Crusaders Meet American In Battle For First Place

Feb. 19, 2009

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (14-12, 9-2 PL) vs. American (18-7, 10-1 PL)
Date: February 21, 2009
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Place: Bender Arena (4,500), Washington, D.C.
Live Video Streaming: Crusader All-Access
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; www.worcesterpike.com, internet; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play
American Radio: WFED 1500 AM, Washington, D.C.; Dan Laing, play-by-play; Jeremy Huber, color
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 15-5
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 71, American 62 (January 24, 2009; Worcester, Mass.)

 


PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos.  No.  Name                Ht.   Wt.   Cl.
F      33  
Colin Cunningham    6-6   220   Sr.
F      34  
Andrew Keister      6-9   235   So.
C      53  
Eric Meister        6-8   225   Jr.
G      10  
R.J. Evans          6-3   200   Fr.
G      22  
Andrew Beinert      6-4   185   So.

THE SERIES WITH AMERICAN: This will be the 21st meeting between the Crusaders and the Eagles on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 15-5. American has won two of the last three games between the schools, but prior to that Holy Cross had won eight straight contests in the series. For games played in Washington the Crusaders hold a 7-3 advantage, but the Eagles posted a 62-60 victory at Bender Arena last season in the Patriot League quarterfinals. Holy Cross and American first met on Dec. 21, 1967, with the Crusaders winning 81-57 on the road.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 15-5
In Washington: Holy Cross leads, 7-3
At Bender Arena: Holy Cross leads, 6-3
Ralph Willard vs. American: 14-5
Jeff Jones vs. Holy Cross: 5-14
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game
In Overtime: Holy Cross leads, 2-0

CRUSADERS HIT THE ROAD TO FACE AMERICAN: Following a three game homestand, Holy Cross returns to the road for a contest at American on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 2:00 p.m. With a victory against the Eagles, the Crusaders can move into a tie for first place in the Patriot League, and would then own the tiebreaker over American if the teams finish the regular season with the same conference record. Holy Cross can also assure itself of being no worse than the second seed in the Patriot League Tournament with one more win or one more Navy loss. Following the contest with American, the Crusaders will stay on the road, with a trip to Colgate on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at 7:00 p.m. Holy Cross then returns home for its final game of the regular season against Lehigh on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 3:30 p.m.

EVANS HAS BIG START TO COLLEGIATE CAREER: Freshman guard R.J. Evans (Salem, Conn.) is enjoying an outstanding rookie season, and has scored in double-figures in 17 of his last 20 games. During the victory over Navy, he led the team with 17 points and six rebounds. Previously against Bucknell, Evans totaled 10 points and seven rebounds. Earlier in the season he had an outstanding night against San Francisco, posting a double-double with a career-high 26 points and 10 rebounds. Some of Evans' other top games this year have come against Siena (21 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals), at Navy (19 points, career-high 11 rebounds), at Massachusetts (17 points, eight rebounds, four steals), against Western Michigan (17 points, six rebounds), at Army (17 points, five rebounds, three steals), against American (16 points, five rebounds), at Ohio (16 points, four rebounds, three steals), at Lehigh (15 points, four rebounds, three steals), against Sacred Heart (15 points), at Central Florida (14 points, eight rebounds), against Fairfield (13 points, three steals), at Boston University (12 points, six rebounds), against Colgate (12 points, four steals), at Yale (12 points, three rebounds, three assists), against St. Joseph's (12 points, three rebounds), at Lafayette (11 points, three rebounds, three steals) and at Harvard (10 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals). Evans' 26 points against San Francisco were the most by a Holy Cross freshman in a single game since Ronnie Perry scored 29 points at Iona on Dec. 21, 1976. Overall this season, Evans is averaging a team-best 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. He has a chance to become the first freshman to lead the Crusaders in scoring since Ryan Serravalle, who averaged 11.6 points per game in 1998-1999. Evans came to Holy Cross from Norwich (Conn.) Free Academy, where he was a two-time All-State selection and score 2,030 career points.

