Crusaders Set To Play Lehigh On Sunday
March 5, 2005
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
Event: Patriot League Semifinals
The Teams: Holy Cross (23-5, 13-1 PL) vs. Lehigh (14-14, 7-7 PL)
Date: March 6, 2005
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Jeremy Lechan, color; WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Lehigh Radio: Matt Kerr, play-by-play; Greg Falkenbach; WEEX 1230 AM, Easton, Pa.; WTKZ 1320 AM, Allentown, Pa.
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 25-9
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 73, Lehigh 53 (February 13, 2005; Worcester, Mass.)
PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS: Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. F 23 Greg Kinsey 6-4 195 Sr. F 24 John Hurley 6-8 215 Sr. C 4 Nate Lufkin 6-11 235 Sr. G 1 Torey Thomas 5-11 175 So. G 14 Kevin Hamilton 6-4 180 Jr.
THE SERIES WITH LEHIGH: This will be the 35th meeting between the Crusaders and the Mountain Hawks on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 25-9. The Crusaders have won three straight and 11 of the last 12 meetings between the schools, with Lehigh's only victory during that time coming last season in Bethlehem (63-53 on Jan. 20, 2004). For all games played in Worcester, Holy Cross holds a 15-3 advantage, including seven 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, 25-9
At Worcester: Holy Cross, 15-3
At the Hart Center: Holy Cross, 15-3
Ralph Willard vs. Lehigh: 11-2
Billy Taylor vs. Holy Cross: 1-5
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, three games
HOLY CROSS TIES RECORD FOR LEAGUE WINS: The Crusaders posted a 13-1 mark in Patriot League regular season action this year, to tie the conference record for most victories in a single season. This marks only the third time in Patriot League history that a team has won 13 conference games, as the feat was previously accomplished by Bucknell in 1992-1993 (13-1) and Holy Cross in 2002-2003 (13-1). No school has ever gone undefeated in Patriot League history. If the Crusaders should win the Patriot League Tournament, they could tie their own record of 16 victories against conference foes, currently held by the 2002-2003 team which went 16-1 combined in the regular season and tournament.
HAMILTON NAMED PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Junior guard Kevin Hamilton (Queens Village, N.Y.) has been named the 2004-2005 Patriot League Player of the Year, in addition to earning first team All-Patriot League honors, in voting by the conference's head coaches. He has turned in a some outstanding performances for Holy Cross this season, scoring in double figures 25 times in 28 games, and earning Patriot League Player of the Week honors twice (on Jan. 31 and Feb. 14). During the Patriot League quarterfinal victory over Army, Hamilton led the team with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists. In the regular season victory over Bucknell, he totaled 16 points and eight rebounds, and in the home win over Lehigh, he recorded 20 points, six rebounds and three assists (while hitting three of four attempts from three-point range). Earlier in the year against Iona, Hamilton scored a career-high 24 points, in addition to totaling five steals and three assists. He also had a big game at Minnesota with 22 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Some of Hamilton's other top games this season came against American at home (23 points, seven assists, five steals, four rebounds), at Lafayette (22 points, six rebounds), against Colgate at home (19 points, six steals, five rebounds), at Army (18 points, four rebounds), at Harvard (18 points, five rebounds, five steals), at Lehigh (17 points, five rebounds), at Bucknell (17 points, three rebounds, three steals), at Fordham (17 points, eight rebounds), at Boston University (17 points, six steals, five rebounds), against Dartmouth (16 points, eight rebounds, four assists, four steals), against Lafayette at home (16 points, five rebounds, five assists, five steals), at American (14 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, first career double-double) and at Colgate (14 points, nine rebounds). Through 28 games this year, he is averaging 15.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.9 steals per contest. Hamilton has now scored in double figures on 49 occasions during his Holy Cross career, including 39 times in his last 44 games.
CRUSADERS CAPTURE REGULAR SEASON TITLE: With the Feb. 23 victory over Bucknell, Holy Cross wrapped up the fourth Patriot League regular season championship in school history. By finishing first in the league during the regular season, the Crusaders will play all of their games in this year's Patriot League Tournament at the Hart Center. Prior to this season, Holy Cross won outright Patriot League regular season titles in 2001 and 2003, while sharing the regular season championship in 1994. The Crusaders are the only team in league history to win more than one outright title, while their four total championships are second only to Navy with five (one outright, four shared).
