Men's Basketball To Face Colgate In Patriot League Semifinals

March 5, 2009

 

Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
Event: Patriot League Tournament Semifinals
The Teams: Holy Cross (17-13, 11-3 PL) vs. Colgate (10-19, 5-9 PL)
Date: March 8, 2009
Time: 4:00 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
Colgate Radio: WKXZ 99.3 FM, Oneonta, N.Y.; Eric Malanoski, play-by-play
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 49-16
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 60, Colgate 58 (February 25, 2009; Hamilton, N.Y.)

  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 COLGATE: This will be the 66th meeting between the Crusaders and the Raiders on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 49-16. The Crusaders swept the regular season series this year, but Colgate swept the regular season series is 2007-2008. Over the last 15 years, Holy Cross holds a 20-14 lead in the series, but previously the Crusaders had won 29 of the first 31 meetings between the schools. For games played in Worcester, Holy Cross holds a 27-5 advantage, with an 18-5 mark at the Hart Center. The schools first met on Feb. 11, 1947, with Holy Cross posting a 67-39 victory at the Boston Garden.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 49-16
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 27-5
At the Hart Center: Holy Cross leads, 18-5
Ralph Willard vs. Colgate: 14-7
Emmett Davis vs. Holy Cross: 9-14
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, two games
In Overtime: Holy Cross leads, 2-0

CRUSADERS ADVANCE TO PATRIOT LEAGUE SEMIFINALS: Holy Cross continues play in the 2009 Patriot League Tournament on Sunday, March 8, when it plays host to Colgate in the semifinals at 4:00 p.m. The Crusaders are the second seed in the tournament, while the Raiders are seeded sixth. The winner of the Holy Cross-Colgate game will move on to face the American-Army winner in the championship game on 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 four times (9-1 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 22-3 all-time in Patriot League Tournament games when it has been seeded higher than its opponent. The Crusaders have won six straight and 15 of their last 16 contests as the higher seed.

TOURNAMENT TIP-INS: The Crusaders, who will face Colgate in the semifinals, stand 1-2 all-time against the Raiders in Patriot League Tournament play. The schools have not met in the postseason since Colgate posted a 58-49 victory in the 2000 quarterfinals. Previous postseason meetings came in the 1991 quarterfinals (92-74 Holy Cross victory) and the 1996 championship game (74-65 Colgate win)... 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 16-2 all-time in Patriot League Tournament games which have been played at the Hart Center. That includes a 7-0 mark in quarterfinal games (defeating Army in 1993 and 2005, Bucknell in 2009, 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 53-12 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 13.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals per contest, while scoring in double-figures in 19 of his last 24 games. During the Patriot League quarterfinal victory over Bucknell, Evans totaled a career-high 31 points, six rebounds and three steals. His 31 points against the Bison were the most ever by a Holy Cross freshman in a Patriot League Tournament game. Previously against Lehigh, Evans recorded 15 points and seven rebounds. Earlier in the season he had an outstanding night against San Francisco, posting a double-double with 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 Navy (17 points, six rebounds), 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) and against St. Joseph's (12 points, three rebounds). Evans' 399 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 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.

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 Patriot League quarterfinal victory over Bucknell, he totaled 15 points, six rebounds and three assists. Previously at Colgate, Beinert recorded 12 points and four rebounds. He also had a big game at American, leading the team with 18 points and three assists, while hitting seven of 11 field goal attempts. Some of Beinert's other top performances this season have come against Bucknell (18 points, three assists), 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) and at Ohio (seven points, five assists three steals). Overall this season, he has averaged 8.5 points, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game, while hitting a Patriot League-best 46.6 percent (48 of 103) 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.

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 regular season play, Keister 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 8.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 59.4 percent (104 of 181) from the field and posting a team-high seven double-doubles.

