Holy Cross To Play Harvard In Home Opener

Taylor Abt

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The Teams: Holy Cross (0-1, 0-0 PL) vs. Harvard (1-0, 0-0 Ivy)
Date: November 15, 2011
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Click Here to Listen
Unofficial Live Statistics: Presto Sports Primetime
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 41-23
Last Meeting: Harvard 72, Holy Cross 49; November 17, 2010; Cambridge, Mass.

Pos., No., Name, Ht., Wt., Cl.
F, 10, R.J. Evans, 6-3, 200, Jr.
F, 35, Eric Obeysekere, 6-8, 209, Jr.
C, 50, Dave Dudzinski, 6-9, 227, So.
G, 2, Devin Brown, 6-1, 190, Sr.
G, 3, Justin Burrell, 5-9, 165, Fr.

THE SERIES WITH HARVARD: This will be the 65th meeting between the Crusaders and the Crimson on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 41-23. Harvard has won the last three meetings in the series, but the Crusaders had come out victorious in seven of the previous eight contests. For games played in Worcester, Holy Cross holds a 16-14 advantage, including a 10-7 record at the Hart Center. Holy Cross and Harvard first met on January 15, 1901, with the Crimson posting a 20-10 victory in Worcester.

Overall: Holy Cross leads, 41-23
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 16-14
At the Hart Center: Holy Cross leads, 10-7
Milan Brown vs. Harvard: 0-1
Tommy Amaker vs. Holy Cross: 2-1
Current Win Streak: Harvard, three games
In Overtime: Harvard leads, 1-0

IMPRESSIVE AGAINST THE IVY LEAGUE: The Crusaders have enjoyed a great deal of success against schools from the Ivy League over the last 12 years. Holy Cross stands 23-17 against Ivy League foes since the beginning of the 1999-2000 season. The Crusaders went 0-2 against the Ivy League last season, falling to Harvard and Yale. Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 197-119 against the eight schools which are members of the Ivy League (43-17 vs. Brown, 4-6 against Columbia, 3-2 vs. Cornell, 66-31 against Dartmouth, 41-23 vs. Harvard, 3-3 against Pennsylvania, 2-7 vs. Princeton and 35-30 against Yale).

HOLY CROSS IN HOME OPENERS: The Crusaders have an all-time record of 73-16 in their opening home contest of the season. Since moving into the Hart Center, Holy Cross has posted a 27-9 mark in its home opener, including an 8-3 mark over the last 11 years. The Crusaders have lost their opening home game of the year in each of the last two seasons, including a 93-84 loss to the College of Charleston in 2010-2011.

CRUSADERS PICKED THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL: In the 2011-2012 Patriot League preseason poll, Holy Cross was picked to finish in third place in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 73 total points in the conference preseason poll. Bucknell placed first in the poll with 98 total points and 14 first-place votes, followed by Lehigh in second with 82 points and two first-place votes. The preseason rankings were rounded out by Lafayette (fourth, 55 points), American (fifth, 47 points), Colgate (sixth, 44 points), Navy (seventh, 34 points) and Army (eighth, 15 points).

EVANS RETURNS TO THE LINEUP: Junior guard R.J. Evans (Salem, Conn.) should once again been among the top players in the Patriot League this season, after missing the majority of the 2010-2011 season due to injury and receiving a medical redshirt. During the season opener at the College of Charleston, Evans led the team with 16 points, seven rebounds, four steals and two assists. In eight games played last year, he averaged 9.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per contest, while hitting 46.3 percent (31 of 67) of his field goal attempts. Evans scored in double figures five times in his eight appearances a year ago, with his best game coming against the College of Charleston (16 points, five assists, three steals, two rebounds). During the 2009-2010 campaign, he averaged a team-best 13.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest. Evans finished that season ranked eighth in the Patriot League in scoring, 11th in assists and 14th in rebounding. The 2008-2009 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Evans has now totaled 895 points, 349 rebounds, 139 assists and 86 steals over the course of his Holy Cross career. He has scored in double-figures 52 times during his collegiate career and has hit the 20-point mark seven times, including a career-high 31 points against Bucknell in the 2009 Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals.

