Holy Cross Opens NIT Play At Notre Dame

March 14, 2005

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
Event: National Invitation Tournament First Round
The Teams: Holy Cross (24-6, 13-1 PL) vs. Notre Dame (17-11, 9-7 BE)
Date: March 15, 2005
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Joyce Center (11,418), Notre Dame, Ind.
Television: ESPN2
Holy Cross Radio: Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Notre Dame Radio Network: Jack Lorri, play-by-play; Jack Nolan, color Series Record: Notre Dame leads, 10-2
Last Meeting: Notre Dame 96, Holy Cross 61 (January 16, 1985; Notre Dame, Ind.)


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 NOTRE DAME: This will be the 13th meeting between the Crusaders and the Irish on the hardwood, with Notre Dame leading the all-time series 10-2. The Irish have won the last six games in the series, since Holy Cross posted am 84-72 victory at Boston Garden on Feb. 13, 1956. For games played at Notre Dame, the Irish hold a 4-0 advantage. The schools first met on December 31, 1934, with Notre Dame posting a 45-19 victory at Boston Arena.

SERIES QUICK FACTS
Overall: Notre Dame, 10-2
At Notre Dame: Notre Dame, 4-0
At the Joyce Center: Notre Dame, 3-0
Ralph Willard vs. Notre Dame: 3-3
Mike Brey vs. Holy Cross: 0-0
Current Win Streak: Notre Dame, six games

CRUSADERS MAKE 12TH APPEARANCE IN THE NIT: Holy Cross is playing in the National Invitation Tournament for the 12th time this season. The Crusaders own an all-time record of 10-10 in the NIT, with one championship. Holy Cross claimed the NIT title in 1954, when it posted victories of St. Francis (N.Y.), Western Kentucky and Duquesne at Madison Square Garden. The Crusaders also advanced to the NIT final four in 1961, when they posted victories over Detroit and Memphis State. After falling to Providence in overtime in the 1961 semifinals, Holy Cross defeated Dayton to claim third place. The Crusaders will be playing an NIT game on their opponents' home court for only the fifth time this week. Holy Cross stands 1-3 in NIT road games, with the lone victory coming at Southern Mississippi in 1981. All 16 of the Crusaders' other games in the NIT have been played at Madison Square Garden.

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. The Crusaders also went 15-2 against conference foes including the postseason, coming up just one win shy of their own record of 16 total victories against conference foes. That mark is currently held by the 2002-2003 Holy Cross 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 27 times in 30 games, and earning Patriot League Player of the Week honors twice (on Jan. 31 and Feb. 14). Hamilton also earned All-Patriot League Tournament honors, after averaging 17.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per contest, including 21 points against Bucknell in the championship game. 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 Lehigh at home (20 points, six rebounds, three assists ), 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 Bucknell at home (16 points, eight rebounds), 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 30 games this year, he is averaging 15.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.8 assists per contest. Hamilton has now scored in double figures on 51 occasions during his Holy Cross career, including 41 times in his last 46 games.

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 regular season win over 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 30 games, he is averaging 12.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals per contest, while hitting 50.4 percent of his field goals (125 of 248) and 41.4 percent of his three-pointers (48 of 116). 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).

HOLY CROSS IN THE RPI: The Crusaders enter the NIT ranked 53rd in the nation in the Ratings Percentage Index, according to Collegiate Basketball News. In the most recent ratings, through games of March 13, Holy Cross had an RPI of .5653, to place ahead of NCAA at-large selections Iowa (54th), Alabama-Birmingham (59th), North Carolina State (74th) and Iowa State (78th). The Crusaders' non-conference schedule ranked as the 84th-toughest in the country, including games against four teams which are ranked in the top 50 (No. 11 Boston College, No. 21 Vermont, No. 42 Northeastern and No. 46 Minnesota). Holy Cross was the second-highest rated team out of the Patriot League, coming in behind only Bucknell (51st, .5677).

