Crusaders Head To Providence On Tuesday Night

Malcolm Miller

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The Teams: Holy Cross (2-4, 0-0 PL) vs. Providence (4-2, 0-0 Big East)
Date: November 29, 2011
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Dunkin' Donuts Center (12,410), Providence, R.I.
Holy Cross Radio: Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Click Here to Listen
Live Video Streaming: Providence All-Access
Unofficial Live Statistics: Gametracker
Series Record: Providence leads, 38-29
Last Meeting: Providence 77, Holy Cross 66; December 19, 2006; Providence, R.I.

Pos., No., Name, Ht., Wt., Cl.
F, 13, Malcolm Miller, 6-6, 190, Fr.
F, 50, Dave Dudzinski, 6-9, 227, So.
C, 44, Phil Beans, 6-9, 233, Jr.
G, 3, Justin Burrell, 5-9, 165, Fr.
G, 10, R.J. Evans, 6-3, 200, Jr.

THE SERIES WITH PROVIDENCE: This will be the 68th meeting between the Crusaders and the Friars on the hardwood, with Providence leading the all-time series 38-29. The schools have not met since Dec. 19, 2006, when the Friars posted a 77-66 home victory. Overall, Providence has won the last two games and 10 of the previous 13 meetings in the series. For games played in Providence, the Friars hold a 22-11 advantage, including an 11-4 mark at the Dunkin' Donuts Center (formerly the Providence Civic Center). Holy Cross and Providence first met on Dec. 14, 1921, with the Crusaders posting a 56-10 victory on the road.

Overall: Providence leads, 38-29
In Providence: Providence leads, 22-11
At the Dunkin' Donuts Center: Providence leads, 11-4
Milan Brown vs. Providence: 0-0
Ed Cooley vs. Holy Cross: 3-2
Current Win Streak: Providence, two games
In Overtime: Providence leads, 2-0

CRUSADERS AGAINST THE BIG EAST CONFERENCE: Holy Cross has lost its last three games against opponents from the Big East Conference, since a 78-73 victory over Notre Dame in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament on March 15, 2005. Against the 16 schools which currently compete in the Big East, the Crusaders stand 126-142 all-time (3-1 vs. Cincinnati, 42-21 against Connecticut, 1-1 vs. DePaul, 11-9 against Georgetown, 0-1 vs. Louisville, 0-4 against Marquette, 3-10 vs. Notre Dame, 1-2 against Pittsburgh, 29-38 vs. Providence, 2-3 against Rutgers, 7-25 vs. St. John's, 14-10 against Seton Hall, 0-1 vs. South Florida, 12-13 against Syracuse, 1-2 vs. Villanova and 0-1 against West Virginia).

DUDZINSKI STEPS INTO STARTING LINEUP: Sophomore forward Dave Dudzinski (Elburn, Ill.) has become a key player for the Crusaders in the low post positions. In six games played this season, he has averaged 10.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks, while making 56.8 percent (21 of 37) of his field goal attempts. During Sunday's game at Maine, Dudzinski led the team with 20 points, five rebounds and two steals. Previously against Boston College, he totaled 10 points and six rebounds. Dudzinski also recorded 14 points, five rebounds and two steals at the College of Charleston, and had six points with career highs of eight rebounds and four blocked shots against Harvard. Last season, 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). Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 184 points, 113 rebounds and 16 blocked shots, and made 55.4 percent (72 of 130) of his field goal attempts.

HOLY CROSS FACES TOUGH SLATE: Even though Holy Cross is off to an 2-4 start this season, it has faced one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the Patriot League. All four of the Crusaders' losses this year have come against teams ranked in the top 110 of the ratings percentage index: Harvard (22nd), the College of Charleston (64th), Maine (100th) and Fairfield (106th). Holy Cross' opponents have combined to go 18-17 so far this season, good for a .514 winning percentage. Through games of Nov. 27, the Crusaders' schedule was ranked as the 236th-hardest in the nation by The toughest schedule in the Patriot League currently belongs to Bucknell at 196th, but the Bison played a game against Division II West Alabama which does not factor in the strength of schedule rankings.