BROWN SET FOR ANOTHER STANDOUT SEASON: Senior guard Devin Brown (Baltimore, Md.) has been one of Holy Cross' top players over the last two years, and was selected second team All-Patriot League in 2010-2011. During the season opener at the College of Charleston, he recorded 14 points and four rebounds. In 29 games played last season, Brown averaged a team-best 15.4 points per contest while hitting 35.9 percent (60 of 167) of his three-point attempts and 80.6 percent (104 of 129) of his free throws. He finished the year ranked fifth in the Patriot League in three-point field goals made, sixth in both scoring and free throw percentage, and 14th in three-point percentage. Brown was extremely hot over the last 10 games in 2010-2011, averaging 20.3 points per contest during that span and connecting on 48.9 percent (68 of 139) of his field goal attempts and 40.3 percent (25 of 62) of his three-pointers. His top game a year ago came against Yale, when he scored a career-high 33 points to go along with five rebounds and two assists. Brown's 33 points against the Bulldogs were the most by a Crusader in a single game since Tim Clifford scored 34 points at Navy on Feb. 20, 2008. He also scored 32 points in the home victory over Navy while hitting seven of 15 attempts from three-point range, and had a pair of outstanding games against Lehigh with 27 points and 26 points. During the 2009-2010 campaign, Brown averaged 12.5 points per contest, while scoring in double-figures 16 times. He also hit 44.8 percent (64 of 143) of his three-point field goal attempts and 77.3 percent (85 of 110) of his free throws in 2009-2010. Brown finished the 2009-2010 season ranked third in the Patriot League in three-point field goal percentage, eighth in free throw percentage and 11th in scoring. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Brown has now totaled 1,020 points, 182 rebounds and 111 assists, while hitting 37.8 percent (136 of 360) of his three-point field goal attempts and 81.3 percent (270 of 332) of his free throws. During the final game of the 2010-2011 season against Lafayette, he became the 45th 1,000-point scorer in school history.

CHARLESTON RECAP: R.J. Evans totaled 16 points, seven rebounds and four steals, but Holy Cross was defeated by the College of Charleston 78-69 in its season opener at TD Arena on Nov. 11, 2011. The Cougars were led by Antwaine Wiggins with a game-high 18 points and seven rebounds. Dave Dudzinski finished the night with 14 points and five rebounds, while Devin Brown added 14 points and four boards. Justin Burrell gave Holy Cross four players in double figures by scoring 10 points, and Taylor Abt totaled seven points and four rebounds. Charleston also had four players score in double figures, including Trent Wiedeman (15 points, 10 rebounds), Andrew Lawrence (16 points) and Adjehi Baru (11 points, eight rebounds). The Cougars started the game hot, hitting four of their first five shots from the floor to take an early 9-0 lead. After Evans hit a pair of jumpers to cut the deficit to five points (9-4), Charleston used another 9-0 spurt to build its lead up to double figures. The Cougars would eventually go up by 18 points (25-7) with 10 minutes left in the first half, before Brown scored six straight points to make the score 25-13. Charleston then used a 14-2 spurt to build its lead to 24 points, and eventually took a 40-19 advantage into the locker room. After the Cougars hit the opening basket of the second half, Holy Cross went on an 11-0 run to make the score 42-30 with 17:05 remaining, as Dudzinski scored six of his points during that spurt. The Crusaders would then close the gap to 11 points (45-34) with 16 minutes to play, but Charleston was able to keep its lead in double-figures until the closing minutes of the game. Holy Cross finally cut the margin to nine points (72-63) with 1:07 to go on a layup by Evans, but would get no closer as the Cougars eventually posted a nine-point victory.

