Dec. 29, 2006
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Senior guard Keith Simmons (Kingston, N.Y.) scored a season-high 23 points, but it was not enough as the Holy Cross men's basketball team was defeated by Niagara 67-61 on the second day of the La Salle Invitational at Tom Gola Arena. Simmons hit eight of 14 shots from the floor, including three of seven attempts from three-point range. The Crusaders fall to 7-6 on the season with the loss, while the Purple Eagles improve to 5-7 overall.
Niagara opened the game with an 8-2 run over the first six minutes of play, and was eventually able to increase its lead to eight points, 16-8 with eight minutes left in the first half. Holy Cross then went on a 7-0 run, and eventually took a 23-22 lead on a jumper by freshman forward Adam May (Mentor, Ohio) with 1:51 left before the break. But the Purple Eagles closed out the half with a 6-0 spurt, to lead by five (28-23) heading into the locker room.
The Crusaders came out of the break on fire, opening the second half on an 11-1 run to take a five-point lead. Niagara was able to trim the lead back down to two points (39-37 with 11:27 left to play), before Holy Cross went on a 13-4 run to go up by 11 points (52-41) with just eight minutes remaining. But the Crusaders then went cold from the field, as the Purple Eagles used spurts of 6-0 and 10-0 to reclaim the lead. Cliff Brown hit a three-point field goal with 2:01 left to put Niagara in the lead for good, then the Purple Eagles hit seven of 10 free throws in the final two minutes to hold on for the win.
Senior guard Torey Thomas (White Plains, N.Y.) finished the game with 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds for Holy Cross. Charron Fisher led Niagara with 16 points and six rebounds.
Holy Cross returns to action tomorrow, December 30, when it faces Delaware at 4:00 p.m. on the final day of the La Salle Invitational. The Blue Hens stand 2-9 on the season, but are 2-0 so far in the tournament.