BUCKNELL RECAP: Kevin Hamilton totaled 21 points, five steals and three rebounds, but it was not enough as Holy Cross was defeated by Bucknell 61-57 in the championship game of the Patriot League Tournament at the Hart Center on March 11, 2005. The Bison opened the game on fire, jumping out to a 10-2 lead after only three minutes of play. After a three-pointer by Hamilton, Bucknell scored the next nine points to increase its lead to 14 points (19-5). The Bison increased their lead to as much as 20 points late in the first half, before finally taking an 18-point advantage (38-20) into the locker room. Holy Cross made a small dent in the lead early in the second half, but Bucknell still led by 15 points (58-43) with five and a half minutes left to play. The Crusaders then went on a furious 14-1 run to close within two points, with Hamilton posting seven points and three steals during that span. Holy Cross was down 59-57 and had the ball with 30 seconds remaining, but Hamilton's baseline jumper came up short, and Bucknell's Kevin Bettencourt hit a pair of free throws to seal the victory for the Bison. John Hurley totaled 11 points and a team-best six rebounds for the Crusaders. Bucknell was led by Chris McNaughton with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Charles Lee added 10 points and five boards.

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. Willard is also one of 10 finalists for the 2005 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award. He is now in his sixth season as the Crusaders' head coach, and currently owns a mark of 113-67 during his time in Worcester. Willard 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 257-191. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

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 30 games this year, he is averaging 7.9 points and a team-high 6.1 rebounds per contest. Hurley was named to the All-Patriot League Tournament team, after averaging 9.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest in Holy Cross' three games, while scoring 11 points against both Lehigh and Bucknell. Some of Hurley's other top performances this season have come against Northeastern (18 points, five rebounds, two assists), American on the road (15 points, six rebounds), Navy on the road (13 points, nine rebounds), Navy at home (12 points, seven rebounds), Lafayette at home (11 points, 11 rebounds), Bucknell at home (11 points, nine rebounds, three assists), 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) and Rhode Island (nine points, four rebounds, two steals). Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Hurley has now totaled 570 points, 423 rebounds, 74 assists, 54 blocks and 83 steals.

THE LAST MEETING WITH NOTRE DAME: In the last game between the Crusaders and the Irish, Ken Barlow totaled 17 points and nine rebounds to lead Notre Dame to a 96-61 victory at the Joyce Center on Jan. 16, 1985. The game was close in the early going, as the score was tied at 12-12 after six minutes of play. But Notre Dame would score the next nine points to ignite a 23-6 run, as it took control of the game. Barlow would score 12 of his 17 points during that spurt. The Irish led by as many as 21 points in the opening half, before taking a 44-28 advantage into the locker room. Notre Dame continued to dominate after the break, opening the second half on a 12-0 run to put the game away. The Irish extended their lead to as many as 36 points late in the game, before eventually posting the 96-61 victory. Brian Reale led Holy Cross with 14 points and four rebounds, while Jim McCaffrey added 12 points and three assists. David Rivers totaled 15 points and nine assists for Notre Dame, while Scott Hicks posted 13 points and eight rebounds. The Irish outrebounded the Crusaders 53-25, while hitting 52.2 percent (36 of 69) of their shots. Holy Cross shot only 39.3 percent (22 of 56) from the floor.

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 sixth-most in the nation, behind only Illinois (17-1), Pacific (14-2), Oral Roberts (14-6), George Washington (13-4) and Old Dominion (13-4).

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 earned the right to play all of their games in the Patriot League Tournament at home. 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 WINS 16 GAMES IN A ROW: Holy Cross recently won 16 consecutive games, good for 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 the 16-game streak, Holy Cross averaged 70.9 points per game, while shooting 46.4 percent from the floor, 38.8 percent from three-point range and outscoring the opposition by 17.1 points per contest. During two different stretches in the streak, the Crusaders won six straight contests by double figures. That marked 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.  16 games  Jan. 12, 2005-March 6, 2005
  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 55.9 points per game. The Crusaders have held 22 of their 30 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 17.2 turnovers per game, including 26 by Harvard and 25 by both Minnesota and Fordham. In addition, the Crusaders have averaged 10.4 steals and 5.1 blocks per contest, while outrebounding the opposition by 4.3 boards per game and holding opponents to 38.6 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 58.2 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).

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 151 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) and Lehigh in the Patriot League semifinals (seven points, seven rebounds, four blocks). On the year, Lufkin is averaging 7.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per contest, while shooting 46.3 percent from the field (69 of 149). The 2001-2002 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Lufkin has now totaled 807 points and 545 rebounds in his career at Holy Cross.

