Men's Basketball Heads West To Take On UNLV

Jordan Stevens

Complete Release in PDF Format

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams:
Holy Cross (0-4, 0-0 PL) vs. Nevada-Las Vegas (3-0, 0-0 MWC)
Date: November 25, 2009
Time: 10:00 p.m. (EST)
Place: Thomas & Mack Center (18,500), Las Vegas, Nev.
Live Statistics: Gametracker
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
UNLV Radio: KWWN 1100 AM, Las Vegas
Series Record: UNLV leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: UNLV 92, Holy Cross 75 (December 29, 1980; Las Vegas, Nev.)

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 NEVADA-LAS VEGAS: This will be only the second meeting between the Crusaders and the Runnin' Rebels on the hardwood. The only previous contest in the series came on Dec. 29, 1980, when Nevada-Las Vegas posted a 92-75 victory during the Las Vegas Holiday Classic. Against the eight schools which are currently members of the Mountain West Conference, Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 2-5 (1-0 against Colorado State, 0-1 vs. Nevada-Las Vegas, 0-1 against New Mexico, 0-2 vs. Utah and 1-1 against Wyoming). The Crusaders last contest against a Mountain West Conference foe came on Dec. 29, 1997, when they fell at New Mexico 112-61.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: UNLV leads, 1-0
In Las Vegas: UNLV leads, 1-0
At the Thomas & Mack Center: First Meeting
Sean Kearney vs. UNLV: 0-0
Lon Kruger vs. Holy Cross: 0-0
Current Win Streak: UNLV, one game
In Overtime: 0-0

CRUSADERS CONTINUE ROAD TRIP IN LAS VEGAS: Holy Cross will play the second contest of a three-game road trip when it travels to Nevada-Las Vegas on Wednesday, Nov. 25, at 10:00 p.m. (EST). The Crusaders began the trip with a 92-75 loss at Rhode Island on Sunday, Nov. 22. Following the UNLV game, Holy Cross will wrap 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 come on Monday, Nov. 30, when they play host to Marist at 7:00 p.m.

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 four games played this season, Keister has averaged 14.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest, while hitting 58.5 percent (24 of 41) of his shots from the floor. During the Rhode Island game, he led the team with 21 points and 11 rebounds, and made nine of 14 field goal attempts. Previously, Keister posted a double-double at St. Joseph's with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while recording team-highs of 22 points and eight rebounds against Harvard. 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 351 points and 266 rebounds, while making 53.8 percent (143 of 266) of his 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 four games played so far this year, Brown ranks second on the team with an average of 14.3 points per contest, while scoring in double-figures in every contest and hitting 42.3 percent (11 of 26) of his three-point field goal attempts. During the Rhode Island game, he totaled 12 points and four assists. In the previous game against Loyola (Ill.), Brown recorded 16 points, two rebounds and two steals. He also 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, Brown 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 his 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).

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 four games played so far this year, he has averaged 11.3 points, 4.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per contest, while hitting eight of 19 (42.1 percent) of his three-point field goal attempts. During the Rhode Island game, Beinert totaled 14 points and three assists, while hitting six of 10 shots from the floor. In the previous contest with Loyola (Ill.), he led the team with 17 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals. Beinert also recorded seven points and four assists at St. Joseph's, while posting 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 430 points, 125 rebounds, 126 assists and 52 steals, while hitting 40.9 percent (76 of 186) of his three-point field goal attempts.

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, Cavataio recorded 14 points, four assists and three rebounds. Previously against Harvard, he totaled 11 points, five assists, three rebounds and two assists. Cavataio also posted nine points, eight rebounds and four assists at St. Joseph's, while recording eight points and two rebounds at Rhode Island. Through four games played, he has averaged 10.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 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.

RHODE ISLAND RECAP: Andrew Keister totaled 21 points and 11 rebounds, but it was not enough as Holy Cross was defeated by Rhode Island 92-75 at the Ryan Center on Nov. 22, 2009. Rhode Island started the game by making its first five shots from the floor, jumping out to a quick 11-2 lead. A few minutes later, Holy Cross used a 7-2 run to cut into the Rams' lead, making the score 21-14 halfway through the opening period. But Rhode Island then used spurts of 9-2 and 19-11 to build its lead up to 20 points, before taking a 51-33 advantage into the locker room. The Crusaders came out strong to start the second half, using a 12-3 run to make it a 10-point game (57-47) with 15:58 left to play. But the Rams came back with a 9-3 spurt of their own, and Holy Cross would get no closer than 12 points the rest of the way. Rhode Island would extend its lead to 23 points in the closing minutes, before eventually winning by 17 (92-75). Andrew Beinert finished the game with 14 points and three assists, while Devin Brown added 12 points and four assists. The Rams were led by Delroy James with 21 points and eight rebounds, and Keith Cothran with 11 points and six assists. As a team, Rhode Island shot 51.5 percent (34 of 66) from the field.

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 four games played this year, he has averaged 11.8 points and 5.0 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.

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.

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 419 points, 371 rebounds and 60 blocked shots.

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 four games played this year, Holy Cross is averaging 37.5 rebounds per game with a +1.5 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.

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 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.

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 1282-831 (.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 RUNNIN' REBELS: Nevada-Las Vegas enters the game with an overall record of 3-0 on the year. The Runnin' Rebels have opened the season with victories over Pittsburg State (91-52), Nevada (88-75) and Southern Illinois (78-69). Tre'Von Willis leads the team with an average of 16.7 points per game, while hitting 15 of 25 (60.0 percent) field goal attempts. Kendall Wallace has added 9.0 points per contest, while Chace Stanbackis averaging 7.7 points and a team-best 6.0 rebounds per game. UNLV is led by head coach Lon Kruger, who owns a 115-53 record during his six seasons with the Runnin' Rebels. Kruger's career collegiate record stands at 433-286 over 24 years, including stints at Illinois, Florida, Kansas State and Pan American.

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 two non-conference home games during the 2009-2010 season will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision. The contests against Loyola (Ill.) 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 0-4 start for the first time since 1984-1985. The team has not started 0-5 since 1940-1941, when it began the year 0-7 ... The Crusaders stand 0-2 so far this season when wearing their white uniforms, while going 0-2 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.