Crusaders Hit The Road To Face Lafayette

Jan. 26, 2005

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (13-5, 4-1 PL) vs. Lafayette (5-13, 1-4 PL)
Date: January 28, 2005
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Allan P. Kirby Sports Center (3,500), Easton, Pa.
Lafayette Sports Television Network: Gary Laubach, play-by-play; John Leone, color
Holy Cross Radio: Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Lafayette Radio: Dick Hammer, play-by-play; Carl Schumacher, color; WEST 1400 AM, Allentown
Live In-Game Statistics: Gametracker
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 20-13
Last Meeting: Lafayette 78, Holy Cross 72 (February 14, 2004; Easton, Pa.)

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos. No.  Name            Ht.   Wt.   Cl.
F     23  Greg Kinsey     6-4   195   Sr.
F     24  John Hurley     6-8   215   Sr.
C      4  Nate Lufkin    6-11   235   Sr.
G     14  Kevin Hamilton  6-4   180   Jr.
G     20  Pat Doherty    5-11   165   Fr.

THE SERIES WITH LAFAYETTE: This will be the 34th meeting between the Crusaders and the Leopards on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 20-13. Last year, Lafayette swept the season series from the Crusaders, winning 78-72 at the Kirby Sports Center and 60-58 in overtime at the Hart Center. Prior to that, Holy Cross had won three straight and four out of five meetings. For games played in Easton, the Leopards hold an 8-7 advantage, including wins in six of the last seven games. The schools first met on Feb. 4, 1947, with Holy Cross posting a 50-40 victory at the Boston Garden.

SERIES QUICK FACTS
Overall: Holy Cross, 20-13
At Easton: Lafayette, 8-7
At the Kirby Sports Center: Lafayette, 8-7
Ralph Willard vs. Lafayette: 5-6
Fran O'Hanlon vs. Holy Cross: 12-7
Current Win Streak: Lafayette, two games

HOLY CROSS WINS FIFTH STRAIGHT: With Monday's victory over American, Holy Cross posted its fifth straight victory. This marks the longest winning streak for the Crusaders since the 2002-2003 squad won 12 games in a row, before falling to Marquette in the NCAA Tournament. During its current five-game streak, Holy Cross has averaged 75.4 points per game, while shooting 53.8 percent from the floor, 50.0 percent from three-point range and outscoring the opposition by 23.8 points per contest. In fact, the Crusaders have won each of their last three games by at least 23 points. This marks the first time Holy Cross has won by at least 20 points in three straight games since the 1978-1979 season (110-88 over Cincinnati, 81-54 over Fordham and 77-57 over Massachusetts).

HOLY CROSS REMEMBERS GORDON HAMILTON: The Holy Cross community mourns the loss of Gordon Hamilton, the co-captain of the 1994-1995 Crusader men's basketball team, who died on Jan. 23 in an automobile accident. Hamilton was a two-year starter for the Crusaders, and averaged 14.3 points per game as a senior. He was named second team All-Patriot League IN 1994-1995, in addition to earning Patriot League All-Tournament honors as a junior. During his four years, the Crusaders posted an overall record of 70-44, including a 24-6 mark in 1992-1993, when Hamilton was part of the first Holy Cross team to make the NCAA Tournament since 1980. Prior to passing away, Hamilton was the serving as the head boys' basketball coach at the Watkinson School in Hartford, Conn. He was also employed by the Hartford Health and Human Services department as a coach and counselor at one of the city's community youth centers. Hamilton is survived by his wife, Chastity, and an 11-month old son, Noah Todd. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Jan. 29, at 11:00 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Hartford. Memorial donations may be made to a college scholarship fund for Hamilton's son. Donations may be sent to the Noah Todd Hamilton Scholarship, c/o Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation, Inc., 2322-24 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pa., 19132.

