Holy Cross Faces Sacred Heart In Home Opener

Cullen Hamilton

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The Teams: Holy Cross (0-1, 0-0 PL) vs. Sacred Heart (0-1, 0-0 NEC)
Date: November 13, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Live Video Streaming: Crusader Vision; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play
Live Audio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester; Click Here to Listen
Unofficial Live Statistics: Presto Sports Primetime
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 5-4
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 83, Sacred Heart 78 (December 5, 2012; Fairfield, Conn.)

Pos., No., Name, Ht., Wt., Cl.
F, 13, Malcolm Miller, 6-7, 210, Jr.
F, 43, Taylor Abt, 6-8, 225, Jr.
C, 50, Dave Dudzinski, 6-9, 227, Sr.
G, 3, Justin Burrell, 5-9, 165, Jr.
G, 5, Cullen Hamilton, 6-2, 185, So.

CRUSADERS TO FACE SACRED HEART IN HOME OPENER: Holy Cross will play its first home game of the 2013-2014 season when it takes on Sacred Heart at the Hart Center on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 7:00 p.m.. Following the contest against the Pioneers, the Crusaders will take part in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. The event will begin with a nationally televised game on ESPNU at North Carolina on Friday, Nov. 15, at 8:00 p.m. Holy Cross will then travel to Fairfield (Nov. 20), followed by two games at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. (Nov. 23-24).

THE SERIES WITH SACRED HEART: This will be the 10th meeting between the Crusaders and the Pioneers on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 5-4. The Crusaders have won the last two contests between the schools, including an 83-78 victory in Fairfield last season. Prior to that, Sacred Heart had come out victorious in four of the previous five meetings. For games played in Worcester, Holy Cross owns a 4-1 advantage. Overall, the home team has won seven of the eight games in the series, with the lone exception being Sacred Heart's 82-79 victory at the Hart Center on Dec. 22, 2009. The schools first met on Jan. 3, 1999, with the Crusaders winning 55-52 in Worcester.

Overall: Holy Cross leads, 5-4
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 4-1
At the Hart Center: Holy Cross leads, 4-1
Milan Brown vs. Sacred Heart: 13-5
Anthony Latina vs. Holy Cross: 0-0
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, two games

HOLY CROSS IN HOME OPENERS: The Crusaders have an all-time record of 74-17 in their opening home contest of the season. Since moving into the Hart Center, Holy Cross has posted a 28-10 mark in its home opener, including a 9-4 mark over the last 13 years. The Crusaders won their first home game last season, defeating Maine 57-54.

CRUSADERS AGAINST THE NORTHEAST CONFERENCE: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 22-9 against the 10 schools which currently compete in the Northeast Conference. The Crusaders are 13-4 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, 5-4 against Sacred Heart, 10-3 vs. St. Francis (N.Y.) and 0-1 against St. Francis (Pa.).

DUDZINSKI PLAYS BIG IN THE POST: Senior forward Dave Dudzinski (Elburn, Ill.) is once again a key player for the Crusaders in the low post positions this season, after being named second team All-Patriot League a year ago. During the season opener against Harvard, Dudzinski led the team with 25 points, six rebounds and three steals. Last year, he averaged a team-best 15.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per contest, while connecting 48.3 percent (166 of 344) of his field goals and 81.7 percent (107 of 131) of his free throws. During the 2013 Patriot League quarterfinal game at Lafayette, Dudzinski led the team with 22 points and eight rebounds. Some of his other top games last year came at San Francisco (31 points, seven rebounds), against Columbia (31 points), against Bucknell (26 points, five rebounds), at Harvard (22 points), against Morgan State (20 points, eight rebounds), against New Hampshire (19 points, eight rebounds, three steals), at American (19 points, seven rebounds), at Sacred Heart (19 points, five rebounds), against Yale (18 points, nine rebounds, four blocks) and at Navy (16 points, 10 rebounds). During the 2011-2012 campaign, Dudzinski averaged 9.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks, while making 48.7 percent (97 of 199) of his field goal attempts and 83.1 percent of his free throws (69 of 83). As a freshman in 2010-2011, he was named to the 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. Over the course of his collegiate career, Dudzinski has now totaled 878 points, 453 rebounds and 69 blocked shots, while connecting on 49.7 percent (323 of 650) of his field goals and 80.4 percent (197 of 245) of his free throws.

