Men's Basketball Heads To Columbia On Tuesday

Jordan Stevens

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The Teams: Holy Cross (3-5, 0-0 PL) vs. Columbia (5-4, 0-0 Ivy)
Date: December 6, 2011
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Levien Gymnasium (2,700), New York, N.Y.
Holy Cross Radio: Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Click Here to Listen
Live Video Streaming:
Unofficial Live Statistics:
Series Record: Columbia leads, 6-4
Last Meeting: Columbia 56, Holy Cross 53; November 15, 1998; Worcester, Mass.

Pos., No., Name, Ht., Wt., Cl.
F, 10, R.J. Evans, 6-3, 200, Jr.
F, 50, Dave Dudzinski, 6-9, 227, So.
C, 44, Phil Beans, 6-9, 233, Jr.
G, 2, Devin Brown, 6-1, 190, Sr.
G, 3, Justin Burrell, 5-9, 165, Fr.

THE SERIES WITH COLUMBIA: This will be only the 11th meeting between the Crusaders and the Lions on the hardwood, with Columbia leading the all-time series 6-4. The Lions have won two straight and four of the last five games in the series, although the teams have not met since Nov. 15, 1998, when Columbia won 56-53 in Worcester. For contests played in New York City, the Lions hold a 4-0 advantage. Holy Cross and Columbia first met on Dec. 17, 1947, when the Lions won 60-53 at home to snap the Crusaders' 26-game winning streak.

Overall: Columbia leads, 6-4
In New York City: Columbia leads, 4-0
At Levien Gymnasium: Columbia leads, 1-0
Milan Brown vs. Columbia: 0-0
Kyle Smith vs. Holy Cross: 0-0
Current Win Streak: Columbia, two games
In Overtime: Holy Cross leads, 1-0

CRUSADERS HIT THE ROAD TO FACE COLUMBIA: Holy Cross returns to the road this week, traveling to Columbia for a 7:00 p.m. game on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The Crusaders will then come home to face Sacred Heart at the Hart Center on Friday, Dec. 9, at 7:00 p.m. Following the Sacred Heart contest, Holy Cross will take a nine-day break for final exams, before returning to action at defending national champion Connecticut on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 1:00 p.m.

IMPRESSIVE AGAINST THE IVY LEAGUE: The Crusaders have enjoyed a good deal of success against schools from the Ivy League over the last 13 years. Holy Cross stands 23-18 against Ivy League foes since the beginning of the 1999-2000 season. The Crusaders have lost their last three games against Ivy League opponents, including a 73-64 setback against Harvard earlier this season. Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 197-120 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, 41-24 vs. Harvard, 3-3 against Pennsylvania, 2-7 vs. Princeton and 35-30 against Yale).

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 eight games played so far this year, Evans has averaged 13.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.5 steals, while hitting 51.7 percent (46 of 89) of his field goal attempts. During Saturday's victory over New Hampshire, he had a strong all-around game with 14 points, six rebounds, four assists, two assists and two blocked shots. Previously at Providence, Evans totaled a season-high 21 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists. He also had a solid game against Hartford with 10 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals. Some of Evans' other top games this season came against the College of Charleston (16 points, seven rebounds, four steals, two assists), Boston College (14 points, five rebounds, four assists, four steals), Fairfield (14 points, five rebounds, two assists) and Harvard (13 points, three assists, two rebounds, two steals). 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 983 points, 376 rebounds, 160 assists and 101 steals over the course of his Holy Cross career. He has scored in double-figures 58 times during his collegiate career and has hit the 20-point mark eight times, including a career-high 31 points against Bucknell in the 2009 Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals. Evans enters the Columbia game needing 17 points to become the 46th 1,000th-point scorer in school history.

