March 7, 2010

Crusaders Fall 66-63 At Lafayette

Video: Postgame Press Conference Part I

Video: Postgame Press Conference Part II

EASTON, Pa. – Sophomore guard R.J. Evans (Salem, Conn.) totaled 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists, but the Holy Cross men’s basketball team was defeated by Lafayette 66-63 at the Kirby Sports Center in the semifinals of the 2010 Patriot League Tournament. The Crusaders conclude the season with an overall record of 9-22 overall this season, while the Leopards improve to 19-13 advance to the championship game against either American or Lehigh.

Lafayette opened the game by jumping out to a 12-6 lead after the first six minutes of play, before Holy Cross scored eight straight points to claim a 14-12 advantage. The Crusaders were still up by one point (19-18) with 7:30 left in the half, when Jim Mower hit three straight three-pointers to put the Leopards up 27-19. Lafayette eventually extended its lead to nine points (39-30) heading into the locker room.

The Leopards stayed hot early in the second half, using a 7-4 spurt to increase their lead to 12 points (46-34) with 17:31 remaining in regulation. Lafayette was still up by 10 points (55-45) with 11:32 left to play, when the Crusaders went on a 12-0 run to reclaim the lead. Sophomore guard Mike Cavataio (Forest Hills, N.Y.) scored six points during that spurt, while a layup by Evans with 6:31 remaining put Holy Cross in front.

The lead would change hands several times during the closing minutes, before a tip-in by Cavataio gave the Crusaders a 63-62 lead with 53.6 seconds to play. But Jared Mintz then hit a short jumper in the lane with 37.6 seconds on the clock to put the Leopards back in front. Holy Cross had two shots on its next possession, but was unable to convert before Mintz knocked down a pair of free throws with 5.7 seconds to play, making the score 66-63. One last three-point attempt by Evans was just off the mark at the final buzzer, as Lafayette held on for the win.

Cavataio finished the game with 14 points and seven rebounds, while junior guard Andrew Beinert (Floral Park, N.Y.) added 10 points, three rebounds and three assists. The Leopards were led by Mower with 17 points and Mintz with 14 points and five rebounds.