Crusaders Set To Face UMass At The DCU Center

Dee Goens

Complete Release in PDF Format

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (2-6, 0-0 PL) vs. Massachusetts (3-4, 0-0 A-10)
Date: December 5, 2009
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Place: DCU Center (13,008), Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Click Here for Internet Broadcast
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester
UMass Radio Network: WRNX 100.9 FM, Holyoke, Mass., flagship
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 36-18
Last Meeting: Massachusetts 73, Holy Cross 59 (December 10, 2008; Amherst, Mass.)

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 MASSACHUSETTS: This will be 55th meeting between the Crusaders and the Minutemen on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 36-18. UMass earned a 73-59 win in Amherst last season, but prior to that the Crusaders posted two straight victories (67-56 at the Mullins Center on Dec. 4, 2001, and 78-65 at the DCU Center on Nov. 25, 2000). Previously, UMass won four straight games in the series from 1991-1993. The schools first met on Jan. 8, 1908, with Holy Cross winning 51-4 in Worcester.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 36-18
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 17-9
At the DCU Center: Tied, 1-1
Sean Kearney vs. Massachusetts: 0-0
Derek Kellogg vs. Holy Cross: 1-0
Current Win Streak: Massachusetts, one game
In Overtime: Tied, 1-1

CRUSADERS RETURN TO WORCESTER TO FACE THE MINUTEMEN: Following an 85-79 overtime victory at Brown on Wednesday night, Holy Cross comes back to Worcester for a game against Massachusetts at the DCU Center on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 3:30 p.m. The Crusaders return to the road on Wednesday, Dec. 9, when they travel to Fairfield for a 7:00 p.m. contest. Holy Cross will then have a 13-day break for final exams, and will not return to the court until Tuesday, Dec. 22, when it plays host to Sacred Heart in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Hart Center.

HOLY CROSS AT THE DCU CENTER: The Crusaders will be making their 20th appearance at the DCU Center, formerly known as the Worcester Centrum. Holy Cross owns an all-time record of just 6-13 at the DCU Center, but stands 3-3 since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season. The most recent contest for the Crusaders at the DCU Center came on Dec. 1, 2007, when they fell to Dayton 55-53. Holy Cross' other appearances at the DCU Center in the last decade came against Boston College (63-53 loss on Jan. 17, 2006; 71-70 win on Dec. 1, 2002), George Mason (58-46 loss on Dec. 21, 2006), Iona (78-53 win on Jan. 18, 2005) and Massachusetts (78-65 win on Nov. 25, 2000). In 2005, the DCU Center served as a site for first and second round games of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament. The building previously hosted NCAA first and second round games in 1992. Overall, a total of 42 Division I collegiate men's basketball games have been played at the DCU Center in its history. The first contests came on Dec. 29, 1982, when Holy Cross defeated Davidson 65-62 and Iona downed George Washington 65-57 in the Shawmut Worcester County Classic.

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 eight games played this year, he has averaged 12.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest. During the overtime victory at Brown, Evans posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Previously at Western Michigan, he totaled 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Evans also played well at Nevada-Las Vegas, recording 13 points, three rebounds and three assists. Some of his other top performances this season have come against St. Joseph's (16 points, nine rebounds, three assists), Harvard (12 points) and Loyola (11 points, five rebounds, three 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. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 525 points, 207 rebounds, 73 assists and 58 steals.

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 12-7 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 127-111 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, 26-13 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).

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 overtime win at Brown, he led the team with a career-high 21 points and six rebounds. In the previous contest against Marist, Cavataio scored 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds. He also played well at Western Michigan, posting his first career double-double with 15 points and 12 boards. Some of Cavataio's other top performances so far this season have come against Loyola (14 points, four assists, three rebounds), Harvard (11 points, five assists, three rebounds, two assists), Nevada-Las Vegas (nine points, career-high 13 rebounds), St. Joseph's (nine points, eight rebounds, four assists) and Rhode Island (eight points, two rebounds). Through eight games played, he has averaged 13.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 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.

