Jan. 18, 2007
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (13-6, 4-0 PL) vs. American (9-9, 1-3 PL)
Date: January 20, 2007
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Place: Bender Arena (4,500), Washington, D.C.
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; www.sportsjuice.com, internet; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play
American Radio: WWRC 1260 AM, Washington, D.C.; Mike Vaillancourt, play-by-play; Jeremy Huber, color
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 10-3
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 69, American 62 (February 18, 2006; Washington, D.C.)
PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS: Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. F 10 Keith Simmons 6-5 205 Sr. F 21 Alex Vander Baan 6-8 205 So. C 00 Tim Clifford 6-10 270 Jr. G 1 Torey Thomas 5-11 185 Sr. G 2 Kyle Cruze 6-2 175 Jr.
THE SERIES WITH AMERICAN: This will be the 14th meeting between the Crusaders and the Eagles on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 10-3. The Crusaders have won the last four games played between the schools, but in 2003-2004 American swept the season series. Prior to that, Holy Cross had won two straight and six of the first seven meetings. The schools have met in the Patriot League championship game twice in the last five years, with the Crusaders winning both of those games (72-64 at the Hart Center on March 14, 2003; 58-54 at Bender Arena on March 8, 2002). Holy Cross and American first met on Dec. 21, 1967, with the Crusaders posting an 81-57 victory on the road.
SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 10-3
In Washington: Holy Cross leads, 5-2
At Bender Arena: Holy Cross leads, 4-2
Ralph Willard vs. American: 9-3
Jeff Jones vs. Holy Cross: 3-9
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, four games
In Overtime: Holy Cross leads, 1-0
CRUSADERS RETURN TO THE ROAD THIS WEEK: After playing its last three games at the Hart Center, Holy Cross hits the road once again this week for two games in the span of four days. The Crusaders begin the road trip when they travel to American for a 3:00 p.m. game on Saturday, January 20. Holy Cross then heads to Colgate for a contest on Tuesday, January 23. The Crusaders stand 6-6 away from the Hart Center so far this season, including three straight wins and a 5-4 mark on the opposing team's home court. The next home game for Holy Cross comes on Friday, Jan. 26, when it plays host to Lehigh at 9:00 p.m.
SIMMONS ENJOYING OUTSTANDING SENIOR YEAR: Senior guard Keith Simmons (Kingston, N.Y.) has been Holy Cross' top player this season, averaging 18.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.4 steals in 19 games played. He has scored in double figures in 30 straight games dating back to last year, and has led the team in scoring 12 times this season. During Wednesday's victory over Navy, Simmons totaled 22 points, seven rebounds and two assists. In the previous game against Bucknell, he led the team with 22 points, four rebounds and three assists. Simmons also had a big game against Army, recording 18 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists. Some of Simmons' other top performances this season have come against Lafayette (26 points, six rebounds, three steals), Niagara (23 points, three rebounds), Syracuse (game-high 22 points), Boston University (21 points, 11 rebounds), Harvard (20 points, six rebounds), Providence (20 points, four rebounds, three steals), Hampton (19 points, six rebounds), Siena (18 points, 11 rebounds), Fairfield (18 points, five steals), Delaware (17 points, two rebounds, two assists) and William & Mary (16 points, eight rebounds, seven steals). Prior to the start of the year, Simmons was selected as a 2006-2007 preseason mid-major All-American by CollegeInsider.com (one of just 25 players from across the nation to be chosen to the squad). He was also named preseason All-Patriot League, after earning first team all-conference honors in both his sophomore and junior years. In 32 games played last season, Simmons averaged 14.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, while shooting 52.5 percent (158 of 301) from the field and 47.6 percent (60 of 126) from three-point range. Entering the American game, Simmons has scored 1,425 career points as a Crusader, while making 49.9 percent of his field goal attempts (486 of 973) and 44.0 percent from three-point range (181 of 411).
