Men's Basktball To Meet CCSU At Mohegan Sun

Adam May

Complete Release in PDF Format

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (2-11, 0-0 PL) vs. Central Connecticut (4-6, 1-1 NEC)
Date: January 2, 2010
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Mohegan Sun Arena (9,518), Uncasville, Conn.
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Click Here for Internet Broadcast
Central Connecticut Radio: WPOP 1410 AM, Hartford; WAVZ 1300 AM, Hamden
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 58, Central Connecticut 52 (March 16, 1947; Waterbury, Conn.)

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 CENTRAL CONNECTICUT: This will be only the second meeting between the Crusaders and the Blue Devils on the hardwood. In the first game, Holy Cross posted a 58-52 victory in Waterbury, Conn., on March 16, 1947. That contest marked the last regular season game for the Crusaders before they went on to win the 1947 NCAA Tournament.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 1-0
In Uncasville: First Meeting
At the Mohegan Sun Arena: First Meeting
Sean Kearney vs. Central Connecticut: 0-0
Howie Dickenman vs. Holy Cross: 0-0
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game

CRUSADERS CONTINUE ROAD TRIP AGAINST CENTRAL CONNECTICUT: Coming off a 69-60 loss at Stony Brook on Thursday, Holy Cross stays on the road to face Central Connecticut at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Jan. 2 at 5:00 p.m. The Crusaders will then continue their road trip with a 7:00 p.m. game at North Carolina State on Jan. 6, and a 1:00 p.m. contest at Lafayette on Jan. 9. The next home game for Holy Cross will not come until Jan. 13, when it plays host to Army at 7:00 p.m.

CRUSADERS AGAINST THE NORTHEAST CONFERENCE: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 21-8 against the 12 schools which currently compete in the Northeast Conference. The Crusaders are 10-3 against Northeast Conference foes since 1985, with the only three losses during that time coming against Sacred Heart. Holy Cross stands 1-0 all-time against Central Connecticut, 1-1 vs. Long Island, 4-0 against Mount St. Mary's, 2-0 vs. Quinnipiac, 3-3 against Sacred Heart, 10-3 vs. St. Francis (N.Y.) and 0-1 against St. Francis (Pa.).

HOLY CROSS FACES TOUGH SLATE: Even though Holy Cross is off to a 2-11 start so far this season, it has faced far and away the toughest non-conference schedule of any school in the Patriot League. Through games of Dec. 31, the Crusaders' schedule was ranked as the 74th-hardest in the nation by CBSSports.com. The only other school in the Patriot League to play a schedule ranked better than 328th is Colgate, which has played a slate listed at 242nd. Holy Cross has already played five games against teams ranked in the top 100 of the RPI, and has only faced one school with an RPI ranking of below 190.

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 13 games played this season, he has averaged 10.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest, while hitting 50.9 percent (55 of 108) of his shots from the floor. During the Stony Brook game, Keister scored 13 points and pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds. His 18 boards against Stony Brook were the most by a Holy Cross player since Nate Lufkin posted 19 rebounds against Lafayette on Feb. 6, 2002. Previously against UMass, Keister recorded 12 points and four rebounds. He also played well in the overtime victory at Brown, posting a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. 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), Marist (13 points, 10 rebounds), 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 425 points and 336 rebounds, while making 52.3 percent (174 of 333) 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 13 games played so far this year, he has averaged 10.3 points per contest, while scoring in double-figures six times and hitting 47.4 percent (27 of 57) of his three-point field goal attempts. During the George Washington game, Brown led the team in scoring with 20 points and also pulled down five rebounds. In the previous contest against Sacred Heart, he scored 19 points and made five of seven three-point attempts. Brown also played well in the Rhode Island game, totaling 12 points and four assists. Some of his other top performances this season have come against St. Joseph's (17 points, three rebounds), Loyola (16 points, two rebounds, two steals) and Harvard (12 points, five rebounds, two assists). 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 319 points, 77 rebounds and 52 assists, while hitting 36.8 percent (39 of 106) 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 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), Rhode Island (eight points, two rebounds) and George Washington (seven points, eight rebounds). Through 13 games played, he has averaged 10.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.9 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.

STONY BROOK RECAP: Andrew Keister scored 13 points and pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds, but Holy Cross was defeated by Stony Brook 69-60 at the Pritchard Gymnasium on Dec. 31, 2009. Keister hit six of eight shots from the field in the game, while pulling down 14 boards on the defensive end of the court. The Seawolves started the game hot, hitting their first four shots (three from three-point range) to take a quick 11-0 lead just 2:26 into the game. Stony Brook would eventually go up by 12 (17-5), and still had an 11-point lead (23-12) with 10:53 left in the first half. The Crusaders then went on a 9-2 run to get back into the game, and closed the gap to just three points (33-30) at the 1:31-mark. The Seawolves responded to score the final five points of the half, and led 38-30 heading into the locker room. Stony Brook was still up by nine points (49-40) with 14 minutes left to play, when Holy Cross used a 10-2 spurt to close the gap to 52-50. The game stayed close the rest of the way, with the Crusaders eventually making it a one-point game (61-60) with 3:50 remaining on a free throw by R.J. Evans. But Holy Cross would not score again, as the Seawolves closed out the game on an 8-0 run to claim a nine-point victory. Evans finished the day with 12 points and three assists, while Andrew Beinert added a team-high 16 points. Stony Brook was led by Bryan Dougher and Tommy Brenton with 18 points each.