BROWN RECAP: Mike Cavataio totaled 21 points and six rebounds, to lead Holy Cross to an 85-79 overtime victory over Brown at the Pizzitola Sports Center on Dec. 2, 2009. Cavataio scored 15 points in the second half and six more in overtime, as the Crusaders came back from an eight-point deficit with three minutes remaining in regulation. After being down 67-59 with just three minutes to play in the second half, Cavataio and R.J. Evans each hit one-of-two free throws to make it a six-point game with 2:32 to play. Cavataio then drove the lane for a layup and hit a jumper to make the score 67-65 with a minute to go. A driving layup by Devin Brown tied the game at 67-67 with 29.6 seconds left on the clock, and neither team scored again in regulation. During the final three minutes of the second half, the Bears attempted only one field goal, with the Holy Cross defense forcing four turnovers. In overtime, Brown held a 70-69 lead before a three-point field goal by Andrew Beinert with 2:39 to play gave the Crusaders the lead for good. A jumper by Cavataio and four Beinert free throws extended the lead to eight points (78-70), and the Bears would get no closer than five points the rest of the way. As a team, Holy Cross hit 13 of 14 free throw attempts in the overtime session. Beinert finished the night with 15 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Evans totaled 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Andrew Keister also posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Brown was led by Peter Sullivan with 28 points and Matt Mullery with 21 points. The Crusaders committed only nine turnovers on the night, while holding a 39-34 advantage on the boards. Holy Cross also hit 80.0 percent (24 of 30) of its free throw attempts.

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 eight games played this season, Keister has averaged 11.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest, while hitting 52.0 percent (39 of 75) of his shots from the floor. During the overtime victory at Brown, he posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. In the previous game against Marist, Keister scored 13 points and pulled down 10 boards. He also played well at Western Michigan, recording 10 points, four rebounds and two steals. Some of Keister's other top games this season have come against Harvard (22 points, eight rebounds), Rhode Island (21 points, 11 rebounds, nine of 14 shooting from the field) and St. Joseph's (10 points, 11 rebounds). 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 386 points and 296 rebounds, while making 52.7 percent (158 of 300) 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 eight games played so far this year, Brown has averaged 10.1 points per contest, while scoring in double-figures four times and hitting 42.9 percent (15 of 35) 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). Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Brown has now totaled 266 points, 67 rebounds and 47 assists, while hitting 32.1 percent (27 of 84) of his three-point field goal attempts.

THE LAST MEETING WITH UMASS: UMass' Ricky Harris scored 23 points to lead the Minutemen to a 73-59 victory over Holy Cross at the Mullins Center on Dec. 10, 2008. After Andrew Beinert opened the game with a three-pointer, the Minutemen went on an 8-0 run to jump out to an 8-3 lead. With UMass leading 15-7 with 15:02 on the clock, Holy Cross scored nine straight points to move out to a 16-15 advantage. The Minutemen were back in front 21-20 a few minutes later, when the Crusaders went on a 9-0 run, ending in a three-pointer by Colin Cunningham to take a 29-21 lead with 4:43 left in the half. UMass concluded the half by outscoring Holy Cross by an 8-3 margin as the Crusaders brought a 32-29 advantage into the locker room. Holy Cross scored the first four points of the second half with layups by R.J. Evans and Eric Meister to increase its lead to 36-29, but the Minutemen answered with seven straight points to tie the game at 36-36. The Crusaders pulled back in front, 45-41, before UMass used a 12-0 run to take the lead for good. The Minutemen eventually extended their lead to 19 points (73-54) with 2:25 left on the clock, before finally winning by 14. Evans led the Crusaders with 17 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Devin Brown added 14 points, while Andrew Keister chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds.

