WORCESTER, Mass. – Junior forward Malcolm Miller (Laytonsville, Md.) totaled 19 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots, as the Holy Cross men's basketball team defeated Lehigh 54-48 at the Hart Center in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Tournament. The Crusaders improve to 19-12 on the season, and advance to play at American in the semifinals on Saturday, March 8, at 5:30 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network. The Mountain Hawks conclude the year at 14-18 overall.
Holy Cross turned in an outstanding defensive performance, holding Lehigh to 32.3 percent shooting from the field (20 of 62) and 14.3 percent shooting from three-point range (three of 21). The Crusaders hit 40.4 percent of their own shots (21 of 52) and 35.3 percent of their three-pointers (six of 17) on the night, but made just 54.5 percent of their free throws (six of 11).
The game was close early on, and the Mountain Hawks held a 12-11 lead with 12 minutes remaining in the first half. Holy Cross then went on an 8-2 run to claim the lead, and would later lead by eight points (28-20) late in the half. Lehigh responded with a quick 4-0 spurt of its own to make the score 28-24 at halftime.
The Crusaders started the second half hot, using an 8-0 run over the first 2:27 to increase their lead to 12 points (36-24). Holy Cross was still up by 12 (39-27) with 14:36 left to play, when the Mountain Hawks used a 10-3 spurt to get back into the game. The Crusader lead would later stand at eight points (50-42) with 4:21 on the clock, before Lehigh used a 6-0 run to make it a two-point game (50-48) with less than a minute to play. But on Holy Cross' next possession, senior forward Dave Dudzinski (Elburn, Ill.) hit a short jumper to put the Crusaders back up by four (52-48). The Mountain Hawks would not score again, and Miller added two free throws with 22.0 seconds on the clock to ice the victory.
Dudzinski finished the game with 12 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots, while junior guard Justin Burrell (Dumfries, Va.) added nine points, four rebounds and two assists. Freshman guard Anthony Thompson (Glenn Dale, Md.) also played well, finishing with seven points, six rebounds and a career-high nine assists. Lehigh was led by Mackey McKnight with 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists.