Crusaders Play Host To Sacred Heart On Friday Night

Taylor Abt

Complete Release in PDF Format

The Teams: Holy Cross (3-6, 0-0 PL) vs. Sacred Heart (5-5, 1-1 NEC)
Date: December 9, 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
Live Video Streaming: Crusader Vision
Unofficial Live Statistics: Presto Sports Primetime
Series Record: Sacred Heart leads, 4-3
Last Meeting: Sacred Heart 77, Holy Cross 75 (January 2, 2011; Fairfield, Conn.)

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 SACRED HEART: This will be just the eighth meeting between the Crusaders and the Pioneers on the hardwood, with Sacred Heart leading the all-time series 4-3. The Crusaders won the first two games in the series with a pair of victories at the Hart Center, 55-52 on Jan. 3, 1999, and 63-48 on Jan. 6, 2000. Sacred Heart then came back to win two straight meetings between the schools in Fairfield, 66-61 on Jan. 3, 2001, and 61-58 on Dec. 30, 2007. After Holy Cross posted a 67-58 victory at the Hart Center on Nov. 14, 2008, the Pioneers won the last games (82-79 in Worcester on Dec. 22, 2009; and 77-75 in Fairfield on Jan. 2, 2011).

Overall: Sacred Heart leads, 4-3
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 3-1
At the Hart Center: Holy Cross leads, 3-1
Milan Brown vs. Sacred Heart: 11-5
Dave Bike vs. Holy Cross: 4-3
Current Win Streak: Sacred Heart, two games

CRUSADERS RETURN HOME TO FACE SACRED HEART: Holy Cross returns to the Hart Center this week to face Sacred Heart 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. The Crusaders will then play host to San Francisco on Thursday, Dec. 22, at 7:00 p.m., before another nine-day layoff for Christmas.

CRUSADERS AGAINST THE NORTHEAST CONFERENCE: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 22-9 against the 12 schools which currently compete in the Northeast Conference. The Crusaders are 11-4 against Northeast Conference foes since 1985, with the only four losses during that time coming against Sacred Heart. Holy Cross stands 2-0 all-time against Central Connecticut, 1-1 vs. Long Island, 4-0 against Mount St. Mary's, 2-0 vs. Quinnipiac, 3-4 against Sacred Heart, 10-3 vs. St. Francis (N.Y.) and 0-1 against St. Francis (Pa.).

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 nine games played so far this year, Evans has averaged 12.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.2 steals, while hitting 50.5 percent (49 of 97) of his field goal attempts. During the 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 991 points, 383 rebounds, 162 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 Sacred Heart game needing only nine 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 few years, and was selected second team All-Patriot League in 2010-2011. In nine games played so far this season, he has averaged 13.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists, while shooting 43.9 percent (18 of 41) 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 1,131 points, 206 rebounds and 127 assists, while hitting 38.5 percent (154 of 400) 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.

COLUMBIA RECAP: Columbia's Mark Cisco hit a free throw with 2.4 seconds remaining, to break a 45-45 tie and lift the Lions to a 46-45 victory over Holy Cross at Levien Gymnasium on Dec. 6, 2011. The Crusaders held Columbia to just 24.6 percent shooting on the night, but committed 18 turnovers and allowed the Lions to grab 13 offensive rebounds. Columbia also shot 16 free throws in the second half, to just three for Holy Cross. On the night, the Crusaders were called for 18 fouls, while the Lions were whistled for just nine fouls. The game was tied at 2-2 early on when the Crusaders went on an 11-1 run to pull in front by 10, with Malcolm Miller scoring five points during that spurt. Holy Cross was up by seven (20-13) with 7:36 left until the break, before closing out the half with a 10-1 run to extend its lead to 30-14 heading into the locker room. The Crusaders increased their lead to 20 points (35-15) early in the second half, when the Lions went on a 15-0 run to get back into the game. Columbia eventually came all the way back to tie the score at 41-41, and the game was still tied at 45-45 with less than a minute to play. After Holy Cross missed a potential game-winning shot with 2.4 seconds remaining, the Crusaders were called for a foul on the rebound. Cisco then hit one-of-two free throws to give the Lions their only lead of the game. R.J. Evans had eight points and seven rebounds on the night, with Dave Dudzinski adding eight points and five boards. Cisco led Columbia with 14 points and eight rebounds.