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 eight games played so far this year, Beinert has averaged 9.5 points, 3.5 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per contest, while hitting 13 of 37 (35.1 percent) three-point field goal attempts. During the victory at Brown, he recorded 15 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Previously at Rhode Island, Beinert totaled 14 points and three assists, while hitting six of 10 shots from the floor. He also played well against Loyola (Ill.), leading the team with 17 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals. Some of Beinert's other top games his year have come against Marist (eight points, five assists, four rebounds) and Harvard (seven points, four rebounds, 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 461 points, 137 rebounds, 137 assists and 54 steals, while hitting 39.7 percent (81 of 204) of his three-point field goal attempts.

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. Through eight games played, Meister has averaged 5.9 points and 5.3 rebounds, while making 60.0 percent (21 of 35) of his shots from the floor. In the Western Michigan game, he recorded eight points and seven rebounds, and made four of six shots from the field. Previously against Loyola, Meister totaled nine points and a team-best eight rebounds. He also 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 440 points, 390 rebounds and 61 blocked shots, while making 51.7 percent (186 of 360) of his field goal attempts.

HOLY CROSS HAS GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders are once again a strong rebounding team this year, after averaging 38.0 boards per contest and outrebounding their opponents by an average margin of 4.6 rebounds per game so far in 2009-2010. Holy Cross' top game on the boards this year came at St. Joseph's, when it pulled down a season-best 50 rebounds. Junior forward Andrew Keister leads the team with an average of 8.6 rebounds per game, while sophomore guard Mike Cavataio stands second with 6.9 boards per contest. Senior center Eric Meister has pulled down 5.3 rebounds per contest and sophomore guard R.J. Evans has chipped in with 5.0 boards per game. Last season, the Crusaders averaged 36.0 rebounds per game and outrebounded the opposition by 6.7 rebounds per contest. 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.

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 REMAIN TOUGH AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 312-115 at the Hart Center, including a 1-2 mark so far in 2009-2010. The Crusaders posted their 300th win in the building against Sacred Heart on Nov. 14, 2008. Holy Cross 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 the Crusaders posted a perfect 14-0 mark at the Hart Center, setting a school record for the most home victories since they 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 99-23 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 LEADS CRUSADERS FROM THE BENCH: Sean Kearney is in his first season as the head men's basketball coach at Holy Cross in 2009-2010, with an overall record of 2-6. He earned his first career victory with the 68-56 win over Marist on Nov. 30. 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 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).

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 91st season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1284-833 (.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.

SCOUTING THE MINUTEMEN: Massachusetts enters the game with an overall record of 3-4 on the year. The Minutemen are coming off a 62-58 victory over Quinnipiac, but stand 0-3 on the season in games played away from the Mullins Center. Senior guard Ricky Harris leads the team with an average of 17.9 points per game, while hitting 19 of 53 shots (35.8 percent) from three-point range. Junior guard Anthony Gurley is also enjoying a strong year, averaging 17.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest. Massachusetts is led by Derek Kellogg, who stands 15-22 in two seasons as a collegiate head coach. Kellogg, who was previously an assistant coach at Memphis, Youngstown State and George Mason, is a 1995 UMass graduate who helped the Minutemen to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 1992-1995.

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: Freshman guard Dee Goens (Alpharetta, Ga.) has averaged 4.3 points and 12.5 minutes played over the last three games, while hitting all eight of his free throw 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 ... The Crusaders set season-highs by hitting 57.9 percent of their field goal attempts and 87.0 percent of their free throws in the victory over Marist on Nov. 30  ... Holy Cross' 0-6 start this season was its worst since the 1940-1941 season, when it began the year 0-7 ... The Crusaders stand 1-2 so far this season when wearing their white uniforms, while going 1-3 in their purple uniforms and 0-1 in their black uniforms ... Following the victory over Brown, Holy Cross now has a 13-3 record in overtime contests since the beginning of the 1999-2000 season.