Crusaders Open Road Trip With Contest At Army

Feb. 11, 2008

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (12-10, 3-6 PL) vs. Army (11-11, 4-4 PL)
Date: February 14, 2008
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Christl Arena (5,043), West Point, N.Y.
Live Video Streaming: Crusader All-Access
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester, Mass.; www.sportsjuice.com, internet; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play
Army Radio: WBNR 1260 AM, Beacon, N.Y.; WLNA 1420 AM, Peekskill, N.Y.; Rich DeMarco, play-by-play; Bob Beretta, color
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 50-15
Last Meeting: Army 53, Holy Cross 39 (January 16, 2008; Worcester, Mass.)


PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos.  No.  Name                Ht.   Wt.   Cl.
F      21  Alex Vander Baan    6-9   205   Jr.
F      33  Colin Cunningham    6-6   210   Jr.
C      00  Tim Clifford       6-11   260   Sr.
G       2  Kyle Cruze          6-2   175   Sr.
G      22  Andrew Beinert      6-2   175   Fr.

THE SERIES WITH ARMY: This will be the 66th meeting between the Crusaders and the Black Knights on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 50-15. The Black Knights took this year's first meeting in Worcester, to end the Crusaders' 13-game winning streak in the series. Prior to last month, Army did not have a victory in the series since Jan. 23, 2002, when it posted a 57-46 win at home. For games played at West Point, Holy Cross holds an 18-12 advantage, with five straight victories. The schools first met on Feb. 22, 1926, with Army posting a 41-27 victory at West Point.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 50-15
At West Point: Holy Cross leads, 18-12
At Christl Arena: Holy Cross leads, 13-8
Ralph Willard vs. Army: 16-4
Jim Crews vs. Holy Cross: 1-12
Current Win Streak: Army, 1 game
In Overtime: Holy Cross leads, 2-1

CRUSADERS OPEN UP THREE-GAME ROAD TRIP AT ARMY: Holy Cross will play the first of three straight games away from the Hart Center this week, when it travels to Army on Thursday, February 14, at 7:00 p.m. The Crusaders will then head to Bucknell for a contest which will be televised on ESPN2 at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 16. The road trip will continue next week with a game at Navy on February 20 at 7:00 p.m. The next home game for Holy Cross does not come until February 23, when it plays host to Northeastern in the O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters at 4:00 p.m.

CLIFFORD PLAYS BIG ROLE IN THE MIDDLE: Senior center Tim Clifford (Walpole, Mass.) is once again among the top big men in the conference this season, after earning second team All-Patriot League honors in 2006-2007. In 22 games played this season, he has averaged 16.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per contest, while hitting 54.9 percent (141 of 257) of his field goal attempts. In the victory over Lafayette, Clifford led the team with 13 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots. In the previous contest against American, he scored a team-high 18 points. Clifford also played well against Lehigh, recording 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and a school record-tying seven blocked shots. Some of Clifford's other top games this season have been against Siena (26 points on 11 of 16 shooting), Sacred Heart (24 points, seven rebounds and two blocks), American (24 points on nine of 11 shooting), Yale (23 points, eight rebounds, six blocked shots and four assists), Harvard (22 points and four rebounds), Hampton (22 points and six rebounds), Navy (20 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots), Dayton (20 points), San Francisco (17 points, five rebounds, two blocks and two assists), St. Joseph's (16 points and seven rebounds), Boston University (16 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots), Bucknell (16 points on six of 11 shooting), Maryland (15 points, eight rebounds and three assists) and Army (13 points and eight rebounds). In 34 games played last year, Clifford averaged 11.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per contest. He was even more impressive in Patriot League regular season games, averaging 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per contest. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, Clifford has now totaled 1,089 points, 477 rebounds and 192 blocked shots, while making 424 of 843 (50.3 percent) field goal attempts.

CLIFFORD BREAKS BLOCKED SHOT RECORD: Senior center Tim Clifford broke the Holy Cross record for career blocked shots during the victory over Yale on Nov. 28, 2007. Clifford's record-breaking block came at the 5:15-mark of the second half, when he swatted away an attempted jump shot by the Bulldogs' Porter Braswell. That block moved him past Nate Lufkin (2001-2005), who had 153 blocked shots during his Holy Cross career. Clifford, who currently has 192 blocked shots during his career as a Crusader, also tied the school single game record for blocks when he swatted away seven shots in the victory over Lehigh on Feb. 2, 2008. He tied the mark of Josh Sankes, who had seven blocks against Colgate on Feb. 5, 2000. In addition to those marks, Clifford owns three of the top seven spots on the school single season list for blocks (64 in 2006-2007; 49 in 2007-2008; 48 in 2005-2006).