CRUSADERS LOOKING FOR SIXTH PATRIOT LEAGUE REGULAR SEASON TITLE: Holy Cross enters the American game in second place in the conference with an 9-2 record, and is looking to win its sixth Patriot League regular season title. The last championship for the Crusaders came in 2006-2007, when they tied for first place in the conference with Bucknell, as both teams posted 13-1 records in league play. Prior to that, 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).

CRUSADERS HEAT UP ON OFFENSE: Holy Cross has turned in some outstanding shooting performances over its last 15 games. In the Feb. 18 victory over Navy, the Crusaders hit a season-best 57.4 percent (27 of 47) of their field goal attempts. Some of Holy Cross' other top shooting games in Patriot League action came against Colgate (25 of 48, 52.1 percent), against American (25 of 48, 52.1 percent) and in the home victory over Lafayette (27 of 51, 52.9 percent). In non-conference play, the Crusaders shot 54.5 percent (24 of 44) from the field at Boston University, while making 51.8 percent (29 of 56) of their shots against San Francisco. Overall this season, Holy Cross has won all six games in which it has made at least half of its shots. In fact, the Crusaders have now won 50 out of 51 games in which they have shot at least 50 percent from the field since the beginning of the 2002-2003 season.

CUNNINGHAM STEPS UP IN SENIOR SEASON: Senior forward Colin Cunningham (Memphis, Tenn.) has returned to the Holy Cross lineup at small forward this year, and is once again one of the Crusaders' top players. In the victory over Navy, Cunningham totaled 12 points and six rebounds. Previously against Bucknell, he finished with 13 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals. Earlier in the season, Cunningham had a huge night against San Francisco, scoring a career-high 26 points and handing out six assists. Some of his other top games have come against American (20 points, seven rebounds, four steals), against Army (16 points, four rebounds, three steals), at Loyola (13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals), at Boston University (13 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals), against Colgate (13 points, five steals, three assists), against Western Michigan (12 points, two rebounds, two steals), against Brown (11 points, eight rebounds, six assists), against Lafayette (10 points, nine rebounds, eight assists) and at Lafayette (10 points, five assists, three steals). Overall this year, Cunningham has averaged 9.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.9 steals per contest. Last season, he averaged 8.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game, while hitting 36.8 percent (28 of 76) of his three-point attempts. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, Cunningham has totaled 630 points, 365 rebounds, 202 assists and 103 steals.

NAVY RECAP: R.J. Evans totaled 17 points and six rebounds, to lead Holy Cross to a 74-69 victory over Navy at the Hart Center on Feb. 18, 2009. Evans scored all 17 of his points in the second half, while hitting eight of 12 field goal attempts on the night. The Crusaders scored the first four points of the game, before the Midshipmen went on a 14-1 run to go up by nine (14-5) with 15 minutes left in the first half. Holy Cross responded with nine straight points to tie up the score, but Navy would pull back in front by seven points (31-24) a few minutes later. The Midshipmen eventually led 38-33 heading into the locker room. Navy came out hot to start the second half, using a 10-3 spurt to go in front by 12 points (48-36) with 17:37 left in regulation. The Crusaders responded with an 11-2 run of their own to close the gap, but the Midshipmen still led 60-56 with nine minutes remaining. Holy Cross then used a 7-1 spurt to claim its first lead of the second half, tying the score on a three-point field goal by Alex Vander Baan and going ahead on a layup by Evans. The Crusaders extended their lead to five points (70-65) thanks to another Vander Baan three-pointer and an Evans jump shot, but Navy closed the gap to one point (70-69) with one minute left to play. Vander Baan was then fouled going in for lay up and hit both free throws, to increase the lead to three points with 26 seconds left. Colin Cunningham then stole an inbounds pass with 16 seconds on the clock, and Andrew Beinert hit a pair of foul shots to put the game away. Cunningham finished the game with 12 points and six rebounds, while Andrew Keister added 10 points, six rebounds and five assists. Adam Teague and Chris Harris both scored 17 points to lead the Midshipmen.

