Men's Basketball Heads To Bucknell For League Title Game

March 6, 2006

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:

  • The Teams: Holy Cross (20-11, 11-3 PL) vs. Bucknell (25-4, 14-0 PL)
  • Event: Patriot League Championship Game
  • Date: March 10, 2006
  • Time: 4:30 p.m.
  • Place: Sojka Pavilion (4,000), Lewisburg, Pa.
  • ESPN2 Television: Bob Wischusen, play-by-play; Donny Marshall, color
  • Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; www.sportsjuice.com, internet; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Jeremy Lechan, color
  • Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester
  • Bucknell Radio: Doug Birdsong, play-by-play; Doug Byerly, color; WEGH 107.3 FM, Sunbury, Pa.
  • Series Record: Bucknell leads, 23-18
  • Last Meeting: Bucknell 57, Holy Cross 52 (February 11, 2006; Worcester, Mass.)

    
    PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
    Pos.  No.  Name               Ht.   Wt.   Cl.    PPG   RPG
    F      10  Keith Simmons      6-4   210   Jr.   14.1   5.2
    F      21  Alex Vander Baan   6-8   195   Fr.    6.3   5.1
    C      00  Tim Clifford      6-10   255   So.    7.7   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 BUCKNELL: This will be the 42nd meeting between the Crusaders and the Bison on the hardwood, with Bucknell leading the all-time series 23-18. The Bison have won three straight meetings and five of the last six games played between the schools, but Holy Cross had won five of the six meetings prior to that. For games played in Lewisburg, Bucknell holds a 10-7 advantage, with a 3-1 lead for games played at Sojka Pavilion. The schools first met on January 12, 1991, with Holy Cross posting an 80-78 victory in Lewisburg.

    SERIES QUICK FACTS
    Overall: Bucknell, 23-18
    In Lewisburg: Bucknell, 10-7
    At Sojka Pavilion: Bucknell, 3-1
    Ralph Willard vs. Bucknell: 9-9
    Pat Flannery vs. Holy Cross: 19-11
    Current Win Streak: Bucknell, three games

    CRUSADERS AND BISON TO TANGLE IN TOURNAMENT ONCE AGAIN: When Holy Cross and Bucknell meet in the Patriot League championship game, it will mark the fifth straight season in which the schools have met in the conference tournament. The Bison posted victories in 2005 (61-57 in the title game) and 2004 (66-60 in the quarterfinals), while the Crusaders were victorious in 2003 (75-50 in the semifinals) and 2002 (64-57 in the semifinals). Overall, this will be the 10th meeting of the schools in the Patriot League Tournament, with Bucknell holding a 5-4 advantage in those contests. This will also mark the third time the Crusaders and the Bison have met in the conference title game, with the road team winning each of the first two meetings (Bucknell 61-57 in 2005, Holy Cross 98-73 in 1993).

    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, 3.5 assists and 3.3 steals per contest. He has scored in double figures in 29 of the 30 games he has played this season, and currently leads the Patriot League in scoring, rebounding and steals. Hamilton also leads the nation with his 98 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 82 times, including 72 times in his last 79 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 March 5, he is the only Division I player in the nation to lead his league in all three of those categories. In fact, only five other players in the nation currently lead their conference in both scoring and rebounding (Kenny Adeleke of Hartford; John Bowler of Eastern Michigan; Caleb Green of Oral Roberts; Quin Humphrey of Youngstown State; Leon Powe of California), while just three other players stand atop their league in scoring and steals (Ronnie Brewer of Arkansas; Ibrahim Jaaber of Pennsylvania; Tim Smith of East Tennessee State). In addition, only eight other players in the country currently rank in his conference's top five in scoring, rebounds and steals (Quinton Hosley of Fresno State; Paul Milsap of Louisiana Tech; Dwayne Mitchell of Louisiana-Lafayette; Jared Newson of Tennessee-Martin; Brion Rush of Grambling; Matt Stehle of Harvard; Shelden Williams of Duke; Ricky Woods of Southeastern Louisiana).

    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 31 games played this year, he is averaging 14.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, while shooting 52.8 percent (152 of 288) from the field and 47.9 percent (58 of 121) 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. Through the first two games of the Patriot League Tournament, Simmons has averaged 19.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. He had 20 points and nine rebounds against Lehigh in the semifinals, after posting 19 points and seven rebounds against Navy in the quarterfinals. 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 against Lafayette at home (26 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals), at Army (26 points, five rebounds, three assists), at American (23 points, seven rebounds), at Lafayette (22 points, seven rebounds), at Colgate (21 points, career-high 11 rebounds) and at Siena (20 points, seven rebounds). A year ago, Simmons averaged 12.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest. He enters the Patriot League title game with a career field goal percentage of 49.9 (365 of 731), while hitting 45.2 percent (141 of 312) of his three-point attempts.