DUDZINSKI STEPS INTO STARTING LINEUP: Sophomore forward Dave Dudzinski (Elburn, Ill.) has become a key player for the Crusaders in the low post positions last year. In the season opener at the College of Charleston, Dudzinski totaled 14 points, five rebounds and two steals. He was named to the 2011 Patriot League All-Rookie team, after averaging 4.6 points and 2.8 rebounds in 27 games played, while hitting 54.8 percent (51 of 93) of his field goal attempts. Against Lafayette in last year's Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals, Dudzinski totaled 11 points and four rebounds, while hitting all five of his field goal attempts. He also played well during the regular season victory over Lafayette, recording nine points and five rebounds, including a pair of free throws with 1:37 remaining to give Holy Cross the lead for good. A few of Dudzinski's other top performances last season came at Sacred Heart (career-high 15 points), against St. Joseph's (seven points, career-high six rebounds) and at Colgate (seven points, three rebounds).

CAVATAIO SHINES ON THE WING: Senior guard Mike Cavataio (Forest Hills, N.Y.) should once again be among Holy Cross' top players during the 2011-2012 campaign. In 28 games played last year, he averaged 8.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest and hit 41.6 percent (102 of 245) of his field goal attempts. Cavataio finished the season ranked 11th in the Patriot League in rebounding, 15th in both field goal percentage and assists, and 22nd in scoring. He played particularly well over the Crusaders' last 10 games in 2010-2011, averaging 12.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists during that time, and connecting on 48.4 percent (45 of 93) of his shots from the field. Some of Cavataio's top games last season came against Colgate (17 points, five rebounds, two assists), the College of Charleston (16 points, seven rebounds) and American (16 points, four rebounds, two assists). In the 2009-2010 season, Cavataio averaged 11.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest, while shooting 47.1 percent (131 of 278) from the field and 82.1 percent (78 of 95) on the free throw line. Cavataio finished the 2009-2010 campaign ranked fourth in the Patriot League in free throw percentage, eighth in field goal percentage, ninth in rebounding and 14th in scoring. He sat out the 2008-2009 season after transferring to Holy Cross from St. John's, where he totaled 23 points and 20 rebounds during his only year with the Red Storm. During his two-year career at Holy Cross, Cavataio has totaled 612 points, 329 rebounds and 136 assists.

BROWN NAMED PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE: Senior guard Devin Brown has been selected to the preseason All-Patriot League team, in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. Brown was joined on the preseason all-conference team by Lafayette junior guard Tony Johnson, Lehigh junior guard C.J. McCollum, Bucknell junior center Mike Muscala and Navy senior guard Jordan Sugars. In addition, McCollum was selected as the preseason Patriot League Player of the Year.

THE LAST MEETING WITH HARVARD: R.J. Evans scored a team-high 13 points, but Holy Cross was defeated by Harvard 72-49 at Lavietes Pavilion on Nov. 17, 2010. Harvard started the game hot, jumping out to a 16-2 lead after the first seven minutes of play. The Crimson increased its lead to 17 points (23-6) with 11 minutes remaining in the first half, before Holy Cross stepped up its play on the defensive end and held Harvard scoreless for almost five minutes. Unfortunately, the Crusaders were able to score only three points of their own during that time, and the Crimson would go on to take a 32-14 advantage into the locker room. Coming out to start the second half, Harvard was on fire once again, scoring 10 straight points to increase its lead to 28 (42-14). The Crimson would eventually lead by as many as 33, before finally claiming a 23-point victory. Dave Dudzinski totaled eight points, five rebounds and two steals, while Devin Brown added eight points. Harvard was led by Keith Wright with 18 points and six rebounds, and Christian Webster added 12 points and five boards.

CRUSADERS IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Three current Holy Cross have already earned spots in the school's all-time record book. Senior guard Devin Brown currently stands fifth all-time at Holy Cross in career free throw percentage (.813), sixth in three-point field goals made (136) and seventh in career three-point field goal attempts (360). In addition, junior guard R.J. Evans ranks ninth all-time in career minutes played per game (29.2), and senior guard Mike Cavataio is 10th all-time in career minutes played per game (29.0).

