Holy Cross To Face Lehigh For Second Place In PL

Feb. 23, 2006

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:

  • The Teams: Holy Cross (17-11, 10-3 PL) vs. Lehigh (18-10, 11-2 PL)
  • Date: February 26, 2006
  • Time: 1:00 p.m.
  • Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
  • College Sports Television: Bob Socci, play-by-play; John Feinstein, color
  • Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; www.sportsjuice.com, internet; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play
  • Lehigh Radio: WEEX 1230 AM, Easton, Pa.; WTKZ 1320 AM, Allentown, Pa.; Matt Kerr, play-by-play; Steve Lomangino, color
  • Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 26-10 Last Meeting: Lehigh 64, Holy Cross 63 (January 28, 2006; Bethlehem, Pa.)

    
    PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
    Pos.  No.  Name               Ht.   Wt.   Cl.    PPG   RPG
    F      10  Keith Simmons      6-4   210   Jr.   13.8   5.0
    F      21  Alex Vander Baan   6-8   195   Fr.    6.4   5.1
    C      00  Tim Clifford      6-10   255   So.    7.5   4.0
    G       1  Torey Thomas      5-11   170   Jr.   11.5   5.3
    G      14  Kevin Hamilton     6-4   190   Sr.   17.7   6.4

    THE SERIES WITH LEHIGH: This will be the 37th meeting between the Crusaders and the Mountain Hawks on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 26-10. Prior to Lehigh's 64-63 victory in Bethlehem earlier this season, the Crusaders had won four straight and 12 out of 13 meetings between the schools. For all games played in Worcester, Holy Cross holds a 16-3 advantage, including eight 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, 26-10
    In Worcester: Holy Cross, 16-3
    At the Hart Center: Holy Cross, 16-3
    Ralph Willard vs. Lehigh: 12-3
    Billy Taylor vs. Holy Cross: 2-6
    Current Win Streak: Lehigh, one game

    CRUSADERS PREPARE TO WRAP-UP REGULAR SEASON: Holy Cross will play its final game of the 2005-2006 regular season, when it faces Lehigh at the Hart Center on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 1:00 p.m. The Crusaders currently stand in third place in the Patriot League with a 10-3 mark in conference contests, one game behind the Mountain Hawks (11-2). If Holy Cross can defeat Lehigh, the Crusaders and the Mountain Hawks will finish tied for second place in the conference at 11-3. The team with the higher RPI according to Collegiate Basketball News would then receive the second seed in the Patriot League Tournament. Entering this week, Holy Cross stood at 129th in the RPI, while Lehigh was ranked 156th, so the winner of the regular season finale will earn the No. 2 seed and home games in the conference tournament quarterfinals and semifinals.

    SIMMONS SCORES 1,000TH CAREER POINT: Junior guard Keith Simmons (Kingston, N.Y.) became the 42nd 1,000-point scorer in the history of Holy Cross men's basketball during Wednesday's game at Colgate. He threw home a slam dunk at the 17:42-mark of the second half to record the 1,000th point of his collegiate career. Simmons has now scored 1,009 points in 88 games as a Crusader, good for an average of 11.5 points per contest. Earlier this season, senior guard Kevin Hamilton (Queens Village, N.Y.) became the 41st 1,000-point scorer at Holy Cross, netting his 1,000th point at Cincinnati on Nov. 25, 2005, when he hit a free throw at the 4:34 mark of the first half. Hamilton now stands in 12th place all-time at Holy Cross with 1,423 points, and has a chance to become only the 11th player in school history with 1,500 career points.

    HAMILTON ENJOYING ANOTHER OUTSTANDING SEASON: Senior guard Kevin Hamilton is once again one of the top players in the Patriot League this year. In Wednesday's victory at Colgate, Hamilton totaled 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. He was previously named the Patriot League Player of the Week for the fourth time this year on Feb. 20, following a pair of strong games against American (22 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals) and Navy (17 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, three steals). Hamilton also scored at least 20 points in four straight games from Jan. 25-Feb. 4, against Lafayette (22 points, career-high 13 rebounds), Navy (26 points, seven rebounds), Lehigh (20 points, seven rebounds, four steals) and Colgate (24 points, seven steals, four rebounds). He has now scored at least 12 points in every Patriot League game this season, and is averaging 19.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 4.0 steals in conference play. Earlier in the season, Hamilton was named Patriot League Player of the Week and to the All-Tournament team following the San Juan Shootout, after averaging 26.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in three games, while shooting 54.5 percent from the floor and 57.1 percent from three-point range. He had a career-high 38 points against Tennessee-Chattanooga, and also totaled 27 points, six assists and three steals against Mississippi State. Hamilton was also named Patriot League Player of the Week and Most Valuable Player at the William & Mary Tip-Off Classic, following games against High Point (22 points) and William & Mary (18 points, nine rebounds). He has now scored in double figures in 26 of the 27 games he has played this season. On the year, Hamilton is averaging 17.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.3 steals per contest. Last season, Hamilton was named Patriot League Player of the Year, first team All-Patriot League and an honorable mention All-American, after averaging 15.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 2.8 assists. He has now scored in double figures 79 times during his Holy Cross career, including 69 times in his last 76 games.