    STEALING THE SHOW: In 31 games played this season, the Crusaders have totaled 281 steals, for a Patriot League-best average of 9.1 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 98 steals on the year, while junior guard Torey Thomas (White Plains, N.Y.) has added 76 steals this season. With his 98 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.

    LEHIGH RECAP: Keith Simmons scored 20 points and pulled down nine rebounds, to lead Holy Cross to a 73-66 victory over Lehigh at the Hart Center on March 5, 2006, in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament. After the Mountain Hawks began the game with a 4-0 lead, Holy Cross went on an 11-2 run to take a five-point lead after seven minutes of play. But the score stayed close throughout a first half which featured six ties and three lead changes. The score was tied at 17-17 with 5:53 left before the break, before Holy Cross used a 9-3 run to take a six-point lead. The Crusaders were still up by six points (32-36) at halftime. Holy Cross then scored the first four points of the second half to go up by 10 points, but Lehigh refused to go away. The Mountain Hawks quickly cut the lead back down to three points, and trailed by just one (43-42) with 11:56 left in the game. Holy Cross then used a 9-0 spurt to build its lead back to 10 points, including five straight points from Kevin Hamilton. Lehigh was able to get no closer than four points down the stretch, as the Crusaders made eight of 10 free throw attempts in the final minute of play to secure the win. Hamilton finished the game with 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, while making 14 of 15 free throw attempts. Torey Thomas added 11 points, five rebounds and four assists for Holy Cross. Lehigh was led by Joe Knight, who totaled 23 points, six rebounds, five steals 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 19 contests, allowing just 55.9 points per game, with the opposition shooting 37.0 percent from the floor and 26.8 percent from three-point range. Overall this season, Holy Cross is allowing 60.0 points per game, while holding its opponents to 39.8 percent shooting from the floor and 29.4 percent shooting from three-point range. Holy Cross has also forced its opponents to commit an average of 16.0 turnovers per game, including 25 by Fordham, 23 by Colgate and 22 by Harvard. In addition, the Crusaders are averaging 9.1 steals and 3.5 blocks per contest, while outrebounding the opposition by 3.9 boards per game. Last year, the Crusaders allowed their opponents to average just 56.8 points per game, while holding 22 of their 32 foes to under 60 points in regulation. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Holy Cross has never allowed its opponents to average over 60 points per game for a season, while holding the opposition to only 58.8 points per contest during that span. In addition, the Crusaders have ranked in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense during each of the last four seasons (sixth in 2001-2002 at 59.6; third in 2002-2003 at 58.7; seventh in 2003-2004 at 58.6; and fifth in 2004-2005 at 56.8).

    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, 4.9 assists and 2.5 steals per contest this year, while making 34 of 96 attempts (35.4 percent) from three-point range. Entering the Patriot League final, 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 Bucknell game, Thomas has career totals of 736 points, 351 rebounds, 308 assists and 172 steals.

    THE LAST MEETING WITH BUCKNELL: Bucknell's Charles Lee totaled 24 points, seven rebounds and four steals, to lead the Bison to a 57-52 victory over Holy Cross at the Hart Center on Feb. 11, 2006. Holy Cross started the game hot, jumping out to an 8-2 lead after the first three minutes of play. The Crusaders would increase their advantage to as many as 11 points on three occasions in the opening half, before Bucknell rallied to make the score 33-25 at the break. Coming out of the locker room, Holy Cross used a 7-0 run to expand its lead to 15 points (40-25) with 16 minutes left. The Crusaders were still up by 12 (43-31) at the 11:47 mark, when the Bison went on a 7-0 run to make it a five-point game. Bucknell tied the score at 48-48 with 4:05 left on a three-pointer by Abe Badmus, before Kevin Hamilton hit a three-pointer of his own to put Holy Cross back in front. But Lee then made a layup, and Kevin Bettencourt followed with a three-pointer to give the Bison their first lead of the day, 53-51 with two minutes remaining. Bucknell then hit four of five free throws down the stretch to clinch the victory. Hamilton finished the game with 12 points and six rebounds, while Keith Simmons added 13 points, five rebounds and three assists. Tim Clifford also had a solid game for Holy Cross, finishing with 10 points and three rebounds.

    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 31 games played this year, Vander Baan has averaged 6.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest, to rank sixth 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.