BROWN ENJOYING 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. In six games played so far this season, Brown has averaged 15.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists, while shooting 44.4 percent (12 of 27) from three-point range. During the victory over Hartford, he recorded 17 points, four assists and two rebounds. Previously in the win over Boston College, Brown led the team with 32 points, five rebounds and five assists. He also scored 17 points against Harvard, while recording 14 points and four rebounds at the College of Charleston. 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 1,110 points, 198 rebounds and 125 assists, while hitting 38.3 percent (148 of 386) of his three-point field goal attempts and 80.2 percent (276 of 344) 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.

MAINE RECAP: Dave Dudzinski scored a career-high 20 points, but Holy Cross was defeated by Maine 72-60 at the Alford Sports Arena on Nov. 27, 2011. Dudzinski hit seven of 12 field goal attempts and five of six free throws on the day, in addition to posting five rebounds and two steals. Jordan Stevens was the only other Holy Cross player to score in double figures, finishing the game with 11 points. Justin Edwards led Maine with 22 points, seven rebounds and six steals, while Gerald McLemore added 18 points and three rebounds. The game was close early on, and the Crusaders held a 13-9 advantage with 12:30 left in the first half. Holy Cross then went on a 9-0 run over the next four minutes to extend its lead to 13 points (22-9). The Crusaders were still up by 10 (29-19) with four minutes left in the half, before the Black Bears used a 12-2 spurt to tie the game at 31-31 heading into the locker room. Maine stayed hot to start the second half, scoring the first five points and eventually taking a 49-41 lead with 14:28 left to play. The Black Bears were still up by eight (51-43), when Holy Cross used a 9-2 run to get back into the game. Maine was clinging to a one-point lead (55-54) with nine minutes to play, before back-to-back three-pointers by Andrew Rogers and Edwards extended the margin to seven points. That started a run in which the Black Bears closed out the game by outscoring Holy Cross 17-6 to earn a 12-point victory. The Crusaders shot 44.0 percent from the field and outrebounded the Black Bears 38-33, but were unable to overcome a 17-8 disadvantage in turnovers.

STEVENS STEPS UP OFF THE BENCH: Junior guard Jordan Stevens (Gansevoort, N.Y.) is a key reserve for the Crusaders at the wing positions. In five games played so far this year, he has averaged 6.2 points and 2.2 rebounds, while making 60.0 percent (six of 10) of his three-point field goal attempts. During Sunday's game at Maine, Stevens scored 11 points while hitting four of six shots from the field (including his only three-pointer). Previously in the victory over Hartford, he totaled a career-high 17 points, four rebounds and three assists, and hit all four of his shots from beyond the three-point arc. Last season, Stevens averaged 8.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists over the Crusaders last 21 games, 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) and at Hofstra (11 points, two assists). 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 240 points, 89 rebounds and 47 assists.

EVANS RETURNS TO THE LINEUP: Junior guard R.J. Evans (Salem, Conn.) looks to once again be among the top players in the Patriot League this year, after missing the majority of the 2010-2011 season due to injury and receiving a medical redshirt. In six games played so far this year, he has averaged 11.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.2 steals, while hitting 52.6 percent (30 of 57) of his field goal attempts. During the victory over Hartford, Evans had 10 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals. Previously at Fairfield, he totaled 14 points, five rebounds and two assists. Evans also recorded 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals against Boston College; 13 points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals against Harvard; and 16 points, seven rebounds, four steals and two assists at the College of Charleston. Last year, he averaged 9.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in only eight games played, 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 948 points, 366 rebounds, 156 assists and 95 steals over the course of his Holy Cross career. He has scored in double-figures 56 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.

THE LAST MEETING WITH PROVIDENCE: Tim Clifford totaled 21 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots, but Holy Cross was defeated by Providence 77-68 at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Dec. 19, 2006. Keith Simmons added 20 points, four rebounds and three steals for the Crusaders. Providence held a 9-6 lead after five minutes of play, before going to a 15-3 run to make the score 24-9 with 11:01 left before the break. The Friars were able to extend their lead to as many as 18 points (34-16 at the 6:01-mark), before the Crusaders started to come to life. Holy Cross closed out the half on an 11-4 run to trail by just 11 points (38-27) heading into the locker room. Providence was still up by 10 points (44-34) with 17:51 left in regulation, before the Crusaders went on an 11-2 run to make it a one-point game (46-45) with 14:50 remaining. But that would be as close as Holy Cross could get, as the Friars responded with a 10-3 spurt of their own to take back control of the game. The Crusaders would trim the lead to no less than six points in the final 10 minutes, as Providence held on to win by nine (77-68). Torey Thomas finished the game with 13 points, four rebounds and four steals, while Alex Vander Baan added seven points, seven rebounds and three assists. The Friars were led by Weyinmi Efejuku with 21 points and six rebounds, while Geoff McDermott posted a double-double with 11 points and 17 rebounds.

