WORCESTER, Mass. – Junior forward Dave Dudzinski (Elburn, Ill.) tied his career-high by scoring 31 points, as the Holy Cross men's basketball team downed Columbia 78-69 at the Hart Center. Sophomore guard Justin Burrell (Dumfries, Va.) also had an excellent night for the Crusaders, totaling 29 points, four assists and three rebounds. Holy Cross improves to 8-7 on the season with the victory, while the Lions fall to 8-6 on the year.
Dudzinski hit 10 of 14 field goals on the night, including both of his three-point attempts, and also downed all nine of his shots at the foul line. Burrell shot the ball just as well, hitting nine of 13 field goals, two of three three-pointers and nine of 10 free throws. As a team, Holy Cross connected on 51.0 percent of its shots from the field (26 of 51), 54.5 percent of its three-point attempts (six of 11) and 90.9 percent of its foul shots (20 of 22). The Crusaders also held a 29-24 rebounding advantage on the night, while committing just nine turnovers.
The score was close for the majority of the first half, with neither team leading by more than five points for the first 15 minutes of play. The Lions held a 25-23 advantage with 5:25 remaining before the break, when the Crusaders closed out the half with an 11-0 run to claim a 34-25 lead heading into the locker room. Burrell scored eight points during that Holy Cross spurt, and totaled 17 points in the first half.
The Crusaders extended their lead to double figures early in the second half, and were up by 14 (43-29) with 16 minutes left to play. A few minutes later, Columbia went on a 7-0 run to get back into the game, eventually closing the margin to five points (53-48) with 8:57 remaining. The Holy Cross lead stayed between five and 10 points for the next several minutes, and the Crusaders were clinging to a seven-point lead (70-63) with 3:37 left on the clock. Holy Cross then used a quick 6-0 spurt to go up by 13 (76-63) and put the game away. The Lions managed to hit a pair of three-pointers in the final minute, trimming the final margin down to nine points.
Freshman guard Cullen Hamilton (Washington, D.C.) totaled eight points, three rebounds and two assists for the Crusaders. Grant Mullins recorded 16 points, five rebounds and three assists, to lead five Columbia players in double-figures.
Holy Cross returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 12, when it travels to Lehigh for its Patriot League opener at 2:00 p.m. The Holy Cross-Lehigh contest will be shown live to a national audience on the CBS Sports Network.