CRUZE PLAYS KEY MINUTES IN THE BACKCOURT: Senior guard Kyle Cruze (Knoxville, Tenn.) has developed into a strong player in the Holy Cross backcourt. Through 22 games played this season, Cruze has averaged 6.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.7 steals per contest. He has been particularly effective over the last seven games, averaging 10.9 points and 5.0 rebounds during that time. In the Lafayette game, Cruze totaled 11 points, three rebounds and three assists. During the previous contest against American, he recorded 11 points and a team-best six rebounds. Cruze also played well against Lehigh, posting 13 points and eight rebounds. Some of Cruze's other top games this season have come against Navy (14 points, five rebounds and three assists), St. Joseph's (13 points and six assists), American (10 points, eight rebounds and three steals), Bucknell (10 points, three assists and two rebounds), Hofstra (10 points, two rebounds and two steals), Fairfield (nine points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Ohio (game-winning shot with 2.6 seconds remaining, while totaling seven points, four assists and three rebounds). During the 2006-2007 season, Cruze started 25 games for the Crusaders, averaging 2.1 points and 1.4 rebounds per contest.

MEISTER RETURNS TO ACTION: Sophomore forward Eric Meister (Boalsburg, Pa.), who missed 11 games due to injury from Dec. 22-Jan. 30, made his return to the court against Lehigh on Feb. 2. He had an outstanding game against the Mountain Hawks, totaling 10 points, a team-high nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Earlier in the season against Yale, Meister recorded eight points and nine rebounds, while making his first career start. He previously posted eight points and six rebounds against Ohio, while totaling seven points and nine boards in the season opener against Hofstra. In 11 games played overall this year, Meister is averaging 5.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest, while hitting 52.9 percent (27 of 51) of his field goal attempts. Last season, he was selected to the Patriot League All-Rookie team, after averaging 3.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game as the first big man off the bench for the Crusaders. Meister's top game last season came against Southern Illinois in the NCAA Tournament, when he scored a career-high 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds.

LAFAYETTE RECAP: Pat Doherty totaled six points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, as Holy Cross posted a 77-57 victory over Lafayette at the Hart Center on Feb. 9, 2008. Following the game, Doherty received the Martin J. O'Malley Award as the most valuable player of Holy Cross' winter homecoming game. The Crusaders started the game hot, jumping out to a quick 8-2 lead after the first 3:20 of play. The Leopards scored the next four points to tighten up the game, but Holy Cross was able to build its lead back to five points (16-11) with just under 10 minutes left in the half. Lafayette then went on an 11-1 run to take its first lead of the day, and would hold onto the lead for the rest of the first half. The Leopards held a 29-25 advantage heading into the locker room. Lafayette built its lead up to as many as nine points early in the second half, and was up 40-34 with 15:22 left to play. The Crusaders then went on a 12-0 run to regain the lead, and never looked back. A few minutes later Holy Cross used a 7-0 spurt to build its lead to double figures (55-44), and the Leopards would get no closer than eight points the rest of the way. The Crusaders would eventually lead by as many as 21 points in the closing minutes, before finally winning by 20. Holy Cross held Lafayette to just 35.6 percent shooting from the field and 28.6 percent shooting from three-point range, while forcing 18 turnovers and outrebounding the Leopards 40-24. Tim Clifford led the Crusaders in scoring with 13 points and eight rebounds, while Kyle Cruze added 11 points, three rebounds and three steals. Greg McCarthy also had a big day, scoring 10 points while making all five of his field goal attempts. All told, nine Holy Cross players scored at least six points. Lafayette was led by Bilal Abdullah with 13 points.

CRUSADERS REMAIN TOUGH ON DEFENSE: Holy Cross is once again among the top defensive teams in the nation in 2007-2008. In 22 games played this season, the Crusaders have held their opponents to 60.9 points per contest and 41.6 percent shooting from the field. Holy Cross is also outrebounding the opposition by 6.0 boards per game, while forcing 14.7 turnovers per contest. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Holy Cross has held its opposition to only 58.8 points per contest. In addition, the Crusaders have ranked in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense in five of the last six seasons (sixth in 2001-2002 at 59.6; third in 2002-2003 at 58.7; seventh in 2003-2004 at 58.6; fifth in 2004-2005 at 56.8; and eighth in 2006-2007 at 57.5). Here is a look at Holy Cross' defensive statistics under Ralph Willard.

