Holy Cross To Face Lehigh In Patriot League Semifinals
March 4, 2006
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS: Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. PPG RPG F 10 Keith Simmons 6-4 210 Jr. 13.9 5.1 F 21 Alex Vander Baan 6-8 195 Fr. 6.2 5.2 C 00 Tim Clifford 6-10 255 So. 7.9 4.0 G 1 Torey Thomas 5-11 170 Jr. 11.4 5.3 G 14 Kevin Hamilton 6-4 190 Sr. 17.6 6.3
THE SERIES WITH LEHIGH: This will be the 38th meeting between the Crusaders and the Mountain Hawks on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 27-10. The teams split the regular season series this season, but prior to that 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 17-3 advantage, including nine 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, 27-10
In Worcester: Holy Cross, 17-3
At the Hart Center: Holy Cross, 17-3
Ralph Willard vs. Lehigh: 13-3
Billy Taylor vs. Holy Cross: 2-7
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game
CRUSADERS REACH DOUBLE-FIGURES IN LEAGUE WINS: Holy Cross finished the 2005-2006 regular season with an 11-3 mark in Patriot League play. This marks the sixth 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 and 2004-2005 teams, which both posted 13-1 marks in the Patriot League. In addition, the 1992-1993 team went 12-2, the 2000-2001 team was 10-2, and the 1991-1992 team had a 10-4 record. Holy Cross' six seasons with double-figure victories are the most in Patriot League history, as no other school has accomplished the feat more than five times.
HAMILTON NAMED PATRIOT LEAGUE DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Senior guard Kevin Hamilton (Queens Village, N.Y.) has been selected as the 2005-2006 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, in addition to being a first team all-conference selection. This marks the third straight season Hamilton has been named All-Patriot League, as he was previously a first team selection in 2004-2005, and a second team honoree in 2003-2004. In addition, he was named the conference's Player of the Year in 2004-2005. During the 2005-2006 campaign, Hamilton is averaging 17.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.3 steals per contest. He has scored in double figures in 28 of the 29 games he has played this season, and currently leads the Patriot League in scoring, rebounding and steals. Hamilton also leads the nation with his 95 total steals, while standing fourth in the country in steals per game. His statistics were even more impressive in Patriot League regular season games, where he averaged 18.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.9 steals per contest. Hamilton has scored at least 20 points in a game nine times this season, including four straight games from Jan. 25-Feb. 4. He hit for a career-high 38 points against Tennessee-Chattanooga in the San Juan Shootout, and also put up 27 points against Mississippi State. Overall this year, Hamilton has been a four-time Patriot League Player of the Week selection (Nov. 21, Dec. 27, Feb. 6, Feb. 20), in addition to being named the Most Valuable Player at the William & Mary Tip-Off Classic, and earning All-Tournament honors at the San Juan Shootout. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has now scored in double figures 81 times, including 71 times in his last 78 games.
HAMILTON SHOWS ALL-AROUND SKILLS: Senior guard Kevin Hamilton has shown himself to be the top all-around player in the Patriot League this season, as he currently leads the conference in points (17.6 points per game), rebounds (6.3 rebounds per game) and steals (3.3 steals per game). Through games of Feb. 26, he is the only Division I player in the nation to lead his league in all three of those categories. In fact, only four other players in the nation currently lead their conference in both scoring and rebounding (Kenny Adeleke of Hartford; John Bowler of Eastern Michigan; Glen Davis of Louisiana State; Caleb Green of Oral Roberts), while just three other players stand atop their league in scoring and steals (Bobby Brown of Cal State Fullerton; Ibrahim Jaaber of Pennsylvania; Tim Smith of East Tennessee State). In addition, Hamilton is one of just six players in the country to currently rank in his conference's top five in scoring, rebounds and steals (along with Quinton Hosley of Fresno State, Paul Milsap of Louisiana Tech, Dwayne Mitchell of Louisiana-Lafayette, Matt Stehle of Harvard and Shelden Williams of Duke).