KEISTER A HUGE FACTOR UP FRONT: Sophomore forward Andrew Keister (Galloway, N.J.) has developed into the Crusaders' top player at the low post positions, posting a team-high six double-doubles on the season. In Patriot League play, Keister has averaged 13.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest, while hitting 69.6 percent (64 of 92) of his field goal attempts. During the victory over Navy, he recorded 10 points, six rebounds and five assists. Previously against Bucknell, Keister posted 13 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots. He also had a big day against Army, leading the team with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Earlier in the season, he had good games at Navy (27 points, 14 rebounds), at Bucknell (18 points, 10 rebounds), at Central Florida (18 points, five rebounds), against Lafayette (17 points, nine rebounds), at Lafayette (16 points, 11 rebounds), at Boston University (15 points, 11 rebounds), at Lehigh (10 points, seven rebounds, five assists), at Massachusetts (10 points, six rebounds), against Western Michigan (nine points, eight rebounds), against San Francisco (eight points, nine rebounds), at Ohio (eight points, five rebounds, two blocks) and against Fairfield (six points, eight rebounds). Overall this year, Keister is now averaging 9.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 60.3 percent (94 of 156) from the field.

WILLARD CONTINUES IMPRESSIVE RUN AT HOLY CROSS: Ralph Willard is now in his 10th season as the Crusaders' head coach, and currently owns a mark of 188-115 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). In 2006-2007, 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 332-239. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

THE LAST MEETING WITH AMERICAN: Colin Cunningham totaled 20 points, seven assists and four steals to lead Holy Cross to a 71-62 victory over American at the Hart Center on Jan. 24, 2009. R.J. Evans added 16 points and five rebounds for the Crusaders, while Eric Meister had 12 points and eight rebounds. American led 3-2 in the opening minutes of the game, when Holy Cross went on a 12-2 run to pull in front by nine (14-5). The Crusaders would lead by at least five points for the remainder of the first half, and closed out the period with an 8-1 run over the last three minutes to take a 36-24 advantage into the locker room. Holy Cross then went on a 9-2 spurt coming out of the locker room, to pull in front by 19 points (45-26) with 15 minutes left to play. But American refused to go quietly, responding with 14-2 run to get back into the game. The Eagles eventually cut the lead down to two points (50-48) with 7:29 on the clock, before the Crusaders began to regain control. Evans hit a put-back lay up, then Pat Doherty made two free throws to bring the Holy Cross lead back to six points (54-48) with six minutes left. American would get no closer than five points the rest of the way, as the Crusaders eventually pulled away for a nine-point victory. The Eagles were led by Derrick Mercer with 19 points and five assists, while Brian Gilmore added 17 points and eight rebounds.

VANDER BAAN PLAYS KEY ROLE ON FRONT LINE: Senior forward Alex Vander Baan (Uxbridge, Mass.) has been a key member of the Holy Cross lineup this year, despite missing six contests due to injury. During the victory over Navy, he had eight points and three rebounds, while scoring all eight of his points in the final 10 minutes as the Crusaders came back to win. Earlier in the season at Bucknell, Vander Baan scored 11 points while hitting both of his three-point field goal attempts. He also played well at Ohio, recording 10 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Some of Vander Baan's other top games this season came against St. Joseph's (13 points, 11 rebounds), Sacred Heart (nine points, seven rebounds), Loyola (nine points, three rebounds, two assists) and Brown (six points, eight rebounds, five assists). Overall this year, Vander Baan is averaging 5.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, while hitting 35.6 percent (16 of 45) of his three-point field goal attempts. During the 2007-2008 season, he averaged 8.5 points and 5.7 rebounds in 19 games played. As a freshman in 2005-2006, Vander Baan was selected to the Patriot League All-Rookie team. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, he has now totaled 688 points, 521 rebounds, 149 assists, 83 steals and 36 blocked shots.