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 Patriot League quarterfinal victory over Bucknell, Cunningham recorded 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Previously against Navy, he totaled 12 points and six rebounds. 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), against Bucknell (13 points, six assists, five rebounds, 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, 4.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.9 steals per contest. Last season, he averaged 8.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game, while hitting 36.8 percent (28 of 76) of his three-point attempts. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, Cunningham has totaled 653 points, 381 rebounds, 214 assists and 109 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 191-116 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 335-240. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

THE FIRST MEETING WITH COLGATE: Colin Cunningham recorded 13 points, five steals and three assists to lead the Crusaders to a 68-44 victory over Colgate at the Hart Center on Jan. 28, 2009. R.J. Evans added 12 points and four steals for Holy Cross in the win. The Crusaders started the game off hot, jumping out to a quick 15-3 lead after the first eight minutes of play. Colgate responded with a 7-2 spurt, and would eventually cut the Holy Cross lead down to four points (22-18) with two minutes left in the half. The Crusaders eventually took a 26-20 advantage into the locker room. Holy Cross was up by just four points (28-24) with 18 minutes remaining in the second half, when it went on a 15-2 run to put the game away. The Crusaders began that spurt by hitting five straight shots from the field, including a pair of three-point field goals from Andrew Beinert. The Holy Cross lead would grow to as many as 27 points late in the game, before the Crusaders finally posted a 24-point victory. Holy Cross held Colgate to just 44 points on 34.3 percent shooting from the field, while posting a 30-18 rebounding advantage. The Crusaders also recorded a season-high 14 steals, while forcing 17 total turnovers. The Raiders were led by Yaw Gyawu with 15 points.

THE SECOND MEETING WITH COLGATE: Devin Brown scored 13 points to lead Holy Cross to a 60-58 victory over Colgate at Cotterell Court on Feb. 25, 2009. The game was close early on, with the score tied 11-11 after the first seven minutes of play. The Crusaders then went on a 15-4 run over the next seven minutes, to take an 11-point advantage (26-15). But the Raiders scored the next eight points to get back into the game, and eventually tied the score at 28-28 heading into the locker room. Colgate started the second half hot, using a 12-3 run to go up 40-31 with 14 minutes left to play. But Holy Cross refused to go away, coming back with a 17-5 spurt of its own to take the lead for good. Brown scored seven straight points during that run, while Andrew Beinert added a three-point field goal which gave the Crusaders their first lead since the opening minute of the half. Holy Cross would eventually expand its lead to six points (58-52) with 1:03 to play, but hit just two of six free throws in the final minute to barely hold on for the win. The Crusaders outrebounded the Raiders 38-23 on the night, including a season-high 21 offensive rebounds. Beinert finished the game with 12 points and four rebounds, while Eric Meister added 10 points and seven rebounds. Ben Johnson led Colgate with 18 points and six boards.

CRUSADERS REMAIN TOUGH ON DEFENSE: Holy Cross is once again among the top defensive teams in the Patriot League in 2008-2009. In 30 games played this season, the Crusaders have allowed 62.5 points per game, while forcing 15.3 turnovers per contest and outrebounding the opposition by 6.5 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 62.5 42.1 33.7 8.6 3.1

DOHERTY RETURNS TO THE COURT: Senior guard Pat Doherty (Scranton, Pa.) has seen action in Holy Cross' last 16 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 4.2 points, 3.6 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game, with a 1.93-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 306 career assists. Doherty has also totaled 556 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, 4.5 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 362 points, 327 rebounds and 54 blocked shots.

VANDER BAAN PLAYS KEY ROLE ON FRONT LINE: Senior forward Alex Vander Baan (Uxbridge, Mass.) has been a key member of the Holy Cross lineup this year, despite missing six contests due to injury. During the victory over Navy, he had eight points and three rebounds, while scoring all eight of his points in the final 10 minutes as the Crusaders came back to win. Earlier in the season at Bucknell, Vander Baan scored 11 points while hitting both of his three-point field goal attempts. He also played well at Ohio, recording 10 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Some of Vander Baan's other top games this season came against St. Joseph's (13 points, 11 rebounds), Sacred Heart (nine points, seven rebounds), Loyola (nine points, three rebounds, two assists) and Brown (six points, eight rebounds, five assists). Overall this year, Vander Baan is averaging 5.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, while hitting 35.2 percent (19 of 54) 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 703 points, 531 rebounds, 151 assists, 85 steals and 38 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 6.5 rebounds per game. So far this season, Holy Cross has outrebounded its opponent in 24 out of 30 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 6.4 rebounds per game, while freshman guard R.J. Evans stands second with 5.1 boards per contest. Senior forward Colin Cunningham is averaging 4.9 rebounds per game, while junior forward Eric Meister is averaging 4.5 boards per contest and senior forward Alex Vander Baan 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.