    SIMMONS SHINES AS A STARTER: Junior guard Keith Simmons has moved into the starting lineup for the Crusaders this season, after serving as Holy Cross' sixth man in 2004-2005. In Wednesday's victory at Colgate, he posted his second double-double of the season with 21 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Simmons also had a strong game in the win at American, totaling 23 points and seven rebounds, while making all three of his three-point attempts. He previously recorded 26 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals at Army, while posting 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in the home game with Lafayette. To open the year, Simmons was named to the All-Tournament Team at the William & Mary Tip-Off Classic, after averaging 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in two games against High Point (21 points, 10 rebounds) and William & Mary (16 points). Some of his other top performances this season have come at Lafayette (22 points, seven rebounds), at Siena (20 points, seven rebounds), at Vermont (18 points, five rebounds), against Navy (16 points, four rebounds), against American (15 points, six rebounds), at Northeastern (15 points, five rebounds), against Harvard (15 points, four rebounds), against Brown (14 points, five assists) and at Navy (14 points). On the year, he is averaging 13.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, while shooting 51.9 percent (134 of 258) from the field and 46.8 percent (52 of 111) from three-point range. A year ago, Simmons earned first team All-Patriot League honors, after averaging 12.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest. He enters the Lehigh game with a career field goal percentage of 49.5 (347 of 701), while hitting 44.7 percent (135 of 302) of his three-point attempts.

    STEALING THE SHOW: In the first 28 games of the 2005-2006 season, the Crusaders have totaled 260 steals, for a Patriot League-best average of 9.3 steals per game. Holy Cross has reached double figures in steals 11 times this year, with highs of 16 against Harvard and 15 against Lafayette. Senior guard Kevin Hamilton currently leads the team with 89 steals on the year, while junior guard Torey Thomas (White Plains, N.Y.) has added 72 steals this season. Last year, the Crusaders recorded 329 steals in 32 games, good for an average of 10.3 steals per contest. Hamilton led the team with 92 steals during the 2004-2005 campaign, to set a new Holy Cross single season record for steals (breaking the mark of 78 by Gordon Hamilton in 1993-1994). He needs only four more steals this year to break his own record, while needing six more to set a new Patriot League single season record (the mark is currently held by Mike Bright of Bucknell with 94 steals in 1992-1993).

    COLGATE RECAP: Keith Simmons recorded 21 points and 11 rebounds, to lead the Holy Cross men's basketball team to a 62-56 victory over Colgate at Cotterell Court on Feb. 22, 2006. Simmons scored the 1,000th point of his collegiate career with a slam dunk at the 17:46-mark of the second half, to become the 42nd 1,000-point scorer in school history. The Raiders opened the game with an 8-2 run, but the Crusaders responded with a 9-2 spurt of their own to take an 11-10 lead. Holy Cross was still up by just two points (19-17) with nine minutes left in the first half, before using a 6-0 run to build an eight-point lead. The Crusaders later scored the final seven points of the half, and took a 32-22 lead into the locker room. Holy Cross led by as many as 13 points early in the second, but Colgate came back to trim the lead to four points (48-44) with 6:42 left to play. Both teams then struggled to score down the stretch, although the Crusaders were able to make 10 of 14 attempts at the foul line in the final five minutes of play to secure the win. Kevin Hamilton totaled 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals for Holy Cross, while Torey Thomas added 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Colgate was led by Alvin Reed with 19 points and five assists.

