Holy Cross To Play At Navy On Friday

Feb. 1, 2005

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (15-5, 6-1 PL) vs. Navy (6-14, 2-5 PL)
Date: February 4, 2005
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Alumni Hall (5,710), Annapolis, Md.
Navy Radio: Bob Socci, play-by-play; WNAV 1430 AM, Annapolis, Md.; www.wnav.com, internet
Live Statistics: Navy Live Stats
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 23-14
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 79, Navy 56 (January 21, 2005; Worcester, Mass.)

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 NAVY: This will be the 38th meeting between the Crusaders and the Midshipmen on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 23-14. Holy Cross has been victorious the last 11 meetings between the two schools, winning by an average margin of 16.7 points during that time. Prior to that, Navy had won eight straight and 13 out of 15 meetings with the Crusaders. For games played in Annapolis the series is tied at 8-8, but Holy Cross has posted four straight victories. The schools first met on March 20, 1947, with Holy Cross posting a 55-47 victory at Madison Square Garden in the NCAA Tournament East Regional Semifinals.

SERIES QUICK FACTS
Overall: Holy Cross, 23-14
At Annapolis: Tied, 8-8
At Alumni Hall: Navy, 8-5
Ralph Willard vs. Navy: 12-3
Billy Lange vs. Holy Cross: 0-1
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, 11 games

HOLY CROSS WINS SEVENTH STRAIGHT: With Sunday's win at Lehigh, Holy Cross posted its seventh 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 seven-game streak, Holy Cross has averaged 72.7 points per game, while shooting 52.1 percent from the floor, 45.3 percent from three-point range and outscoring the opposition by 19.7 points per contest. During the first six games of the streak, the Crusaders won each game by double figures. That marked the first time Holy Cross 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).

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 19 times in 20 games. Hamilton is the current Patriot League Player of the Week, after averaging 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 3.3 steals over the Crusaders' last three games. During Sunday's victory at Lehigh, he totaled 17 points, five rebounds and three steals, in addition to deflecting an inbound pass with two seconds remaining to seal the win. In the previous game 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. Earlier in the year against Iona, Hamilton scored a career-high 24 points, in addition to totaling five steals and three assists. He also had a big game at Minnesota with 22 points, 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) and Rhode Island (12 points, seven rebounds, three steals). Through 20 games so far this year, he is averaging 15.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 3.1 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 43 occasions during his Holy Cross career, including 33 times in his last 35 games.

HOLY CROSS IN THE RPI: The Crusaders are currently ranked 46th in the nation in the latest Ratings Percentage Index, according to Collegiate Basketball News. In the most recent ratings, through games of January 30, Holy Cross had an RPI of .5783, to place ahead of nationally ranked teams such as Pittsburgh (47th, .5768). The Crusaders' non-conference schedule ranked as the 41st-toughest in the country, including games against four teams which are presently ranked in the top 50 (No. 2 Boston College, No. 20 Vermont, No. 37 Minnesota and No. 44 Princeton). Holy Cross is currently the top rated team in the Patriot League, coming in well ahead of Bucknell (78th, .5520) and American (137th, .5199). No other Patriot League school ranks better than 253rd.

DOHERTY STEPPING UP IN BACKCOURT: Freshman guard Pat Doherty (Scranton, Pa.) is enjoying a solid season, and has been named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week in each of the last two weeks. In the five games Holy Cross has played during those two weeks, Doherty has averaged 11.2 points, 4.2 assists and 2.8 steals per contest, while shooting 47.2 percent from the floor and posting a 1.9-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. During Sunday's victory at Lehigh, he recorded 14 points and three assists, while hitting a pair of free throws with 1:32 remaining to break a 54-54 tie. In the victory over American, Doherty totaled 15 points, five steals, two rebounds and two assists, while against Navy, he 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. Doherty also played well off the bench against Colgate, totaling 14 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Earlier in the season he 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 20 games played so far this season, Doherty is now averaging 5.1 points and 2.4 assists per contest.

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 104-66 during his time in Worcester. With the victory over Iona on Jan. 18, Willard became only the fifth coach in school history with 100 victories. He now needs three more victories to move 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 248-190. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

LEHIGH RECAP: Kevin Hamilton recorded 17 points, five rebounds and three steals to lead Holy Cross to a 58-56 victory over Lehigh at Stabler Arena on Jan. 20, 2005. The Crusaders started the game hot, scoring the first six points and jumping out to a 12-4 lead after seven minutes of play. Holy Cross increased its lead to 10 points (22-12) with nine minutes to play in the first half, before going cold from the field. Lehigh went on a 14-0 run over the next seven minutes, before the Crusaders scored the final five points before the break to take a one-point lead (27-26) into the locker room. Holy Cross then opened the second half on a 7-0 run, and would build a 16-point lead (44-28) with 12:55 left to play in regulation. But the Mountain Hawks refused to go away, going on a 12-2 run to get back in the game, including 10 straight points at the free throw line. Lehigh finally pulled even at 54-54 on a pair of free throws by Jose Olivero with 1:56 remaining. But the Crusaders would never give up the lead, as Pat Doherty hit two foul shots with 1:32 left to put Holy Cross in the lead for good. Hamilton added two free throws down the stretch, then deflected an in-bound pass with three seconds remaining to end Lehigh's last possession. Doherty finished with 14 points and three assists, while Keith Simmons added 14 points and three rebounds. Olivero led Lehigh with 24 points.

