EASTON, Pa. – Senior center Andrew Keister (Galloway, N.J.) posted the 23rd double-double of his collegiate career with 14 points and 15 rebounds, but the Holy Cross men's basketball team was defeated by Lafayette76-70 at the Allan P. Kirby Sports Center. The Crusaders were able to trim an 18-point deficit down to just two points in the second half, but could not complete the comeback in the closing minutes. Holy Cross falls to 4-18 overall and 3-5 in the Patriot League with the loss, while Lafayette improves to 9-14 overall and 4-4 in the conference.
The Leopards started the game hot, jumping out to an early 14-4 lead over the first eight minutes of play. The Crusaders were able to close the margin to seven points, before Lafayette would eventually take an 18-point lead late in the half. The Leopards held a 36-20 advantage heading into the locker room.
Early in the second half, Holy Cross used an 11-2 spurt to trim the margin back to single digits (44-35), with junior guard Devin Brown (Baltimore, Md.) scoring seven of points during that time. Lafayette was still up by nine points (60-51) with 7:49 left to play, before the Crusaders went on a 10-3 run over the next four minutes to make it a two-point game (63-61).
The Leopards responded with a 7-2 spurt to build their lead back to seven points (70-63) with just under a minute to play. Holy Cross refused to go quietly, and would trim the margin to two points once again (72-70) on a three-point field goal by junior guard Mike Cavataio (Forest Hills, N.Y.) with 25 seconds to go. But Lafayette then made all four of its free throws in the closing seconds to hold on for the win.
Brown finished the game with a team-high 17 points and four rebounds, while Cavataio had 11 points, four rebounds and four assists. Sophomore forward Eric Obeysekere (Orinda, Calif.) added 12 points and six rebounds for Holy Cross. Levi Giese led the Leopards with 19 points and four rebounds.
The Crusaders outrebounded Lafayette 43-38 and had just 11 turnovers, but made only 17 of 34 free throw attempts on the day.
Holy Cross returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 9, when it plays host to Army at 7:00 p.m.