    CRUSADERS REMAIN TOUGH ON DEFENSE: Holy Cross is once again among the top defensive teams in the nation this year. The Crusaders have been particularly impressive over their last 16 contests, allowing just 55.8 points per game, with the opposition shooting 37.4 percent from the floor and 28.0 percent from three-point range. Overall this season, Holy Cross is allowing 60.4 points per game, while holding its opponents to 40.4 percent shooting from the floor and 30.4 percent shooting from three-point range. Holy Cross has also forced its opponents to commit an average of 16.4 turnovers per game, including 25 by Fordham, 23 by Colgate and 22 by Harvard. In addition, the Crusaders are averaging 9.3 steals and 3.5 blocks per contest, while outrebounding the opposition by 4.0 boards per game. Last year, the Crusaders allowed their opponents to average just 56.8 points per game, while holding 22 of their 32 foes to under 60 points in regulation. 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 58.8 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 four seasons (sixth in 2001-2002 at 59.6; third in 2002-2003 at 58.7; seventh in 2003-2004 at 58.6; and fifth in 2004-2005 at 56.8).

    WILLARD CONTINUES IMPRESSIVE RUN AT HOLY CROSS: Ralph Willard is now in his seventh season as the Crusaders' head coach, and currently owns a mark of 131-79 during his time in Worcester. He stands in 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). 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 has also guided Holy Cross to Patriot League regular season championships in 2000-2001, 2002-2003 and 2004-2005, 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. During the 2000-2001 and 2004-2005 seasons, Willard was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year, and in 2004-2005 he was also one of 10 finalists for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award. 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 275-203. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

    THE LAST MEETING WITH LEHIGH: Kevin Hamilton recorded 20 points, seven rebounds and four steals, but it was not enough as the Holy Cross men's basketball team was defeated by Lehigh 64-63 at Stabler Arena on Jan. 28, 2006. Tim Clifford added 19 points and seven rebounds for the Crusaders. Holy Cross led by as many as 16 points (37-21) early in the game, before the Mountain Hawks scored the final seven points of the first half to make the score 37-28 heading into the locker room. Lehigh continued to cut into the Crusader lead early in the second half, going on an 8-3 run after the break to make the score 41-36. Holy Cross then used a 10-5 run to build its lead back to double figures, with Hamilton scoring eight of those 10 points. But the Crusaders would later go over three minutes without scoring, and the Mountain Hawks went on an 11-2 run to tie the score at 55-55 with five minutes left to play. Holy Cross then regained the lead on a three-point play by Clifford, and was still up by three points (63-60) with less than a minute to play. But Lehigh's Jose Olivero hit a pair of free throws with 16.1 seconds left to cut the lead to one point, then the Mountain Hawks forced a turnover on the inbounds pass to get the ball back. On the next play, Olivero drove the lane for a layup with 4.5 seconds remaining to give Lehigh the victory.

    SENIOR SALUTE: Three members of the Holy Cross basketball program will be taking part in their final regular season game at the Hart Center against Lehigh. Team captain Kevin Hamilton and co-captain Kevin Hyland (White Plains, N.Y.) will be honored before the game, along with manager Chelsea Severson (Pen Argyl, Pa.). Over the last four years, the senior class has helped Holy Cross to an overall record of 81-38, two Patriot League regular season championships, one Patriot League Tournament crown, a trip to the NCAA Tournament and one appearance in the National Invitation Tournament.

    THOMAS CONTINUES TO HAVE STRONG SEASON: Junior point guard Torey Thomas is once again one of the Crusaders' top players this season. He has averaged 11.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.6 steals per contest through 28 games this year. Thomas has also been shooting better this season, making 30 of 84 attempts (35.7 percent) from three-point range. In the home victory over Navy, he totaled 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. Previously, in the home victory over Army, Thomas led the team with 21 points, eight assists and six rebounds. He also had a strong game at Lafayette, totaling 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Earlier this year, Thomas was named to the All-Tournament team at the San Juan Shootout, after averaging 10.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds over three games. He had 11 points, six assists and five rebounds against Tennessee-Chattanooga, and added 13 points, four rebounds and three assists against Mississippi State. Some of Thomas' other top performances this season came against Fordham (career-high 23 points, five assists, five steals, four rebounds), High Point (20 points, six rebounds, six assists), Lafayette (18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists), Boston College (16 points), George Mason (16 points, six rebounds), Army (16 points, seven assists, five rebounds), William & Mary (15 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, four steals) and Navy (13 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds). Entering the Lehigh game, Thomas has career totals of 704 points, 336 rebounds, 294 assists and 168 steals.