BEANS PLAYS BIG ON FRONT LINE: Junior center Phil Beans (Toledo, Ohio) is playing a key role for Holy Cross in the paint this season. In six games, he has averaged 7.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest. Beans has also become a threat from beyond the arc, making 50 percent (six of 12) of his three-point field goal attempts. During the Fairfield game, he scored a career-high 14 points, making six of 10 shots and two of three three-pointers. Previously in the win over Boston College, Beans totaled nine points and six boards, and hit three of four shots from three-point range. Last year, Beans played in only seven games due to injury. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has recorded 82 points, 64 rebounds and seven blocked shots.

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).

BROWN NOW IN 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 10-25 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 105-145 (.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).

FRESHMEN MAKE PRESENCE FELT: The three freshmen on Holy Cross' roster have all made an impact so far this season. Freshman guard Justin Burrell (Dumfries, Va.) has started the first six games of the year, averaging 6.0 points and 4.3 assists per contest. He totaled 10 points and three assists in the season opener at the College of Charleston, then had 10 points, six rebounds and three assists in the victory over Hartford. Burrell also had solid games against Harvard (six points, two assists) and Boston College (five points, seven assists). Freshman forward Taylor Abt (Darnestown, Md.) put up seven points and four rebounds at the College of Charleston, and also scored five points against both Harvard and Maine. Freshman forward Malcolm Miller (Laytonsville, Md.) totaled nine points, three rebounds and two assists in the Boston College game, and also had five points and four rebounds against Hartford.

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).

CRUSADERS AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 321-130 at the Hart Center, including a 1-1 mark so far this 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.

BROWN NAMED PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE: Senior guard Devin Brown was 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.

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, although he has been limited this season due to injury. After missing the Boston College and Fairfield games, Obeysekere totaled seven points, five rebounds and two blocked shots in the win over Hartford. 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 169 points, 214 rebounds and 64 blocked shots.

CRUSADERS IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Three current Holy Cross players have already earned spots in the school's all-time record book. Senior guard Devin Brown currently stands fourth all-time at Holy Cross in three-point field goals made (148), fifth in career three-point field goal attempts (386) and sixth in career free throw percentage (.802). 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).

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 93rd season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1301-874 (.598), 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 HAS GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders look to once again be a strong rebounding team this year. In six games played so far in 2011-2012, Holy Cross has averaged 33.8 boards per game, and outrebounded the opposition by 1.7 boards per contest. Last season, the Crusaders averaged 36.7 boards per contest and outrebounded their opponents by an average margin of 3.1 rebounds per game. 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 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 FRIARS: Providence enters the contest with an overall record of 4-2 on the season. The Friars won their first four games of the year, before dropping their last two contests to Iowa State and Northern Iowa. Junior guard Vincent Council has led the team by averaging 17.8 points and 4.8 assists per game. Sophomore guard Gerard Coleman has added 16.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest, while sophomore guard Bryce Cotton has averaged 13.0 points and 2.5 boards per game. Providence is led by Ed Cooley, who is 4-2 in his first season as the Friars' head coach. Cooley spent the previous five years as the head coach at Fairfield, and owns a career record of 96-71.

DRIBBLES: Holy Cross' victory over Boston College on Nov. 18 snapped a 14-game losing streak against Atlantic Coast Conference schools, since a 63-61 win at North Carolina State during the Dixie Classic on Dec. 29, 1959. The Crusaders' last win over Boston College came on Dec. 1, 2002, when the Eagles were members of the Big East Conference ... Senior guard Devin Brown had 32 points in the Nov. 18 win over Boston College, to come up just one point shy of the DCU Center record for points scored (held by UMass' Lou Roe with 33 points against the Crusaders on Dec. 11, 1993) ... Holy Cross hit 52.4 percent of its three-point field goals against Boston College (11 of 21), the third-best single-game mark ever at the DCU Center ... Freshman guard Justin Burrell scored 10 points in the season opener at the College of Charleston. He was 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 to help raise awareness for the growing problem of heart disease. Engelstad is scheduled to take part in the event once again this year.