, while hitting six of 14 (42.9 percent) of his three-point field goal attempts. During the Loyola (Ill.) game, he led the team with 17 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals. Beinert previously recorded seven points and four assists at St. Joseph's, and seven points, four rebounds and four assists against harvard. 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 416 points, 124 rebounds, 123 assists and 51 steals, while hitting 41.1 percent (74 of 180) of his three-point field goal attempts.

BROWN PLAYS KEY MINUTES OFF THE BENCH: Sophomore guard Devin Brown (Baltimore, Md.) has once again been the first player off the bench in the Holy Cross backcourt this season. In three games played so far this year, Brown leads the team with an average of 15.0 points per contest, while hitting 40.0 percent (eight of 20) of his three-point field goal attempts. During the Loyola (Ill.) game, he totaled 16 points, two rebounds and two steals. Brown previously had a team-high 17 points and three rebounds at St. Joseph's, while totaling 12 points, five rebounds and two assists against Harvard. 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).

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. In three games played this year, he has averaged 13.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest. During the game at St. Joseph's, Evans recorded 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. He also posted 12 points, two rebounds and two assists against Harvard, while totaling 11 points, five rebounds and three assists against Loyola (Ill.). 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.

LOYOLA RECAP: Aric Van Weelden hit a three-point field goal as time expired to lift Loyola (Ill.) to a 76-73 victory over the Holy Cross men's basketball team at the Hart Center. The Crusaders led 73-65 with one minute remaining, before the Ramblers scored the final 11 points of the game to come back for the win. The score was close throughout a first half which featured three ties and six lead changes. Neither team led by more than five points in the opening half, before the Crusaders took a 34-30 lead into the locker room. Holy Cross would increase its lead to nine points early in the second half, taking a 45-36 advantage on a layup by Mike Cavataio with 15:50 left to play. Loyola responded with a 10-2 spurt of its own to pull within one point (47-46) at the 12:09-mark, and was still down by just one (64-63) with three minutes remaining. Holy Cross then used a 9-2 run to go back up by eight points with one minute left in the game. But the Crusaders missed all four of their free throw attempts in the final minute, as the Ramblers hit their last four shots to rally for the victory. Andrew Beinert led Holy Cross with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists, while Devin Brown added 16 points. Cavataio finished the night with 14 points and four assists, and R.J. Evans added 11 points and five rebounds. Loyola was led by Walt Gibler with 17 points and eight rebounds, and Marcus Thomas with 16 points on five-of-seven shooting from three-point range. As a team, the Ramblers hit 12-of-22 three-point shots (54.4 percent).

CAVATAIO SHINES AT HOLY CROSS: Sophomore guard Mike Cavataio (Forest Hills, N.Y.) has been one of the top players on the team during his first season in a Holy Cross uniform. During the Loyola (Ill.) game, he recorded 14 points, four assists and three rebounds. Cavataio previously totaled 11 points, five assists, three rebounds and two assists against Harvard, while posting nine points, eight rebounds and four assists at St. Joseph's. Through three games played, he has averaged 11.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per contest. 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.

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. In three games played this season, Keister has averaged 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest, while hitting 55.6 percent (15 of 27) of his shots from the floor. 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 330 points and 255 rebounds, while making 53.2 percent (134 of 252) of his field goal attempts.

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.

THE LAST MEETING WITH RHODE ISLAND: Despite scoring just one point in the final four minutes of play, Holy Cross used an outstanding defensive effort to post a 51-50 victory over Rhode Island at the Ryan Center on Jan. 2, 2005. The Crusaders held the Rams to just 34.6 percent shooting from the field, including a 15.8 percent mark from three-point range, while forcing 15 turnovers. The first half featured four ties and nine lead changes, with neither team taking a lead of more than four points. Holy Cross held a three-point advantage at the break (26-23), and trailed by one point (34-33) with 13 minutes remaining. Then the Crusaders then went on a 13-2 run, including a pair of baskets by Nate Lufkin, to take what looking like an insurmountable 46-36 advantage with seven minutes left to play. But the Rams would not go away, responding with an 8-0 run of their own to make it a two-point game with five minutes remaining. Holy Cross led by no more than four points the rest of the way, and used a number of key defensive stops to hold on for the win, despite making only one of six free throw attempts in the final three minutes. Kevin Hamilton led the Crusaders with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Torey Thomas added 11 points, five rebounds and five assists. Terrence Mack posted game-highs of 16 points and eight rebounds to lead Rhode Island.

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 three games played this year, Holy Cross is averaging 39.0 rebounds per game with a +4.3 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 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).

MEISTER CLEANS THE GLASS FOR THE CRUSADERS: Senior center Eric Meister (Boalsburg, Pa.) is once again a key player for Holy Cross in the low post this season. In the Loyola (Ill.) game, Meister totaled nine points and a team-best eight rebounds. He previously posted six points and nine rebounds at St. Joseph's, while recording six points, four assists and three rebounds against Harvard. 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 414 points, 368 rebounds and 59 blocked shots.

CRUSADERS REMAIN TOUGH AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 311-115 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 98-23 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.

HOLY CROSS NAMES CAPTAINS: Junior guard Andrew Beinert, junior forward Andrew Keister and senior center Eric Meister 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.

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.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 91st season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1282-830 (.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.

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.

SCOUTING THE RAMS: Rhode Island enters the game with an overall record of 1-0 on the year. In their season opener, the Rams posted a 78-57 victory at Brown. Senior guard Keith Cothran led Rhode Island with 16 points, while sophomore guard Jamal Wilson added 14 points off the bench. Junior forward Delroy James also had a strong game for the Rams, scoring 12 points and pulling down eight rebounds. Rhode Island is led by head coach Jim Baron, who owns a 132-118 record during his nine seasons with the Rams. Baron's career record stands at 338-320, including five years at St. Francis (Pa.) and nine seasons at St. Bonaventure.

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: Holy Cross is off to an 0-3 start for the first time since 1997-1998. The team has not started 0-4 since 1984-1985 ... The Crusaders stand 0-2 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.