THOMAS STANDS 35 POINTS AWAY FROM 1,000: Senior guard Torey Thomas (White Plains, N.Y.) enters the American game needing just 25 points to become the 43rd 1,000-point scorer in the history of Holy Cross men's basketball. Thomas has scored 975 points in 110 games as a Crusader, good for an average of 8.9 points per contest. Last season, senior guard Keith Simmons became the 42nd 1,000-point scorer at Holy Cross, netting his 1,000th point at Colgate on Feb. 22, 2006, when he threw down a slam dunk at the 17:46-mark of the second half. Simmons now stands in 13th place all-time at Holy Cross with 1,425 points, and has a chance to become only the 11th player in school history with 1,500 career points.
CRUSADERS REMAIN TOUGH ON DEFENSE: Holy Cross is once again among the top defensive teams in the nation in 2006-2007. Through the first 19 games of the year, the Crusaders have held their opponents to 59.8 points per game, 43.0 percent shooting from the floor, and 37.9 percent shooting from three-point range. Holy Cross has also averaged 9.0 steals and 3.5 blocks per contest, while forcing the opposition to commit 16.5 turnovers per game and outrebounding its opponents by 3.2 boards per contest. In addition, the Crusaders have held 11 of their first 19 opponents to under 60 points during regulation. Last season, Holy Cross allowed just 60.5 points per game, while holding its opponents to 40.2 percent shooting from the floor and 30.3 percent shooting from three-point range. The Crusaders also forced their opponents to commit 16.0 turnovers per game, while averaging 9.1 steals and 3.5 blocks per contest, and outrebounding the opposition by 3.9 boards per game. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Holy Cross has held the opposition to only 59.0 points per contest. In addition, the Crusaders ranked in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense in four of the last five seasons (sixth in 2001-2002 at 59.6; third in 2002-2003 at 58.7; seventh in 2003-2004 at 58.6; and fifth in 2004-2005 at 56.8).
CRUSADERS IN THE RECORD BOOKS: A number of Holy Cross players have placed their names in the school's all-time record book this season. Senior guard Keith Simmons ranks second on the school career list for three-point field goals made (181), second in three-point field goal attempts (411), fourth in three-point field goal percentage (44.0 percent) and seventh in steals (159). He also ranks among the Patriot League's all-time leaders in three-point field goal percentage (44.0 percent, 1st), field goal percentage (49.9 percent, 7th), steals (159, 17th) and points scored (1,425, 21st). In addition, Simmons tied the Holy Cross single game record for steals with seven against William & Mary on Nov. 25, 2006. Senior guard Torey Thomas currently stands third all-time at Holy Cross in steals (215) and seventh in assists (394). He also ranks fifth all-time in the Patriot League in steals and eighth in assists. In addition, junior center Tim Clifford (Walpole, Mass.) stands fourth all-time at Holy Cross and 11th all-time in the Patriot League in blocked shots (111).
NAVY RECAP: Keith Simmons posted game-highs of 22 points and seven rebounds, to lead Holy Cross to a 61-42 victory over Navy at the Hart Center on Jan. 17, 2007. Simmons hit seven of 12 shots from the field, including four of seven attempts from three-point range. After Navy opened the game with an early 5-3 lead, Holy Cross scored nine straight points to build a seven-point advantage (12-5). But the Midshipmen came back with an 11-0 run to reclaim the lead, and the score remained close for the rest of the first half. After the lead changed hands a total of seven times before the break, the Crusaders would take a 20-19 advantage into the locker room. Holy Cross then came out of the intermission on fire, opening the second half with an 11-0 spurt to take a 12-point lead (31-19 with 15:30 left to play). The Midshipmen would rally to get as close as eight points (37-29), before the Crusaders went on a 12-2 run to put the game away. Holy Cross would eventually build its lead to as many as 22 points, before finally winning by 19. The Crusaders turned in another outstanding defensive effort, holding Navy to just 42 points on 15 of 47 (31.9 percent) shooting from the field. Holy Cross also held a 35-25 advantage on the glass, while turning the ball over just 11 times. Alex Vander Baan totaled 13 points, six rebounds and three assists for the Crusaders, while Torey Thomas added 10 points, five assists and four rebounds. Navy was led by Adam Teague with 17 points.