HOLY CROSS IN THE RPI: The Crusaders are currently ranked 37th in the nation in the latest Ratings Percentage Index, according to Collegiate Basketball News. In the most recent ratings, through games of February 27, Holy Cross had an RPI of .5807, to place ahead of teams such as Maryland (40th, .5779), Georgia Tech (45th, .5738) and Pittsburgh (64th, .5595). The Crusaders' non-conference schedule ranks as the 47th-toughest in the country, including games against five teams which are presently ranked in the top 60 (No. 5 Boston College, No. 23 Vermont, No. 47 Minnesota, No. 49 Northeastern and No. 55 Boston University). Holy Cross is currently the top rated team in the Patriot League, coming in well ahead of Bucknell (75th, .5542) and American (147th, .5109). No other Patriot League school ranks better than 219th.
SIMMONS NAMED FIRST TEAM ALL-LEAGUE: Sophomore guard Keith Simmons (Kingston, N.Y.) has earned first team All-Patriot League honors in voting by the conference's head coaches, after turning in some big games off the bench for Holy Cross this season. During the regular season finale against Army, he totaled 18 points, six rebounds and three assists, and was named the Most Valuable Player of Holy Cross' Winter Homecoming Game. Simmons also played well in the previous game against Bucknell, scoring 14 points, including a nine of 10 performance at the free throw line. During the victory at Brown on Dec. 21, he scored a career-high 30 points, hitting 11 of 14 field goal attempts and six of six from three-point range. Simmons, who also recorded five rebounds, two steals and two assists, had the highest scoring total by a Crusader since Josh Sankes put up 30 points against Northeastern on Dec. 22, 1999, and was named the Patriot League Player of the Week. Some of Simmons' other top performances this season have come against Navy on the road (22 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals), Colgate at home (18 points, six rebounds), Lafayette on the road (18 points, six rebounds), Army on the road (18 points, five rebounds), American at home (17 points, eight rebounds), Lafayette at home (16 points, 10 rebounds, first career double-double), Vermont (15 points, eight rebounds), Iona (14 points, three steals) and Lehigh on the road (14 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals). Through 28 games, he is averaging 12.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals per contest, while hitting 51.9 percent of his field goals (120 of 231) and 43.4 percent of his three-pointers (46 of 106). Simmons is coming off a strong freshman season in which he was named to the 2003-2004 Patriot League All-Rookie team, after averaging 8.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, and leading the Patriot League in three-point field goal percentage (.458, 33 of 72).
ARMY RECAP: Kevin Hamilton totaled 16 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals to lead Holy Cross to a 76-42 victory over Army in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Tournament on March 4, 2005, at the Hart Center. The Crusaders opened the game on a 13-5 run, but the Black Knights kept things close throughout the first half, and Holy Cross was up by just two (29-27) at the break. After the intermission, the Crusaders gradually built their lead back up, and held a 54-40 advantage with 10 minutes left to play. Holy Cross then stepped up on the defensive end, holding Army to just two points the rest of the way, as it pulled away to finally win by 34 points. The Black Knights did not make a field goal in the final 10 minutes of play, missing on their last eight shots from the floor, in addition to going only two of seven at the foul line down the stretch. Greg Kinsey recorded 13 points and three rebounds for the Crusaders, while Torey Thomas added 12 points, six rebounds and four assists. The Black Knights were led by Matt Bell with 13 points and five rebounds. With the victory, Holy Cross improved to 4-0 all-time against Army in the Patriot League Tournament, and 9-1 in Patriot League Tournament games at the Hart Center.
WILLARD EARNS COACH OF THE YEAR HONORS: Ralph Willard has been named the Patriot League Coach of the Year for the second time during his tenure at Holy Cross, after leading the Crusaders to the 2004-2005 regular season league title. He is now in his sixth season as the Crusaders' head coach, and currently owns a mark of 112-66 during his time in Worcester. Willard currently 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). With the victory over Lafayette on Feb. 11, he moved past Roy Leenig (106-48 / 1955-1961) and Jack Donohue (106-66 / 1965-1972). Willard has led the Crusaders to three Patriot League tournament titles and three trips to the NCAA Tournament, during the 2000-2001, 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 seasons. He 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. 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 256-190. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.
HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders currently rank among the NCAA Division I leaders in eight different statistical categories, through games of February 28. In addition, junior guard Kevin Hamilton is listed among the nation's leaders in steals. The rankings:
Category Rank Player / Team Avg. / No. Current Winning Streak 5 Holy Cross 14 Scoring Defense 5 Holy Cross 56.3 Steals 5 Holy Cross 10.5 7 Kevin Hamilton 3.0 Field Goal Percentage Defense 12 Holy Cross 38.9 Won-Lost Percentage 18 Holy Cross 81.5 Scoring Margin 25 Holy Cross +10.8 Blocked Shots 29 Holy Cross 5.0 Rebound Margin 46 Holy Cross +4.4
THE LAST MEETING WITH LEHIGH: In the last game between the Crusaders and the Mountain Hawks, Kevin Hamilton totaled 18 points, six rebounds and three assists, to lead Holy Cross to a 73-53 victory at the Hart Center on Feb. 13, 2005. The Crusaders opened the game on a 7-1 run, then used an 11-0 spurt a few minutes later to extend their lead to double digits. Holy Cross eventually led by as many as 20 points (36-16) late in the first half, before taking a 36-19 advantage into the locker room. The Mountain Hawks kept things close after the break and trailed by only nine points (45-36) with 10 minutes remaining in regulation. But the Crusaders then put the game away with a 22-5 run, which included 10 points from Hamilton. Holy Cross led by as many as 24 points in the closing minutes, before finally winning by 20. The Crusaders shot 52.9 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from three-point range in the game, while limiting Lehigh to 30.8 percent shooting overall and an 18.8 percent clip from behind the arc. Torey Thomas handed out a career-best 11 assists on the day, in addition to recording eight points and five steals. Nate Lufkin added 10 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots for Holy Cross, while Greg Kinsey had 11 points and three rebounds. The Mountain Hawks had only one player score in double figures, as Jose Olivero totaled 12 points.
STEALING THE SHOW: In 28 games played this season, Holy Cross has recorded 293 steals, good for an average of 10.5 steals per game. The Crusaders have already reached double figures in steals for a game 14 times this season, with highs of 20 at Harvard, 18 against Iona and 16 at Fordham. Leading the way is junior guard Kevin Hamilton, who has 82 steals this year. Hamilton has set a new Holy Cross single season record for steals (breaking the mark of 78 by Gordon Hamilton in 1993-1994), and has a shot at the Patriot League single season record (94 by Mike Bright of Bucknell in 1992-1993). As a team, the Crusaders stand 11 steals away from the school single season record of 304 (1992-1993) and 59 steals away from the Patriot League single season record of 352 (Navy, 1999-2000).
DOHERTY SELECTED ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Freshman guard Pat Doherty (Scranton, Pa.) has been named the 2004-2005 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, in voting by the conference's head coaches. During his first collegiate season, he was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week twice, on Jan. 24 and Jan. 31. In the five games Holy Cross played during those two weeks, Doherty averaged 11.2 points, 4.2 assists and 2.8 steals per contest, while shooting 47.2 percent from the floor and posting a 1.9-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. In the victory at Lehigh, he recorded 14 points and three assists, while hitting a pair of free throws with 1:32 remaining to break a 54-54 tie. During this season's first game against American, Doherty totaled 15 points, five steals, two rebounds and two assists, while in the first Navy game, he led the team with 16 points, six assists and five steals, while committing only one turnover. Earlier in the season, he also played well in the home win over Colgate, totaling 14 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Through 28 games played this season, Doherty is now averaging 4.6 points and 2.3 assists per contest. He played particularly well in Patriot League regular season games, averaging 6.8 points and 2.8 assists, while hitting 41.9 percent of his three-point attempts (18 of 43).
LUFKIN BREAKS BLOCKED SHOT RECORD: Senior center Nate Lufkin (Austin, Texas) is once again enjoying a solid season for the Crusaders in 2004-2005. He currently has 146 blocked shots during his Holy Cross career, and has become the Crusaders' all-time leader in career blocks. Lufkin broke the record on Feb. 13 against Lehigh, when he swatted away a layup attempt by the Mountain Hawks' Kyle Neptune with 12:05 remaining in the second half. That block moved him past Josh Sankes (1999-2001), who had 135 blocked shots during his Holy Cross career. Over the course of the season, some of Lufkin's top performances have come against Northeastern (14 points, six rebounds, three assists), Boston College (12 points, nine rebounds), Dartmouth (12 points), Lafayette on the road (11 points, four rebounds, two blocks), Lehigh at home (10 points, six rebounds, three blocks), Navy at home (10 points, five blocks, three rebounds), Colgate on the road (10 points, five rebounds), Rhode Island (nine points, two rebounds), Harvard (eight points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks), Iona (eight points, four rebounds, four assists), Princeton (eight points, three rebounds), Fordham (seven points, five rebounds, two assists) and Army on the road (seven points, three rebounds, three blocks). On the year, Lufkin is averaging 7.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per contest, while shooting 49.6 percent from the field (67 of 135). The 2001-2002 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Lufkin has now totaled 797 points and 533 rebounds in his career at Holy Cross.