    CLIFFORD PLAYING BIG IN THE POST: Sophomore center Tim Clifford (Walpole, Mass.) has moved into the starting lineup for the last 10 games, and has responded with some excellent performances. During the victory over Army, he scored 13 points and pulled down four rebounds. Previously at Navy, Clifford recorded 12 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots. He also had a huge game against American at home, totaling 27 points, four rebounds and four blocks, while hitting nine of 15 shots from the floor and eight of nine attempts from the foul line. Earlier in the season against Brown, Clifford totaled 21 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, while hitting nine of 12 field goal attempts. Some of his other top performances this year have come against Lehigh (19 points, seven rebounds), Boston College (11 points, two rebounds), Lafayette (10 points, four rebounds) and Bucknell (10 points, three rebounds). Through 28 games played this season, Clifford has averaged 7.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots, while making 85 of 174 (48.9 percent) field goal attempts. In 28 games played last season, he averaged 2.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per contest.

    HAMILTON IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Senior guard Kevin Hamilton has put his name among the all-time leaders at Holy Cross in a number of statistical categories. During the first game with Colgate, Hamilton recorded the 247th steal of his collegiate career to set all-time Holy Cross and Patriot League records. He now has 279 steals, after breaking the marks of Jave Meade (246 steals, 2000-2004). Against Cincinnati, Hamilton hit a free throw at the 4:34 mark of the first half to become the 41st player in school history to score 1,000 career points. He now has 1,423 points during his four-year career as a Crusader, to stand in 12th-place on the school's all-time scoring list. In addition, Hamilton is the Crusaders' all-time leader in career three-point field goals made (217) and attempted (614). Hamilton has also tied the school single game records for steals (seven against Harvard, Lafayette and Colgate) and three-point field goals (seven against Tennessee-Chattanooga) this season.

    HOLY CROSS HAS FIVE DIFFERENT 20-POINT SCORERS: In 28 games played this season, Holy Cross has had five different players score 20 or more points in a single contest. Senior guard Kevin Hamilton leads the way with nine 20-point games this season, while junior guard Keith Simmons has seven 20-point efforts. Hamilton broke the 20-point barrier against Tennessee-Chattanooga (38 points), Mississippi State (27 points), Navy (26 points), Colgate (24 points), American (22 points), High Point (22 points), Lafayette (22 points), Army (21 points) and Lehigh (20 points), while Simmons scored 20 points against Lafayette (twice -- 26 points and 22 points), Army (26 points), American (23 points), Colgate (21 points), High Point (21 points) and Siena (20 points). Junior guard Torey Thomas has added three 20-point performances, and sophomore center Tim Clifford has a pair of 20-point games this year. Thomas totaled 23 points against Fordham, 21 points against Army and 20 points against High Point, while Clifford had 27 points against American and 21 points against Brown. In addition, freshman forward Alex Vander Baan (Uxbridge, Mass.) recorded 21 points against Mississippi State. Against High Point, the Crusaders had three 20-point scorers in a single game for the first time since Feb. 9, 1994 (against Lehigh). In addition, Holy Cross' five different 20-point scorers this year are its most since five players had 20-point games during the 1996-1997 season (Chris Rojik six times, Damion Ezell three times, John Hightower twice, Jon Kerr twice and Carlos Clark once). Also, the 22 total 20-point games by Crusaders this season are the most since the 1994-1995 season, when Holy Cross players also had 20-point performances on 22 occasions.

    CRUSADERS KEEP WINNING AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross stands 8-2 at the Hart Center so far this season, and now owns an all-time record of 273-105 in the building. The Crusaders also have a 5-1 home mark against Patriot opponents so far in 2005-2006, and now stand 35-5 in Patriot League regular season home games over the last six seasons. In 2004-2005, Holy Cross posted an overall record of 12-3 at home, including a 10-game winning streak. Since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, the Crusaders now have an overall mark of 60-12 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 26 out of 30 seasons, while posting double-figure home victories 13 times.