THOMAS SHINES IN SENIOR SEASON: Senior point guard Torey Thomas is once again among the top players in the Patriot League this season, averaging 12.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.2 steals per contest. In Wednesday's victory over Navy, Thomas totaled 10 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals. During the previous game against Bucknell, he recorded 13 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals. Earlier this year, Thomas had 20 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals against Siena, while posting 20 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals against Fairfield, including a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining in overtime to win the game. Some of his other top performances this season have come against Lafayette (18 points, six assists, five rebounds), Army (16 points, three assists, two steals), Boston University (16 points, three assists), Niagara (15 points, seven assists, six rebounds), La Salle (14 points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals), Providence (13 points, four rebounds, four steals), Dayton (13 points, four rebounds, four steals) and Harvard (12 points, six assists). Thomas was named preseason All-Patriot League prior to the start of the year, after being named second team all-conference last season. A year ago he averaged 11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.4 steals per game, while making 34 of 96 attempts (35.4 percent) from three-point range. Thomas finished the 2005-2006 season as the Patriot League's leader in assists, while ranking second in steals, fourth in rebounding and 14th in scoring. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, Thomas has now totaled 975 points, 437 rebounds, 394 assists and 215 steals.
STEALING THE SHOW: Through the first 19 games of the 2006-2007 season, Holy Cross has averaged 9.0 steals per game, including a high of 16 steals against Fairfield. Senior guard Keith Simmons has recorded 45 steals so far this season, while tying the school single-game record with seven steals in the victory over William & Mary. Senior guard Torey Thomas ranks second on the team with 42 steals on the year, and junior guard Kyle Cruze (Knoxville, Tenn.) has chipped in with 18 steals. In 32 games played last season, the Crusaders totaled 290 steals, for a Patriot League-best average of 9.1 steals per game. Holy Cross reached double figures in steals 11 times last year, with highs of 16 against Harvard and 15 against Lafayette. Kevin Hamilton led the team with 102 steals last year, while Thomas added 77 steals last season. With his 102 total steals, Hamilton set new Holy Cross and Patriot League single season records. Hamilton's average of 3.3 steals per game last year also set a new Patriot League single season record.
THE LAST MEETING WITH AMERICAN: Keith Simmons scored 23 points and pulled down seven rebounds, to lead Holy Cross to a 69-62 victory over American at Bender Arena on Feb. 18, 2006. Simmons made six of nine field goal attempts, all three of his three-point tries, and eight of nine shots at the free throw line. After the Eagles hit the first basket of the game, the Crusaders scored the next seven points to take a 7-2 lead. A few minutes later, Holy Cross went on a 13-1 run to build a 29-13 advantage with 3:36 left before the break. American was able to trim the lead to 11 points, before the Crusaders took a 34-22 lead into the locker room. In the second half, the Holy Cross lead grew as large as 18 points (51-33) when Simmons hit a three-pointer with 10:37 left to play. But the Eagles then went on a 13-3 run to cut the lead down to eight points. American would get as close as four points (61-57) with 1:24 left, but the Crusaders hit 12 of 14 shots at the free throw line in the final five minutes to hang on for the seven-point victory. Kevin Hamilton recorded 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals for Holy Cross, while making 11 of 12 attempts at the foul line. As a team, the Crusaders shot 80.0 percent (28 of 35) at the charity stripe. American was led by Andre Ingram with 16 points and six rebounds, while Arvydas Eitutavicius added 12 points.
WILLARD CONTINUES IMPRESSIVE RUN AT HOLY CROSS: Ralph Willard is now in his eighth season as the Crusaders' head coach, and currently owns a mark of 147-86 during his time in Worcester. He stands in third place on the all-time school list for career victories, behind only George Blaney (357-276 / 1972-1994) and Lester "Buster" Sheary (155-36 / 1948-1955). Willard has led the Crusaders to three Patriot League tournament titles and three trips to the NCAA Tournament, during the 2000-2001, 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 seasons. He has also guided Holy Cross to Patriot League regular season championships in 2000-2001, 2002-2003 and 2004-2005, with the 2002-2003 squad posting an overall record of 26-5 to come up just one win shy of the school single season record for victories. During the 2000-2001 and 2004-2005 seasons, Willard was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year, and in 2004-2005 he was also one of 10 finalists for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award. Prior to his time at Holy Cross, Willard spent five seasons as the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh, and four years as head coach at Western Kentucky University. He led Western Kentucky to the NCAA Tournament during each of his final two seasons (advancing to the Sweet 16 in 1992-1993), and his overall career record stands at 291-210. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.