HOLY CROSS WINS 15TH STRAIGHT: With Friday's win over Army, Holy Cross posted its 15th straight victory. This marks the fourth-longest winning streak in school history, and the longest since the Crusaders won 29 straight contests from March 4, 1949-March 3, 1950. During its current 15-game streak, Holy Cross has averaged 71.8 points per game, while shooting 47.7 percent from the floor, 40.1 percent from three-point range and outscoring the opposition by 17.9 points per contest. During two stretches in the streak, including each of the last six games, the Crusaders have won each contest by double figures. This marks the first time Holy Cross won by at least 10 points in six straight games since the 1964-1965 season (86-66 over Boston University, 93-74 over Dartmouth, 100-87 over Springfield, 99-62 over Amherst, 81-71 over Dartmouth and 95-74 over Assumption). Here is a look at the longest winning streaks ever by Holy Cross:
Rank Streak Dates 1. 29 games March 4, 1949-March 3, 1950 2. 26 games Jan. 7, 1947-Dec. 13, 1947 3. 20 games Jan. 8, 1948-March 20, 1948 4. 15 games Jan. 12, 2005-present 5. 13 games Feb. 6, 1906-Jan. 29, 1908 6. 12 games Jan. 31, 2003-March 14, 2003 7. 11 games Feb. 4, 1961-March 17, 1961 11 games Jan. 2, 1960-Feb. 16, 1960 11 games Dec. 30, 1955-Feb. 8, 1956 11 games Jan. 16, 1954-Feb. 24, 1954 11 games Dec. 5, 1953-Jan. 12, 1954 12. 10 games Jan. 5, 1963-Feb. 8, 1963 10 games Feb. 10, 1953-March 13, 1953 10 games Feb. 4, 1952-March 1, 1952 10 games Feb. 12, 1930-Dec. 10, 1930
CRUSADERS STEP UP ON DEFENSE: The Holy Cross defense has been outstanding so far this season, allowing its opponents to average just 55.8 points per game. The Crusaders have held 21 of their 28 opponents this year under 60 points in regulation, with lows of 29 points by Army (Jan. 12), 39 points by Fordham, 42 points by Army (March 4), 46 points by Colgate and 48 points by Boston University. On Jan. 12, Holy Cross held Army to the lowest point total by an opponent (29) since the Crusaders defeated Tufts 71-29 on Jan. 11, 1947. Holy Cross has also forced its opponents to commit an average of 17.3 turnovers per game, including 26 by Harvard and 25 by both Minnesota and Fordham. In addition, the Crusaders have averaged 10.5 steals and 5.1 blocks per contest, while outrebounding the opposition by 4.6 boards per game and holding opponents to 38.7 percent shooting from the field. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Holy Cross has never allowed its opponents to average over 60 points per game for a season, while holding the opposition to only 58.3 points per contest during that span. In addition, the Crusaders have ranked in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense during each of the last three seasons (sixth in 2001-2002 at 59.6; third in 2002-2003 at 58.7; and seventh in 2003-2004 at 58.6).
THE ROAD WARRIORS: Holy Cross has posted an impressive 12-3 record this year in games away from the Hart Center, with a current seven-game winning streak away from home. During that time, the Crusaders have recorded road wins over Colgate (59-46), American (76-67 in overtime), Navy (68-66), Lehigh (58-56), Lafayette (74-57) and Army (66-29), and a neutral court victory over Iona (78-53) at the DCU Center. The last time Holy Cross posted seven straight victories away from home came in 1960-1961, when the Crusaders downed Dartmouth (106-95), Rhode Island (96-72), Connecticut (98-89) and Boston University (78-76) on the road, and defeated Syracuse (100-71), Detroit (86-82) and Memphis State (81-69) on neutral courts. Holy Cross' 12 wins away from home so far this season are tied for the second-most in the nation, behind only top-ranked Illinois (14-0 on the road).