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 13 games played so far this year, Beinert has averaged 9.3 points, 2.9 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals per contest, while hitting 21 of 60 (35.0 percent) three-point field goal attempts. During the Stony Brook game, he led the team in scoring with 16 points, and made four of five attempts from three-point range. Previously against George Washington, Beinert totaled 13 points, three assists and two rebounds. He also played well against UMass, posting 12 points and three steals. Some of Beinert's other top games his year have come against Loyola (17 points, six rebounds, six assists, three steals), Brown (15 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals), Rhode Island (14 points, three assists), 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. 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 506 points, 147 assists, 144 rebounds and 59 steals, while hitting 39.2 percent (89 of 227) of his three-point field goal attempts.

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 2-11. 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.

EVANS HAVING ANOTHER STELLAR YEAR: Sophomore guard R.J. Evans (Salem, Conn.) is enjoying another outstanding season for the Crusaders, after earning Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors in 2008-2009. In 13 games played this year, he has averaged 14.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per contest. During the Stony Brook game, Evans recorded 12 points and three assists. Previously against George Washington, he totaled 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Evans also played well against Sacred Heart, leading the team with 20 points and five rebounds. Some of his other top performances this season have come against Fairfield (21 points, 10 rebounds), UMass (18 points, four rebounds, three assists), Brown (17 points, 10 rebounds), St. Joseph's (16 points, nine rebounds, three assists), Nevada-Las Vegas (13 points, three rebounds, three assists), Western Michigan (12 points, seven rebounds, four 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 612 points, 235 rebounds, 86 assists and 59 steals.

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 13 games played, he has averaged 6.1 points and 5.7 rebounds, while making 50.0 percent (36 of 72) of his shots from the floor. In the Sacred Heart game, Meister scored a season-high 14 points and pulled down a career-best 16 rebounds. Previously against UMass, he posted nine points and a team-high seven rebounds. Meister also played well at Western Michigan, recording eight points and seven rebounds. Some of his other top games this season have come against Loyola (nine points, eight rebounds), 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) and at American in the Patriot League championship game (12 points, 12 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 472 points, 422 rebounds and 64 blocked shots, while making 50.6 percent (201 of 397) 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 38.1 boards per contest and outrebounding their opponents by an average margin of 2.9 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 8.4 rebounds per game, while sophomore guard Mike Cavataio stands second with 6.2 boards per contest. Senior center Eric Meister has pulled down 5.7 rebounds per contest and sophomore guard R.J. Evans has chipped in with 5.2 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 KNOCK DOWN FREE THROWS: Holy Cross has been a good free throw shooting team during the 2009-2010 season, making 69.0 percent (205 of 297) of its foul shots this year. Junior guard Andrew Beinert leads the team by hitting 87.5 percent (28 of 32) of his free throws, while sophomore guard Mike Cavataio has made 82.5 percent (33 of 40) of his attempts at the charity stripe. Even though they have fewer attempts, freshman guard Dee Goens (Alpharetta, Ga.) and freshmen forward Phil Beans (Toledo, Ohio) have also been excellent free throw shooters early in their careers. Goens has hit 14 of 15 foul shots (93.3 percent) and Beans has made all eight of his attempts at the charity stripe (100.0 percent).

CRUSADERS REMAIN TOUGH AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 312-117 at the Hart Center, including a 1-4 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 99-25 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).

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.

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.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 91st season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1284-838 (.605), 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.

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.

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 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).

SCOUTING THE BLUE DEVILS: Central Connecticut enters the game with an overall record of 4-6 on the season, including a 1-1 mark in the Northeast Conference. The Blue Devils have won two of their last three games, and are coming off an 89-86 double overtime victory over Maryland-Baltimore County on Wednesday. Sophomore guard Robby Ptacek leads the team with an average of 14.5 points per game so far this season. Junior guard Shemik Thompson has added 12.4 points and 3.3 assists per contest, while junior forward David Simmons is averaging 7.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Central Connecticut is led by head coach Howie Dickenman, who owns an overall record of 209-184 over 14 seasons. Prior to his time with the Blue Devils, Dickenman served as an assistant coach at Connecticut for 14 season from 1982-1996.

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 six 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:

Dec. 28 vs. George Washington: WCTR-TV3
Jan. 9 at Lafayette: Lafayette Sports Network / MASN
Jan. 13 vs. Army: WCTR-TV3
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 scored a career-high 10 points in the Sacred Heart game. He is now averaging 3.4 points per contest while making 14 of 15 free throw attempts this season ... Freshman forward Phil Beans has totaled 24 points and 18 rebounds in 13 games off the bench this year ... The Crusaders set season-highs by hitting 57.9 percent of their field goal attempts in the victory over Marist on Nov. 30, and 88.9 percent of their free throws in the Dec. 9 game at Fairfield ... 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 1-5 so far this season when wearing their white uniforms, while going 1-5 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.