Men's Basketball Falls At Lafayette, 84-74, In Patriot League Opener

Andrew Keister

Easton, Pa. - Sophomore guard R.J. Evans (Salem, Conn.) scored 19 points and sophomore guard Devin Brown (Baltimore, Md.) added 18, but the Holy Cross men's basketball team lost to Lafayette, 84-74, at the Kirby Sports Center Saturday in the Patriot League opener for both teams. With the loss, the Crusaders fall to 3-13 (0-1 Patriot League), while the Leopards move to 10-6 (1-0 Patriot League).

Evans tallied the first two buckets of the game for the Crusaders as Holy Cross opened a 12-6 lead in the first 8:10 of the game. Lafayette responded with an 11-4 run to take its first lead of the contest, 17-16, on a jumper by Darion Benbow. The Crusaders tied the game at 19 on a three-pointer by Brown, but the Leopards outscored Holy Cross 14-9 the rest of the half to go into the locker room with a 33-28 lead. Lafayette shot 34.4 percent (11-of-32) over the game's first 20 minutes, while the Crusaders hit on 40 percent of their attempts (12-of-30). Holy Cross had a 24-18 advantage on the boards in the first half.

The Crusaders opened the second half on fire, as they turned a five point deficit into a three point lead over the first 4:38 and led 43-40 at the under-16 media timeout. Jeff Kari scored eight points during Lafayette's ensuing 17-3 run to put the Leopards up, 57-46, with 10:44 remaining in the game. Sophomore Mike Cavataio (Forest Hills, N.Y.) hit two free throws to pull the Crusaders to within 59-52 with 8:12 left, but Holy Cross would get no closer the rest of the way.

Lafayette had four players in double figures, as Ryan Willen led all scorers with 20 points, while Jared Mintz added 16, Kari finished with 14 and Jim Mower had 13. Cavataio added 15 points for the Crusaders, while junior forward Andrew Keister  (Galloway, N.J.) grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Lafayette finished the game shooting 45.9 percent (28-of-61) from the floor, while Holy Cross shot 43.5 percent (30-of-69). The Crusaders outrebounded the Leopards for the game, 42-36, but Lafayette's bench outscored Holy Cross' reserves, 26-7.

Holy Cross is back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 13, when it continues its Patriot League schedule hosting Army. The game is slated to tip off at 7:00 p.m. at the Hart Center.