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 nine games played this season, Dudzinski has averaged 10.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks, while making 55.6 percent (35 of 63) 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 217 points, 136 rebounds and 17 blocked shots, and made 55.1 percent (86 of 156) of his field goal attempts.

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.

THE LAST MEETING WITH SACRED HEART: Dave Dudzinski and Jordan Stevens both scored 15 points, but Holy Cross was defeated by Sacred Heart 77-75 at the William H. Pitt Center on Jan. 2, 2011. Dudzinski made all six of his field goal attempts and both of his shots from three-point range, while Stevens was five-of-eight from the field and three-of-five from behind the arc. The score was close early on, and the Pioneers held an 11-10 lead with 12:41 left in the first half. Holy Cross then went on a 9-0 run over the next three minutes to claim an eight-point lead (19-11), with Dudzinski scoring six of those points. Sacred Heart used an 8-0 spurt a few minutes later to close the gap, and the Crusaders eventually led 30-27 with four minutes left before the break. The Pioneers then closed out the half on a 13-1 run, to claim a 40-31 advantage heading into the locker room. After Jerrell Thompson hit a jumper on the opening possession of the second half to give Sacred Heart an 11-point lead (42-31), Holy Cross scored the next five points to work its way back into the game. The Crusaders eventually regained the lead (59-58) with 10:18 left to play on a layup by Dee Goens. Neither team led by more than two points for the next five minutes, before a three-pointer by Louis Montes put the Pioneers up 66-61. Holy Cross was able to close the gap to three points (76-73) with 22.8 seconds to go on a pair of free throws by Andrew Beinert, before Devin Brown had a steal and a layup to make it a one-point game.  Montes then made one-of-two free throws with 15.8 seconds to go to make the score 77-75. The Crusaders had one last possession in the closing seconds, and Dudzinski was tripped while going to the basket, but no call was made and time expired. Beinert finished the game with 11 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Brown added 10 points, three rebounds and two assists.

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 nine of the Crusaders' game so far this year, averaging 7.6 points, 4.0 assists and 1.8 rebounds per contest, while hitting 78.3 percent (18 of 23) of his free throw attempts. During the 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.

HOLY CROSS FACES TOUGH SLATE: Even though Holy Cross is off to an 3-6 start this season, it has faced the toughest non-conference schedule in the Patriot League. Five of the Crusaders' losses this year have come against teams ranked in the top 135 of the ratings percentage index: Harvard (23rd), the College of Charleston (86th), Fairfield (87th), Maine (121st) and Providence (135th). Holy Cross' opponents have combined to go 40-31 so far this season, good for a .563 winning percentage. Through games of Dec. 6, the Crusaders' schedule was ranked as the 205th-hardest in the nation by The second hardest schedule in the Patriot League currently belongs to American at 226th.

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 nine games played so far this year, he has averaged 5.7 points and 2.2 rebounds, while making 44.4 percent (eight of 18) 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 254 points, 96 rebounds and 51 assists.

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 nine games, he has averaged 7.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest. Beans has also become a threat from beyond the arc, making 45.0 percent (nine of 20) 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 112 points, 75 rebounds and nine 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 (154), fifth in career three-point field goal attempts (400) 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).

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.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 93rd season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1302-876 (.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.

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 11-27 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 106-147 (.419). 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 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 six 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. 11 vs. Navy: Charter TV3
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, click here.

CRUSADER VISION: Live video streaming of selected home non-conference games during the 2011-2012 season will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision. The package, done in association with Stretch Internet, is available through individual game pay-per-view. For more details on how to sign up for Crusader Vision, click here.

SCOUTING THE PIONEERS: Sacred Heart stands 5-5 overall and 1-1 in the Northeast Conference. The Pioneers have lost their last two games, and are coming off a 73-71 setback against Yale on Monday. Junior guard Shane Gibson leads the team with an average of 18.3 points per game, while hitting 35.6 percent (16 of 45) of his three-point field goal attempts. Junior forward Justin Swidowski is also off to a strong start this year, averaging 13.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest. Sacred Heart is led by Dave Bike, who owns an overall record of 511-456 in 34 seasons as the Pioneers' head coach.

DRIBBLES: The Crusaders have hit 69.6 percent of their free throws on the year. Sophomore forward Dave Dudzinski currently leads the team by hitting 19 of 23 attempts from the charity stripe (82.6 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.