Holy Cross To Continue Road Trip At Lehigh

Jan. 29, 2005

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The Teams: Holy Cross (14-5, 5-1 PL) vs. Lehigh (10-9, 4-2 PL)
Date: January 30, 2005
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Place: Stabler Arena (5,600), Bethlehem, Pa.
Service Electric Television: Mike Zambelli, play-by-play; Nathan Jameson, color
Holy Cross Radio: Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Lehigh Radio: Matt Kerr, play-by-play; Greg Falkenbach, color; WEEX 1230 AM, Easton, Pa.; WTKZ 1320 AM, Allentown, Pa.
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 23-9
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 72, Lehigh 57 (February 29, 2004; Worcester, Mass.)

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 LEHIGH: This will be the 33rd meeting between the Crusaders and the Mountain Hawks on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 23-9. The Crusaders have won nine of the last 10 meetings between the schools, with Lehigh's only victory during that time coming last season in Bethlehem (63-53 on Jan. 20, 2004). For all games played in Bethlehem, Holy Cross holds an 8-6 advantage, including three straight wins prior to last year. The schools first met on Jan. 16, 1976, with Holy Cross posting an 84-60 victory at the Hart Center.

Overall: Holy Cross, 23-9
At Bethlehem: Holy Cross 8-6
At Stabler Arena: Holy Cross 8-6
Ralph Willard vs. Lehigh: 9-2
Billy Taylor vs. Holy Cross: 1-3
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game

HOLY CROSS WINS SIXTH STRAIGHT: With Friday's win at Lafayette, Holy Cross posted its sixth 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 six-game streak, Holy Cross has averaged 75.2 points per game, while shooting 54.2 percent from the floor, 47.7 percent from three-point range and outscoring the opposition by 22.7 points per contest. In fact, the Crusaders have won each of their last six games by double figures. This marks the first time Holy Cross has won by at least 10 points in six straight games since the 1964-1965 season (86-66 over Boston University, 93-74 over Dartmouth, 100-87 over Springfield, 99-62 over Amherst, 81-71 over Dartmouth and 95-74 over Assumption).

CRUSADERS HEAT UP ON OFFENSE: Holy Cross has turned in some outstanding shooting performances over the last six games, hitting at least half of its field goal attempts in each contest. During that time, the Crusaders are shooting 54.2 percent from the field and 47.7 percent from beyond the three-point line. Prior to this season, Holy Cross had not 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 nine 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
Lafayette  W, 74-57    28-50   56.0       6-17   35.3

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.

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 18 times in 19 games. In Friday's victory at Lafayette, Hamilton totaled 22 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals, while against American, he had 23 points, 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 19 games so far this year, he is averaging 15.7 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 42 occasions during his Holy Cross career, including 32 times in his last 34 games.

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 103-66 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 four 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 247-190. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

LAFAYETTE RECAP: Kevin Hamilton totaled 22 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals to lead Holy Cross to a 74-57 victory over Lafayette at the Kirby Sports Center on Jan. 28, 2005. The Crusaders played outstanding defense from the opening tip, and were up 13-3 after nine minutes of play. After the Leopards closed to within six, an 11-2 run gave Holy Cross its biggest lead of the first half, 24-9 with five minutes to play. The Crusaders were up by 13 at the break (31-18), then scored the first seven points of the second half to take a 20-point lead. Lafayette would get no closer than 12 points the rest of the way, and Holy Cross cruised to the victory. As a team, the Crusaders shot 56.0 percent from the field (28 of 50), marking the sixth straight game in which they have hit at least half of their shots. Lafayette shot only 36.7 percent from the floor (18 of 49), while being forced to commit 21 turnovers. Keith Simmons had 18 points and six rebounds for Holy Cross, while Nate Lufkin added 11 points, four rebounds and two blocks. Jamaal Douglas was the only Leopard to score in double figures, as he finished the night with 14 points.