Season       PPG    FG%   3FG%    SPG   BPG
1999-2000   63.3   39.6   31.3    6.5   3.8
2000-2001   62.3   38.2   35.2    6.3   5.2
2001-2002   59.6   42.0   38.5    7.8   3.1
2002-2003   58.7   40.6   33.2    7.9   4.5
2003-2004   58.6   40.3   32.9   10.7   4.5
2004-2005   56.8   38.9   36.3   10.3   5.0
2005-2006   60.5   40.2   30.3    9.1   3.5
2006-2007   57.5   41.4   37.8    9.5   3.6

WILLARD CONTINUES IMPRESSIVE RUN AT HOLY CROSS: Ralph Willard is now in his ninth season as the Crusaders' head coach, and currently owns a mark of 171-99 during his time in Worcester. He now stands in second place on the all-time school list for career victories, behind only George Blaney (357-276 / 1972-1994). Last season, Willard was selected as the Patriot League Coach of the Year for the third time in his career. He was previously named the conference's Coach of the Year during the 2000-2001 and 2004-2005 seasons, and in 2004-2005 he was also one of 10 finalists for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award. Willard has led the Crusaders to four Patriot League tournament titles and four trips to the NCAA Tournament, during the 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003 and 2006-2007 seasons. He has also guided Holy Cross to four Patriot League regular season championships in 2000-2001, 2002-2003, 2004-2005 and 2006-2007, 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 315-223. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

THE LAST MEETING WITH ARMY: Tim Clifford recorded 13 points and eight rebounds, but it was not enough as Holy Cross was defeated by Army 53-39 at the Hart Center on Jan. 16, 2008. The score was tied 9-9 after nine minutes of play, before Army used an 8-0 run to go in front 17-9. Holy Cross would rally to trim the lead down to one point (19-18) late in the half, before the Black Knights took a 22-19 advantage into the locker room. Army was still up by three (26-23) with 16:20 left to play, when the Crusaders went on a 6-2 run to reclaim the lead, 29-28 with 12 minutes remaining. But the Black Knights responded with a 9-0 spurt of their own to go back in front for good. Holy Cross would get no closer than six points the rest of the way, as Army eventually pulled away to win by 14. Andrew Beinert finished with 12 points, three assists and two rebounds, while Alex Vander Baan totaled eight points and 10 boards. Army was led by Cleveland Richard with 15 points, while Doug Williams posted 12 points and five rebounds. Jarell Brown also scored 12 points for the Black Knights, despite making just three of 14 field goal attempts.

DOHERTY TAKES OVER AT THE POINT: Junior guard Pat Doherty (Scranton, Pa.) has taken over as the starting point guard for the Crusaders this year, after serving as the first guard off the bench in 2006-2007. He has averaged 8.0 points, 4.4 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 18 games played this season, despite missing a good deal of time over the last month due to injury. In Saturday's victory over Lafayette, Doherty recorded six points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, to earn the Martin J. O'Malley Award as the most valuable player of Holy Cross' winter homecoming game. Previously at San Francisco, he posted 16 points and four rebounds, while hitting six of 10 shots from the field. Doherty also had a big day against Boston University, leading the team with a career-high 20 points, in addition to posting three assists and three steals. Some of Doherty's other top performances this season have come against Hofstra (18 points, four assists and three rebounds), Siena (15 points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals), Ohio (12 points, six assists and three steals) and Fairfield (11 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals). In 28 games played last season, Doherty averaged 5.3 points, 2.2 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals per contest. Doherty returned to the Holy Cross lineup last season, after missing the majority of the 2005-2006 campaign due to injury, and receiving a medical redshirt. As a freshman in 2004-2005, Doherty was honored as the Patriot League Rookie of the Year. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, he has now totaled 448 points, 220 assists, 148 rebounds and 100 steals.

HOLY CROSS HAS GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders have once again shown themselves to be an outstanding rebounding team this year. Holy Cross has been outrebounded only three times in 22 games this season, while averaging 34.0 rebounds per game and outrebounding the opposition by 6.0 boards per contest. The Crusaders have been even more impressive in Patriot League play, outrebounding conference foes by 7.0 boards per game. The rebounding load has been well balanced, with five different players averaging at least 3.5 rebounds per game. Junior forward Alex Vander Baan (Uxbridge, Mass.) leads the team with an average of 5.8 rebounds per game, followed by senior center Tim Clifford with 5.5 boards per contest. Sophomore forward Eric Meister has totaled 4.9 rebounds per game, while junior forward Colin Cunningham (Memphis, Tenn.) has added 4.0 boards per contest, and senior guard Kyle Cruze has contributed 3.5 rebounds per game. Last season, the Crusaders averaged 32.1 rebounds per game, and outrebounded their opponents by an average of 4.3 boards per game. Holy Cross really stepped things up in Patriot League regular season play last year, outrebounding the opposition by 8.0 boards per game, while allowing opponents to average just 25.2 rebounds per contest. Five different players averaged at least 3.6 boards per contest for Holy Cross in 2006-2007.