STEVENS STEPS UP OFF THE BENCH: Junior guard Jordan Stevens (Gansevoort, N.Y.) turned into one of the Crusaders' top players during the second half of the 2010-2011 season. Over Holy Cross' last 21 games a year ago, Stevens averaged 8.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists per contest, while hitting 33.3 percent (22 of 66) of his three-point field goal attempts. He scored 15 points while hitting all four of his three-point field goal attempts at Navy, in addition to totaling 15 points, three rebounds and three assists at Army. A few of Stevens' other top games last season came against Sacred Heart (15 points, three assists), at George Washington (13 points, four rebounds, two blocks, two steals), at Colgate (13 points, four rebounds), against Colgate (12 points), at Hofstra (11 points, two assists), at Marist (nine points, three assists, two rebounds) and at American (nine points, two rebounds). Overall last season, he averaged 7.1 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. Over the course of his collegiate career, Stevens has now totaled 203 points, 76 rebounds and 43 assists.

OBEYSEKERE STEPS UP ON FRONT LINE: Junior forward Eric Obeysekere (Orinda, Calif.) has developed into a solid presence for the Crusaders in the low post. Over Holy Cross' last 23 games a year ago, he averaged 5.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per contest. Obeysekere's best game in 2010-2011 came during the victory at Navy, when he led the team with career highs of 16 points and seven blocked shots, to go along with 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. Some of his other top performances last season were at Lafayette (12 points, six rebounds), at Army (eight points, 14 rebounds, four blocks), at Marist (nine points, career-high 17 rebounds) and at Sacred Heart (six points, nine rebounds, six blocks). His seven blocks against Navy tied for second place on the Holy Cross single-game record list, while his 17 rebounds against Marist tied for the most by any Patriot League player in a single game last season. Overall last year, Obeysekere averaged 4.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. Over the course of his career with the Crusaders, he has now totaled 158 points, 205 rebounds and 60 blocked shots.

BROWN ENTERS SECOND YEAR WITH CRUSADERS: Milan Brown is in his second season as the head coach at Holy Cross in 2011-2012, with an overall record of 8-22 and a 7-7 mark in Patriot League regular season games. With the win over Army on Feb. 9, 2011, he recorded the 100th victory of his collegiate head coaching career. Brown's overall career record now stands at 103-142 (.420). The 16th head coach in the history of the program, he came to Holy Cross after spending the previous seven seasons as head coach at Mount St. Mary's. During his final three years at Mount St. Mary's, Brown led the Mountaineers to three straight winning seasons and a pair of postseason appearances. His teams posted a 54-44 record (.551) during those three years, including a 35-19 mark (.648) in Northeast Conference play. During the 2007-2008 campaign, Brown led Mount St. Mary's to the first NCAA Division I Tournament victory in school history (69-60 over Coppin State).

HOLY CROSS SHINES ON THE DEFENSIVE END: The Crusaders look to be strong on the defensive end of the court this season, after developing into one of the top defensive teams in the Patriot League during the 2010-2011 campaign. Holy Cross finished last year ranked second in the conference in three-point field goal percentage defense (33.7 percent) and blocked shots (3.8 blocks per game), and third in scoring defense (69.0 points per game) and field goal percentage defense (42.9 percent). The Crusaders were even more impressive during Patriot League regular season play, where they improved on all of those numbers. In conference games, Holy Cross ranked first in the league in blocked shots (4.0 blocks per game), second in field goal percentage defense (40.8 percent) and three-point field goal percentage defense (29.2 percent), and third in scoring defense (67.7 points per game).

CRUSADERS AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 320-129 at the Hart Center, including a 4-9 mark last year. 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 36 seasons, while recording double-figure home victories 16 times. The Crusaders stand 107-37 at home since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, including a 70-18 record against Patriot League foes.

CRUSADERS LOOKING FOR SIXTH PATRIOT LEAGUE REGULAR SEASON TITLE: During the 2011-2012 campaign, Holy Cross will attempt to win the Patriot League regular season title for the sixth time in school history. 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 and Bucknell are the only teams in league history to win three outright titles, while Holy Cross' five total championships are tied for the second-most in conference history with Navy (one outright, four shared), behind only Bucknell (three outright, three shared).