BURRELL LEADS HOLY CROSS FROM THE POINT: Junior Justin Burrell (Dumfries, Va.) is now in his third season as Holy Cross' starting point guard. During the season opener against Harvard, Burrell recorded eight points and four assists with no turnovers. In 30 games played last year, he averaged 12.1 points, 3.7 assists and 2.0 rebounds per contest, while hitting 91.3 percent (63 of 69) of his free throws. Burrell totaled a career-high 30 points, five assists and three rebounds during last year's victory at Sacred Heart, while recording 29 points, four assists and three rebounds in the win over Columbia. A few of his other top games last season came against Dartmouth (19 points, four assists), against Lafayette (19 points, six assists, two steals), against Yale (17 points, three assists, two rebounds), against Texas-San Antonio (17 points, three rebounds, two steals), against Morgan State (16 points, four assists), at Bucknell (16 points, three assists), at Lehigh (16 points), at Old Dominion (15 points, six rebounds) and at San Francisco (15 points). Burrell previously earned Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors in 2011-2012, after averaging 7.4 points, 3.7 assists and 2.0 rebounds per contest, and hitting 77.4 percent (65 of 84) of his free throw attempts. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Burrell has now totaled 584 points, 220 assists, 118 rebounds and 36 steals, while making 83.8 percent (129 of 154) of his free throws.

CRUSADERS AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 337-137 at the Hart Center, including a 7-5 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 32 out of 38 seasons, while recording double-figure home victories 17 times. The Crusaders stand 124-45 at home since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, including a 79-24 record against Patriot League foes.

HARVARD RECAP: Dave Dudzinski totaled 25 points, six rebounds and three steals, but Holy Cross was defeated by Harvard 82-72 in the final game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Tripleheader at the TD Garden on Nov. 10, 2013. Dudzinski hit nine of 14 shots from the field, two of three attempts from three-point range and all five of his free throws on the night. Holy Cross held a 5-4 lead early in the game, before going on a 9-2 run to take an eight-point advantage (14-6) with 15 minutes remaining in the first half. The Crusaders were still up by five (23-18), when Harvard scored the next seven points to pull in front. After the score was tied at 25-25, the Crimson used a 10-1 spurt to claim a nine-point lead (35-26). Harvard would eventually take a 45-39 advantage into the locker room at half time. The Crimson was able to extend its lead to 10 points (53-43) early in the second half, and led 58-51 with 8:22 left to play. Holy Cross then went on a 10-1 run, reclaiming the lead (61-60) with 5:49 to go on a three-point play by Malachi Alexander. But Siyani Chambers scored the next seven points, putting Harvard back in front for good. The Crusaders would get no closer than four points the rest of the way, as the Crimson hit seven of eight free throws down the stretch to earn the victory. Cullen Hamilton scored nine points for Holy Cross, while Malcolm Miller added eight points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots. Alexander also played well, scoring all seven of his points in the second half. Harvard was led by Jonah Travis with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Wesley Saunders with 18 points, six rebounds and four assists.