VANDER BAAN LOOKS TO BUILD ON ALL-ROOKIE SEASON: Sophomore forward Alex Vander Baan (Uxbridge, Mass.) is once again a key member of the Holy Cross lineup this season, after being selected to the 2005-2006 Patriot League All-Rookie Team. In Wednesday's victory over Navy, he scored a season-high 13 points on five of nine shooting, to go along with six rebounds and three assists. Previously in the victory at Lafayette, Vander Baan recorded nine points and four rebounds, while hitting four of six field goal attempts. Earlier in the season, he totaled 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists at Yale, while grabbing a career-high 11 rebounds to go along with eight points and four assists at Syracuse. Vander Baan also posted his first career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 10 rebounds against Siena, while recording nine points and six rebounds against Hampton. In 19 games played so far this season, Vander Baan is averaging 6.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest, while making 46.2 percent of his field goal attempts (43 of 93). In 32 games played last year, Vander Baan averaged 6.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest, to rank ninth in the conference in rebounding. He also led all Patriot League freshmen by earning league Rookie of the Week honors four times last season (Nov. 21, Dec. 27, Feb. 6, Feb. 20).
HOLY CROSS IN THE RPI: Holy Cross is presently ranked 71st in the nation in the latest Ratings Percentage Index, with a rating of .5639 through games of January 17. The Crusaders are currently the highest ranked team in the Patriot League, with the second-highest ranking belonging to Bucknell (125th, .5217). In addition, Holy Cross' non-conference schedule ranks as the 137th best in the country, and the hardest in the Patriot League. The Crusaders concluded the 2005-2006 season ranked 111th in the country in the RPI with a rating of .5304. Holy Cross also ranked 49th in the nation in the RPI at the end of the 2004-2005 season with a mark of .5657, to place ahead of four at large selections to the NCAA tournament.
CLIFFORD PLAYS BIG IN THE POST: Junior center Tim Clifford has established himself as one of the top big men in the Patriot League this season. During last Friday's victory over Bucknell, Clifford recorded 13 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots. In the previous game against Army, he totaled 10 points, three rebounds and two assists. Clifford also had a good game at Lafayette, scoring 11 points while making four of five shots from the floor. Some of Clifford's other top performances this season have come against Harvard (22 points on nine of 11 shooting from the field), Providence (21 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks), Boston University (16 points, three blocks, three assists), William & Mary (13 points, six rebounds, two blocks) and George Mason (12 points, four rebounds). Through the first 19 games of the year, he is averaging 10.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per contest. Overall last year, Clifford averaged 7.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game, while making 96 of 194 (49.5 percent) field goal attempts. He was even more impressive against Patriot League opponents, averaging 9.7 points per contest and hitting 54.2 percent (52 of 96) of his shots from the floor. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, Clifford has now totaled 518 points, 275 rebounds and 111 blocked shots.
DOHERTY RETURNS TO ACTION: Sophomore guard Pat Doherty (Scranton, Pa.) had a good day at Lafayette on Jan. 6, after missing the previous six games due to injury. Doherty scored 10 points against the Leopards, hitting three of five shots from the field and two of four attempts from three-point range. Earlier in the season at Yale, he led the team with a career-high 18 points, four assists and three steals, while making five of six shots from the floor, all four of his attempts from three-point range, and all four of his free throws. Doherty also played well in the game at Dayton, totaling nine points and three assists. In 13 games played this season, he is now averaging 6.5 points, 2.5 assists, 1.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals per contest. Doherty returned to the Holy Cross lineup this year, after missing the majority of the 2005-2006 campaign due to injury, and receiving a medical redshirt. As a freshman in 2004-2005, Doherty was honored as the Patriot League Rookie of the Year.
