January 25, 2007

Crusaders To Face Lehigh This Friday Night On ESPNU

Jan. 25, 2007

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (15-6, 6-0 PL) vs. Lehigh (9-13, 4-2 PL)
Date: January 26, 2007
Time: 9:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
ESPNU Television: Bob Socci, play-by-play; John Feinstein, color
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; www.sportsjuice.com, internet; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester
Lehigh Radio: WEEX 1230 AM, Easton, Pa.; WTKZ 1320 AM, Allentown, Pa.; Matt Kerr, play-by-play; Jeff Tourial, color
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 28-10
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 73, Lehigh 66 (March 5, 2006; Worcester, Mass.)


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 LEHIGH: This will be the 39th meeting between the Crusaders and the Mountain Hawks on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 28-10. The Crusaders won two out of three games against Lehigh last season, and have now taken 14 out of the last 16 meetings between the schools. For all games played in Worcester, Holy Cross holds an 18-3 advantage, including 10 straight wins. The schools first met on Jan. 16, 1976, with Holy Cross posting an 84-60 victory at the Hart Center.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 28-10
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 18-3
At the Hart Center: Holy Cross leads, 18-3
Ralph Willard vs. Lehigh: 14-3
Billy Taylor vs. Holy Cross: 2-8
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, two games
In Overtime: Holy Cross leads, 4-0

CRUSADERS SET TO OPEN UP THREE-GAME HOMESTAND: Holy Cross returns to the Hart Center this week, when it plays host to Lehigh on Friday, January 26, at 9:00 p.m. The Lehigh contest marks the beginning of a three-game homestand, which continues when the Crusaders face American on Wednesday, January 31, at 7:00 p.m. Holy Cross will then take on Lafayette at the Hart Center next Saturday, February 3, at 3:30 p.m. Holy Cross currently has a perfect 7-0 record at the Hart Center this year. Following the homestand, the Crusaders will play four straight games on the road. Holy Cross currently has an 8-6 mark away from the Hart Center so far this season, including five straight wins and a 7-4 mark on the opposing team's home court.

SIMMONS ENJOYING OUTSTANDING SENIOR YEAR: Senior guard Keith Simmons (Kingston, N.Y.) has been Holy Cross' top player this season, averaging 18.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.6 steals in 21 games played. He has scored in double figures in 32 straight games dating back to last year, and has led the team in scoring 12 times this season. During Tuesday's victory at Colgate, Simmons recorded 16 points, seven rebounds and four steals, while hitting the game-winning three-pointer with 20.6 seconds remaining. In the previous game at American, he totaled 14 points, five rebounds, five steals and three assists. Simmons also had a big game against Navy, leading the team with 22 points, seven rebounds and two 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), Bucknell (22 points, four rebounds, three assists), 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), Army (18 points, seven rebounds, four steals, three assists), Fairfield (18 points, five steals) and Delaware (17 points). 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 Lehigh game, Simmons has scored 1,455 career points as a Crusader, while making 49.6 percent of his field goal attempts (493 of 993) and 44.1 percent from three-point range (183 of 415).

THOMAS STANDS FIVE POINTS AWAY FROM 1,000: Senior guard Torey Thomas (White Plains, N.Y.) enters the Lehigh game needing just five points to become the 43rd 1,000-point scorer in the history of Holy Cross men's basketball. Thomas has scored 995 points in 112 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 1,455 points, and has a chance to become only the 11th player in school history with 1,500 career points.

CRUSADERS GET OFF TO FAST START IN LEAGUE PLAY: Holy Cross has opened Patriot League play with a perfect 6-0 mark in its first six conference games. This marks the best league start for the Crusaders since the 1992-1993 squad began conference play with seven straight victories. During that season, Holy Cross defeated Fordham (71-61), Army (64-63), Lehigh (94-75), Colgate (78-68), Lafayette (95-79), Navy (95-69) and Bucknell (88-86), before falling to Fordham (81-73) in its eighth league contest. Prior to this season, the Crusaders' best conference start under Ralph Willard came during both the 2000-2001 and 2002-2003 campaigns, when Holy Cross started league play at 4-0.