MILLER MAKES PRESENCE FELT ON THE WING: Junior forward Malcolm Miller (Laytonsville, Md.) looks to be one of the top perimeter players for the Crusaders in 2013-2014. During the season opener against Harvard, Miller totaled eight points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots. In 27 games played last season, he averaged 5.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.8 blocks per contest. During the victory at Navy, Miller posted his first career double-double with 13 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. He also had a big game against American, totaling a career-best 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. A few of Miller's other top performances last season came at Boston College (13 points, four rebounds, two steals), against Lehigh (10 points, nine rebounds, three assists)), against New Hampshire (10 points, seven rebounds), against Texas-San Antonio (10 points), against Army (nine points, five rebounds, two assists), against Navy (nine points, four assists) and at San Francisco (eight points, six rebounds, two assists). As a freshman in 2011-2012, Miller averaged 2.4 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 212 points, 198 rebounds, 57 assists, 34 blocked shots and 25 steals.

CRUSADERS PICKED SEVENTH IN PRESEASON POLL: In the 2013-2014 Patriot League preseason poll, Holy Cross was picked to finish in seventh place in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 70 total points in the conference preseason poll. Boston University placed first in the poll, with 162 total points and 18 first-place votes, followed by Lafayette in second with 130 points and two first-place votes, Army in third (115 points), Bucknell in fourth (113 points), Loyola (Md.) in fifth (109 points) and Lehigh in sixth (93 points). The preseason rankings were rounded out by Colgate (eighth, 49 points), American (ninth, 36 points) and Navy (10th, 23 points).

DUDZINSKI NAMED PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE: Senior forward Dave Dudzinski 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 Bucknell senior guard Cameron Ayers, Loyola (Md.) senior guard Dylon Cormier, Boston University senior guard D.J. Irving and Lehigh senior guard Mackey McKnight. In addition, Irving was selected as the preseason Patriot League Player of the Year.

HOLY CROSS NAMES CAPTAINS: Junior guard Justin Burrell and senior forward Dave Dudzinski have been selected as the Crusaders' captains for the 2013-2014 season. Both Burrell and Dudzinski were also among Holy Cross' leaders during the 2012-2013 season, serving as tri-captains along with Phil Beans.

THE LAST MEETING WITH SACRED HEART: Justin Burrell scored a career-high 30 points to lead Holy Cross to an 83-78 victory over Sacred Heart at the William H. Pitt Center on Dec. 5, 2012. Burrell, who made 11 of 15 field goal attempts, four of six three-pointers and all four of his free throws, netted 20 of his points in the first half to eclipse his previous career high of 17 before the break. Dave Dudzinski totaled 19 points and five rebounds for Holy Cross, while Phil Beans added 18 points, five rebounds and two assists. Sacred Heart was led by Shane Gibson with 24 points and three steals. The Crusaders opened the game by scoring the first eight points, and used a 9-0 run a few minutes later to take a 22-8 lead with 14:14 remaining in the first half. Burrell scored 12 of Holy Cross' first 22 points on the night, sinking four three-point field goals. The Pioneers were able to cut the margin down to seven points (26-19) at the 9:19-mark, before a pair of layups by Burrell pushed the lead back to double digits. The Crusaders would lead by as many as 15 points late in the half, before taking a 46-32 advantage into the locker room. Holy Cross held onto a double-figure lead early in the second half, and increased the margin to 17 points (59-42) with 13:40 left to play. But Sacred Heart then went on an 11-1 run over the next three and a half minutes to get back into the game. The Crusaders were still up by nine (72-63) with 4:24 remaining, when the Pioneers used a 9-0 spurt to tie up the game at 72-72 with 2:02 left to play. On Holy Cross' next possession, Jordan Stevens hit a three-point field goal as the shot clock expired to put the Crusaders back in front for good. Holy Cross then made eight of 10 free throws in the final 1:13 to hold on for the victory. Holy Cross set season highs by making 52.7 percent of its field goal attempts (29 of 55) and 42.5 percent of its three-pointers (10 of 23). The Crusaders also outrebounded the Pioneers 35-26 on the night.