SIMMONS EARNS ALL-LEAGUE HONORS AGAIN: Junior guard Keith Simmons (Kingston, N.Y.) has been selected first team All-Patriot League this year, marking the second straight season he has earned first team all-conference honors. In 30 games played this year, he is averaging 13.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, while shooting 52.5 percent (146 of 278) from the field and 47.5 percent (56 of 118) from three-point range. Simmons was even more effective in Patriot League regular season games, averaging 16.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists against conference foes, with a league-best 59.8 field goal percentage (76 of 127) and a 51.8 mark (29 of 56) from beyond the arc. In the 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), against Navy in the Patriot League quarterfinals (19 points, seven rebounds) and at Vermont (18 points, five rebounds). A year ago, Simmons averaged 12.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest. He enters the Patriot League semifinals with a career field goal percentage of 49.8 (359 of 721), while hitting 45.0 percent (139 of 309) of his three-point attempts.
STEALING THE SHOW: In 30 games played this season, the Crusaders have totaled 277 steals, for a Patriot League-best average of 9.2 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 95 steals on the year, while junior guard Torey Thomas (White Plains, N.Y.) has added 75 steals this season. With his 95 total steals, Hamilton has set new Holy Cross and Patriot League single season records. Hamilton had already held the school single season record, with his 92 steals during the 2004-2005 campaign. The old Patriot League single season record for steals had been held by Mike Bright of Bucknell with 94 steals in 1992-1993. Hamilton's average of 3.3 steals per game this year would also set a new Patriot League single season record.
NAVY RECAP: Kevin Hamilton totaled 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals, to lead Holy Cross to a 78-50 victory over Navy in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals at the Hart Center on March 3, 2006. Holy Cross jumped out to a 43-28 halftime lead, after holding Navy scoreless for nearly seven minutes midway through the half. During the drought, Holy Cross built a 16 point lead (33-17) on the strength of an 18-2 run, which was capped off by a Keith Simmons jumper at the 4:19 mark. In the second half, Navy cut the lead to 10 (48-38) following two free throws by Kaleo Kina with 15:37 left on the clock, but the Crusaders did not let the visitors get any closer and held the Midshipmen to just 12 points the rest of the way, as they extended their lead to 28 points by game's end. Holy Cross shot 48.3 percent from the floor (29 for 60), while totaling 19 assists on those 29 baskets. The Crusaders were also dominant on the glass throughout the game and won the rebound battle, 42-26. Simmons finished the game with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Tim Clifford recorded 15 points, two rebounds, two blocks and two assists. Torey Thomas had a solid all-around game with six points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals. Navy was led by Corey Johnson with 15 points, three rebounds and three 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 18 contests, allowing just 55.4 points per game, with the opposition shooting 37.3 percent from the floor and 27.3 percent from three-point range. Overall this season, Holy Cross is allowing 59.8 points per game, while holding its opponents to 40.2 percent shooting from the floor and 29.8 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 9.2 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 58.7 points per contest during that span. In addition, the Crusaders have ranked in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense during each of the last 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).
THOMAS NAMED SECOND TEAM ALL-LEAGUE: Junior point guard Torey Thomas has been selected second team All-Patriot League this year, after having an outstanding season for the Crusaders. He has averaged 11.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.5 steals per contest this year, while making 34 of 93 attempts (36.6 percent) from three-point range. Entering the Patriot League semifinals, Thomas leads the Patriot League in assists, while ranking second in steals, fourth in rebounding and 13th in scoring. In the regular season final against Lehigh, he totaled 15 points, five rebounds and four assists, while making four of six three-point attempts. Previously, in the home victory over Army, Thomas led the team with 21 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Earlier this year, he 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) and Lafayette (18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists). Entering the Patriot League semifinals, Thomas has career totals of 725 points, 346 rebounds, 304 assists and 171 steals.