THOMAS SHINES IN SENIOR SEASON: Senior point guard Torey Thomas is once again among the top players in the Patriot League this season, averaging 12.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.3 steals per contest. In Tuesday's victory at Colgate, Thomas totaled 11 points, three rebounds and two assists. During the previous game at American, he recorded nine points, nine assists, seven rebounds and five 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), Bucknell (13 points, five rebounds, five assists), 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 995 points, 447 rebounds, 405 assists and 221 steals.

COLGATE RECAP: Keith Simmons totaled 16 points, seven rebounds and four steals, to lead Holy Cross to a 58-55 victory over Colgate at Cotterell Court on Jan. 23, 2007. Colgate started the game hot, jumping out to a quick 15-4 lead after eight minutes of play, with 11 of those points coming from Jon Simon. But Holy Cross came right back with a 12-0 run of its own, including seven points by Simmons, to claim a 16-15 lead with six minutes left before the break. The score remained close for the rest of the first half, before the Crusaders took a 29-28 lead into the locker room. Tim Clifford scored the first four points of the second half to put Holy Cross up by five, before the Raiders responded with a 17-2 run to take their biggest lead of the day, 45-35 with 11:40 left to play. Colgate was still up by 10 points (47-37) with 10:50 remaining, when the Crusaders clamped down on the defensive end of the court, holding the Raiders without a point for over six minutes. During that time, Holy Cross went on a 12-0 run to regain the lead. The score stayed close during the closing minutes of the game, and was tied at 55-55 with less than 30 seconds to play. Simmons then hit a three-point field goal with 20.6 seconds on the clock to put the Crusaders up 58-55. Colgate had one last chance to tie the score, but Kyle Chones came up short on a three-point attempt, and Alex Vander Baan grabbed the rebound to secure the win. Clifford finished the game with 18 points and four rebounds, while Torey Thomas added 11 points and three rebounds. Simon led the Raiders with 22 points.

HOLY CROSS EXTENDS LEAGUE WINNING STREAK: The Crusaders enter the Lehigh game having won 10 straight Patriot League regular season contests, a mark which ties for the seventh-longest conference winning streak in league history. Holy Cross had not lost a regular season Patriot League game since Feb. 11, 2006, when it fell to Bucknell (57-52). The Crusaders have also become the only team in Patriot League history to win 10 conference regular season games in a row on three different occasions. Here is a look at the longest regular season conference winning streaks in Patriot League history:

Rank   Games  School       Dates
  1.      17  Bucknell     Feb. 26, 2005-Jan. 9, 2007
  2.      16  Navy         Jan. 29, 1997-Feb. 8, 1998
  3.      15  Holy Cross   Jan. 12, 2005-Jan. 11, 2006
  4.      13  Lafayette    Jan. 20, 1998-Jan. 20, 1999
  5.      12  Navy         Jan. 23, 2000-Jan. 17, 2001
  6.      11  Fordham      Jan. 8, 1991-Feb. 16, 1991
  7.      10  Holy Cross   Feb. 15, 2006-present
          10  Holy Cross   Jan. 31, 2003-Jan. 10, 2004
          10  Navy         Feb. 1, 1995-Jan. 17, 1996

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 (183), second in three-point field goal attempts (415), fourth in three-point field goal percentage (44.1 percent), sixth in steals (168) and 10th in minutes played (3,071). He also ranks among the Patriot League's all-time leaders in three-point field goal percentage (44.1 percent, 1st), field goal percentage (49.6 percent, 7th), steals (168, 12th) and points scored (1,455, 20th). 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 (221), seventh in assists (405) and ninth in minutes played (3,140). 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 (112).

THE LAST MEETING WITH LEHIGH: Keith Simmons scored 20 points and pulled down nine rebounds, to lead Holy Cross to a 73-66 victory over Lehigh at the Hart Center on March 5, 2006, in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament. After the Mountain Hawks began the game with a 4-0 lead, Holy Cross went on an 11-2 run to take a five-point lead after seven minutes of play. But the score stayed close throughout a first half which featured six ties and three lead changes. The score was tied at 17-17 with 5:53 left before the break, before Holy Cross used a 9-3 run to take a six-point lead. The Crusaders were still up by six points (32-36) at halftime. Holy Cross then scored the first four points of the second half to go up by 10 points, but Lehigh refused to go away. The Mountain Hawks quickly cut the lead back down to three points, and trailed by just one (43-42) with 11:56 left in the game. Holy Cross then used a 9-0 spurt to build its lead back to 10 points, including five straight points from Kevin Hamilton. Lehigh was able to get no closer than four points down the stretch, as the Crusaders made eight of 10 free throw attempts in the final minute of play to secure the win. Hamilton finished the game with 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, while making 14 of 15 free throw attempts. Torey Thomas added 11 points, five rebounds and four assists for Holy Cross. Lehigh was led by Joe Knight, who totaled 23 points, six rebounds, five steals and three assists.

