Crusaders Open Patriot League Tournament Play With Bucknell

March 2, 2009

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
Event: Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinals
The Teams: Holy Cross (16-13, 11-3 PL) vs. Bucknell (7-22, 4-10 PL)
Date: March 4, 2009
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Live Video Streaming: Crusader All-Access
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; www.worcesterpike.com, internet; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Jeremy Lechan, color
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester; Ryan Holt, play-by-play; Chris Gibson & Dan Gaudet, color
Bucknell Radio: WEGH 107.3 FM, Sunbury, Pa.; Doug Birdsong, play-by-play; Ed Sigl, color
Series Record: Bucknell leads, 27-22
Last Meeting: Bucknell 72, Holy Cross 66 (February 14, 2009; Worcester, Mass.)

 


PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos.  No.  Name                Ht.   Wt.   Cl.
F      12  
Adam May            6-8   205   Jr.
F      33  
Colin Cunningham    6-6   220   Sr.
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 BUCKNELL: This will be the 50th meeting between the Crusaders and the Bison on the hardwood, with Bucknell leading the all-time series 27-22. Holy Cross has won four of the last seven games between the schools, with the road team winning each of the last four contests. For games played in Worcester, Bucknell holds a narrow 11-10 lead in the all-time series. The schools first met on January 12, 1991, with Holy Cross posting an 80-78 victory in Lewisburg.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Bucknell leads, 27-22
In Worcester: Bucknell leads, 11-10
At the Hart Center: Bucknell leads, 11-10
Ralph Willard vs. Bucknell: 14-13
Dave Paulsen vs. Holy Cross: 2-1
Current Win Streak: Bucknell, one game
In Overtime: Tied, 1-1

CRUSADERS SET FOR 2009 PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT: Holy Cross opens up play in the 2009 Patriot League Tournament on Wednesday, March 4, when it plays host to Bucknell in the quarterfinals at 7:00 p.m. The Crusaders are the second seed in the tournament, while the Bison are seeded seventh. The winner of the Holy Cross-Bucknell game will move on to face the Colgate-Navy winner in the semifinals on Sunday, March 8, with the championship game set for Friday, March 13. For the third straight year, all games in the Patriot League Tournament will be played on the campus of the higher seed.

HISTORY IS ON OUR SIDE: Based on results from past years, the Crusaders have an excellent chance to advance to the Patriot League championship game. The No. 2 seed has played in the conference title game 12 times in the last 18 seasons, winning the title five times... No team seeded lower than second has ever won a Patriot League Tournament title, with the 13 other championships all being captured by the No. 1 seed... The top seed in the tournament has advanced to the championship game in each of the 18 years the Patriot League Tournament has been played. The other title game appearances all belong to the No. 2 (12 times) and No. 3 (six times) seeds. No team seeded lower than third has ever advanced to the Patriot League championship game.

THE SEEDINGS: Holy Cross is the No. 2 seed in the 2009 Patriot League Championship. This marks the fourth time the Crusaders have been the second seed in the tournament, with the previous occasions coming in 1993, 2002 and 2006. In two of those years (1993 and 2002), Holy Cross went on to win the Patriot League title... Throughout its history in the Patriot League, Holy Cross has been the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament three times (8-1 record). The Crusaders have also been seeded No. 1 four times (10-1 record), No. 3 three times (5-3), No. 4 three times (1-3), No. 5 twice (0-2), No. 6 twice (0-2) and No. 8 once (0-1)... Holy Cross stands 21-3 all-time in Patriot League Tournament games when it has been seeded higher than its opponent. The Crusaders have won five straight and 14 of their last 15 contests as the higher seed.

TOURNAMENT TIP-INS: The Crusaders, who will face Bucknell in the quarterfinals, stand 5-6 all-time against the Bison in Patriot League Tournament play. This marks the seventh time in the last eight seasons the two schools have met in the conference tournament. The last postseason meeting between the teams came in 2007, when Holy Cross posted a 74-66 victory at the Hart Center during the championship game... For the third year in a row, all games in the Patriot League Tournament will be played on the campus sites of the higher seed... Holy Cross stands 15-2 all-time in Patriot League Tournament games which have been played at the Hart Center. That includes a 6-0 mark in quarterfinal games (defeating Army in 1993 and 2005, Colgate in 1991, Lafayette in 2007, Lehigh in 1996 and Navy in 2006), a 6-0 record in semifinal games (downing Lehigh in 1991, 2005 and 2006, Fordham in 1993, Army in 1996 and American in 2007) and a 3-2 mark in championship games (defeating Bucknell in 2007, American in 2003 and Navy in 2001, while falling to Fordham in 1991 and Bucknell in 2005)... In the conference's history, teams playing on their home court have an overall record of 50-11 during the Patriot League Tournament... Five teams have won Patriot League championships in the past while playing at home for the entire tournament: Navy in 1994 and 1998, Lafayette in 2000, Bucknell in 2006 and Holy Cross in 2007.

