Holy Cross Set To Play Key Contest At American

Feb. 5, 2005

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The Teams: Holy Cross (16-5, 7-1 PL) vs. American (13-7, 6-2 PL)
Date: February 6, 2005
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Place: Bender Arena (4,500), Washington, D.C.
American Radio: www.aueagles.com/multimedia/amer-multimedia.html, internet broadcast
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 7-3
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 80, American 56 (January 24, 2005; 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     41  Kevin Hyland    6-7   240   Jr.
G     14  Kevin Hamilton  6-4   180   Jr.
G     20  Pat Doherty    5-11   165   Fr.

THE SERIES WITH AMERICAN: This will be the 11th meeting between the Crusaders and the Eagles on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 7-3. The Crusaders won this year's first meeting between the schools 80-56 in Worcester, but in 2003-2004 American swept the season series. Prior to that, Holy Cross had won two straight and six of the first seven meetings. The schools have met in the Patriot League championship game twice in the last three years, since American joined the conference prior to the 2001-2002 season. The Crusaders won both those games, 72-64 at the Hart Center on March 14, 2003, and 58-54 at Bender Arena on March 8, 2002. The schools first met on Dec. 21, 1967, with Holy Cross posting an 81-57 victory on the road.

Overall: Holy Cross, 7-3
At Washington: Holy Cross, 3-2
At Bender Arena: Tied, 2-2
Ralph Willard vs. American: 6-3
Jeff Jones vs. Holy Cross: 3-6
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game

THE ROAD WARRIORS: Holy Cross has played well on the road this season, posting a 10-3 record so far in games which have been played away from the Hart Center. The Crusaders are currently on a five-game winning streak away from home, including road wins over Navy (68-66), Lehigh (58-56), Lafayette (74-57) and Army (66-29), and a neutral court victory over Iona (78-53) at the DCU Center. The last time Holy Cross posted more than five straight victories in games away from the Hart Center came during the 2002-2003 season, when the Crusaders downed Army (53-45), Colgate (92-91 in overtime), Bucknell (54-43) and Lehigh (72-64) on their home courts, then defeated Army (58-40) and Bucknell (75-50) in the Patriot League Tournament at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md.

HOLY CROSS WINS EIGHTH STRAIGHT: With Friday's win at Navy, Holy Cross posted its eighth 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 eight-game streak, Holy Cross has averaged 72.1 points per game, while shooting 50.7 percent from the floor, 43.8 percent from three-point range and outscoring the opposition by 17.5 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).

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 Navy, he led the team with 22 points on seven of 12 shooting, in addition to totaling five rebounds, two assists and two steals. In the previous contest at Lehigh, Simmons recorded 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals, while against at Lafayette, he totaled 18 points and six rebounds. In this year's first meeting with American, Simmons 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 21 games, he is averaging 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest, while hitting 53.7 percent of his field goals (94 of 175) and 45.0 percent of his three-pointers (36 of 80). 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).

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 105-66 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 two 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 249-190. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

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 played during those two weeks, Doherty 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 Friday's win over Navy, Doherty had nine points, five assists and three rebounds, while hitting a pair of key three-pointers in the final three minutes of the game. In the previous game 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. During this season's first game against American, Doherty totaled 15 points, five steals, two rebounds and two assists, while in the first Navy game, 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 5.3 points and 2.5 assists per contest.

NAVY RECAP: Keith Simmons totaled 22 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals, to lead Holy Cross to a 68-66 victory over Navy at Alumni Hall on Feb. 4, 2005. The Crusaders played solid defense early in the game, and jumped out to a 10-3 lead after five minutes of play. Holy Cross was still up by four (21-17) with eight minutes left before the break, when the Midshipmen went on an 11-0 run to claim their first lead of the game. Navy extended the lead to 10 points late in the opening half, before the Crusaders made it a five-point game (36-31) heading into the locker room. After the break, the Midshipmen again increased their lead to 10 points (47-37 with 13:30 remaining), when Holy Cross went on a 12-2 run to get back into the game. The score stayed close until Pat Doherty hit a pair of key three-pointers in the final three minutes of play to help put the Crusaders up by nine (67-58), but Holy Cross was able to hit only one of six free throws in the final 30 seconds, and just barely held on for the victory. John Hurley had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Crusaders, while Doherty added nine points and five assists. Navy was led by Corey Johnson with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Greg Sprink added 14 points and six boards.

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.

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 21 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' three games from Jan. 24-30. During the 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 Lafayette game, Hamilton totaled 22 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals, while in the first game with 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 21 games so far this year, he is averaging 15.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 3.0 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 36 games.

THE LAST MEETING WITH AMERICAN: In the last game between the Crusaders and the Eagles, Kevin Hamilton totaled 23 points, seven assists, five steals and four rebounds, to lead Holy Cross to an 80-56 victory 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.

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 21 games so far this year, he is averaging 7.6 points, a team-high 5.8 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 on the road (13 points, nine rebounds), Navy at home (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) and Boston University (seven points, seven rebounds, two steals). Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Hurley has now totaled 492 points, 362 rebounds, 65 assists, 38 blocks and 79 steals.

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

STEALING THE SHOW: In its first 21 games so far this season, Holy Cross has recorded 235 steals, good for an average of 11.2 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 68 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 69 steals away from the school single season record of 304 (set in 1992-1993) and 117 steals away from the Patriot League single season record of 352 (set by Navy in 1999-2000).

CRUSADERS STEP UP ON DEFENSE: The Holy Cross defense has been outstanding so far this season, allowing its opponents to average just 56.7 points per game. The Crusaders have held 15 of their first 21 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 11.2 steals and 4.5 blocks per contest, while outrebounding the opposition by 3.8 boards per game and holding opponents to 40.4 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).

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.

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.

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 2.5 rebounds over the first 21 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 Navy (eight points, three rebounds, three 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 426 points, 273 rebounds, 150 assists and 111 steals, while being in the starting lineup for 76 of the last 77 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.

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 currently has 135 blocked shots during his Holy Cross career, and is 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 7.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per contest. The 2001-2002 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Lufkin has now totaled 764 points and 500 rebounds in his career at Holy Cross.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 86th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1194-775 (.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.

SCOUTING THE EAGLES: American has an overall record of 13-7 on the season, including a 6-2 mark in the Patriot League. The Eagles have won three straight and seven of their last eight games, with their only loss during that time coming at Holy Cross (80-56) on Jan. 24. The leading scorer for American is sophomore guard Andre Ingram, who has averaged 15.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Senior guard Jason Thomas is also enjoying a fine season, averaging 12.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest. The Eagles are led by head coach Jeff Jones, who owns a 72-64 record in five seasons at American. Jones' career record stands at 218-168, including eight years as the head coach at the University of Virginia.

DRIBBLES: Seniors John Hurley and Greg Kinsey are serving as Holy Cross' co-captains this season ... During their six victories from Jan. 12-28, the Crusaders shot at least 50.0 percent from the field in each game. During those six contests, Holy Cross hit 54.2 percent of its field goal attempts (163 of 301) and 47.7 percent of its three-point attempts (52 of 109), while averaging 75.2 points per game ... 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.