February 12, 2005

Crusaders Set To Face Lehigh On Sunday

Feb. 12, 2005

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (18-5, 9-1 PL) vs. Lehigh (13-10, 7-3 PL)
Date: February 13, 2005
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Patriot League Television: Bob Socci, play-by-play; Jim Satalin, color; College Sports Television; WLVI-TV 56, Boston
Holy Cross Radio: Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Jeremy Lechan, color; WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Lehigh Radio: Matt Kerr, play-by-play; WEEX 1230 AM, Easton, Pa.; WTKZ 1320 AM, Allentown, Pa.
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 24-9
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 58, Lehigh 56 (January 30, 2005; Bethlehem, Pa.)

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos. No.  Name            Ht.   Wt.   Cl.
F     23  Greg Kinsey     6-4   195   Sr.
F     24  John Hurley     6-8   215   Sr.
C     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 LEHIGH: This will be the 34th meeting between the Crusaders and the Mountain Hawks on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 24-9. The Crusaders have won two straight and 10 of the last 11 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 Worcester, Holy Cross holds a 14-3 advantage, including six straight wins. The schools first met on Jan. 16, 1976, with Holy Cross posting an 84-60 victory at the Hart Center.

SERIES QUICK FACTS
Overall: Holy Cross, 24-9
At Worcester: Holy Cross, 14-3
At the Hart Center: Holy Cross, 14-3
Ralph Willard vs. Lehigh: 10-2
Billy Taylor vs. Holy Cross: 1-4
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game

CRUSADERS HEAT UP ON OFFENSE: Holy Cross has turned in some outstanding shooting performances so far this season. The Crusaders have hit at least 50 percent of their field goal attempts 10 times this year, with the most recent performance coming against Lafayette on Feb. 11 (29 of 56, 51.8 percent). This includes a string of six consecutive games from Jan. 12-28, when Holy Cross made at least half of its shots every time. The Crusaders have a perfect 10-0 record this year when shooting at least 50 percent from the floor, while winning those game by an average of 20.3 points. In fact, Holy Cross has now won its last 24 games when it hits at least half its shots from the field, since a 75-73 loss to Bucknell on Feb. 20, 2002.

HOLY CROSS IN THE RPI: The Crusaders are currently ranked 37th in the nation in the latest Ratings Percentage Index, according to Collegiate Basketball News. In the most recent ratings, through games of February 6, Holy Cross had an RPI of .5841, to place ahead of nationally ranked teams such as Pittsburgh (46th, .5748). 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 53 (No. 3 Boston College, No. 15 Vermont, No. 33 Minnesota and No. 53 Boston University). Holy Cross is currently the top rated team in the Patriot League, coming in well ahead of Bucknell (77th, .5528) and American (149th, .5118). No other Patriot League school ranks better than 240th.

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 21 times in 23 games, and earning Patriot League Player of the Week honors on Jan. 31. He had an outstanding all-around game in Friday's victory over Lafayette, totaling 16 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals. In the previous contest at American, Hamilton recorded his first career double-double, totaling 14 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals. 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 American at home (23 points, seven assists, five steals, four rebounds), at Lafayette (22 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals), against Colgate (19 points, six steals, five rebounds), at Army (18 points, four rebounds), at Harvard (18 points, five rebounds, five steals, three assists), at Lehigh (17 points, five rebounds, three steals), at Bucknell (17 points, three rebounds, three steals), at Fordham (17 points, eight rebounds), at Boston University (17 points, six steals, five rebounds, three assists), against Dartmouth (16 points, eight rebounds, four assists, four steals) and against Northeastern (13 points, six rebounds, five assists). Through 23 games so far this year, he is averaging 15.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 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 45 occasions during his Holy Cross career, including 35 times in his last 38 games.

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. In Friday's victory over Lafayette, Simmons posted his first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while hitting six of eight shots from the floor. Previously in the win 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 this year's first meeting with Lehigh, Simmons recorded 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals, while in the game at Lafayette, he totaled 18 points and six rebounds. During the victory at Brown on Dec. 21, he scored a career-high 30 points, hitting 11 of 14 field goal attempts and six of six from three-point range. Simmons, who also recorded five rebounds, two steals and two assists, had the highest scoring total by a Crusader since Josh Sankes put up 30 points against Northeastern on Dec. 22, 1999, and was named the Patriot League Player of the Week. Some of Simmons' other top performances this season have come against Colgate (18 points, six rebounds), Army (18 points, five rebounds), American at home (17 points, eight 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 23 games, he is averaging 12.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest, while hitting 53.1 percent of his field goals (102 of 192) and 44.9 percent of his three-pointers (40 of 89). 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 23 games so far this season, Holy Cross has recorded 249 steals, good for an average of 10.8 steals per game. The Crusaders have already reached double figures in steals for a game 13 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 75 steals this year, the third-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 55 steals away from the school single season record of 304 (1992-1993) and 103 steals away from the Patriot League single season record of 352 (Navy, 1999-2000).