CRUSADERS LOOK FOR SIXTH PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT CROWN: Holy Cross is looking to win its sixth Patriot League Tournament title in 2009. Two years ago, the Crusaders captured their fifth Patriot League Tournament with their 74-66 victory over Bucknell on March 9, 2007. Holy Cross' previous tournament titles came in 2003 (72-64 over American), 2002 (58-54 at American), 2001 (68-64 over Navy in overtime) and 1993 (98-73 at Bucknell). The Crusaders' five conference tournament championships are the most in Patriot League history, with Navy having the second most (three in 1994, 1997 and 1998). Holy Cross has also appeared in the championship game in six times in the last eight years. Overall, the Crusaders have made a conference-record nine appearances in the Patriot League championship game.

EVANS NAMED ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Freshman guard R.J. Evans (Salem, Conn.) is enjoying an outstanding rookie season, and has been named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year. Overall this season, Evans is averaging a team-best 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals per contest, while scoring in double-figures in 18 of his last 23 games. During the home victory over Lehigh, he recorded 15 points and seven rebounds. Previously against Navy, Evans led the team with 17 points and six 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) and at Lafayette (11 points, three rebounds, three steals). Evans' 368 points scored this season are the most by a Holy Cross freshman since Ronnie Perry scored 574 points in 1976-1977. He also 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 scored 2,030 career points.

CRUSADERS AND BISON TO TANGLE IN TOURNAMENT ONCE AGAIN: When Holy Cross and Bucknell meet in the Patriot League quarterfinals, it will mark the seventh time in the last eight seasons in which the schools have met in the conference tournament. The Bison posted victories in 2006 (74-59 in the championship game), 2005 (61-57 in the title game) and 2004 (66-60 in the quarterfinals), while the Crusaders were victorious in 2007 (74-66, in the championship game), 2003 (75-50 in the semifinals) and 2002 (64-57 in the semifinals). Overall, this will be the 12th meeting of the schools in the Patriot League Tournament, with Bucknell holding a 6-5 advantage in those contests. This will also mark the fifth time the Crusaders and the Bison have met in the quarterfinals, with Bucknell holding a 3-1 advantage in those games (Bucknell won 60-56 in 1998, 76-52 in 1999 and 66-60 in 2004, while Holy Cross won 96-91 in 1994).

KEISTER EARNS FIRST TEAM ALL-LEAGUE HONORS: Sophomore forward Andrew Keister (Galloway, N.J.) has developed into the Crusaders' top player at the low post positions, and has been named first team All-Patriot League. In Patriot League play, Keister has averaged 12.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest, while hitting 67.3 percent (72 of 107) of his field goal attempts. During the American game, he totaled 13 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. Previously against Navy, Keister recorded 10 points, six rebounds and five assists. He also had a solid game against Bucknell, posting 13 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots. Earlier in the season, he had good games at Navy (27 points, 14 rebounds), against Army (21 points and 12 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 6.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 59.6 percent (102 of 177) from the field and posting a team-high seven double-doubles.

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 victory at Colgate, he recorded 12 points and four rebounds. Previously at American, Beinert led the team with 18 points and three assists, while hitting seven of 11 field goal attempts. He also had a big game against Bucknell, totaling 18 points and three 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), at Lafayette (10 points, three rebounds), against Brown (nine points, three assists), at Loyola (eight points, four steals), against Colgate (eight points, two rebounds, two assists), 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 8.3 points, 2.0 assists and 1.1 steals per game, while hitting a Patriot League-best 46.4 percent (45 of 97) 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.

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 8.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.8 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 643 points, 375 rebounds, 210 assists and 106 steals.

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 190-116 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 334-240. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

THE FIRST MEETING WITH BUCKNELL: Andrew Keister posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, to lead Holy Cross to a 68-56 victory over Bucknell at Sojka Pavilion on Jan. 17, 2009. Pat Doherty added 18 points, seven assists and three steals without committing a turnover. The Crusaders opened the game with a 9-2 run over the first six minutes of play. The Bison were able to close to within four points (12-8) at the 10-minute mark, before Holy Cross scored six straight points to build its lead to double-figures (18-8). A few minutes later, the Crusaders closed out the half with a 9-2 spurt, to take a 30-15 advantage into the locker room. R.J. Evans scored the first five points of the second half, to give Holy Cross a 20-point lead (35-15) with 18:53 left in the game. Bucknell responded with an 13-2 run, to cut the lead to single digits (37-28) and get back into the game. The Bison would eventually get as close as three points (48-45) with five minutes remaining, before Alex Vander Baan scored four straight points to put the Crusaders back up by seven (52-45). Holy Cross would then hit 14 of 15 free throws in the final two and a half minutes to pull away for the 12-point victory. The Crusaders held the Bison to 35.6 percent shooting on the night, while recording a 43-28 rebounding advantage. Holy Cross also hit 77.5 percent (31 of 40) of its free throws on the day.