LUFKIN TIED FOR 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 Navy game with 135 blocked shots during his Holy Cross career, and is currently tied with Josh Sankes (1999-2001) as the Crusaders' all-time career leader in blocks. Lufkin's record-tying block was a big one, as he swatted away Lehigh's Mitch Gilfillan with only three seconds remaining in Holy Cross' 58-56 win on Jan. 30. Over the course of the season, some of Lufkin's top performances 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 year, Lufkin is averaging 7.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per contest. The 2001-2002 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Lufkin has now totaled 762 points and 499 rebounds in his career at Holy Cross.

CRUSADERS HEAT UP ON OFFENSE: Holy Cross has turned in some outstanding shooting performances over the last few weeks. Prior to making only 39.6 percent of their shots at Lehigh on Jan. 30, the Crusaders had hit at least half of their field goal attempts in six straight contests. Over the last seven games, Holy Cross is shooting 52.1 percent from the field and 45.3 percent from beyond the three-point line. Prior to this season, the Crusaders had not made at least 50 percent of its shots in five straight games since Feb. 20-March 10, 1993. On the year, Holy Cross has now hit 50 percent from the floor nine times, in addition to making 50 percent from three-point range seven times. Last season, the Crusaders 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 Holy Cross' shooting performances during its seven-game winning streak:

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
Lehigh     W, 58-56   19-48   39.6       6-19   31.6

THE LAST MEETING WITH NAVY: In the last game between the Crusaders and the Midshipmen, Pat Doherty totaled 16 points, six assists and five steals, to lead Holy Cross to a 79-56 victory at the Hart Center on Jan. 21, 2005. The score was tied at 11-11 after five and a half minutes of play, before the Crusaders went on a 15-0 run to take control of the game. The Midshipmen came back a few minutes later with a 9-0 spurt to make it a five-point game, before Holy Cross closed out the halt on a 7-0 run to take a 38-26 lead into the locker room. Navy stayed close early in the second half, trimming the Crusader lead to nine points. But Holy Cross then went on an 11-0 run to take a 20-point lead (57-37) and put the game away. The Crusaders' lead grew to as many as 27 points late in the contest, before they finally won by 23. Keith Simmons totaled 13 points and three assists for Holy Cross, while John Hurley added 12 points and seven rebounds. In addition, Kevin Hamilton had 12 points, six rebounds and six steals, while Nate Lufkin recorded 10 points, five blocks and three rebounds. Navy was led by Corey Johnson with 13 points and three steals, while George O'Garro added 10 points and two rebounds.

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 15 of their first 20 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 11.3 steals and 4.5 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).

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 Sunday's victory at Lehigh, he recorded 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. In the previous game at Lafayette, Simmons totaled 18 points and six rebounds, while against American, he had 17 points and 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 20 games, he is averaging 12.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest, while hitting 53.4 percent of his field goals (87 of 163) and 44.0 percent of his three-pointers (33 of 75). 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).

STEALING THE SHOW: In its first 20 games so far this season, Holy Cross has recorded 226 steals, good for an average of 11.3 steals per game. The Crusaders have already reached double figures in steals for a game 12 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 67 steals this year, the fifth-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 78 steals away from the school single season record of 304 (set in 1992-1993) and 126 steals away from the Patriot League single season record of 352 (set by Navy in 1999-2000).

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 20 games so far this year, he is averaging 7.3 points, a team-high 5.7 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), 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 479 points, 353 rebounds, 64 assists, 38 blocks and 79 steals.

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 was carried by Service Electric Television.

HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders currently rank among the NCAA Division I leaders in six different statistical categories, through games of January 31. In addition, junior guard Kevin Hamilton is listed among the nation's leaders in steals. The rankings:

Category                     Rank  Player / Team   Avg.
Steals                          3  Kevin Hamilton   3.4
                                3  Holy Cross      11.3
Scoring Defense                 5  Holy Cross      56.2
Won-Lost Percentage            36  Holy Cross      75.0
Field Goal Percentage Defense  38  Holy Cross      40.1
Scoring Margin                 40  Holy Cross      +9.8
Fewest Personal Fouls          50  Holy Cross      16.8

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 3.5 points and 2.5 rebounds over the first 20 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, 149 assists and 108 steals, while being in the starting lineup for 75 of the last 76 games the Crusaders have played.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 86th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1193-775 (.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.

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.

SCOUTING THE MIDSHIPMEN: Navy has an overall record of 6-14 on the season, including a 2-5 mark in the Patriot League. The Midshipmen had lost eight games a row, before posting home victories over Colgate (82-71) and Bucknell (66-62) last weekend. The leading scorer for the Midshipmen is senior forward Laramie Mergerson, who has averaged 11.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game so far this year. Junior forward Matt Fannin has chipped in with 11.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest, while freshman guard Corey Johnson has averaged 9.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Navy is led by head coach Billy Lange, who is in his first season with the Midshipmen. Lange's career record stands at 45-33, including two seasons at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

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 ... The Crusaders have won their last eight contests against opponents from the Atlantic 10 Conference, following this year's victories against Fordham and Rhode Island ... 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.