BEINERT ENJOYING STRONG SOPHOMORE SEASON: Sophomore guard Andrew Beinert (Floral Park, N.Y.) has been one of the Crusaders' top players in the backcourt this season. During the Bucknell game, he led the team with 18 points and three assists. Previously at Lafayette, Beinert recorded 10 points and three rebounds. He also had a solid game against Colgate, totaling eight points, two rebounds and two assists. Some of Beinert's other top performances this season have come at Boston University (18 points), against Lafayette (16 points), at Yale (15 points, five of seven from three-point range), at Central Florida (14 points, three rebounds), at Army (14 points), against Brown (nine points, three assists), at Loyola (eight points, four steals), against San Francisco (seven points, career-high 10 assists, three rebounds), at Ohio (seven points, five assists three steals) and against Western Michigan (six points, five assists, five steals). Overall this season, he has averaged 7.8 points, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game, while hitting a Patriot League-best 44.7 percent (38 of 85) of his three-point field goal attempts. Last year, Beinert was selected to the Patriot League All-Rookie team, after averaging 3.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

DOHERTY RETURNS TO THE COURT: Senior guard Pat Doherty (Scranton, Pa.) has seen action in Holy Cross' last 12 games, after missing the first 14 contests of the year due to injury. During the victory at Bucknell, he totaled 18 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals. Doherty also recorded eight points, three assists and two steals against Lafayette, while posting five points, seven assists and three rebounds at Lehigh. On the year, he is averaging 4.7 points, 3.6 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game, with a 2.05-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Last season, Doherty averaged 7.4 points, 4.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. His top performance during the 2007-2008 campaign came against Boston University with a career-high 20 points, three assists and three steals. 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 545 points, 291 assists, 192 rebounds and 124 steals.

STEALING THE SHOW: Through 26 games played so far this season, Holy Cross has averaged a Patriot League-best 8.9 steals per game, including highs of 14 steals against Colgate and 13 steals at Boston University. Senior forward Colin Cunningham leads the team with 48 steals, and freshman guard R.J. Evans has added 45 steals. Sophomore guard Andrew Beinert has totaled 31 steals, and seven other Crusaders have at least 11 steals. Holy Cross has led the Patriot League in steals five times in the last six seasons, while averaging over 10 steals per game in both 2003-2004 (10.7 steals per game) and 2004-2005 (10.3 steals per game).

MEISTER CLEANS THE GLASS FOR THE CRUSADERS: Junior forward Eric Meister (Boalsburg, Pa.) has been a key player for Holy Cross in the low post this season. During the victory at Lehigh, Meister recorded a career-high 15 points and four rebounds. Previously against American, he scored 12 points on five of six shooting from the floor, while pulling down a team-best eight rebounds. Meister also played well against Western Michigan, totaling 10 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Some of his other top games this season have come against Sacred Heart (11 points, 11 rebounds), at Harvard (10 points, 11 boards), against St. Joseph's (nine points, seven rebounds, three blocks) and against Navy (nine points, three rebounds). On the season, he is averaging 5.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots per game. Last year, Meister averaged 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds, while playing in 18 games with eight starts. As a freshman in 2006-2007, he was selected to the Patriot League All-Rookie team. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has now totaled 333 points, 299 rebounds and 52 blocked shots.

HOLY CROSS HAS GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders are once again a strong rebounding team this year, averaging 35.5 boards per contest and outrebounding their opponents by an average margin of 5.9 rebounds per game. So far this season, Holy Cross has outrebounded its opponent in 20 out of 26 games played. The Crusaders have been even more impressive in Patriot League play, outrebounding their opponents by 6.2 boards per game. Sophomore forward Andrew Keister leads the team with an average of 6.4 rebounds per game, while freshman guard R.J. Evans stands second with 5.0 boards per contest. Senior forward Colin Cunningham is averaging 5.0 rebounds per game, while junior forward Eric Meister is averaging 4.0 boards per contest and senior forward Alex Vander Baan is chipping in with 3.8 rebounds per game. In 2007-2008, Holy Cross was outrebounded only five times in 29 games, while averaging 33.5 rebounds per game and outrebounding the opposition by 5.6 boards per contest. Entering 2008-2009, the Crusaders have posted a positive rebounding margin in nine straight seasons, including seven years in which they outrebounded the opposition by at least four boards per game.