HOLY CROSS HAS GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders look to once again be a strong rebounding team this year, after averaging 36.7 boards per contest and outrebounding their opponents by an average margin of 3.1 rebounds per game in 2010-2011. Holy Cross outrebounded 15 of its last 21 opponents a year ago, including margins of +15 at Army, +13 against Bucknell, +12 at Marist, +12 against Army at home and +11 against Stony Brook. Center Andrew Keister led the team with an average of 9.2 rebounds per game last season. Forward Eric Obeysekere stood second with 5.9 boards per contest, while guard Mike Cavataio has pulled down 5.4 rebounds per game. Entering 2011-2012, the Crusaders had posted a positive rebounding margin in 12 straight seasons, including nine years in which they outrebounded the opposition by at least four boards per game.

HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders finished the 2010-2011 season ranked among the top 125 in the NCAA Division I leaders for two statistical categories. In addition, several players ended the year among the top 200 in the nation in individual statistics. The rankings:

Category Rank Player / Team Avg. / Pct.
Rebounding 43 Andrew Keister 9.2
Rebounding Margin 74 Holy Cross +3.1
Blocked Shots 90 Eric Obeysekere 1.6
  110 Holy Cross 3.8
Assist-Turnover Ratio 97 Andrew Beinert 1.9
Assists 125 Andrew Beinert 4.1
Free Throw Percent 141 Devin Brown 80.6
Three-Pointers Made 169 Devin Brown 2.1
Scoring 183 Devin Brown 15.4

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year will mark the 93rd season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1299-871 (.599), 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.

HOLY CROSS ON THE RADIO: Most of the Crusaders' basketball contests during the 2011-2012 season will be carried live over the internet. The games will be streamed by Stretch Internet free of charge, will links to the broadcasts available by clicking here. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre will be in his 25th season calling the play-by-play for Crusader basketball on the radio. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their eighth year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. 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 five games shown on live television during the 2011-2012 season. The Crusaders had eight television appearances last year, while appearing on television nine times in 2009-2010, 10 times in 2008-2009, 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 2010-2011 season:

Dec. 18 at Connecticut: SportsNet New York
Jan. 19 vs. Lafayette: CBS Sports Network
Jan. 28 vs. Colgate: CBS Sports Network
Feb. 4 at Lehigh: Service Electric Cable
Feb. 15 at Lafayette: Lafayette Sports Network

PATRIOT LEAGUE ALL-ACCESS: Live video streaming of most Patriot League regular season games during the 2010-2011 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 click here.

SCOUTING THE CRIMSON: Harvard stands 1-0 so far this year, after defeating MIT 76-49 in its season opener. Sophomore guard Laurent Rivard led the Crimson with 16 points against the Engineers, while senior forward Keith Wright added 13 points and four rebounds. Senior guard Oliver McNally (12 points) and junior forward Kyle Casey (11 points) also scored in double figures against MIT. Harvard is coming off a 2010-2011 season in which it posted an overall record of 23-7, while tying for first place in the Ivy League with a 12-2 mark in conference games. The Crimson is led by Tommy Amaker, who is now in his fifth season as Harvard's head coach. Amaker stands 67-51 with the Crimson, while owning a career record of 244-189 (including six years at Michigan and four seasons at Seton Hall).

DRIBBLES: Freshman guard Justin Burrell (Dumfries, Va.) scored 10 points in the season opener at the College of Charleston. He is the first Crusader to hit double figures in his collegiate debut since R.J. Evans had 15 points against Sacred Heart in 2008 ... Two all-time Crusader greats were honored at halftime of the game between Holy Cross and Bucknell on Feb. 12, 2011. Jack Foley (Class of 1962) and Ronnie Perry (Class of 1980) were on hand to witness their jerseys being unveiled in the Hart Center rafters — only the second time Holy Cross held such a ceremony for former basketball players. On Nov. 16, 2008, George Kaftan (Class of 1949), Bob Cousy (Class of 1950), Togo Palazzi (Class of 1954) and Tom Heinsohn (Class of 1956) received the same honor ... Last season, Holy Cross head coach Milan Brown and assistant coach Dan Engelstad took part in Shots from the Heart, a project created by CollegeInsider.com to help raise awareness for the growing problem of heart disease ... Holy Cross had its top defensive game of last season at Navy on Jan. 19, holding the Midshipmen to just 50 points on 28.1 percent shooting from the field (18 of 64) and 4.0 percent shooting from three-point range (one of 25).