THOMAS SHINES IN SOPHOMORE YEAR: Sophomore point guard Torey Thomas (White Plains, N.Y.) has been one of the Crusaders' top players this season. During the Patriot League quarterfinal victory over Army, he recorded 12 points, six rebounds and four assists. Previously, in the win over Bucknell, Thomas totaled 12 points, seven assists, four steals and three rebounds. During the last meeting with Lehigh, he handed out a career-high 11 assists (the highest single-game total by a Crusader since Jave Meade had 11 assists against Marquette on March 20, 2003), in addition to recording eight points and five steals. Earlier this season, in the victory at American, Thomas totaled 15 points and six rebounds, including points 10 and an eight of 10 performance at the free throw line during overtime. Some of Thomas' other top performances this season have come against Dartmouth (15 points, four rebounds, four assists), Vermont (14 points, three rebounds, three assists), Harvard (13 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals), Northeastern (12 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals), Rhode Island (11 points, five rebounds, five assists), Boston College (10 points, eight assists), Boston University (10 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals) and Fordham (10 points, five rebounds, five steals, four assists). Through 27 games this year, he is averaging 7.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.9 steals per contest. Last season, Thomas averaged 5.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game as the Crusaders' backup point guard.
HURLEY ENJOYING ANOTHER STRONG SEASON: Senior forward John Hurley (South Boston, Mass.) is once again among the top players for the Crusaders during the 2004-2005 season. Through 28 games this year, he is averaging 7.7 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds per contest. Hurley has played well over the last few weeks, including some outstanding games against Bucknell (11 points, nine rebounds, three assists), Navy (13 points, nine rebounds), American (15 points, six rebounds) and Lafayette (11 points, 11 rebounds). Some of Hurley's other top performances this season have come against Northeastern (18 points, five rebounds, two assists), Navy at home (12 points, seven rebounds), Boston College (11 points, seven rebounds), Vermont (10 points, 10 rebounds), Marist (10 points, eight rebounds), Harvard (nine points, five rebounds, six steals), Lafayette on the road (nine points, seven rebounds), Rhode Island (nine points, four rebounds, two steals), Dartmouth (seven points, eight rebounds), Fordham (seven points, six rebounds, three steals) and Boston University (seven points, seven rebounds, two steals). Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Hurley has now totaled 548 points, 408 rebounds, 74 assists, 53 blocks and 82 steals.
KINSEY STARTING FOR THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR: Senior guard Greg Kinsey (Hatboro, Pa.) is in the Holy Cross starting lineup for the third consecutive season this year, and has averaged 5.3 points and 2.6 rebounds through 28 games. He has been hot over the last eight contests, averaging 10.0 points per game while hitting 32 of 59 field goal attempts (54.2 percent) and nine of 18 shots from three-point range (50.0 percent). During the Patriot League quarterfinal win over Army, Kinsey recorded 13 points, three rebounds and two assists. He previously totaled 10 points and four rebounds in the victory over Bucknell, while posting 14 points and four rebounds at Colgate. Kinsey also totaled 11 points, three rebounds and two assists against Lehigh, while recording 13 points, three assists and two rebounds against Lafayette. Some of his other top performances this season have come against Princeton (11 points), Marist (10 points, five rebounds, two assists), Colgate (nine points, two rebounds, two assists), Navy (eight points, three rebounds, three steals) and Northeastern (seven points, five assists, three rebounds). Last season, Kinsey started all 28 of Holy Cross' games, averaging 5.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Kinsey has now totaled 488 points, 290 rebounds, 160 assists and 116 steals, while being in the starting lineup for 83 of the last 84 games the Crusaders have played.
CRUSADERS HEAT UP ON OFFENSE: Holy Cross has turned in some outstanding shooting performances so far this season. The Crusaders have hit at least 50 percent of their field goal attempts 12 times this year, including Friday night's victory over Army (28 of 52, 53.8 percent). This includes a string of six consecutive games from Jan. 12-28, when Holy Cross made at least half of its shots every time. The Crusaders have a perfect 12-0 record this year when shooting at least 50 percent from the floor, while winning those game by an average of 21.4 points. In fact, Holy Cross has now won its last 26 games when it hits at least half its shots from the field, since a 75-73 loss to Bucknell on Feb. 20, 2002.