CRUSADERS HEAT UP ON OFFENSE: Holy Cross has turned in some outstanding shooting performances over the last five games, hitting at least half of its field goal attempts in each contest. During that time, the Crusaders are shooting 53.8 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from beyond the three-point line. This marks the first time Holy Cross has made at least 50 percent of its shots in five straight games since Feb. 20-March 10, 1993. On the season, the Crusaders have now hit 50 percent from the floor eight times, in addition to making 50 percent from three-point range seven times. Last season, Holy Cross only shot 50 percent from the floor three times all year, in addition to making 50 percent of their three-point attempts just five times. Here is a look at the Crusaders' recent shooting performances:

Opponent  Score     FG-FGA   Pct.  3FG-3FGA   Pct.
Army      W, 66-29   26-52   50.0     10-20   50.0
Colgate   W, 74-64   27-52   51.9      9-18   50.0
Iona      W, 78-53   26-44   59.1     12-19   63.2
Navy      W, 79-56   28-50   56.0      4-13   30.8
American  W, 80-56   28-53   52.8     11-22   50.0

HAMILTON ENJOYING OUTSTANDING SEASON: Junior guard Kevin Hamilton (Queens Village, N.Y.) has turned in a some outstanding performances for Holy Cross so far this season, scoring in double figures 17 times in 18 games. In Monday's victory over American, he scored 23 points (the second-highest total of his career), while also recording seven assists, five steals and four rebounds. Previously against Iona, Hamilton scored a career-high 24 points, in addition to totaling five steals and three assists. Earlier in the year, he scored 22 points at Minnesota, while also leading the team with six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Some of Hamilton's other top games this season came against Colgate (19 points, six steals, five rebounds), Army (18 points, four rebounds), Harvard (18 points, five rebounds, five steals, three assists), Bucknell (17 points, three rebounds, three steals), Fordham (17 points, eight rebounds), Boston University (17 points, six steals, five rebounds, three assists), Dartmouth (16 points, eight rebounds, four assists, four steals), Northeastern (13 points, six rebounds, five assists), Navy (12 points, six rebounds, six steals), Rhode Island (12 points, seven rebounds, three steals) and Vermont (12 points, five rebounds, four assists). Through 18 games so far this year, he is averaging 15.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 3.2 assists per game. Prior to the start of the season, Hamilton was named to the 2004-2005 preseason All-Patriot League team, in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. He has now scored in double figures on 41 occasions during his Holy Cross career, including 31 times in his last 33 games.

DOHERTY STEPPING UP IN BACKCOURT: Freshman Pat Doherty (Scranton, Pa.) is enjoying a solid season, and has recently taken over as the Crusaders' starting point guard. Over the last four games, Doherty has averaged 13.0 points, 5.3 assists and 3.8 steals per contest, while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor. During Monday's victory over American, he totaled 15 points, five steals, two rebounds and two assists. In the previous game against Navy, Doherty led the team with 16 points, six assists and five steals, while committing only one turnover. Against Iona, in his first collegiate start, he totaled seven points, two steals and a career-high eight assists. Following his performances against Iona and Navy, Doherty was honored as the Patriot League Rookie of the Week. He also played well off the bench against Colgate, totaling 14 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Earlier in the season Doherty had solid games against Army (eight points, four assists, two rebounds), Brown (nine points, five assists), Minnesota (six points) and Marist (two points, two rebounds, four assists, two steals). Through 18 games played so far this season, Doherty is now averaging 4.7 points and 2.3 assists per contest.

AMERICAN RECAP: Kevin Hamilton totaled 23 points, seven assists, five steals and four rebounds, to lead Holy Cross to an 80-56 victory over American at the Hart Center on Jan. 24, 2005. After the Eagles scored the first basket of the game, the Crusaders responded with an 8-0 run and would never look back. Holy Cross built its lead to 11 points by the 15-15 mark of the first half (16-5), and American would get no closer than 12 points for the rest of the game. The Crusaders led by as many as 21 points in the opening half, before taking a 17-point advantage into the locker room (41-24). After the break, the Holy Cross lead grew as large as 26 points (76-50) with four minutes remaining, before the Crusaders finally won by 24. As a team, Holy Cross shot 52.8 percent from the field (28 of 53) and 50.0 percent from three-point range (11 of 22), while holding the Eagles to just 38.8 percent shooting from the floor (19 of 49). Keith Simmons totaled 17 points and eight rebounds for Holy Cross, while Pat Doherty added 15 points and five steals. Matej Cresnik and Andre Ingram led American with 10 points each.

