March 10, 2006
LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Senior guard Kevin Hamilton (Queens Village, N.Y.) totaled 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals, but it was not enough as the Holy Cross men's basketball team was defeated by Bucknell 74-59 in the Patriot League championship game at Sojka Pavilion. Junior guard Keith Simmons (Kingston, N.Y.) added 19 points, four rebounds and two assists for the Crusaders, who fall to 20-12 on the season. The Bison improve to 26-4, and earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The game was close throughout a first half which featured nine ties and seven lead changes. Holy Cross' largest lead was only two points, which it held on four different occasions in first five minutes of play. Bucknell came back to lead by six points (27-21) with 9:11 left before the break, before the Crusaders responded with a 9-2 run to go back in front. The score was tied 34-34 at the 4:52 mark, before the Bison closed the half on an 8-4 run to take a 42-38 lead into the locker room.
Holy Cross struggled to score early in the second half, though it was still down by just five points (49-44) with 13:44 left to play. But Bucknell then went on an 11-0 run over the next five and a half minutes of play, to take an insurmountable 60-44 lead. The Crusaders tried to rally in the closing minutes, but were unable to get any closer than 11 points.
Sophomore center Tim Clifford (Walpole, Mass.) finished the game with 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Holy Cross. Bucknell was led by senior guard Kevin Bettencourt with 23 points and four assists. Senior guard Charles Lee added 16 points and seven rebounds for the Bison, while junior center Chris McNaughton scored 14 points.
Following the game, Hamilton, Simmons, Bettencourt, Lee and McNaughton were selected to the All-Patriot League Tournament team, with Lee being named the Most Valuable Player.