CRUSADERS AND RAIDERS IN THE POSTSEASON: The semifinal game between Holy Cross and Colgate will mark only the fourth meeting between the schools in the Patriot League Tournament. The teams have not played in the postseason since the Raiders posted a 58-49 victory in the 2000 quarterfinals. The only other times the schools have met in the Patriot League Tournament came in the 1991 quarterfinals (a 92-74 Holy Cross victory) and in the 1996 championship game (a 74-65 Colgate win).

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 4.4 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, 114 rebounds, 53 assists and 33 steals.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 90th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1281-826 (.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.

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 6.2 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.

CRUSADERS REACH 300 VICTORIES AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 310-113 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 97-21 at home since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, including a 61-11 record against Patriot League foes and an 11-4 mark so far in 2008-2009.

BUCKNELL RECAP: R.J. Evans totaled a career-high 31 points, six rebounds and three steals, to lead Holy Cross to a 75-56 victory over Bucknell at the Hart Center in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Tournament on March 4, 2009. Evans hit 12 of 17 shots from the field, including two of three attempts from three-point range. The Crusaders started the game hot, jumping out to a quick 12-6 lead with 13:42 remaining in the first half. The Bison responded with an 8-3 spurt to close the gap to one point (15-14), and would eventually claim a 21-20 lead with 6:54 left before the break. Holy Cross then closed out the half with a 12-4 run to take a 32-25 advantage into the locker room. After the Crusaders increased their lead to nine points (34-25) early in the second half, Bucknell scored 10 of the next 14 points to close to within three (38-35) with 15:54 remaining. Evans scored the next six points to put Holy Cross back up by nine, and a few minutes later Andrew Beinert two straight three-point field goals to extend the lead to double-figures (50-39). The Bison would get no closer than 11 points the rest of the way, as the Crusaders pulled away to win by 19 points. Beinert finished the night with 15 points, six rebounds and three assists, while hitting six of nine field goal attempts. Colin Cunningham added 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals for Holy Cross. Bucknell was led by Patrick Behan with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

CRUSADERS HEAT UP ON OFFENSE: Holy Cross has turned in some outstanding shooting performances during the second half of the season. In the Patriot League quarterfinal victory over Bucknell, the Crusaders hit 50.0 percent (27 of 54) of their field goal attempts. Some of Holy Cross' other top shooting games in Patriot League action came in the home games against Navy (27 of 47, 57.4 percent), Colgate (25 of 48, 52.1 percent), American (25 of 48, 52.1 percent) and Lafayette (27 of 51, 52.9 percent). In non-conference play, the Crusaders shot 54.5 percent (24 of 44) from the field at Boston University, while making 51.8 percent (29 of 56) of their shots against San Francisco. Overall this season, Holy Cross has won all seven games in which it has made at least half of its shots. In fact, the Crusaders have now won 51 out of 52 games in which they have shot at least 50 percent from the field since the beginning of the 2002-2003 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 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 RAIDERS: Colgate has an overall record of 10-19 on the season, and finished the regular season tied for fifth in the Patriot League with a 5-9 mark in conference games. The Raiders had lost five straight games, before defeating Navy 64-59 in overtime in the Patriot League quarterfinals. Colgate's leading scorer is sophomore guard Mike Venezia, who has averaged 10.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. Junior forward Ben Jonson has added 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, while freshman forward Yaw Gyawu is averaging 10.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest. Colgate is led by head coach Emmett Davis, who owns a 148-169 record during his 11 seasons with the Raiders. Prior to his time at Colgate, Davis served as an assistant coach at Navy and St. Lawrence for 16 years.

STEALING THE SHOW: Through 30 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 54 steals, and freshman guard R.J. Evans has added 51 steals. Sophomore guard Andrew Beinert has totaled 33 steals, and seven other Crusaders have at least 12 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 has aired 25 of the Crusaders' 31 games so far this season. 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 were broadcast exclusively over the internet at `www.sportsjuice.com'. In addition, the Holy Cross student station, WCHC 88.1 FM, has carried 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 10-4 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.