CRUSADERS PICKED FOURTH IN PRESEASON POLL: In the 2004-2005 Patriot League preseason poll, Holy Cross was picked to finish in fourth place in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 66 total points in the poll, to trail first place Bucknell (92 points), second place Lehigh (79 points) and third place American (74 points). Following Holy Cross, Colgate placed fifth with 57 points, Lafayette came in sixth with 38 points, Navy was seventh with 24 points and Army finished eighth with 18 points.
CRUSADERS ON THE RADIO: Once again this season, several Crusader basketball contests will be carried by WTAG 580 AM in Worcester. For the 16th straight season, Bob Fouracre will call the play-by-play for the majority of the games. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk have joined the Holy Cross broadcast crew this season, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. Most games will be carried over the internet at "www.sportsjuice.com", including many games which are not on WTAG. The Holy Cross student station, WCHC 88.1 FM, will also carry a number of games this year.
HOLY CROSS ON TELEVISION: The Crusaders have had seven games shown on live television so far in the 2004-2005 season. On two occasions, Holy Cross has been featured on the Patriot League Game of the Week, which was shown on College Sports Television. The January 8 game at Bucknell and the February 13 contest against Lehigh at the Hart Center were both carried. The Lehigh game was also shown on WLVI-TV 56 in Boston. In addition, the December 4 game at Minnesota was shown by Fox Sports Net North, the January 2 contest at Rhode Island was carried by Cox Sports Television, the January 28 game at Lafayette was shown by the Lafayette Sports Network, the January 30 contest at Lehigh was carried by Service Electric Television and the February 19 game at Colgate was shown on Time Warner Sports Television.
CRUSADERS KEEP WINNING AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross stands 11-2 at the Hart Center so far this season, improving its all-time record in the building to 264-102. The Crusaders have won their last nine games at the Hart Center, including a perfect 8-0 mark at home against Patriot League foes. During those games against conference opponents, Holy Cross has won by an average of 20.5 points per contest, with all eight games being decided by at least 10 points. Since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, the Crusaders now have an overall mark of 52-9 at the Hart Center. The building opened on Dec. 1, 1975, and since that time Holy Cross has posted a winning record at home in 26 out of 30 seasons, while posting double-figure home victories 13 times. In addition, the Crusaders are 9-1 all-time in Patriot League Tournament games at the Hart Center, with seven straight victories.
TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 86th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1202-775 (.608), while making 22 postseason tournament appearances -- 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament and 11 to the National Invitation Tournament. In the history of collegiate basketball, Holy Cross is one of only 16 schools to have won the NCAA Tournament (1946-1947) as well as the National Invitational Tournament (1953-1954). Throughout its history, Holy Cross has had six first team All-America selections, sent nine players on to professional basketball, had four players inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, 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.
HYLAND BECOMING A FORCE DOWN LOW: Junior forward Kevin Hyland (White Plains, N.Y.) has turned in some big games so far this season as the first big man off the bench for the Crusaders. During the Feb. 11 win over Lafayette, he scored a career-high 15 points on six of nine shooting from the floor. In the victory over Iona, Hyland totaled 12 points (four of five shooting) and four rebounds, while at Brown, he scored 14 points (seven of seven from the field). Earlier in the season he had 11 points and five rebounds at Boston College, in addition to recording 13 points and two blocks against Marist. Through 28 games played so far this year, Hyland is averaging 4.5 points and 2.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 64.2 percent (52 of 81) from the field.
CLIFFORD PLAYS BIG OFF THE BENCH: Freshman center Tim Clifford (Walpole, Mass.) has turned into a key player for the Crusaders in the low post positions. During the Feb. 11 victory over Lafayette, he totaled eight points and five rebounds, while tying his career high with six blocked shots. In the previous game at American, Clifford posted his first career double-double with career-highs of 13 points and 13 rebounds. He also recorded five blocked shots, while recording six of his points and six of his rebounds in overtime. Earlier this season against Marist, Clifford totaled nine points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots. His six blocks against both Lafayette and Marist are tied for the second-highest single game total in school history, coming in just behind the seven blocks by Josh Sankes against Colgate on Feb. 5, 2000. In 25 games played this year, Clifford is now averaging 2.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per contest.