THE SECOND MEETING WITH BUCKNELL: Bucknell's G.W. Boon totaled 16 points and six rebounds, to lead the Bison to a 72-66 victory over Holy Cross to at the Hart Center on Feb. 14, 2009. Following the game, Boon received the Martin J. O'Malley Award as the most valuable player of the Crusaders' Winter Homecoming game. The Bison opened the game by making four of their first five shots to jump out to a quick 10-6 lead. The Crusaders came back with a 17-4 run over the next five minutes to go in front by nine (23-14) with 11:32 left in the first half. But Bucknell refused to go away, coming back to tie the score at 30-30 with two minutes remaining before the break. Holy Cross eventually took a slim 32-30 lead into the locker room. Bucknell started the second half on fire, using a 14-0 run to take a 44-32 lead with 16 minutes left in the game. Boon made three consecutive three-point field goals to close out that spurt, putting the Bison in the lead for good. The Crusaders responded with a 7-0 run of their own to keep things interesting, before Bucknell built its lead up to 14 points (59-45) with 5:39 remaining. Holy Cross came back with an 11-2 spurt to stay in the game, but would get no closer than four points down the stretch. The Bison made nine of 12 free throws in the final two minutes to hold on for the win. Andrew Beinert led the Crusaders with 18 points and three assists, while Andrew Keister posted his third straight double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Colin Cunningham added 13 points, six assists and five rebounds for Holy Cross. Bucknell's Patrick Behan totaled 23 points and eight rebounds, while Darryl Shazier had 17 points and six assists.

CRUSADERS REACH DOUBLE-FIGURES IN LEAGUE WINS: Holy Cross finished the regular season with a record of 11-3 in Patriot League play. This marks the eighth time the Crusaders have reached double-figures in conference victories, since the Patriot League began play in the 1990-1991 season. The school record for most conference wins is held by the 2002-2003, 2004-2005 and 2006-2007 teams, which all posted 13-1 marks in the Patriot League. In addition, the 1992-1993 team went 12-2, the 2005-2006 squad went 11-3, the 2000-2001 team was 10-2, and the 1991-1992 team had a 10-4 record. Holy Cross' eight seasons with double-figure victories are the most in Patriot League history, as no other school has accomplished the feat more than six times.

CRUSADERS REMAIN TOUGH ON DEFENSE: Holy Cross is once again among the top defensive teams in the Patriot League in 2008-2009. In 29 games played this season, the Crusaders have allowed 62.7 points per game, while forcing 15.3 turnovers per contest and outrebounding the opposition by 6.6 boards per game. Holy Cross is also averaging 8.6 steals and 3.1 blocked shots per contest. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, the Crusaders have held their opponents to only 59.3 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   62.7   42.1   34.2    8.6   3.1

DOHERTY RETURNS TO THE COURT: Senior guard Pat Doherty (Scranton, Pa.) has seen action in Holy Cross' last 15 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 at home against Lafayette, while posting seven points and five assists in the home victory over Lehigh. On the year, he is averaging 4.3 points, 3.7 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, with a 1.90-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. He currently ranks 10th all-time at Holy Cross with 127 career steals, while standing 11th with 303 career assists. Doherty has also totaled 554 career points and 203 career rebounds.

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 over Lehigh, Meister posted eight points and 10 rebounds. Previously at Colgate, he totaled 10 points and seven rebounds. Meister also played well at Lehigh, recording a career-high 15 points and four rebounds. Some of his other top games this season have come against American (12 points, eight rebounds), against Sacred Heart (11 points, 11 rebounds), at Harvard (10 points, 11 boards), against Western Michigan (10 points, seven rebounds, two assists), against St. Joseph's (nine points, seven rebounds, three blocks) and against Navy (nine points, three rebounds). On the season, he is averaging 6.0 points, 4.4 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 355 points, 321 rebounds and 54 blocked shots.

HOLY CROSS HAS GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders are once again a strong rebounding team this year, averaging 35.7 boards per contest and outrebounding their opponents by an average margin of 6.6 rebounds per game. So far this season, Holy Cross has outrebounded its opponent in 23 out of 29 games played. The Crusaders were even more impressive in Patriot League regular season play, outrebounding their opponents by 7.4 boards per game. Sophomore forward Andrew Keister leads the team with an average of 6.5 rebounds per game, while freshman guard R.J. Evans stands second with 5.1 boards per contest. Senior forward Colin Cunningham is averaging 4.8 rebounds per game, while junior forward Eric Meister is averaging 4.4 boards per contest and senior forward Alex Vander Baan (Uxbridge, Mass.) is chipping in with 3.5 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.

