Dec. 21, 2005
GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico -- Mississippi State guard Jamall Edmondson hit a three-point field goal with 4.5 seconds remaining to lift the Bulldogs to a 76-75 victory over the Holy Cross men's basketball team in the third place game of the San Juan Shootout. The Crusaders were led by senior guard Kevin Hamilton (Queens Village, N.Y.) with 27 points, six assists and three steals. Holy Cross falls to 5-6 overall on the season with the loss, while Mississippi State improves to 9-3 with the win.
The Crusaders held a 72-65 lead with 1:21 remaining in the game when the Bulldogs began their comeback. Dietric Slater and Reginald Delk hit a pair of baskets for Mississippi State to make the score 72-69, before Hamilton made two free throws to put Holy Cross back up by five. But Walter Sharpe then made a shot, and following a turnover, Jamont Gordon scored to make the score 74-73. Freshman forward Alex Vander Baan (Uxbridge, Mass.) was able to hit on only one of two free throw attempts for the Crusaders with 11.7 seconds remaining, before Edmondson made the game-winning three-pointer.
The game was close throughout a first half which featured five ties and six lead changes. Holy Cross' largest lead of the half was five points on three different occasions (16-11, 18-13 and 33-28), while Mississippi State led by as many as six points (26-20). The Bulldogs were up by one point with 30 seconds remaining before the break, before junior guard Torey Thomas (White Plains, N.Y.) hit his third three-pointer of the half to give the Crusaders a 39-37 lead heading into the locker room.
Holy Cross came out hot to start the second half, using an 8-2 run to build a 47-39 lead. But Mississippi State came back with a 9-0 run to go up 56-51 with eight minutes left to play. The Crusaders used a 9-0 run of their own to regain the lead, and increased their advantage to nine points (70-61 with 2:50 left), before the Bulldogs came back for the win.
Vander Baan finished the game with a career-high 21 points and nine rebounds, while Thomas totaled 13 points and three assists. Holy Cross was also 22 of 25 (88.0 percent) at the free throw line in the game.
Delk led Mississippi State with 17 points, while Gordon added 14 points and six assists, and Edmondson finished with 12 points. The Bulldogs shot 58.8 percent from the field on the day (30 of 51), and 43.8 percent from three-point range (seven of 16).
Holy Cross returns to action next Tuesday, Dec. 27, when it travels to George Mason for a 7:00 p.m. contest.