THE LAST MEETING WITH LEHIGH: Torey Thomas totaled 15 points, five rebounds and four assists, to lead Holy Cross to a 68-54 victory over Lehigh at the Hart Center on Feb. 26, 2006. The Crusaders opened the game on a 6-0 run, and increased their advantage to 16-6 after seven minutes of play. Lehigh was able to cut the lead to seven points, before a 9-0 spurt by the Crusaders made the score 29-13 with just under three minutes left in the opening half. Holy Cross would eventually lead by as many as 19 points before the break, and took a 33-16 advantage into the locker room. The Crusaders continued to dominate play early in the second half, and took a 21-point lead (47-26) with 12 minutes left in the game. But Lehigh then went on a 13-1 run to trim the lead to nine points, and would get as close as seven points (55-48) with four minutes left in the game. Thomas then hit a three-pointer to start a 9-1 Holy Cross run, putting the game away. Kevin Hamilton finished with 12 points, five assists, three steals and two rebounds for the Crusaders. Tim Clifford added 13 points and five rebounds, while Keith Simmons had 11 points and five rebounds. Lehigh was led by Kyle Neptune with 14 points and three rebounds, while Jose Olivero added 12 points. With the win, Holy Cross clinched the second seed in the Patriot League Tournament.
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 the Feb. 22 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 1,039 points in 90 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 1,454 points, and has a chance to become only the 11th player in school history with 1,500 career points.
VANDER BAAN EARNS ALL-ROOKIE HONORS: Freshman forward Alex Vander Baan (Uxbridge, Mass.), a key part of the Holy Cross starting lineup throughout the season, has been selected to the 2005-2006 Patriot League All-Rookie Team. In 30 games played this year, Vander Baan has averaged 6.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest, to rank fifth in the conference in rebounding. He also led all Patriot League freshmen by earning league Rookie of the Week honors four times this season (Nov. 21, Dec. 27, Feb. 6, Feb. 20). Vander Baan's top week of the year came at the San Juan Shootout, where he averaged 15.7 points and 7.0 rebounds over three games, while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor. He had a career-high 21 points and nine rebounds against Mississippi State, while totaling 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists against Clemson, and scoring 11 points against Tennessee-Chattanooga. Some of Vander Baan's other top performances this season have come against High Point (11 points, five rebounds, three assists), at Navy (10 points, six rebounds, three assists), against Navy at home (10 points, five rebounds), at Army (nine points, six rebounds), at American (nine points, five rebounds, three steals) and against Colgate at home (eight points, six rebounds). Vander Baan came to Holy Cross from Whitinsville Christian School, where he averaged 16.1 points and 15.6 rebounds as a senior.
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 133-79 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 277-203. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.
CRUSADERS KEEP WINNING AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross stands 10-2 at the Hart Center so far this season, and now owns an all-time record of 275-105 in the building. The Crusaders also have a 7-1 home mark against Patriot opponents in 2005-2006, and now stand 36-5 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 62-12 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 27 out of 31 seasons, while posting double-figure home victories 14 times.
CLIFFORD PLAYING BIG IN THE POST: Sophomore center Tim Clifford (Walpole, Mass.) has moved into the starting lineup for the last 11 games, and has responded with some excellent performances. In the Patriot League quarterfinal victory over Navy, he scored 15 points on six of nine shooting from the field. Clifford previously had 13 points and five rebounds against Lehigh in the regular season finale, while scoring 13 points and pulling down four rebounds in the home win over Army. 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), Navy (12 points, seven rebounds, three blocked shots), Boston College (11 points, two rebounds), Lafayette (10 points, four rebounds) and Bucknell (10 points, three rebounds). On the season, Clifford has averaged 7.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots, while making 95 of 190 (50.0 percent) field goal attempts. In 28 games played last season, he averaged 2.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per contest.
THOMAS PLAYING MANY MINUTES: Junior guard Torey Thomas currently leads the team and the Patriot League in playing time this season, having played 1,101 minutes on the year. Thomas has averaged 36.7 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 1,041 minutes for an average of 35.8 minutes per game.