SENIOR SALUTE: Six members of the Holy Cross basketball program are wrapping up their collegiate careers this month. Senior forward Colin Cunningham, senior guard Lawrence Dixon (Columbia, Md.), senior guard Pat Doherty, senior center Greg McCarthy (Mansfield, Mass.), senior forward Alex Vander Baan and senior manager Jamie Reynolds (Worcester, Mass.) are the six members of the 2009 senior class. Over the last four years, the senior class has helped Holy Cross to an overall record of 76-48, a Patriot League regular season championship, a Patriot League tournament title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

CRUSADERS REACH 300 VICTORIES AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 309-113 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 30 out of 34 seasons, while recording double-figure home victories 16 times. The Crusaders stand 96-21 at home since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, including a 60-11 record against Patriot League foes and an 10-4 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 at Colgate, Brown led the team with 13 points on five of eight shooting from the field. Previously against San Francisco, he recorded 22 points and five assists, while making 11 of 12 free throw attempts. Brown also played well at Massachusetts, totaling 14 points and three rebounds. Some of his other top games this season have come against Fairfield (22 points, five of nine shooting from the field, 10 of 10 shooting at the foul line), St. Joseph's (12 points, two rebounds, two assists) and Siena (10 points, three rebounds, two assists). Overall this year, he is averaging 6.4 points per game, while making a team-best 88.0 percent (73 of 83) 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.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 90th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1280-826 (.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.

VANDER BAAN PLAYS KEY ROLE ON FRONT LINE: Senior forward Alex Vander Baan 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 5.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, while hitting 34.6 percent (18 of 52) 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 698 points, 527 rebounds, 150 assists, 85 steals and 36 blocked shots.

LEHIGH RECAP: R.J. Evans recorded 15 points and seven rebounds to lead Holy Cross to a 64-49 victory over Lehigh at the Hart Center on Feb. 28, 2009. Eric Meister added eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds for the Crusaders. Both teams struggled to score early in the game, and the Mountain Hawks led 7-6 with 10:34 left in the first half. Holy Cross then went on an 11-0 run to take the lead for good, hitting three straight three-point field goals during that spurt. The Crusaders expanded their lead to 11 points late in the half, and took a 27-16 advantage into the locker room. Lehigh was able to cut the lead to 10 points early in the second half, before Holy Cross went on a 7-1 run to make the score 35-19 with 15 minutes remaining. The Crusaders eventually extended their lead 20 points (50-30) with eight minutes left to play, before finally posting a 15-point victory. Colin Cunningham finished the game with nine points, five assists, three rebounds and three steals, while Andrew Beinert added nine points, two rebounds and two assists. Lehigh was led by Rob Keefer with 13 points, and Zahir Carrington with 10 points and six rebounds.

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, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 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 263 points, 112 rebounds, 51 assists and 33 steals.

HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I leaders in three statistical categories, through games of March 1. In addition, freshman guard Devin Brown ranks 15th in the nation in free throw percentage, and senior forward Colin Cunningham stands 94th in steals. The rankings:

 

Category           Rank  Player / Team      Avg.
Free Throw Percent   15  
Devin Brown        88.0
Rebound Margin       16  Holy Cross         +6.6
Steals               34  Holy Cross          8.6
                     94  
Colin Cunningham    1.8
Scoring Defense      56  Holy Cross         62.7

SCOUTING THE BISON: Bucknell has an overall record of 7-22 on the season, with a 4-10 mark in the Patriot League. The Bison have lost eight of their last 10 games, and are coming off a 70-53 loss to Army in their regular season finale. Bucknell's leading scorer is junior forward Patrick Behan, who has averaged 13.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Bryan Cohen has added 11.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest, while senior guard Justin Castleberry is chipping in with 11.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Bucknell is led by head coach Dave Paulsen, who has a 7-22 record in his first season with the Bison. Paulsen's career record stands at 269-142, including eight years at Williams, three seasons at Le Moyne and three years at St. Lawrence.

STEALING THE SHOW: Through 29 games played this season, Holy Cross has averaged a Patriot League-best 8.6 steals per game, including highs of 14 steals against Colgate and 13 steals at Boston University. Senior forward Colin Cunningham leads the team with 51 steals, and freshman guard R.J. Evans has added 48 steals. Sophomore guard Andrew Beinert has totaled 33 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).

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.

CRUSADERS ON TELEVISION: Nine of Holy Cross' games have been shown on live television so far 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 9-4 this season when wearing their white uniforms, while going 1-1 in their black uniforms and 6-8 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 ... During the Dec. 27 victory over San Francisco, Holy Cross had three different players score over 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 ... 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.