CRUSADERS REACH 300 VICTORIES AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 308-113 at the Hart Center, after posting its 300th win in the building against Sacred Heart on Nov. 14. The Crusaders had a 23-game winning streak at the Hart Center from Feb. 15, 2006-Jan. 2, 2008, 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. In 2006-2007 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 29 out of 33 seasons, while recording double-figure home victories 15 times. The Crusaders stand 95-21 at home since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, including a 59-11 record against Patriot League foes and an 9-4 mark so far in 2008-2009.

BROWN PLAYS KEY MINUTES OFF THE BENCH: Freshman guard Devin Brown (Randallstown, Md.) has been one of the first players off the bench in the Holy Cross backcourt this season. During the victory over San Francisco, Brown recorded 22 points and five assists, while making 11 of 12 free throw attempts. Previously at Massachusetts, he totaled 14 points and three rebounds. Brown also had a huge game against Fairfield, scoring 22 points while hitting five of nine shots from the field and all 10 of his shots at the foul line. Some of his other top games this season have come against St. Joseph's (12 points, two rebounds, two assists) and Siena (10 points, three rebounds, two assists). Overall this year, he is averaging 6.5 points per game, while making a team-best 88.6 percent (70 of 79) of his free throws. Brown came to Holy Cross from Notre Dame Preparatory School in Fitchburg, Mass., after previously graduating from Baltimore City High School.

HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I leaders in four statistical categories, through games of Feb. 15. In addition, freshman guard Devin Brown ranks sixth in the nation in free throw percentage, and senior forward Colin Cunningham stands 70th in steals. The rankings:

 

Category           Rank  Player / Team      Avg.
Free Throw Percent    6  
Devin Brown        89.6
Steals               20  Holy Cross          9.0
                     70  
Colin Cunningham    2.0
Rebound Margin       24  Holy Cross         +5.9
Scoring Defense      72  Holy Cross         63.5
Assists              99  Holy Cross         14.2

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 90th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1278-825 (.608), 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 REMAIN TOUGH ON DEFENSE: Holy Cross is once again among the top defensive teams in the Patriot League in 2008-2009. In 26 games played so far this season, the Crusaders have allowed 63.7 points per game, while forcing 15.8 turnovers per contest and outrebounding the opposition by 5.9 boards per game. Holy Cross is also averaging 8.9 steals and 3.1 blocked shots per contest. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, the Crusaders have held their opponents to only 59.4 points per contest. In addition, Holy Cross has ranked in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense in five of the last seven 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 the Crusaders' 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
2007-2008   60.5   41.0   36.9    7.4   3.9
2008-2009   63.7   42.5   33.4    8.9   3.1

CRUSADERS HAVE THREE 20-POINT SCORERS: In the 97-88 victory over San Francisco on Dec. 27, Holy Cross had three different players score at least 20 points. Senior forward Colin Cunningham and freshman guard R.J. Evans tied for the team lead with 26 points each, while freshman guard Devin Brown added 22 points. That performance marked the first time that three different Crusaders scored 20 or more points in the same game since Nov. 18, 2005, against High Point. In that game, Kevin Hamilton led Holy Cross with 22 points, Keith Simmons scored 21 points, and Torey Thomas added 20 points.

MAY STEPS INTO PROMINENT ROLE: Junior forward Adam May (Mentor, Ohio) has become a key part of the Holy Cross rotation this season, and has been a solid player on the offensive end of the court. So far this year, he is averaging 4.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. During the victory at Army, May had a strong all-around game with eight points, seven rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two steals. Previously against Siena, he totaled 15 points, three rebounds and three steals. Some of May's other top performances earlier in the season came against St. Joseph's (15 points, seven rebounds, four assists) and Northeastern (11 points, two rebounds, two assists). Last season, he averaged 5.2 points and 2.0 rebounds, while playing in 23 games with one start. May scored in double-figures three times in 2007-2008, including a career-best 16 points against Harvard. Over the course of his collegiate career, May has now totaled 249 points, 103 rebounds, 49 assists and 33 steals.