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 285 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 1,454 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 (220) and attempted (630). 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 IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I leaders in three statistical categories, through games of Feb. 27. 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 23 Torey Thomas 2.5 25 Holy Cross 9.3 Scoring Defense 26 Holy Cross 60.2 Field Goal Percent Defense 29 Holy Cross 40.2 Assists 46 Torey Thomas 4.9
CRUSADERS HEAT UP ON OFFENSE: Holy Cross turned in some outstanding shooting performances in Patriot League play this season. In the 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 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 193 three-point field goals on the year, and have a chance to break the school single season record (198 in 2004-2005).
HOLY CROSS HAS FIVE DIFFERENT 20-POINT SCORERS: In 30 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 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.
HOLY CROSS IN THE RPI: Holy Cross is currently ranked 121st in the nation in the latest Ratings Percentage Index, with a rating of .5250 through games of March 3. The Crusaders are currently the second-highest rated team in the Patriot League, behind only Bucknell (47th, .5837). In addition, Holy Cross' non-conference schedule ranks as the 100th 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 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 has had 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 from 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
TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 87th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1223-788 (.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 35.7 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.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAIN HAWKS: Lehigh has an overall record of 19-11 on the season, including an 11-3 mark in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks have won 14 of their last 17 games, with two of the losses during that time coming against Bucknell, and the other coming at Holy Cross last week. The leading scorer for Lehigh is junior guard Jose Olivero, who has averaged 17.2 points and 3.0 assists per game. Senior guard Joe Knight is also enjoying a fine season, averaging 13.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per contest. The Mountain Hawks are led by head coach Billy Taylor, who owns a 69-49 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.
THE SEEDINGS: Holy Cross is the No. 2 overall seed in the 2006 Patriot League Championship. This marks the third time the Crusaders have been the second seed in the tournament, with the previous occasions coming in 1993 and 2002. During each of those years, Holy Cross went on to win the Patriot League title. . . Throughout its history in the Patriot League, Holy Cross has a 7-0 record as the second seed in the conference tournament. The Crusaders have also been seeded No. 1 three times (7-1 record), No. 3 three times (5-3), No. 4 three times (1-3), No. 5 twice (0-2) and No. 6 twice (0-2). . . Holy Cross stands 14-3 all-time in Patriot League Tournament games when it has been seeded higher than its opponent. The Crusaders had won nine straight contests as the higher seed, before falling to Bucknell 61-57 in the 2005 championship game.
HISTORY IS ON OUR SIDE: Based on results from past years, the Crusaders have an excellent chance to advance to this year's Patriot League championship game. The No. 2 seed has played in the conference title game 10 times over the last 15 seasons, winning the championship on five occasions. . . No team seeded lower than second has ever won a Patriot League Tournament title, with the 10 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 15 years the Patriot League Tournament has been played. The other title game appearances all belong to the No. 2 (10 times) and No. 3 (five times) seeds. No team seeded lower than third has ever advanced to the Patriot League championship game.
TOURNAMENT TIP-INS: The Crusaders, who will face Lehigh in the semifinal round, stand 4-0 all-time against the Mountain Hawks in Patriot League Tournament play. The schools last met in the postseason during the 2005 semifinals, when Holy Cross won 57-53 in overtime. The other Patriot League Tournament meetings between the teams came in 2001 (Holy Cross won 69-57 in the semifinals), 1996 (the Crusaders won 81-66 in the quarterfinals) and 1991 (Holy Cross won 95-90 in overtime in the semifinals). . . This year marks the second straight season that Patriot League quarterfinal or semifinal games have been played on the campus sites of the top two seeds. . . Holy Cross stands 11-2 all-time in Patriot League Tournament games which have been played at the Hart Center. That includes a 5-0 mark in quarterfinal games (defeating Army in 1993 and 2005, Colgate in 1991, Lehigh in 1996 and Navy in 2006), a 4-0 record in semifinal games (downing Lehigh in 1991, Fordham in 1993, Army in 1996 and Lehigh in 2005) and a 2-2 mark in championship games (defeating 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 36-8 during the Patriot League Tournament. . . Three teams have won Patriot League championships in the past while playing at home for the entire tournament: Navy in 1994 and 1998, and Lafayette in 2000. The 2006 championship game will take place on the court of the highest remaining seed.
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.