CRUSADERS REMAIN TOUGH ON DEFENSE: Holy Cross is once again among the top defensive teams in the nation in 2006-2007. Through the first 21 games of the year, the Crusaders have held their opponents to 59.8 points per game, 43.0 percent shooting from the floor, and 38.8 percent shooting from three-point range. Holy Cross has also averaged 9.2 steals and 3.4 blocks per contest, while forcing the opposition to commit 16.7 turnovers per game and outrebounding its opponents by 3.3 boards per contest. In addition, the Crusaders have held 13 of their first 21 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).

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 Tuesday's victory at Colgate, he totaled 18 points, four rebounds and two assists. In the previous game at American, Clifford led the team with 19 points and nine rebounds. He also had a strong game earlier in the month against Bucknell, recording 13 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots. 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), George Mason (12 points, four rebounds), Lafayette (11 points) and Army (10 points, three rebounds, two assists). Through the first 21 games of the year, he is averaging 10.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 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 555 points, 288 rebounds and 112 blocked shots.

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 149-86 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 293-210. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

HOLY CROSS IN THE RPI: Holy Cross is presently ranked 64th in the nation in the latest Ratings Percentage Index, with a rating of .5700 through games of January 23. The Crusaders are currently the highest ranked team in the Patriot League, with the second-highest ranking belonging to Bucknell (136th, .5175). 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.

STEALING THE SHOW: Through the first 21 games of the 2006-2007 season, Holy Cross has averaged 9.2 steals per game, including highs of 16 steals against Fairfield and 15 steals at American. Senior guard Keith Simmons has recorded a team-best 54 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 48 steals on the year, while sophomore guard Pat Doherty (Scranton, Pa.) has added 19 steals 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.

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.

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 last week'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 21 games played so far this season, Vander Baan is averaging 6.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest, while making 45.5 percent of his field goal attempts (46 of 101). 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).

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 88th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1239-795 (.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 HAVING GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders have averaged 31.6 rebounds through the first 21 games of the 2006-2007 season, and are currently outrebounding their opponents by an average of 3.3 boards per game. Holy Cross has really stepped things up in Patriot League play, outrebounding the opposition by 9.2 boards per game, while allowing opponents to average just 22.3 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 5.8 rebounds per game, while sophomore forward Alex Vander Baan has averaged 5.4 boards per contest. Senior guard Torey Thomas (4.5 rebounds per game) and junior center Tim Clifford (4.3 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.

DOHERTY RETURNS TO ACTION: Sophomore guard Pat Doherty 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 15 games played this season, he is now averaging 6.1 points, 2.2 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 1.3 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.

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. 21. 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            19  Keith Simmons      2.5
                  24  Holy Cross         9.3
                  29  Torey Thomas       2.4
Scoring Defense   26  Holy Cross        60.0

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.

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 MOUNTAIN HAWKS: Lehigh has an overall record of 9-13 on the season, including a 4-2 mark in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks have won four of their last six games, but stand just 1-12 on the season in games played away from Stabler Arena. The leading scorer for Lehigh is senior guard Jose Olivero, who has averaged 16.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Senior guard Kyle Neptune has added 10.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest, while freshman guard Marquis Hall is chipping in with 10.4 points and 4.2 assists per game. The Mountain Hawks are led by head coach Billy Taylor, who owns a 78-63 record in five seasons at Lehigh. A 1995 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Taylor was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2004.

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: The Crusaders stand 3-0 in overtime games this season, and have now won their last six overtime contests ... 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 34 points and 19 rebounds, while playing 151 minutes in 20 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 3.2 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 21st in the latest Mid-Major Top 25 Poll from CollegeInsider.com, released on Jan. 22.