BROWN ENJOYING ANOTHER STANDOUT SEASON: Senior guard Devin Brown (Baltimore, Md.) has been one of Holy Cross' top players over the last three years, and was selected second team All-Patriot League in 2010-2011. In eight games played so far this season, he has averaged 14.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists, while shooting 42.1 percent (16 of 38) from three-point range. During the victory over New Hampshire, Brown led the team with 15 points and three rebounds. Previously against Hartford, he recorded 17 points, four assists and two rebounds. Brown also had a huge game against Boston College, totaling 32 points, five rebounds and five assists. Some of his other top performances this season have been against Harvard (17 points) and the College of Charleston (14 points, 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's 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. He also scored 32 points in last year's 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 1,123 points, 203 rebounds and 127 assists, while hitting 38.3 percent (152 of 397) of his three-point field goal attempts and 80.3 percent (281 of 350) 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.

NEW HAMPSHIRE RECAP: R.J. Evans totaled 14 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists, to lead Holy Cross to a 62-57 victory over New Hampshire at the Hart Center on Dec. 3, 2011. Devin Brown added 15 points for the Crusaders, and Justin Burrell scored 13 points. The game was close throughout a first half which featured four ties and eight lead changes. New Hampshire's largest lead of the half was three points, which they held for the last time with 6:18 left before the break. Holy Cross then went on a 9-0 run to pull in front, with Brown scoring five of his points during that spurt. The Crusaders eventually held 27-23 advantage heading into the locker room. The Wildcats cut the margin to 29-27 early in the second half, before Holy Cross scored six straight points to take a 35-27 advantage. The Crusaders were still up by seven (38-31), when New Hampshire used an 8-0 run to pull ahead 39-38. The score was later tied at 42-42, when Jordan Stevens hit a jumper to put Holy Cross back in front. The lead would still be just one point (51-50) with two minutes left, before a pair of Brown free throws and a three-pointer by Stevens made the score 56-50. The Crusaders extended the lead to 10 points with 38.4 seconds to go, before the Wildcats ran off seven quick points to make the score 60-57 with 9.6 seconds remaining. Burrell then drained a pair of free throws to put the game away, as Holy Cross held on for the victory. New Hampshire was led by Patrick Konan with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Chris Matagrano added 11 points and seven boards.

BURRELL TAKES OVER AT THE POINT: Freshman Justin Burrell (Dumfries, Va.) has taken over as Holy Cross' starting point guard this season. He has started all eight of the Crusaders' game so far this year, averaging 8.0 points, 4.3 assists and 1.4 rebounds per contest, while hitting 78.3 percent (18 of 23) of his free throw attempts. During Saturday's victory over New Hampshire, Burrell scored 13 points and hit eight of nine attempts from the foul line. Previously at Providence, he totaled a career-high 15 points, six assists, two rebounds and two steals. Burrell also had a strong game in the victory over Hartford, recording 10 points, six rebounds and three assists. A few of his top performances earlier in the season came against the College of Charleston (10 points, three assists), Harvard (six points, two assists) and Boston College (five points, career-high seven assists). With his 10 points in the season opener at the College of Charleston, he became the first Crusader to hit double figures in his collegiate debut since R.J. Evans had 15 points against Sacred Heart in 2008.

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 eight games played this season, Dudzinski has averaged 10.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 0.9 blocks, while making 57.1 percent (32 of 56) of his field goal attempts. During the Providence game, he posted career highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds, while hitting nine of 13 field goal attempts. Previously at Maine, Dudzinski led the team with 20 points, five rebounds and two steals. He also played well against Boston College, totaling 10 points and six rebounds. A few of Dudzinski's other top games this year have come against the College of Charleston (14 points, five rebounds, two steals) and Harvard (six points, eight rebounds, career-high four blocked shots). 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 209 points, 131 rebounds and 17 blocked shots, and made 55.7 percent (83 of 149) of his field goal attempts.