VANDER BAAN PLAYS KEY ROLE ON FRONT LINE: Junior forward Alex Vander Baan is once again a key member of the Holy Cross lineup this year. He has averaged 8.3 points and 5.8 rebounds in 16 games played this season, despite missing a good deal of time over the last month due to injury. During the Bucknell game, Vander Baan recorded 11 points, five rebounds and three assists. Previously at Siena, he posted 13 points, six rebounds and two steals. Vander Baan also had a big night at St. Joseph's, totaling 16 points and seven rebounds, while making all four of his free throws in the final minute of play. Some of Vander Baan's other top performances this season have come against Harvard (18 points and eight rebounds), Hofstra (15 rebounds, 10 points, three assists and three blocks), Dayton (11 points and seven rebounds) and Fairfield (11 points and four rebounds). In 34 games played last year, Vander Baan averaged 6.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest, while making 36.2 percent of his three-point field goal attempts (17 of 47). His top performance of the 2006-2007 season came at Lehigh on Feb. 25, when he recorded 14 points and eight rebounds. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, Vander Baan has now totaled 547 points, 431 rebounds, 119 assists, 60 steals and 26 blocked shots.

CUNNINGHAM STARTS SEASON STRONG: Junior forward Colin Cunningham has taken over as the starting small forward for Holy Cross this year, and has been one of the Crusaders' top players. In the Navy game, he recorded 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Previously against Lafayette, Cunningham totaled 12 points, a team-high seven rebounds and two steals. Earlier in the season against Boston University, he posted 16 points, four rebounds and three steals, while hitting four of five attempts from three-point range. Some of Cunningham's other top performances this season have come against Fairfield (career-high 17 points, 10 of 10 on the free throw line), Siena (15 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals), Yale (13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, first career double-double), Harvard (13 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals), Ohio (12 points and three rebounds), Hampton (10 points, six rebounds and five assists) and Sacred Heart (10 points and four rebounds). Overall this season, Cunningham is now averaging 7.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, while hitting 36.2 percent (21 of 58) of his three-point attempts.

CLIFFORD SCORES 1,000TH CAREER POINT: Senior center Tim Clifford became the 44th 1,000-point scorer in the history of Holy Cross men's basketball during the Jan. 23 game against Navy. He hit a layup while being fouled at the 3:43-mark of the first half to record the 1,000th point of his collegiate career. Clifford has now scored 1,089 points in 116 games as a Crusader, good for an average of 9.4 points per contest. Last season, Torey Thomas became the 43rd 1,000-point scorer at Holy Cross, netting his 1,000th point against Lehigh on Jan. 26, 2007, when he made a layup at the 11:51-mark of the first half.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 89th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1261-809 (.609), while making 24 postseason tournament appearances -- 12 trips to the NCAA Tournament and 12 to the National Invitation Tournament. In the history of collegiate basketball, Holy Cross is one of only 16 schools to have won the NCAA Tournament (1946-1947) as well as the National Invitational Tournament (1953-1954). Throughout its history, Holy Cross has had six first team All-America selections, sent 10 players to the National Basketball Association, had four players inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, had 23 players drafted by professional teams, had three players go 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 7-4 at the Hart Center so far this season, and now owns an all-time record of 298-108 in the building. The Crusaders recently had a 23-game winning streak at the Hart Center, which was the longest streak in the history of the building and the sixth-longest home court winning streak in the nation at the time. Last season Holy Cross posted a perfect 14-0 mark at the Hart Center, setting a school record for the most home victories since it moved into the building. During the Hart Center's history, Holy Cross has posted a winning record at home in 28 out of 32 seasons, while recording double-figure home victories 15 times. The Crusaders stand 85-16 at home since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, including a 54-9 record against Patriot League foes.

CRUSADERS LOOK TO DEFEND REGULAR SEASON TITLE: Last year, Holy Cross won a share of the fifth Patriot League regular season championship in school history. The Crusaders tied for first place in the conference with Bucknell, as both teams posted 13-1 records in league play. Prior to last season, Holy Cross won outright Patriot League regular season titles in 2001, 2003 and 2005, while sharing the regular season championship in 1994. The Crusaders are the only team in league history to win more than two outright titles, while their five total championships are tied for the most in conference history with Navy (one outright, four shared) and Bucknell (two outright, three shared).

HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I leaders in five statistical categories, through games of February 7. In addition, senior center Tim Clifford is ranked among the national leaders in field goal percentage and blocked shots. The rankings:

Category                  Rank  Player / Team   Avg.
Blocked Shots               31  Tim Clifford     2.2
Rebound Margin              33  Holy Cross      +5.6
Scoring Defense             33  Holy Cross      61.0
Field Goal Percent          60  Tim Clifford    54.6
Free Throw Percent          84  Holy Cross      71.7
Field Goal Percent Defense  87  Holy Cross      41.8
Steals                      95  Holy Cross       7.6
Assists                     97  Pat Doherty      4.4

HOLY CROSS IN THE RPI: Holy Cross is currently ranked 137th in the nation in the Ratings Percentage Index, with a rating of .5174 through games of February 10. The Crusaders are the second-highest ranked team in the Patriot League, behind only American (130th, .5230). In addition, Holy Cross' non-conference schedule ranks as the 112th-best in the country, and the hardest in the Patriot League. The Crusaders concluded the 2006-2007 season ranked 59th in the country in the RPI with a rating of .5730. Holy Cross was also ranked 111th in the RPI in 2005-2006 (.5304) and 49th in 2004-2005 (.5657).

SCOUTING THE BLACK KNIGHTS: Army has an overall record of 11-11 on the season, with a 4-4 mark in the Patriot League. The Black Knights have won their last two games, and are coming off a 59-57 overtime victory over Colgate. Army's leading scorer is senior guard Jarrell Brown, who has averaged 19.2 points per game while hitting 43.7 percent (80 of 183) of his three-point attempts. Sophomore guard Josh Miller has added 7.2 points and 4.2 assists per game, while junior forward Doug Williams is chipping in with 7.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Army is led by head coach Jim Crews, who owns a 46-115 record during his six seasons with the Black Knights. Crews' career record stands at 340-324, including 17 years as the head coach at Evansville, where he led the Purple Aces to four NCAA Tournament appearances.

HOLY CROSS ON THE RADIO: Once again this season, a number of the Crusaders' basketball contests will be carried by WTAG 580 AM in Worcester. For the 19th straight season, Bob Fouracre will call the play-by-play for most of the games. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their fourth year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. WTAG is currently scheduled to air 17 of the Crusaders' 28 regular season games. All 28 regular season games will also be carried live over the internet at "www.sportsjuice.com". In addition, the Holy Cross student station, WCHC 88.1 FM, will carry a number of games this year.

CRUSADERS ON TELEVISION: Holy Cross is currently scheduled to have eight games shown on live television during the 2007-2008 season. The Crusaders had 13 television appearances last year, and 10 television games during both the 2005-2006 and 2004-2005 campaigns. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2007-2008 season:

Date     Opponent           Television Outlet
Jan. 2   Boston University  WCTR-TV3
Jan. 8   Maryland           Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic
Jan. 12  Lafayette          Lafayette Sports Network
Jan. 18  Bucknell           ESPNU
Feb. 2   Lehigh             ESPNU
Feb. 16  Bucknell           ESPN2
Feb. 27  Colgate            WCTR-TV3
Feb. 29  Lehigh             ESPNU

CRUSADER ALL-ACCESS: Live video streaming of a number of Holy Cross basketball games will be available over the internet through Crusader All-Access. The package, done in association with College Sports Television Online, is available for a $9.95 monthly subscription. For details on how to sign up for Crusader All-Access, click here.

DRIBBLES: In the 18-year history of the Patriot League, Army is the only school to have never swept the regular season series from Holy Cross ... The Crusaders' 0-4 start in Patriot League play was their worst since 1998-1999, when they opened conference action at 0-5 ... Holy Cross' five-game losing streak from Jan. 8-23 was its longest since the 1998-1999 season, when it had losing streaks of five games and six games ... The Crusaders' 39 points against Army on Jan. 16 were the team's fewest ever for a game played at the Hart Center. The previous low came in a 46-42 loss to Colgate on Jan. 16, 2002 ... With the victory at San Francisco, Holy Cross improved to 1-1 on the season in overtime games. The Crusaders now stand 11-3 in overtime contests under Ralph Willard ... Senior center Tim Clifford and senior guard Kyle Cruze are serving as the Crusaders' captains for the 2007-2008 season, while junior guard Pat Doherty and junior forward Alex Vander Baan are co-captains ... Holy Cross was picked to finish first in this year's Patriot League preseason poll ... Senior center Tim Clifford was named this season's Patriot League preseason Player of the Year, in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors ... With the victory over Hofstra on Nov. 10, the Crusaders improved to 64-25 all-time in their opening game of the season, including a 7-2 mark under Ralph Willard.