DOUBLING UP: During the games against American and Lafayette on Feb. 6 and 11, Holy Cross has had four different players post double-doubles. This came after the Crusaders had only one double-double in the first 21 games of the season. In the Lafayette game, Keith Simmons posted his first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while John Hurley added 11 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth career double-double. In the American game, Tim Clifford (13 points, 13 rebounds) and Kevin Hamilton (14 points, 10 rebounds) both recorded the first double-double of their careers. Prior to those two games, the only double-double of the season by a Holy Cross player came against Vermont, when Hurley had 10 points and 10 rebounds. In addition, the last time the Crusaders had two players with double-doubles in the same game was on Feb. 15, 2003, when Tim Szatko (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Patrick Whearty (17 points, 11 rebounds) accomplished the feat against Lafayette.
THE SEEDINGS: Holy Cross is the No. 1 overall seed in the 2005 Patriot League Championship. This marks the third time the Crusaders have been the top seed in the tournament, with the previous occasions coming in 2001 and 2003. 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 6-0 record as the top seed in the conference tournament. The Crusaders have also been seeded No. 2 twice (6-0 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 12-2 all-time in Patriot League Tournament games when it has been seeded higher than its opponent. The Crusaders have won eight straight contests as the higher seed, with the last loss coming against Lafayette in the 1997 quarterfinals (70-65).
HISTORY IS ON OUR SIDE: Based on results from past years, the Crusaders have an excellent chance of winning this year's Patriot League title. During the first 14 years of the conference tournament, the highest seed has gone on to win the championship 10 times, including each of the last two seasons. In addition, the No. 1 seed has advanced to the championship game during each of the 14 years the Patriot League Tournament has been played. . . While the top seed has won the league tournament 10 times, the No. 2 has claimed the title during the other four years. No team seeded lower than second has ever won a Patriot League championship. In fact, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds have both advanced to the championship game nine times over the last 14 seasons. During the other five years, the No. 1 seed and the No. 3 seed met for the title. No team seeded lower than third has ever advanced to the Patriot League title game.
TOURNAMENT TIP-INS: The Crusaders, who will face Lehigh in the semifinals, stand 3-0 all-time against the Mountain Hawks in Patriot League Tournament play. Holy Cross defeated Lehigh in the semifinals in 2001 (69-57) and 1991 (95-90 in overtime), in addition to winning in the quarterfinals in 1996 (81-66). . . This year marks the first time Patriot League quarterfinal or semifinal games have been played on campus sites since 2001, when those rounds were held at Navy. During each of the last three seasons, all of the tournament except for the championship game took place at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. . . Holy Cross stands 9-1 all-time in Patriot League Tournament games which have been played at the Hart Center. That includes a 4-0 mark in quarterfinal games (defeating Army in 1993 and 2005, Colgate in 1991 and Lehigh in 1996), a 3-0 record in semifinal games (downing Lehigh in 1991, Fordham in 1993 and Army in 1996) and a 2-1 mark in championship games (defeating American in 2003 and Navy in 2001, while falling to Fordham in 1991). In the conference's history, teams playing on their home court have an overall record of 32-7 during the Patriot League Tournament. . . Holy Cross has a chance to win the Patriot League title this season while playing every game in the tournament on its home court. Three teams have won Patriot League championship in the past while playing at home for the entire tournament: Navy in 1994 and 1998, and Lafayette in 2000.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAIN HAWKS: Lehigh has an overall record of 14-14 on the season, including a 7-7 mark in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks had lost four straight games, before downing Colgate 77-60 in the Patriot League quarterfinals on Friday night. The leading scorer for Lehigh is junior guard Joe Knight, who has averaged 13.7 points, 4.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Joe Knight is also enjoying a fine season, averaging 13.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest. The Mountain Hawks are led by head coach Billy Taylor, who owns a 50-37 record in three seasons at Lehigh. A 1995 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Taylor was named the 2004 Patriot League Coach of the Year.
DRIBBLES: The Crusaders are ranked No. 16 in the most recent Mid-Major Top 25 Poll from CollegeInsider.com, released on Feb. 28 ... Seniors John Hurley and Greg Kinsey are serving as Holy Cross' co-captains this season ... On Dec. 21 and 27, Holy Cross scored over 80 points in consecutive games for the first time in seven years against Brown (84 points) and Northeastern (82 points) ... The Crusaders have won their last eight contests against opponents from the Atlantic 10 Conference, following this year's victories against Fordham and Rhode Island ... During the Boston College game on Dec. 9, the Crusaders became the first team to outrebound the Eagles this year (41-39), and forced Boston College to commit 18 turnovers. In addition, Holy Cross held Boston College to 53 points in regulation, after the Eagles entered the game with a scoring average of 79.2, and a previous low of 72 points.