THE LAST MEETING WITH COLUMBIA: Columbia's Erik Crep hit a three-point field goal with 11 seconds left to play, breaking a 53-53 tie and lifting the Lions to a 56-53 victory over Holy Cross at the Hart Center on Nov. 15, 1998. The game was close early on, and the Lions held a 15-12 lead with 7:34 left in the first half. The Crusaders then went on a 19-2 run to claim a 14-point lead (31-17), with Juan Pegues scoring nine points during that spurt. Columbia scored the final five points of the half, to trail 31-22 heading into the locker room. Holy Cross was still up by 10 (39-29) with 14:56 remaining in regulation when the Lions went on an 18-4 run to pull back in front, regaining the lead with 9:50 left to play on a three-pointer by Crep. Columbia was till up by four points (53-49) with three minutes to go, before a Jared Curry layup and a pair of free throws by Ryan Serravalle tied the score at 53-53 with 1:37 left to play. Neither team would score again until Crep's game-winning three-pointer with 11 seconds remaining, before the Crusaders missed two attempts to tie the game as the clock ran down. Pegues finished with 18 points and eight rebounds for Holy Cross, while Serravalle added 16 points. Justin Namolik had a team-high 15 points for Columbia, and Crep added 14 points and seven boards.

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 eight games played so far this year, he has averaged 5.9 points and 2.4 rebounds, while making 50.0 percent (eight of 16) of his three-point field goal attempts. During the Maine game, 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 250 points, 95 rebounds and 51 assists.

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 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.

HOLY CROSS FACES TOUGH SLATE: Even though Holy Cross is off to an 3-5 start this season, it has faced one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the Patriot League. All five of the Crusaders' losses this year have come against teams ranked in the top 140 of the ratings percentage index: Harvard (31st), the College of Charleston (85th), Fairfield (87th), Maine (117th) and Providence (136th). Holy Cross' opponents have combined to go 33-26 so far this season, good for a .559 winning percentage. Through games of Dec. 4, the Crusaders' schedule was ranked as the 189th-hardest in the nation by The only Patriot League team with a tougher schedule is Bucknell at 155th, but the Bison played a game against Division II West Alabama which does not factor in the strength of schedule rankings.

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 eight games, he has averaged 7.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest. Beans has also become a threat from beyond the arc, making 42.1 percent (eight of 19) 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. He also posted nine points and four rebounds against New Hampshire, and scored nine points in the Providence game. Last year, Beans played in only seven games due to injury. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has recorded 106 points, 73 rebounds and eight blocked shots.

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 11-26 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 106-146 (.421). 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).

CRUSADERS AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 322-130 at the Hart Center, including a 2-1 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 109-38 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).

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, 221 rebounds and 68 blocked shots.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 93rd season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1302-875 (.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.

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 (152), fifth in career three-point field goal attempts (392) and sixth in career free throw percentage (.803). In addition, junior guard R.J. Evans ranks ninth all-time in career minutes played per game (29.3), and senior guard Mike Cavataio is 10th all-time in career minutes played per game (29.0).

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 LIONS: Columbia enters the contest with an overall record of 5-4 on the season. The Lions have won their last five games in a row, and captured the title of the Centennial Classic at Loyola Marymount over the weekend. Junior guard Brian Barbour currently leads the team by averaging 15.1 points, 2.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Meiko Lyles has added 9.2 points and 2.4 rebounds per contest, while junior center Mark Cisco is chipping in with 7.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. The Lions are led by Kyle Smith, who owns a career record of 20-17 in two seasons as Columbia's head coach. Smith previously served as an assistant coach at St. Mary's (Calif.), Air Force and San Diego.

DRIBBLES: Holy Cross is currently the best shooting team in the Patriot League, making 45.6 percent of its field goals this season (204 of 447). The Crusaders have shot better than 50 percent from the floor three times this year, making a season-best 56.6 percent of their shots (30 of 53) in the victory over Hartford on Nov. 23 ... The Crusaders have hit 70.6 percent of their free throws on the year. Sophomore forward Dave Dudzinski currently leads the team by hitting 18 of 21 attempts from the charity stripe (85.7 percent) ... 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 ... 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 taking part in the event once again this year.