CRUSADERS KEEP WINNING AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross stands 7-0 at the Hart Center so far this season, and now owns an all-time record of 283-105 in the building. The Crusaders currently have an 11-game home winning streak, after going 11-2 at the Hart Center last season with an 8-1 mark against Patriot League opponents. Holy Cross also stands 39-5 in Patriot League regular season home games since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season. In 2004-2005, Holy Cross posted an overall record of 12-3 at home, including a 10-game winning streak. Since the beginning of the 2000-2001 campaign, the Crusaders now have an overall mark of 71-12 at the Hart Center. The building opened on Dec. 1, 1975, and since that time Holy Cross has posted a winning record at home in 27 out of 31 seasons, while posting double-figure home victories 14 times.
HOLY CROSS HAVING GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders have averaged 31.4 rebounds through the first 19 games of the 2006-2007 season, and are currently outrebounding their opponents by an average of 3.2 boards per game. Holy Cross has really stepped things up in Patriot League play, outrebounding the opposition by 11.5 boards per game, while allowing opponents to average just 19.3 rebounds per contest. The Crusaders' top rebounding game so far this year came against Siena, when it held a 43-21 advantage on the glass. The rebounding load has been well balanced, with five different players currently averaging at least 3.6 boards per contest. Senior guard Keith Simmons leads the team with 5.7 rebounds per game, while sophomore forward Alex Vander Baan has also averaged 5.7 boards per contest. Senior guard Torey Thomas (4.4 rebounds per game) and junior center Tim Clifford (4.1 rebounds per game) are also enjoying fine seasons on the glass, while freshman forward Eric Meister (Boalsburg, Pa.) is chipping in with 3.6 boards per game.
CRUSADERS PICKED SECOND IN PRESEASON POLL: In the 2006-2007 Patriot League preseason poll, Holy Cross was picked to finish in second place in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 86 total points in the poll, to trail only first-place Bucknell (96 points). Holy Cross received three first-place votes in the poll, with the Bison earning 12 first-place votes and American one. Following the Crusaders in the poll were American (third, 70 points), Lehigh (fourth, 64 points), Colgate (fifth, 48 points), Lafayette (sixth, 35 points), Navy (seventh, 31 points) and Army (eighth, 18 points).
SIMMONS AND THOMAS NAMED PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE: Senior guard Keith Simmons and senior guard Torey Thomas were both named preseason All-Patriot League, in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. Holy Cross was the only team in the league to place more than one player on the preseason all-conference team. Along with Simmons and Thomas, other selections to the squad were Bucknell senior center Chris McNaughton, American senior guard Andre Ingram and Lehigh senior guard Jose Olivero. All five players on the preseason All-Patriot League squad were named either first or second team all-conference at the conclusion of the 2005-2006 season.
TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 88th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1237-795 (.609), while making 23 postseason tournament appearances -- 11 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 to coach professionally, and had 15 players who have coached in college, including current Crusader coach Ralph Willard.
HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I leaders in two statistical categories, through games of Jan. 15. Senior guard Keith Simmons and senior guard Torey Thomas are also listed among the national leaders in steals. The rankings:
Category Rank Player / Team Avg. Steals 21 Keith Simmons 2.4 27 Holy Cross 9.1 39 Torey Thomas 2.2 Scoring Defense 37 Holy Cross 60.8
HOLY CROSS SHARES LA SALLE INVITATIONAL TITLE: From Dec. 28-30, the Crusaders finished in a three-way tie for first place at the La Salle Invitational with a 2-1 record, to claim the 13th regular season tournament title in school history. At the La Salle Invitational, Holy Cross defeated La Salle (68-48) and Delaware (49-47), while falling to Niagara (67-61). This marked the second title for the Crusaders in their last three tournaments, including the 2005 William & Mary Tip-Off Classic where they defeated High Point (85-73) and William & Mary (67-55). Prior to that, Holy Cross had not won a regular season tournament since the 1982-1983 season, when it defeated Davidson (65-62) and Iona (66-65) to capture the crown of the Worcester County Classic, played at the Worcester Centrum.
