Crusaders Travel To Western Michigan On Saturday

Phil Beans

Complete Release in PDF Format

The Teams: Holy Cross (0-5, 0-0 PL) vs. Western Michigan (1-2, 0-0 MAC)
Date: November 28, 2009
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Place: University Arena (5,421), Kalamazoo, Mich.
Live Video Streaming: Click Here for Internet Video
Holy Cross Radio: Dick Lutsk, play-by-play; Click Here for Internet Broadcast
Western Michigan Radio:
WZUU 92.5 FM, Kalamazoo
Series Record: Tied, 2-2
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 69, Western Michigan 63 (December 6, 2008; Worcester, 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 WESTERN MICHIGAN: This will be only the fifth meeting between the Crusaders and the Broncos on the hardwood, with the all-time series tied at 2-2. Last season, Holy Cross recorded a 69-63 victory at the Hart Center on Dec. 6, 2008. Prior to that, the Broncos had won two straight games, with a 78-65 victory in Kalamazoo on Nov. 30, 1991, and a 79-69 win in Worcester on Nov. 27, 1990. The first meeting in the series came on Dec. 28, 1963, at the Motor City Classic in Detroit, with Holy Cross winning 91-82.

Overall:Tied, 2-2
In Kalamazoo: Western Michigan leads, 1-0
At University Arena: Western Michigan leads, 1-0
Sean Kearney vs. Western Michigan: 0-0
Steve Hawkins vs. Holy Cross: 0-1
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game
In Overtime: 0-0

CRUSADERS WRAP UP ROAD TRIP AT WESTERN MICHIGAN: Holy Cross will play the final contest of a three-game road trip when it travels to Western Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 28, at 2:00 p.m. The Crusaders return home on Monday, Nov. 30, when they play host to Marist at 7:00 p.m. Holy Cross will then hit the road once again for a game at Brown on Wednesday, Dec. 2, before facing Massachusetts at the DCU Center in Worcester on Saturday, Dec. 5.

HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE: The Crusaders have enjoyed a great deal of success against teams from the Mid-American Conference, posting an all-time record of 10-4 against the 12 schools which currently compete in the league. Holy Cross has marks of 4-1 against Bowling Green, 1-0 vs. Buffalo, 1-1 against Ohio, 2-0 vs. Toledo and 2-2 against Western Michigan. The Crusaders’ last game against a Mid-American Conference foe came on Dec. 22, 2008, when they fell at Ohio 58-53.

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 five games played so far this year, Brown leads the team with an average of 14.3 points per contest, while scoring in double-figures four times and hitting 44.8 percent (13 of 29) of his three-point field goal attempts. During the Rhode Island game, he totaled 12 points and four assists. Previously 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).

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 Nevada-Las Vegas game, Cavataio scored nine points and pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds. He previously recorded 14 points, four assists and three rebounds against Loyola (Ill.), while totaling 11 points, five assists, three rebounds and two assists against Harvard. Cavataio also posted nine points, eight rebounds and four assists at St. Joseph’s, and recorded eight points and two rebounds at Rhode Island. Through five games played, he has averaged 10.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 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 five games played this season, Keister has averaged 12.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest, while hitting 52.1 percent (25 of 48) 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 353 points and 274 rebounds, while making 52.7 percent (144 of 273) of his field goal attempts.

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 five games played this year, he has averaged 12.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest. During the game at St. Joseph’s, Evans recorded 16 points, nine rebounds and three assists. He also posted 13 points, three rebounds and three assists at Nevada-Las Vegas, while scoring 12 points against Harvard, and 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.

NEVADA-LAS VEGAS RECAP: Nevada-Las Vegas guard Tre’Von Willis totaled 14 points, six rebounds and three assists, to lead the Runnin’ Rebels to an 80-59 victory over Holy Cross at the Thomas & Mack Center on Nov. 25, 2009. The Crusaders were led by R.J. Evans with 13 points, three rebounds and three assists. The Rebels held a 9-8 lead after the first six minutes of the opening half, before scoring seven straight points to go in front 16-8. A few minutes later, a 6-0 spurt allowed UNLV to increase its lead to double figures for the first time in the game (27-14). The Crusaders then scored the next six points to make the score 27-20, but that was as close as they would get for the rest of the night. The Rebels eventually took a 40-28 advantage into the locker room. Holy Cross was still down by 12 (45-33) with 17 minutes left to play in the game, when UNLV went on 8-0 run to increase its lead to 20 points. The Rebels then led by at least 15 points the rest of the way, before eventually claiming a 21-point victory (80-59). Mike Cavataio finished the game with nine points and 13 rebounds, while Andrew Beinert added eight points. Dee Goens also played well for the Crusaders, totaling seven points, three rebounds and two steals. Holy Cross did hold a 40-36 rebounding advantage on the night, but committed a season-high 24 turnovers.

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 five games played so far this year, he has averaged 10.6 points, 2.6 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals per contest, while hitting nine of 24 (37.5 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 438 points, 126 rebounds, 127 assists and 52 steals, while hitting 40.3 percent (77 of 191) of his three-point field goal attempts.

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).

R.J. Evans posted 17 points, six rebounds and two steals, to lead Holy Cross to a 69-63 victory over Western Michigan at the Hart Center on Dec. 6, 2008. Holy Cross opened the game by jumping out to a 6-1 lead, but Western Michigan responded with a 10-3 run of its own to go in front. The Broncos were still up by two (19-17) with eight minutes left in the first half, when they used a 7-3 spurt to claim a six-point lead. Evans would hit a three-pointer with just six seconds left in the half, cutting Western Michigan’s lead to three points (30-27) heading into the locker room. The Crusaders started the second half hot, using a 7-2 run to regain the lead. Holy Cross would increase its advantage to six points (44-38) with 12:56 remaining, when the Broncos scored seven straight points to go back in front. At the 8:40-mark, Colin Cunningham hit a three-pointer to ignite a 9-2 run, putting the Crusaders back in the lead for good. Western Michigan would get no closer than five points in the final three minutes of play, and Holy Cross hit six of eight free throws in the final two minutes to clinch the victory. Cunningham finished the game with 12 points, two rebounds and two steals, while Eric Meister added 10 points and seven rebounds. The Broncos were led by David Kool with 18 points, three rebounds and three steals.

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 422 points, 374 rebounds and 60 blocked shots.

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.

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 five games played this year, Holy Cross is averaging 38.0 rebounds per game with a +2.0 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.

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.

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).

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.

CRUSADERS HAVE FIVE PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT CROWNS: Three years ago, the Crusaders captured their fifth Patriot League Tournament championship 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 1282-832 (.606), 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 BRONCOS: Western Michigan enters the game with an overall record of 1-2 on the year. The Broncos posted a 83-67 victory over Virginia Commonwealth, while falling to Loyola of Chicago (60-58) and Detroit (86-80). Senior guard David Kool leads the team with an average of 22.7 points per game, in addition to posting 6.0 rebounds per contest. Senior forward Martelle McLemore is also off to a strong start this year, averaging 16.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Western Michigan is led by head coach Steve Hawkins, who owns an overall record of 107-86 in seven seasons with the Broncos. Hawkins’ career record stands at 244-197, including eight seasons at Division II Quincy (Ill.).

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: Holy Cross is off to an 0-5 start for the first time since the 1940-1941 season, 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 and 0-1 in their black uniforms ... Holy Cross has a 12-3 record in overtime contests since the beginning of the 1999-2000 season.