LAFAYETTE RECAP: Keith Simmons totaled 16 points and 10 rebounds, to lead Holy Cross to an 81-60 victory over Lafayette at the Hart Center on Feb. 11, 2005. The Crusaders jumped out to a 13-3 lead after only five minutes of play, and led by as many as 14 points in the opening half. Holy Cross was up by 12 points at the break (38-26), before the Leopards opened the second half on a 14-6 run, cutting the Crusader advantage to just four points (44-40) with 14:55 remaining in regulation. Holy Cross was up by only five with 11 minutes left in the contest, when it went on a 15-2 run to put the game away. Tim Clifford scored the first four points of that run, then Simmons followed with three consecutive three-point field goals. The Crusaders led by as many as 22 points late in the game, before eventually winning by 21. John Hurley had 11 points and 11 rebounds for Holy Cross, while Kevin Hamilton added 16 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals. Kevin Hyland (15 points) and Greg Kinsey (13 points) also scored in double figures for the Crusaders, who shot 51.8 percent from the floor (29 of 56), 46.7 percent from three-point range (seven of 15) and 88.9 percent at the free throw line (16 of 18). Lafayette was led by Sean Knitter with 13 points and four rebounds, while Jamaal Hilliard added 12 points.

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 23 games so far this year, he is averaging 8.0 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds per contest. Hurley has played particularly well over the last three games, averaging 13.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks, while hitting 15 of 25 shots from the field (60.0 percent). That stretch includes outstanding games against Navy (13 points, nine rebounds) , American (15 points, six rebounds) and Lafayette (11 points, 11 rebounds). Some of Hurley's other top games this season have come against Northeastern (18 points, five rebounds, two assists), 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 on the road (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 518 points, 379 rebounds, 67 assists, 42 blocks and 81 steals.

CRUSADERS STEP UP ON DEFENSE: The Holy Cross defense has been outstanding so far this season, allowing its opponents to average just 57.3 points per game. The Crusaders have held 16 of their first 23 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 17.5 turnovers per game, including 26 by Harvard and 25 by both Minnesota and Fordham. In addition, the Crusaders have averaged 10.8 steals and 4.9 blocks per contest, while outrebounding the opposition by 4.3 boards per game and holding opponents to 39.9 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 58.7 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).

THE LAST MEETING WITH LEHIGH: In the last game between the Crusaders and the Mountain Hawks, Kevin Hamilton recorded 17 points, five rebounds and three steals to lead Holy Cross to a 58-56 victory at Stabler Arena on Jan. 30, 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.

CLIFFORD PLAYS BIG OFF THE BENCH: Freshman center Tim Clifford (Walpole, Mass.) has turned into a key player for the Crusaders in the low post positions. During Friday's victory over Lafayette, he totaled eight points and five rebounds, while tying his career high with six blocked shots. In the previous game at American, Clifford posted his first career double-double with career-highs of 13 points and 13 rebounds. He also recorded five blocked shots, while recording six of his points and six of his rebounds in overtime. Earlier this season against Marist, Clifford totaled nine points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots. His six blocks against both Lafayette and Marist are tied for the second-highest single game total in school history, coming in just behind the seven blocks by Josh Sankes against Colgate on Feb. 5, 2000. In 20 games played this year, he is now averaging 3.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per contest.

DOUBLING UP: Over its last two games, Holy Cross has had four different players post double-doubles. This came after the Crusaders had only one double-double in the first 21 games of the season. In Friday's victory over Lafayette, Keith Simmons posted his first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while John Hurley added 11 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth career double-double. In the previous game at American, Tim Clifford (13 points, 13 rebounds) and Kevin Hamilton (14 points, 10 rebounds) both recorded the first double-double of their career. Prior to these two games, the only double-double of the season by a Holy Cross player came against Vermont, when Hurley had 10 points and 10 rebounds. In addition, the last time the Crusaders had two players with double-doubles in the same game was on Feb. 15, 2003, when Tim Szatko (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Patrick Whearty (17 points, 11 rebounds) accomplished the feat against Lafayette.

THE ROAD WARRIORS: Holy Cross returned home this weekend, after playing its previous four games on the road. The Crusaders have posted an impressive 11-3 record this year in games away from the Hart Center, with a current six-game winning streak away from home, including road wins over American (76-67 in overtime), 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 six straight victories away from the Hart Center came in 2002-2003, 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 NINTH STRAIGHT: With Friday's win against Lafayette, Holy Cross posted its 10th 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 10-game streak, Holy Cross has averaged 73.4 points per game, while shooting 50.0 percent from the floor, 41.8 percent from three-point range and outscoring the opposition by 17.0 points per contest. During the first six games of the streak, the Crusaders won each contest 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). With a victory over Lehigh, the Crusaders would tie for the sixth longest winning streak in school history. Here is a look at the longest winning streaks ever by Holy Cross:

Rank  Streak    Dates
  1.  29 games  March 4, 1949-March 3, 1950
  2.  26 games  Jan. 7, 1947-Dec. 13, 1947
  3.  20 games  Jan. 8, 1948-March 20, 1948
  4.  13 games  Feb. 6, 1906-Jan. 29, 1908
  5.  12 games  Jan. 31, 2003-March 14, 2003
  6.  11 games  Feb. 4, 1961-March 17, 1961
      11 games  Jan. 2, 1960-Feb. 16, 1960
      11 games  Dec. 30, 1955-Feb. 8, 1956
      11 games  Jan. 16, 1954-Feb. 24, 1954
      11 games  Dec. 5, 1953-Jan. 12, 1954
 11.  10 games  Jan. 12, 2005-present
      10 games  Jan. 5, 1963-Feb. 8, 1963
      10 games  Feb. 10, 1953-March 13, 1953
      10 games  Feb. 4, 1952-March 1, 1952
      10 games  Feb. 12, 1930-Dec. 10, 1930

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 Friday's victory over Lafayette, he scored a career-high 15 points on six of nine shooting from the floor. In the victory over Iona, Hyland totaled 12 points (four of five shooting) and four rebounds, while at Brown, he scored 14 points (seven of seven from the field). 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 23 games played so far this year, Hyland is averaging 4.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per game, while shooting 66.7 percent (46 of 69) from the field.

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 107-66 during his time in Worcester. With Friday's victory over Lafayette, Willard moved into sole possession of third place on the all-time school list for career victories, behind only George Blaney (357-276 / 1972-1994) and Lester "Buster" Sheary (155-36 / 1948-1955). With the victory over Lafayette on Feb. 11, he moved past Roy Leenig (106-48 / 1955-1961) and Jack Donohue (106-66 / 1965-1972). 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 251-190. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

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 4.2 points and 2.5 rebounds over the first 23 games. He is coming off one of his top games of the season in Friday's victory over Lafayette, when he totaled 13 points, three assists and two rebounds, while hitting four of five shots from the floor and all four of his free throw attempts. Some of his other 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 445 points, 278 rebounds, 153 assists and 112 steals, while being in the starting lineup for 78 of the last 79 games the Crusaders have played.

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 twice, on Jan. 24 and Jan. 31. 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 the win at 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 23 games played so far this season, Doherty is now averaging 5.0 points and 2.5 assists per contest.

HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders currently rank among the NCAA Division I leaders in six different statistical categories, through games of February 7. 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
                                5  Holy Cross      10.8
Scoring Defense                 7  Holy Cross      57.2
Won-Lost Percentage            24  Holy Cross      77.3
Field Goal Percentage Defense  39  Holy Cross      40.3
Scoring Margin                 40  Holy Cross      +9.4
Blocked Shots                  41  Holy Cross       4.7

CRUSADERS KEEP WINNING AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross stands 7-2 at the Hart Center so far this season, improving its all-time record in the building to 260-102. Since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, the Crusaders now have an overall mark of 48-9 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.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 86th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1196-775 (.607), 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 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.

THOMAS SHINES IN SOPHOMORE YEAR: Sophomore point guard Torey Thomas (White Plains, N.Y.) has been one of the Crusaders' top players so far this season. After seeing limited action over the last month due to injury, Thomas had one of his top games of the season at American last Sunday, with 15 points and six rebounds. He played particularly well in the overtime session, scoring 10 of his 15 points, including an eight of 10 performance at the free throw line. Earlier this season in the victory over Dartmouth, Thomas scored 15 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists. He also played well at Rhode Island, totaling 11 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals. Some of Thomas' other top performances this season have come against Vermont (14 points, three rebounds, three assists), Harvard (13 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals), Northeastern (12 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals), Boston College (10 points, eight assists), Boston University (10 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals), Fordham (10 points, five rebounds, five steals, four assists), Army (nine points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals), Minnesota (nine points, five rebounds, three assists), Marist (eight points, seven rebounds, eight assists) and Princeton (seven points, five steals, six rebounds). Through 22 games so far this year, he is averaging 7.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Last season, Thomas averaged 5.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game as the Crusaders' backup point guard.

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.

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 MOUNTAIN HAWKS: Lehigh has an overall record of 13-10 on the season, including a 7-3 mark in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks are coming off a 69-64 victory at Army, and have won four of their last five games. The leading scorer for Lehigh is sophomore guard Jose Olivero, who has averaged 13.0 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Junior guard Joe Knight is also enjoying a fine season, averaging 12.4 points, 3.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds per contest. The Mountain Hawks are led by head coach Billy Taylor, who owns a 47-32 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.

DRIBBLES: The Crusaders are ranked No. 25 in the most recent Mid-Major Top 25 Poll from CollegeInsider.com , released on Feb. 7 ... 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) ... During the Boston College game on Dec. 9, the Crusaders became the first team to outrebound the Eagles this year (41-39), and forced Boston College to commit 18 turnovers. In addition, Holy Cross held Boston College to 53 points in regulation, after the Eagles entered the game with a scoring average of 79.2, and a previous low of 72 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.