SCOUTING THE EAGLES: American has an overall record of 18-7 on the season, including a 10-1 mark in the Patriot League. The Eagles have won their last seven games, since falling to Holy Cross 71-62 on Jan. 24. The leading scorer for American is senior guard Garrison Carr, who has averaged 16.8 points while hitting 79 of 216 (36.6 percent) shots from three-point range. Senior guard Derrick Mercer is also enjoying a fine season, averaging 11.5 points and 4.1 assists per contest, while senior forward Brian Gilmore has added 12.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. The Eagles are led by head coach Jeff Jones, who owns a 143-120 record in nine seasons at American. Jones' career record stands at 289-224, including eight years as the head coach at the University of Virginia.

OFFENSE LIGHTS UP SCOREBOARD AGAINST SAN FRANCISCO: In the Dec. 27 victory over San Francisco, the Crusaders scored a season-best 97 points. That performance marked the most points scored by Holy Cross in a single game since Nov. 23, 2002, when it defeated Dowling 101-61. The 97 points were also the most by the Crusaders against a Division I opponent since they defeated Lehigh 100-81 on Jan. 27, 1996. Overall this season, Holy Cross is now averaging 65.4 points per game.

HOLY CROSS ON THE RADIO: Most of the Crusaders' basketball contests during the 2008-2009 season will be carried by The Pike, WWFX 100.1 FM in Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 22nd season calling the play-by-play for Crusader basketball on the radio. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their fifth year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. The Pike is currently scheduled to air 23 of the Crusaders' 29 regular season games. All games aired on The Pike can also be heard live over the internet at `www.worcesterpike.com'. Five games not carried on The Pike will be broadcast exclusively 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.

CRUSADERSON TELEVISION: Holy Cross is currently scheduled to have nine games shown on live television during the 2008-2009 season. The Crusaders had eight television appearances last year, while appearing on television 13 times in 2006-2007, 10 times in 2005-2006 and 10 times in 2004-2005. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2008-2009 season:

 

Date     Opponent          Television Outlet
Nov. 29  Loyola (Ill.)     Lakeshore Public Television
Dec. 30  Siena             WCTR-TV3
Jan. 6   Central Florida   Bright House Sports Network
Jan. 17  Bucknell          ESPNU
Jan. 24  American          ESPNU
Jan. 31  Lehigh            Service Electric Cable
Feb. 7   Lafayette         Lafayette Sports Network
Feb. 11  Army              WCTR-TV3
Feb. 25  Colgate           Time Warner Cable

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 CBS College Sports Online, is available for a $9.95 monthly subscription. For details on how to sign up for Crusader All-Access, click here.

DRIBBLES: The Crusaders stand 8-4 this season when wearing their white uniforms, while going 1-0 in their black uniforms and 5-8 in their purple uniforms ... With the victory over St. Joseph's, Holy Cross is 1-0 this season in overtime games. The Crusaders now stand 12-3 in overtime contests under Ralph Willard ... Senior forward Colin Cunningham, senior guard Pat Doherty and senior forward Alex Vander Baan are serving as the Crusaders' tri-captains this season ... Holy Cross was picked to finish third in the 2008-2009 Patriot League preseason poll, receiving 68 total points and two first place votes. American placed first in the poll, while Lehigh was second ... The New England Basketball Hall of Fame has established the Ronald S. Perry New England Basketball Legend Award, which will be presented at each New England Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony to an individual who, in demonstrating uncommon basketball excellence, has made an extraordinary contribution to the sport in the New England region. The award is named in honor of former Holy Cross student-athlete and athletic director Ron Perry (Class of 1954) ... At halftime of the game between Holy Cross and St. Joseph's on Nov. 16, four all-time Crusader basketball greats were honored. George Kaftan (Class of 1949), Bob Cousy (Class of 1950), Togo Palazzi (Class of 1954) and Tom Heinsohn (Class of 1956) were all be on hand to witness their jerseys being lifted to the Hart Center rafters -- the first time Holy Cross held such a ceremony for any former student-athlete ... With the Nov. 14 victory over Sacred Heart, Holy Cross improved to 27-7 in home openers at the Hart Center, with an 8-2 mark under Ralph Willard ... The Crusaders also improved their all-time mark in season openers to 65-25, including a 39-6 mark at home and an 8-2 record under Ralph Willard ... Holy Cross wore its black uniforms at home for the first time ever against Sacred Heart, as part of the Black Out Night promotion.