    VANDER BAAN ENJOYING STRONG FRESHMAN YEAR: Freshman forward Alex Vander Baan has been a key part of the Holy Cross starting lineup throughout the 2005-2006 season. Last week, Vander Baan turned in a pair of strong performances against American (nine points, five rebounds, three steals) and Navy (10 points, five rebounds), and was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this year. He was previously named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week on Feb. 6, following his performances at Navy (10 points, six rebounds, three assists) and Lafayette (six points, six boards, two assists). Vander Baan also earned Rookie of the Week honors following the San Juan Shootout (Dec. 27) and the William & Mary Tip-Off Classic (Nov. 21). Over the three games at the San Juan Shootout, he averaged 15.7 points and 7.0 rebounds, while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor. Vander Baan had a career-high 21 points and nine rebounds against Mississippi State, while totaling 15 points and seven rebounds against Clemson, and scoring 11 points against Tennessee-Chattanooga. He averaged 7.5 points and 3.5 rebounds at the Tip-Off Classic, while shooting 60.0 percent from the field. His top game came against High Point, when he totaled 11 points and five rebounds. Through 28 games played this season, Vander Baan has averaged 6.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest. Vander Baan came to Holy Cross from Whitinsville Christian School, where he averaged 16.1 points and 15.6 rebounds as a senior.

    THOMAS PLAYING MANY MINUTES: Junior guard Torey Thomas currently leads the team and the Patriot League in playing time this season, having played 1,034 minutes on the year. Thomas has averaged 36.9 minutes per contest this season, and has a chance to break the Holy Cross single season records for minutes played and average minutes played. The mark for most minutes per game is currently held by Jim McCaffrey, who averaged 35.8 minutes per contest during the 1984-1985 season. The record for most total minutes is currently held by Jave Meade, who saw 1,132 minutes of action during the 2001-2002 campaign. Senior guard Kevin Hamilton has seen the second-most playing time in the Patriot League this year, playing 966 minutes for an average of 35.8 minutes per game.

    CRUSADERS HEAT UP ON OFFENSE: Holy Cross has turned some outstanding shooting performances in Patriot League play. In Feb. 15 victory over Navy, the Crusaders made 25 of 46 field goal attempts (54.3 percent). A week earlier against Army, the Holy Cross hit 54.2 percent (32 of 59) of their field goals, and 52.4 percent (11 of 21) of its shots from three-point range. And in the contest at Navy, the Crusaders made 28 of 51 shots from the floor (54.9 percent) and seven of 14 from three-point range (50.0 percent). Earlier in the season, Holy Cross made 27 of 47 field goals (57.4 percent) against Army on Jan. 11, and hit 34 of 61 shots (55.7 percent) against Lafayette on Jan. 7. Overall this season, The Crusaders have won all seven games in which they have made at least half of their shots. Last year, Holy Cross had a perfect 12-0 record when shooting at least 50 percent from the floor. In fact, the Crusaders have now won their last 33 games when they hits at least half their shots from the field, since a 75-73 loss to Bucknell on Feb. 20, 2002.

    HOLY CROSS IN THE RPI: Holy Cross is currently ranked 1289th in the nation in the latest Ratings Percentage Index, with a rating of .5189 through games of Feb. 22. The Crusaders are currently the second-highest rated team in the Patriot League, behind only Bucknell (34th, .5955). In addition, Holy Cross' non-conference schedule ranks as the 1107th hardest in the country. The Crusaders concluded the 2004-2005 season ranked 49th in the nation in the RPI with a mark of .5657, to place ahead of four at large selections to the NCAA tournament. The Crusaders' 2004-2005 non-conference schedule ranked as the 84th-toughest in the country, including games against three teams which finished the year ranked in the top 50.

    HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I leaders in three statistical categories, through games of Feb. 20. In addition, junior guard Torey Thomas and senior guard Kevin Hamilton are ranked among the national steal leaders. The rankings:

    Category                   Rank  Player / Team     Avg.
    Steals                        4  Kevin Hamilton     3.3
                                 21  Torey Thomas       2.6
                                 23  Holy Cross         9.4
    Scoring Defense              29  Holy Cross        60.6
    Field Goal Percent Defense   39  Holy Cross        40.6
    Assists                      45  Torey Thomas       5.0

    HOLY CROSS BREAKS THREE-POINT SHOOTING MARK: In the Jan. 11 victory at Army, the Crusaders set a school single game record by making 15 three-point field goals on only 22 attempts. Junior guard Keith Simmons led the way by hitting six of seven attempts from behind the arc, while senior guard Kevin Hamilton made four of six shots from three-point range. The previous school record for most team three-pointers made in a single game was set on Dec. 2, 1994, when the Crusaders made 14 of 32 shots from behind the arc against Boston College. Holy Cross also came up just short of the Patriot League single game record of 18 three-pointers made, which is held by Lafayette (on Dec. 11, 2000, against Fordham, and on Dec. 30, 2001, against Howard). In addition, the Crusaders have made 177 three-point field goals on the year, and have a chance to break the school single season record (198 in 2004-2005).

    TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 87th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1221-788 (.608), while making 23 postseason tournament appearances -- 11 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 nine players on to professional basketball, had four players inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, had 23 players drafted by professional teams, had three players go to coach professionally, and had 15 players who have coached in college, including current Crusader coach Ralph Willard.

    CRUSADERS HAVE HUGE GAME ON THE BOARDS: Holy Cross turned in its top rebounding performance of the 2005-2006 season in the victory at Lafayette. The Crusaders pulled down a season-best 50 rebounds, while allowing the Leopards only 24 boards, for a +26 rebound margin. Holy Cross pulled down its most rebounds in a single game since Feb. 28, 2003, when it totaled 50 rebounds against Bucknell. The Crusaders also had their biggest rebound margin since Feb. 13, 2002, when they outrebounded Lehigh 48-21 (+27). Overall this year, Holy Cross is averaging 35.5 rebounds per game, while outrebounding the opposition by 4.0 boards per contest.

    CRUSADERS SET NEW HART CENTER RECORD FOR VICTORY MARGIN: In the Feb. 8 win over Army, Holy Cross set a new record for the largest-ever margin of victory for a game played at the Hart Center. The Crusaders defeated the Black Knights by 50 points (88-38) to break the record. The old mark of 49 points had stood for nearly 30 years, since Holy Cross defeated Canisius 113-64 on Jan. 13, 1977. The 50-point margin of victory was also the largest for the Crusaders in any game since they defeated St. Michael's by 70 points (138-68) on Dec. 3, 1970.

    HOLY CROSS ON THE RADIO: Once again this season, the majority of the Crusaders' basketball contests will be carried by WTAG 580 AM in Worcester. For the 17th 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 second year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, 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 a few games which are not on WTAG. The Holy Cross student station, WCHC 88.1 FM, will also carry a number of games this year.

    CRUSADERS ON TELEVISION: Holy Cross is currently scheduled to have nine games shown on live television during the 2005-2006 season. Last year the Crusaders had 10 television appearances, including three games which were shown on ESPN2. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2005-2006 campaign:

    Date     Opponent            Television Outlet
    Dec. 1   Siena               Time Warner
    Jan. 2   Boston University   New England Sports Network
    Jan. 14  Bucknell            College Sports Television / WLVI-TV56
    Jan. 17  Boston College      New England Sports Network
    Jan. 25  Colgate             WCTR-TV3
    Jan. 28  Lehigh              Service Electric
    Feb. 4   Lafayette           Lafayette Sports Network
    Feb. 8   Army                WCTR-TV3
    Feb. 26  Lehigh              College Sports Television

    SCOUTING THE MOUNTAIN HAWKS: Lehigh has an overall record of 18-10 on the season, including a 11-2 mark in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks have won 13 of their last 15 games, with the only losses during that time coming against Bucknell. The leading scorer for Lehigh is junior guard Jose Olivero, who has averaged 17.7 points and 3.2 assists per game. Senior guard Joe Knight is also enjoying a fine season, averaging 14.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest. The Mountain Hawks are led by head coach Billy Taylor, who owns a 68-48 record in four seasons at Lehigh. A 1995 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Taylor was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2004.

    DRIBBLES: The Crusaders' 88 points against Army on Feb. 8 were their most since an 88-54 victory over Navy on Jan. 23, 2004 ... Holy Cross played the 2,000th game in the history of its men's basketball program against American on Jan. 21 ... Senior guard Kevin Hamilton is the Crusaders' captain for the 2005-2006 season, while senior forward Kevin Hyland is serving as Holy Cross' co-captain ... From Jan. 12, 2005-Jan. 11, 2006, the Crusaders had a 15-game winning streak in Patriot League regular season contests, the second longest streak in conference history ... With a pair of victories to begin the conference season, Holy Cross now stands 11-5 all-time in Patriot League openers, 11-5 in conference home openers, and 10-6 in league road openers ... Holy Cross was picked to finish second in this year's Patriot League preseason poll, behind Bucknell ... Senior guard Kevin Hamilton and junior guard Keith Simmons were both named preseason All-Patriot League this year, in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors ... When the Crusaders won the William & Mary Tip-Off Classic on Nov. 18-19, it marked the 12th regular season tournament title in school history.