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 Friday's victory at Lafayette, Simmons totaled 18 points and six rebounds. In the previous game against American, he scored 17 points on six of eight shooting, in addition to leading the team with eight 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 Colgate (18 points, six rebounds), Army (18 points, five rebounds), Vermont (15 points, eight rebounds), Iona (14 points, three steals), Boston University (13 points, three rebounds), Navy (13 points, three assists, two boards), Northeastern (12 points, three rebounds, three assists) and Princeton (12 points). Through 19 games, he is averaging 12.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest, while hitting 53.9 percent of his field goals (82 of 152) and 45.6 percent of his three-pointers (31 of 68). 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).

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 11.2 points, 4.6 assists and 3.2 steals per contest, while shooting 51.5 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 19 games played so far this season, Doherty is now averaging 4.6 points and 2.3 assists per contest.

THE LAST MEETING WITH LEHIGH: In the last game between the Crusaders and the Mountain Hawks, Jave Meade totaled 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to lead Holy Cross to a 72-57 victory at the Hart Center on Feb. 29, 2004. The score was tied at 13-13 with nine minutes to play in the first half, when Keith Simmons hit a pair of three-pointers to ignite a 14-3 Crusader run. Holy Cross led by eight points at the break (29-21), then opened the second half with a 7-0 run to take a 15-point lead. Lehigh would get no closer than 13 points for the remainder of the game, and the Crusaders extended their lead to as many as 24 points late in the contest before eventually winning by 15. Kevin Hamilton had 17 points, six assists and five rebounds for Holy Cross, while Simmons scored 13 points and Nate Lufkin added 11 points. The Crusaders were nine of 18 from three-point range on the day, including three treys each from Hamilton, Meade and Simmons. Holy Cross also totaled 10 steals, while holding the Mountain Hawks to 36.7 percent shooting in the game. Lehigh was led by Kyle Neptune with 17 points and four steals, while Jose Olivero added 12 points and four assists.

STEALING THE SHOW: In its first 19 games so far this season, Holy Cross has recorded 215 steals, good for an average of 11.3 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 64 steals this year, the sixth-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 89 steals away from the school single season record of 304 (set in 1992-1993) and 137 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 56.3 points per game. The Crusaders have held 14 of their first 19 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 18.2 turnovers per game, including 26 by Harvard and 25 by both Minnesota and Fordham. In addition, the Crusaders have averaged 11.3 steals and 4.6 blocks per contest, while outrebounding the opposition by 4.2 boards per game and holding opponents to 40.1 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 58.5 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).

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 134 blocked shots during his Holy Cross career, needing just two 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), Lafayette (11 points, four rebounds, two blocks), 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 7.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per contest. The 2001-2002 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Lufkin has now totaled 756 points and 496 rebounds in his career at Holy Cross.

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

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 was 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 19 games so far this year, he is averaging 7.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.2 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), Lafayette (nine points, seven rebounds), 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 475 points, 344 rebounds, 63 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 3.6 points and 2.6 rebounds over the first 19 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 418 points, 270 rebounds, 148 assists and 107 steals, while being in the starting lineup for 74 of the last 75 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 19 games played so far this year, Hyland is averaging 4.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per game, while shooting 68.6 percent (35 of 51) from the field.

SCOUTING THE MOUNTAIN HAWKS: Lehigh has an overall record of 10-9 on the season, including a 4-2 mark in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks are coming off a 63-45 victory over Army, and own a 6-2 at home so far this season. The leading scorer for Lehigh is sophomore guard Jose Olivero, who has averaged 12.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Junior guard Joe Knight is also enjoying a fine season, averaging 11.8 points, 3.8 assists and 3.7 rebounds per contest. The Mountain Hawks are led by head coach Billy Taylor, who owns a 46-32 record in three seasons at Lehigh. A 1995 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Taylor was named the 2004 Patriot League Coach of the Year.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 86th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1192-775 (.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.