WILLARD CONTINUES IMPRESSIVE RUN AT HOLY CROSS: Ralph Willard is now in his sixth season as the Crusaders' head coach, and currently owns a mark of 102-66 during his time in Worcester. With last week's victory over Iona, Willard became only the fifth coach in school history with 100 victories. He now needs five more victories to more into third place on the all-time Holy Cross list for career coaching wins. 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 also guided Holy Cross to Patriot League regular season championships in 2000-2001 and 2002-2003, 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. 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 246-190. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

SIMMONS PROVIDES A SPARK AS SIXTH MAN: Sophomore guard Keith Simmons (Kingston, N.Y.) has turned in some big games off the bench for Holy Cross so far this season. During Monday's victory over American, he scored 17 points on six of eight shooting, in addition to leading the team with eight rebounds. In the previous game against Navy, Simmons totaled 13 points, three assists and two boards, while against Colgate, he had 18 points and six rebounds. During the victory at Brown on Dec. 21, he scored a career-high 30 points, hitting 11 of 14 field goal attempts and six of six from three-point range. Simmons, who also recorded five rebounds, two steals and two assists, had the highest scoring total by a Crusader since Josh Sankes put up 30 points against Northeastern on Dec. 22, 1999, and was named the Patriot League Player of the Week. Some of Simmons' other top performances this season have come against Army (18 points, five rebounds), Vermont (15 points, eight rebounds), Iona (14 points, three steals), Boston University (13 points, three rebounds), Northeastern (12 points, three rebounds, three assists) and Princeton (12 points). Through 18 games, he is averaging 12.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest, while hitting 53.5 percent of his field goals (76 of 142) and 45.3 percent of his three-pointers (29 of 64). Simmons is coming off a strong freshman season in which he was named to the 2003-2004 Patriot League All-Rookie team, after averaging 8.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, and leading the Patriot League in three-point field goal percentage (.458, 33 of 72).

THE LAST MEETING WITH LAFAYETTE: In the last game between the Crusaders and the Leopards, Lafayette connected on 26 of 31 free throw attempts on its way to a 78-72 victory at the Kirby Sports Center on Feb. 14, 2004. Holy Cross led by as many as seven points (22-15) in the opening half, before eventually taking a three-point advantage (35-32) into the locker room. After the break, the Crusaders stretched their lead to as many as nine points (47-38) with 14:21 left to play in regulation. But Holy Cross would pick up its seventh foul of the half with 10:30 remaining, and Lafayette would go to work at the free throw line, eventually tying the score at 52-52. The game was still tied at 60-60 with 5:31 left to play, before the Leopards went on an 8-2 run. The Crusaders would get no closer than four points the rest of the way, as Lafayette held on for the six-point win. The Leopards converted 13 of 16 free throws in the second half, compared to just two of four by Holy Cross. John Hurley led the Crusaders with 13 points and six rebounds, while Jave Meade added 11 points and 10 assists. Justin DeBerry had 16 points and six assist to lead Lafayette.

STEALING THE SHOW: In its first 18 games so far this season, Holy Cross has recorded 206 steals, good for an average of 11.4 steals per game. The Crusaders have already reached double figures in steals for a game 11 times this season, with highs of 20 at Harvard, 18 against Iona and 16 at Fordham. Leading the way is junior guard Kevin Hamilton, who already has 62 steals this year, the seventh-highest single season total in school history. Hamilton has a chance to break both the Holy Cross (78 by Gordon Hamilton in 1993-1994) and Patriot League (94 by Mike Bright of Bucknell in 1992-1993) single season records for steals. As a team, the Crusaders stand 98 steals away from the school single season record of 304 (set in 1992-1993) and 146 steals away from the Patriot League single season record of 352 (set by Navy in 1999-2000).

HOLY CROSS IN THE RPI: The Crusaders are currently ranked 58th in the nation in the latest Ratings Percentage Index, according to Collegiate Basketball News. In the most recent ratings, through games of January 23, Holy Cross had an RPI of .5703, to place ahead of nationally ranked teams such as Pittsburgh (71st, .5623). The Crusaders' schedule currently ranks as the 101st-best in the nation at .5320, including games against three teams which are presently ranked in the top 25 (No. 5 Boston College, No. 17 Vermont and No. 21 Princeton). Holy Cross is currently the top rated team in the Patriot League, coming in ahead of Bucknell (61st, .5699) and American (158th, .5057). No other Patriot League school ranks better than 247th.