CRUSADERS KNOCK DOWN FREE THROWS: Holy Cross looks to be an excellent free throw shooting team in 2013-2014, after knocking down 17 of 21 attempts (81.0 percent) from the charity stripe against Harvard in the season opener. Last season, the Crusaders made 75.3 percent (351 of 466) of their foul shots as a team. Guard Justin Burrell led the team by hitting 91.3 percent (63 of 69) of his free throws in 2012-2013, while center Phil Beans made 88.0 percent (44 of 50) of his attempts at the charity stripe and forward Dave Dudzinski knocked down 81.7 percent (107 of 131) of his foul shots. The Crusaders posted the second-best single-season free throw percentage in school history, behind only the 1961-1962 Holy Cross squad which knocked down 77.6 percent (505 of 651) of its free throws. Prior to last year, the Crusaders had not made at least 75 percent of their foul shots for an entire season since 1978-1979 (75.1 percent, 560 of 746).

HAMILTON LOOKS TO BUILD ON ALL-ROOKIE SEASON: Sophomore guard Cullen Hamilton (Washington, D.C.) should be a key player for the Crusaders on the wing this year, after being selected to the Patriot League All-Rookie team in 2012-2013. In the season opener against Harvard, he scored nine points. Hamilton averaged 6.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game last season, and made 36.1 percent (22 of 61) of his three-point attempts in Patriot League regular season play. During the home game with Lafayette, he scored a career-high 18 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while hitting six of eight shots from the floor and four of six attempts from three-point range. A few of Hamilton's other top games last season came at Old Dominion (15 points, four rebounds), against American (13 points, two assists), against New Hampshire (11 points), against Dartmouth (10 points, five rebounds, two assists) and at Bucknell (10 points, four rebounds). His 15 points against Old Dominion were the most by a Holy Cross player in his collegiate debut since R.J. Evans scored 15 points against Sacred Heart in 2008.

HOLY CROSS SHINES ON THE DEFENSIVE END: The Crusaders look to once again be a strong defensive team in 2013-2014, despite giving up 82 points to Harvard in the season opener. Last year, Holy Cross gave up only 64.3 points per contest, while holding the opposition to 42.0 percent shooting from the field and 31.8 percent shooting from three-point range. The Crusaders also averaged 3.5 blocked shots per game, and outrebounded the opposition by 0.1 boards per contest. In addition, Holy Cross held 11 of its opponents to 60 points or less in regulation. In 2011-2012, the Crusaders ranked first in the Patriot League in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.5 percent) and blocked shots (4.4 blocks per game), while holding their opponents to 66.8 points per game and 42.1 percent field goal shooting overall.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 95th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1326-903 (.595), 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 IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders finished the 2012-2013 season ranked among the top 125 in NCAA Division I leaders for five statistical categories. In addition, Justin Burrell and Dave Dudzinski ended the year among the top 250 in the nation in individual statistics. The rankings:

Category Rank    Player / Team Avg.
Free Throw Percent 17   Holy Cross 75.3
  106   Dave Dudzinski 81.7
Three-Point Percent Defense 73   Holy Cross 31.8
Field Goal Percent 103   Dave Dudzinski 48.3
Fewest Turnovers 106   Holy Cross 12.4
Scoring Defense 113   Holy Cross 64.3
Fewest Personal Fouls 123   Holy Cross 17.1
Scoring 186   Dave Dudzinski 15.2
Assists 188   Justin Burrell 3.7
Rebounding 244   Dave Dudzinski 6.6

CRUSADERS LOOKING FOR SIXTH PATRIOT LEAGUE REGULAR SEASON TITLE: During the 2013-2014 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' three outright titles are the second-most in league history, and Holy Cross' five total championships are tied for the second-most in conference history with Navy (one outright, four shared), behind only Bucknell (five outright, three shared).

