Holy Cross Hits The Road For Contest At Fairfield

Andrew Keister

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (2-7, 0-0 PL) vs. Fairfield (6-2, 2-0 MAAC)
Date: December 9, 2009
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Alumni Hall (2,479), Fairfield, Conn.
Live Video Streaming: B2 Networks
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Click Here for Internet Broadcast
Fairfield Radio: WVOF 88.5 FM, Fairfield, Conn.; WGCH 1490 AM, Greenwich, Conn.
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 21-16
Last Meeting: Fairfield 78, Holy Cross 66 (December 1, 2008; Worcester, 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 FAIRFIELD: This will be the 38th meeting between the Crusaders and the Stags on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 21-16. The Crusaders had won seven straight games between the schools, prior to Fairfield's 78-66 victory in Worcester last season. For games played in Connecticut, the series is tied at 7-7, with the Stags leading 6-4 for contests in Fairfield. The schools first met on March 18, 1950, with Holy Cross posting an 89-41 victory at the Worcester Auditorium.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 21-16
In Fairfield: Fairfield leads, 6-4
At Alumni Hall: Fairfield leads, 6-4
Sean Kearney vs. Fairfield: 0-0
Ed Cooley vs. Holy Cross: 1-2
Current Win Streak: Fairfield, one game

CRUSADERS RETURN TO THE ROAD AT FAIRFIELD: Following the 84-63 loss to Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon, Holy Cross hits the road once again for a game at Fairfield on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 7:00 p.m. The Crusaders will then have a 13-day break for final exams, and will not return to the court until Tuesday, Dec. 22, when they play host to Sacred Heart in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Hart Center. Following Christmas, Holy Cross will play at home against George Washington on Monday, Dec. 28, and at Stony Brook on Thursday, Dec. 31.

CRUSADERS AGAINST THE METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC CONFERENCE: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 100-76 against the 10 schools which currently compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Since the beginning of the 2004-2005 season, the Crusaders have a 6-5 mark against MAAC foes. Holy Cross stands 13-4 all-time against Canisius, 21-16 vs. Fairfield, 15-15 against Iona, 2-2 vs. Loyola (Md.), 21-9 against Manhattan, 2-2 vs. Marist, 8-7 against Niagara, 14-13 vs. St. Peter's and 4-8 against Siena. The Crusaders played in the MAAC for seven seasons from 1983-1990, posting a 52-48 record in conference play. Holy Cross' top season in the league came in 1989-1990, when it posted a 14-2 mark to win the MAAC North Division title.

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 nine games played this year, he has averaged 12.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest. During the UMass game, Evans led the team with 18 points, four rebounds and three assists. Previously in the overtime victory at Brown, he posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Evans also played well at Western Michigan, totaling 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Some of his other top performances this season have come against St. Joseph's (16 points, nine rebounds, three assists), Nevada-Las Vegas (13 points, three 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 543 points, 211 rebounds, 76 assists and 58 steals.

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 nine games played this season, Keister has averaged 11.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest, while hitting 51.8 percent (43 of 83) of his shots from the floor. During the UMass game, he recorded 12 points and four rebounds. Previously in the overtime victory at Brown, Keister posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He also played well against Marist, scoring 13 points and pulling down 10 boards. 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), St. Joseph's (10 points, 11 rebounds) and Western Michigan (10 points, four rebounds, two steals). 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 398 points and 300 rebounds, while making 52.6 percent (162 of 308) of his 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 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 nine games played, he has averaged 12.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.3 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.

MASSACHUSETTS RECAP: Massachusetts' Ricky Harris totaled 19 points, six assists and three rebounds, to lead the Minutemen to an 84-63 victory over Holy Cross at the DCU Center. The Crusaders were led by R.J. Evans with 18 points, four rebounds and three assists. The Minutemen held a 10-7 lead after the first five minutes of the opening half, before an 11-0 run to put Massachusetts ahead 21-7. The Crusaders answered by scoring nine straight points to make the score 23-18, but that was as close as Holy Cross would get. The Minutemen came back by scoring 12 of the next 16 points, and eventually took a 49-34 advantage into the locker room. The Crusaders came out strong in the early minutes of the second half, using a 16-8 spurt to cut the margin to seven points (57-50) with just under 13 minutes to play. But UMass then scored 11 straight points, and eventually increased its lead to 74-54 with five minutes left in the game. The Minutemen would lead by at least 20 points the rest of the way, finishing with a 84-63 victory. Andrew Keister posted 12 points and four rebounds for Holy Cross, while Andrew Beinert added 12 points and three steals. Eric Meister totaled nine points and a team-high seven rebounds for the Crusaders. Anthony Gurley had 18 points and five rebounds for UMass, with Freddie Riley adding 12 points and five boards.

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 nine games played so far this year, Beinert has averaged 9.8 points, 3.1 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per contest, while hitting 15 of 42 (35.7 percent) three-point field goal attempts. During the UMass game, he posted 12 points and three steals. Previously in the overtime victory at Brown, Beinert recorded 15 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals. He also played well at Rhode Island, totaling 14 points and three assists while hitting six of 10 shots from the floor. Some of Beinert's other top games his year have come against Loyola (17 points, six rebounds, six assists, three steals), 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 473 points, 137 rebounds, 137 assists and 57 steals, while hitting 39.7 percent (83 of 209) 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 nine games played so far this year, Brown has averaged 9.3 points per contest, while scoring in double-figures four times and hitting 43.2 percent (16 of 37) 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 269 points, 70 rebounds and 49 assists, while hitting 32.6 percent (28 of 86) of his three-point field goal attempts.