CRUSADERS STEP UP ON DEFENSE: The Holy Cross defense has been outstanding so far this season, allowing its opponents to average just 56.2 points per game. The Crusaders have held 13 of their first 18 opponents this year under 60 points in regulation, with lows of 29 points by Army, 39 points by Fordham and 48 points by Boston University. On Jan. 12, Holy Cross held Army to the lowest point total by an opponent (29) since the Crusaders defeated Tufts 71-29 on Jan. 11, 1947. Holy Cross has also forced its opponents to commit an average of 18.0 turnovers per game, including 26 by Harvard and 25 by both Minnesota and Fordham. In addition, the Crusaders have averaged 11.4 steals and 4.6 blocks per contest, while outrebounding the opposition by 4.1 boards per game and holding opponents to 40.3 percent shooting from the field. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Holy Cross has never allowed its opponents to average over 60 points per game for a season, while holding the opposition to only 58.6 points per contest during that span. In addition, the Crusaders have ranked in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense during each of the last three seasons (sixth in 2001-2002 at 59.6; third in 2002-2003 at 58.7; and seventh in 2003-2004 at 58.6).

HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders currently rank among the NCAA Division I leaders in four different statistical categories, through games of January 24. In addition, junior guard Kevin Hamilton is listed among the nation's leaders in steals. The rankings:

Category                     Rank  Player / Team     Avg.
Steals                          3  Holy Cross        11.4
                                4  Kevin Hamilton     3.4
Scoring Defense                 4  Holy Cross        56.2
Field Goal Percentage Defense  42  Holy Cross        40.3
Scoring Margin                 42  Holy Cross        +9.8

LUFKIN CLOSES IN ON BLOCKED SHOT RECORD: Senior center Nate Lufkin (Austin, Texas) is once again enjoying a solid season for the Crusaders in 2004-2005. He enters the Lafayette game with 132 blocked shots during his Holy Cross career, needing just four more to become the Crusaders' all-time career leader in blocks. Some of Lufkin's top games this season have come against Northeastern (14 points, six rebounds, three assists), Boston College (12 points, nine rebounds), Dartmouth (12 points), Navy (10 points, five blocks, three rebounds), Rhode Island (nine points, two rebounds), Harvard (eight points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks), Iona (eight points, four rebounds, four assists), Princeton (eight points, three rebounds), Fordham (seven points, five rebounds, two assists) and Army (seven points, three rebounds, three blocks). On the season, Lufkin is averaging 7.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per contest. The 2001-2002 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Lufkin has now totaled 745 points and 492 rebounds in his career at Holy Cross.

CRUSADERS ON THE RADIO: Once again this season, several Crusader basketball contests will be carried by WTAG 580 AM in Worcester. For the 16th straight season, Bob Fouracre will call the play-by-play for the majority of the games. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk have joined the Holy Cross broadcast crew this season, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. Most games will be carried over the internet at "www.sportsjuice.com", including many games which are not on WTAG. The Holy Cross student station, WCHC 88.1 FM, will also carry a number of games this year.

HOLY CROSS ON TELEVISION: The Crusaders will have six games shown on live television during the 2004-2005 season. On two occasions, Holy Cross will be featured on the Patriot League Game of the Week, which will be shown on College Sports Television. The January 8 game at Bucknell and the February 13 contest against Lehigh at the Hart Center will both be carried. The Lehigh game will also be shown on WLVI-TV 56 in Boston. In addition, the December 4 game at Minnesota was shown by Fox Sports Net North, the January 2 contest at Rhode Island was carried by Cox Sports Television, the January 28 game at Lafayette will be shown by the Lafayette Sports Network, and the January 30 contest at Lehigh will be carried by Service Electric Television.