    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.

    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 134-79 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 278-203. 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 11-2 at the Hart Center this season, and now owns an all-time record of 276-105 in the building. The Crusaders also had a 8-1 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 63-12 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 13 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 7.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots, while making 95 of 191 (49.7 percent) field goal attempts. In 28 games played last season, he averaged 2.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per contest.

    TWO CRUSADERS SCORE 1,000TH CAREER POINT: Junior guard Keith Simmons 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 1,059 points in 91 games as a Crusader, to stand in 37th place on the school's all-time scoring list. Earlier this season, senior guard Kevin Hamilton 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 11th place all-time at Holy Cross with 1,472 points, and has a chance to become only the 11th player in school history with 1,500 career points.

    HOLY CROSS IN THE RPI: Holy Cross is currently ranked 115th in the nation in the latest Ratings Percentage Index, with a rating of .5296 through games of March 5. The Crusaders are currently the second-highest rated team in the Patriot League, behind only Bucknell (51st, .5816). In addition, Holy Cross' non-conference schedule ranks as the 94th 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.

    THOMAS SETS SCHOOL RECORD FOR MINUTES PLAYED: Junior guard Torey Thomas currently leads the team and the Patriot League in playing time this season, having played a school single season record 1,141 minutes on the year. During the Patriot League semifinal win over Lehigh, he broke the old record of Jave Meade, who saw 1,132 minutes of action during the 2001-2002 campaign. Thomas has also averaged 36.8 minutes per contest this season, and is on pace to break the Holy Cross single season record for 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. Senior guard Kevin Hamilton has seen the second-most playing time in the Patriot League this year, playing 1,081 minutes for an average of 36.0 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 288 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 1,472 points during his four-year career as a Crusader, to stand in 11th-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 (634). 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, senior guard Kevin Hamilton and junior guard Torey Thomas 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 196 three-point field goals on the year, and should break the school single season record (198 in 2004-2005) during the Bucknell game.

    HOLY CROSS HAS FIVE DIFFERENT 20-POINT SCORERS: In 31 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 eight 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), Lehigh (20 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 23 total 20-point games by Crusaders this season are the most since the 1993-1994 season, when Holy Cross players also had 20-point performances on 30 occasions.

    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: The Bucknell contest will be the 10th Holy Cross game 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 appearances during 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
    Mar. 10  Bucknell           ESPN2

    TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 87th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1224-788 (.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 3.9 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 BISON: Bucknell has an overall record of 25-4 on the season, and posted a 14-0 mark in the Patriot League. The Bison have won 16 of their last 17 games, with the only loss during that time coming at Northern Iowa. Bucknell's leading scorer is junior center Chris McNaughton, who has averaged 12.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game while hitting 57.7 percent (120 of 203) of his field goal attempts. Senior guard Kevin Bettencourt has added 12.2 points and 2.9 assists per contest, while senior guard Charles Lee is chipping in with 12.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Bucknell is led by head coach Pat Flannery, who owns a 197-150 record during his 12 seasons with the Bison. Flannery's career record stands at 292-193, including five years as the head coach at Lebanon Valley College.

    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 an 8-0 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 15-3 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.

    2006 TOURNEY STAYS TRUE TO FORM: Based on results from past years, it is no surprise that second-seeded Holy Cross are playing in the league championship game this season. 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 Bucknell in the championship game, stand 4-5 all-time against the Bison in Patriot League Tournament play. This marks the fifth straight season in which the two schools have met in the conference tournament. Holy Cross and Bucknell have played in the Patriot League championship game twice before, in 1993 and 2005, with the road team winning each time. The Crusaders posted a 98-73 victory at Bucknell in 1993, while the Bison won 61-57 at Holy Cross in 2005. . . 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 2-2 all-time in Patriot League Tournament games which have been played on its opponent's home court, including a 2-1 mark in championship games. The Crusaders won at Bucknell in the 1993 championship game (98-73) and at American in the 2002 title game (58-54). Holy Cross was also defeated at Colgate for the championship in 1996 (74-65), while falling at Navy in the 1994 semifinals (93-91 in overtime). . . This will be only the second time the Crusaders play a postseason game in Lewisburg, with the first being the 1993 championship game. . . In the conference's history, teams playing on their home court have an overall record of 38-8 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.

    DRIBBLES: Senior guard Kevin Hamilton will play in the 122nd game of his collegiate career against Bucknell in the Patriot League championship game. He will tie the school record of 122 career games played, which is currently shared by Tim Szatko (1999-2003) and Brian Wilson (1999-2003) ... 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.