THE LAST MEETING WITH FAIRFIELD: Devin Brown scored a career-high 22 points, but it was not enough as Holy Cross was defeated by Fairfield 78-66 at the Hart Center on Dec. 1, 2008. Brown hit five of nine shots from the field, two of three attempts from three-point range, and all 10 of his shots at the free throw line. Fairfield scored the first five points of the game, and eventually pulled out to a 16-6 lead after six minutes of play. Holy Cross scored the next four points to pull within four, before the Stags used a 9-0 run to extend their lead to 13 points (25-12). The Crusaders hung around and would make it a three-point game (31-28) with three and half minutes left before the break, but Fairfield closed out the half with a 9-5 spurt to take a 40-33 advantage into the locker room. The Stags scored the first seven points of the second half to build their lead back to double-figures, and eventually went up by 15 points (54-39) with 15 minutes remaining. Holy Cross responded with a 12-3 run of its own, to trim the lead to six points (57-51) with 11 minutes left to play. But a few minutes later, Fairfield went on a 10-2 run to put the game away. The Crusaders would get no closer than 11 points in the final eight minutes, as the Stags held on for the win. R.J. Evans finished the game with 13 points and three steals for Holy Cross. Fairfield was led by Anthony Johnson with 20 points, four rebounds and three blocks, while Jonathan Han added 18 points and 11 assists.

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 2-7. 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 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 nine games played, he has averaged 6.2 points and 5.4 rebounds, while making 56.8 percent (25 of 44) of his shots from the floor. In the UMass game, Meister posted nine points and a team-high seven rebounds. Previously at Western Michigan, he recorded eight points and seven rebounds, and made four of six shots from the field. Meister also played well against Loyola, totaling nine points and a team-best eight rebounds. Some of his other top games this season have come against St. Joseph's (six points, nine rebounds) and Harvard (six points, four assists, three rebounds). Last year, Meister earned All-Patriot League Tournament honors, after averaging 12.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in three postseason games, while hitting 15 of 26 field goal attempts (57.7 percent). During the Patriot League semifinal victory over Colgate, he scored a career-high 19 points on nine of 10 shooting from the field, in addition to grabbing nine rebounds. A few of Meister's other top performances during the 2008-2009 season came at Lehigh (15 points, four rebounds), at American in the Patriot League championship game (12 points, 12 rebounds) and against American in the regular season (12 points, eight rebounds). Overall last year, he averaged 6.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots per game. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Meister has now totaled 449 points, 397 rebounds and 62 blocked shots, while making 51.5 percent (190 of 369) 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 37.3 boards per contest and outrebounding their opponents by an average margin of 3.1 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 8.1 rebounds per game, while sophomore guard Mike Cavataio stands second with 6.4 boards per contest. Senior center Eric Meister has pulled down 5.4 rebounds per contest and sophomore guard R.J. Evans has chipped in with 4.9 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.

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.

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 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.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 91st season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1284-834 (.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 STAGS: Fairfield enters the game with an overall record of 6-2 and a 2-0 mark in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Stags have won four of their last five games, and are coming off a 61-48 victory at St. Peter's on Sunday. Freshman guard Derek Needham currently leads the team with averages of 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game, while junior forward Yorel Hawkins has added 15.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest. Senior forward Anthony Johnson is also enjoying a fine season, with averages of 11.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Fairfield is led by Ed Cooley, who is in his fourth season as a collegiate head coach with a 50-52 record. Prior to his time with the Stags, Cooley spent nine seasons as an assistant coach at Boston College.

HOLY CROSS ON THE RADIO: Most of the Crusaders' basketball contests during the 2009-2010 season will be carried by The Pike, WWFX 100.1 FM in Worcester.  Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre will be in his 23rd season calling the play-by-play for Crusader basketball on the radio. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their sixth year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. The Pike is currently scheduled to air 24 of the Crusaders' 29 regular season games. All games aired on The Pike can also be heard live over the internet through the Worcester Pike website. The five games not carried on The Pike will be broadcast exclusively over the internet through SportsJuice. In addition, the Holy Cross student station, WCHC 88.1 FM, will carry a number of games this year.

CRUSADERS ON TELEVISION: Holy Cross will have at least four games shown on live television during the 2009-2010 season. The Crusaders had 10 television appearances last year, while appearing on television eight times in 2007-2008, 13 times in 2006-2007, 10 times in 2005-2006 and 10 times in 2004-2005. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2009-2010 season:

Jan. 9 at Lafayette: Lafayette Sports Network / MASN
Jan. 31 vs. Lehigh: CBS College Sports
Feb. 14 at Bucknell: CBS College Sports
Feb. 27 at Lehigh: Service Electric Cable

CRUSADER VISION: Live video streaming of 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 scored 18 points in 62 minutes played over the last five games, while hitting nine of 10 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 1-3 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.