HURLEY ENJOYING ANOTHER STRONG SEASON: Senior forward John Hurley (South Boston, Mass.) is once again among the top players for the Crusaders during the 2004-2005 season. Through 18 games so far this year, he is averaging 7.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals per contest. Some of his top games this season have come against Northeastern (18 points, five rebounds, two assists), Navy (12 points, seven rebounds), Boston College (11 points, seven rebounds), Vermont (10 points, 10 rebounds), Marist (10 points, eight rebounds), Harvard (nine points, five rebounds, six steals), Rhode Island (nine points, four rebounds, two steals), Dartmouth (seven points, eight rebounds), Fordham (seven points, six rebounds, three steals), Boston University (seven points, seven rebounds, two steals) and Colgate (six assists, five points, three steals). Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Hurley has now totaled 466 points, 337 rebounds, 61 assists, 38 blocks and 77 steals.

KINSEY STARTING FOR THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR: Senior guard Greg Kinsey (Hatboro, Pa.) is in the Holy Cross starting lineup for the third consecutive season this year, and has averaged 3.7 points and 2.6 rebounds over the first 18 games. Some of his top performances this season have come against Northeastern (seven points, five assists, three rebounds), Princeton (11 points), Marist, (10 points, five rebounds, two assists), Colgate (nine points, two rebounds, two assists) and Iona (five rebounds, five steals). Last season, Kinsey started all 28 of Holy Cross' games, averaging 5.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Kinsey has now totaled 416 points, 268 rebounds, 147 assists and 105 steals, while being in the starting lineup for 73 of the last 74 games the Crusaders have played.

CRUSADERS KEEP WINNING AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross stands 6-2 at the Hart Center so far this season, improving its all-time record in the building to 259-102. Since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, the Crusaders now have an overall mark of 47-9 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 25 out of 29 seasons, while posting double-figure home victories 12 times.

CRUSADERS PICKED FOURTH IN PRESEASON POLL: In the 2004-2005 Patriot League preseason poll, Holy Cross was picked to finish in fourth place in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 66 total points in the poll, to trail first place Bucknell (92 points), second place Lehigh (79 points) and third place American (74 points). Following Holy Cross, Colgate placed fifth with 57 points, Lafayette came in sixth with 38 points, Navy was seventh with 24 points and Army finished eighth with 18 points.

HYLAND BECOMING A FORCE DOWN LOW: Junior forward Kevin Hyland (White Plains, N.Y.) has turned in some big games so far this season as the first big man off the bench for the Crusaders. During the victory over Iona, he totaled 12 points and four rebounds, while hitting four of five shots from the floor. In the victory at Brown, Hyland scored a career-high 14 points, while hitting all seven of his field goal attempts. Earlier in the season he had 11 points and five rebounds at Boston College, in addition to recording 13 points and two blocks against Marist. Through 18 games played so far this year, Hyland is averaging 4.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game, while shooting 67.3 percent (33 of 49) from the field.

SCOUTING THE LEOPARDS: Lafayette has an overall record of 5-13 on the season, including a 1-4 mark in the Patriot League. The Leopards have lost their last five games, since defeating Navy 90-80 on Jan. 8, but will be playing at home for only the second time since that last win. The leading scorer for Lafayette is senior center Sean Knitter, who has averaged 9.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Bilal Abdullah is also enjoying a fine season, averaging 9.7 points, 3.0 assists and 2.9 rebounds per contest. The Leopards are led by head coach Fran O'Hanlon, who owns a 146-130 record in 10 seasons at Lafayette. Prior to his time with the Leopards, O'Hanlon spent six seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Pennsylvania.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 86th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1191-775 (.606), while making 22 postseason tournament appearances -- 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament and 11 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 nine players on to professional basketball, had four players inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, has 23 players drafted by professional teams, had three players go on to coach professionally, and had 15 players who have coached in college, including current Crusader coach Ralph Willard.

DRIBBLES: Seniors John Hurley and Greg Kinsey are serving as Holy Cross' co-captains this season ... On Dec. 21 and 27, Holy Cross scored over 80 points in consecutive games for the first time in seven years against Brown (84 points) and Northeastern (82 points) ... Holy Cross' 3-0 start to this season was its best since the 1992-1993 Crusaders also began the year at 3-0 ... Holy Cross will serve as the host institution for first and second round games of the 2005 NCAA Tournament at the DCU Center in Worcester on March 18 and 20.