BROWN NOW IN FOURTH YEAR WITH CRUSADERS: Milan Brown is in his fourth season as the head coach at Holy Cross in 2012-2013, with an overall record of 35-54 and a 20-22 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 130-173 (.429). 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 OWNS FIVE PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT CROWNS: Seven years ago, the Crusaders captured their fifth Patriot League Tournament crown with a 74-66 victory over Bucknell on March 9, 2007. Holy Cross' previous tournament titles came in 2003 (72-64 over American), 2002 (58-54 at American), 2001 (68-64 over Navy in overtime) and 1993 (98-73 at Bucknell). The Crusaders' five conference tournament championships are the most in Patriot League history, with Navy (1994, 1997 and 1998) and Bucknell (2005, 2006 and 2011) being tied for second. Holy Cross has also appeared in the championship game seven times in the last 12 years. Overall, the Crusaders have made a conference-record 10 appearances in the Patriot League championship game.

CRUSADER VISION & THE PATRIOT LEAGUE NETWORK: Live video streaming of all Holy Cross home non-conference games and most Patriot League regular season games during the 2013-2014 season will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision and the Patriot League Network. The package, done in association with Campus Insiders, is available free of charge. For details on how to view games through Crusader Vision or the Patriot League Network, click here.

CRUSADERS ON TELEVISION: Holy Cross will have at least 10 games shown on live television during the 2013-2014 season. The Crusaders had seven television appearances last year, while appearing on television seven times in 2011-2012, eight times in 2010-2011, 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 2013-2014 season:

Nov. 10 vs. Harvard: New England Sports Network
Nov. 15 at North Carolina: ESPNU
Nov. 30 at New Hampshire: WBIN TV18
Dec. 28 at Michigan: Big Ten Network
Jan. 8 vs. Colgate: Charter TV3
Jan. 22 at Lafayette: Lafayette Sports Network
Jan. 29 vs. Loyola (Md.): Charter TV3
Feb. 4 at Colgate: CBS Sports Network
Feb. 9 vs. Bucknell: CBS Sports Network
Feb. 15 at Lehigh: Service Electric Cable

HOLY CROSS ON THE RADIO: Twelve of the Crusaders' basketball contests during the 2013-2014 season will be carried by Emmanuel Radio, WNEB 1230 AM in Worcester.  Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 27th season calling the play-by-play for Crusader basketball on the radio. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their 10th year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. All games aired on Emmanuel Radio can also be heard live over the internet by clicking here. WCHC 88.1 FM, the Holy Cross student station, will also carry a number of games this year.

CRUSADERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Updates on Holy Cross basketball can be found through the Holy Cross Athletics pages on the following social media networks:

Facebook: Holy Cross Athletics
Twitter: @GoHolyCross
YouTube: GoHolyCross
Instagram: GoHolyCross

E-MAIL ALERTS: Get all the latest news and results on the Holy Cross men's basketball team sent directly to your e-mail. To sign up for e-mail alerts, click here.

SCOUTING THE PIONEERS: Sacred Heart enters the contest with an overall record of 0-1 on the season, after falling to Fairfield 67-54 in their season opener. Senior forward Louis Montes led the Pioneers by scoring 19 points against the Stags. Junior guard Evan Kelley added eight points, three rebounds and two steals, while freshman guard Leo Vincent chipped in with seven points, four steals and three boards. Sacred Heart is led by Anthony Latina, who is 0-1 in his first season as the Pioneers' head coach. Latina previously spent eight years as an assistant coach for Sacred Heart, and also served as an assistant coach at Central Connecticut and UMass-Lowell.

DRIBBLES: In the latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate Report, for the four-class aggregate of entering classes from 2003 through 2006, the Crusader men's basketball team posted a perfect 100 percent graduation rate. Holy Cross' overall Graduation Success Rate for all student-athletes was 98 percent, tied for the fourth-best mark among all Division I schools ... Holy Cross has received an NCAA Academic Progress Rate Public Recognition Award in each of the last eight seasons, for having a multi-year APR in the top 10 percent of all Division I men's basketball teams in the nation ... Holy Cross is taking part in the Coach4aDay Program during the 2013-2014 season, with opportunities auctioned off for a guest "assistant coach," with the proceeds going to charity. For more information, visit "www.coach4aday.com".