SIMMONS AND THOMAS NAMED CAPTAINS: Senior guard Keith Simmons and senior guard Torey Thomas have been selected as the Crusaders' captains for the 2006-2007 season. Both players are three-year letterwinners for the Crusaders, and have taken over the leadership role from Kevin Hamilton and Kevin Hyland, who served as the Crusaders' captains as seniors during the 2005-2006 season.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES: American has an overall record of 9-9 on the season, including a 1-3 mark in the Patriot League. The Eagles have lost seven of their last nine games, but do have a perfect 6-0 record so far this year at Bender Arena. The leading scorer for American is senior guard Andre Ingram, who has averaged 14.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Senior guard Arvydas Eitutavicius is also enjoying a fine season, averaging 11.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per contest, while sophomore guard Derrick Mercer has added 8.8 points and 4.9 assists per game. The Eagles are led by head coach Jeff Jones, who owns a 97-96 record in seven seasons at American. Jones' career record stands at 243-200, including eight years as the head coach at the University of Virginia.
HOLY CROSS ON THE RADIO: Once again this season, the majority of the Crusaders' basketball contests will be carried by WTAG 580 AM in Worcester. For the 18th straight season, Bob Fouracre will call the play-by-play for most of the games. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their third year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. WTAG is currently scheduled to air 22 of the Crusaders' 30 regular season games. In addition, WCUW 91.3 FM in Worcester will air seven Holy Cross contests which are not included as part of the WTAG package. All 30 regular season games will also be carried live over the internet at "www.sportsjuice.com". In addition, the Holy Cross student station, WCHC 88.1 FM, is scheduled carry a number of games this year.
CRUSADERS ON TELEVISION: Holy Cross is currently scheduled to have 10 games shown on live television during the 2006-2007 season, with other television appearances still to be announced. During each of the last two years, the Crusaders had 10 television appearances, including four games on ESPN2. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2006-2007 campaign:
Date Opponent Television Outlet Nov. 27 Syracuse ESPNU Dec. 6 Duke ESPN2 Jan. 3 Boston University CN8 Jan. 6 Lafayette CSTV / Lafayette Sports Network Jan. 9 Army WCTR-TV3 Jan. 12 Bucknell ESPNU Jan. 26 Lehigh ESPNU Jan. 31 American WCTR-TV3 Feb. 9 Bucknell ESPNU Feb. 25 Lehigh Service Electric
DRIBBLES: With a pair of victories to open the conference season, Holy Cross now stands 12-5 all-time in Patriot League openers, 12-5 in conference home openers, and 11-6 in league road openers ... On Jan. 6 and 9, Holy Cross held its opponents to 16 rebounds (at Lafayette) and 17 rebounds (against Army). Prior to that, the lowest rebounding total by a Crusader opponent during Ralph Willard's tenure as head coach was 18 ... During the Jan. 9 game with Army, the Black Knights went a stretch of 17:06 (from the middle of the first half to the middle of the second half) without missing a field goal attempt. But Holy Cross forced Army to commit 15 turnovers during that time, while extending its lead from one point to 14 points ... The Crusaders were a perfect 13 of 13 at the free throw line against Niagara on Dec. 29, marking the first time in school history Holy Cross has made all of its free throw attempts ... The crowd of 19,235 at the Holy Cross-Syracuse game on Nov. 27 was the largest to ever witness a Crusader game during the regular season (attendance records are not available prior to the 1982-1983 season). It is also the third largest overall crowd to ever see Holy Cross play, behind the Kansas game in the 2002 NCAA Tournament (26,612) and the Marquette game in the 2003 NCAA Tournament (20,960) ... Sophomore forward Colin Cunningham (Memphis, Tenn.) had eight points and two assists in the overtime victory at Boston University, including a pair of key three-pointers late in regulation. Earlier in the year, he scored a season-high 11 points at Syracuse ... Junior guard Kyle Cruze scored a career-high 15 points in the victory at La Salle, then had career-highs of six assists and six rebounds against Niagara ... Sophomore center Greg McCarthy (Mansfield, Mass.) has totaled 30 points and 16 rebounds, while playing 141 minutes in 18 games this season. Last year, he totaled four points and one rebound in 15 minutes of action all season ... Freshman forward Eric Meister has started his collegiate career strong, averaging 3.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest. He pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds at Harvard, and had nine rebounds at Boston University ... The Crusaders are ranked 24th in the latest Mid-Major Top 25 Poll from CollegeInsider.com, released on Jan. 15.