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 Holy Cross' three contests in the Patriot League Tournament, he averaged 8.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Previously, in the regular season win over Bucknell, Thomas totaled 12 points, seven assists, four steals and three rebounds. During regular season home 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 29 games this year, he is averaging 7.7 points, 4.0 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.

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, five steals and 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 30 games played this season, Doherty is now averaging 4.4 points and 2.2 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).

HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders ranked among the NCAA Division I leaders in eight different statistical categories, through games of March 7. In addition, junior guard Kevin Hamilton was listed among the nation's leaders in steals. The rankings:

Category                    Rank  Player / Team   Avg. / No.
Winning Streak                 3  Holy Cross              16
Scoring Defense                4  Holy Cross            55.7
Field Goal Percentage Defense  6  Holy Cross            38.2
Steals                         6  Holy Cross            10.3
                               9  Kevin Hamilton         2.9
Won-Lost Percentage           13  Holy Cross            82.8
Scoring Margin                21  Holy Cross           +11.4
Blocked Shots                 26  Holy Cross             5.1
Rebound Margin                49  Holy Cross            +4.4

CRUSADERS KEEP WINNING AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross stands 12-3 at the Hart Center so far this season, improving its all-time record in the building to 265-103. The Crusaders had a 10-game winning streak at the Hart Center earlier this year, including nine straight victories against Patriot League foes. During those games against conference opponents, Holy Cross won by an average of 18.7 points per contest, with all but one game being decided by at least 10 points. Since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, the Crusaders now have an overall mark of 53-10 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.

STEALING THE SHOW: In 30 games played this season, Holy Cross has recorded 312 steals, good for an average of 10.4 steals per game. The Crusaders have already reached double figures in steals for a game 15 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 89 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 have broken the school single season record for steals (old mark was 304 in 1992-1993) and stand 40 steals away from the Patriot League single season record of 352 (Navy, 1999-2000).

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 30 games played this year, Hyland is averaging 4.4 points and 2.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 61.8 percent (55 of 89) from the field.

HOLY CROSS 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.

CRUSADERS ON TELEVISION: The NIT first round game against Notre Dame will mark the ninth time Holy Cross has been shown on live television during the 2004-2005 season, as the contest will be carried live to a national audience on ESPN2. This is the Crusaders' second appearance on ESPN2 this year, as the Patriot League championship game against Bucknell was also televised by the network. Earlier this season, Holy Cross was twice 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.

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 5.1 points and 2.7 rebounds through 30 games. He has been hot over the last nine contests, averaging 8.5 points per game while hitting 34 of 67 field goal attempts (50.7 percent) and 10 of 24 shots from three-point range (41.7 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 493 points, 297 rebounds, 160 assists and 118 steals, while being in the starting lineup for 85 of the last 86 games the Crusaders have played.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 86th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1203-776 (.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 on to coach professionally, and had 15 players who have coached in college, including current Crusader coach Ralph Willard.

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 27 games played this year, Clifford is now averaging 2.7 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per contest.

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 the Patriot League quarterfinal victory over Army (28 of 52, 53.8 percent). That 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.

SCOUTING THE IRISH: Notre Dame has an overall record of 17-11 on the season, and placed sixth in the Big East with a 9-7 mark in conference games. The Irish enter the NIT having lost two straight games and four of their last five. Notre Dame's leading scorer is senior guard Chris Thomas, who has averaged 14.0 points, 6.6 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game. Junior guard Chris Quinn has averaged 12.6 points per contest and hit 45.5 percent (66 of 145) of his three-point attempts, while sophomore guard Colin Falls has averaged 12.4 points per game. Notre Dame is led by head coach Mike Brey, who owns a 102-55 record during his five seasons with the Irish. Brey's career record stands at 201-107, including five years as the head coach at the University of Delaware.

DRIBBLES: The Crusaders are ranked No. 16 in the most recent Mid-Major Top 25 Poll from CollegeInsider.com, released on March 7 ... Seniors John Hurley and Greg Kinsey are serving as Holy Cross' co-captains this year ... Holy Cross was picked to finish fourth in this year's Patriot League preseason poll, behind Bucknell, Lehigh and American... 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 ... Holy Cross will serve as the host institution for first and second round games of the 2005 NCAA Tournament at the DCU Center in Worcester on March 18 and 20.