March 20, 2005
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
Event: NIT Second Round
The Teams: Holy Cross (25-6, 13-1 PL) vs. St. Joseph's (21-11, 14-2 A-10)
Date: March 21, 2005
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse (3,200), Philadelphia, Pa.
Ticket Information: Click Here
ESPN2 Television: Dave Strader, play-by-play; Doug Gottlieb, color
Holy Cross Radio: Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
St. Joseph's Radio: Tom McCarthy, play-by-play; Joe Lunardi, color; WPEN 950 AM, Philadelphia, Pa.
Series Record: St. Joseph's leads, 2-0
Last Meeting: St. Joseph's 62, Holy Cross 58 (December 30, 1978, College Park, Md.)
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 ST. JOSEPH'S: This will be only the third meeting between the Crusaders and the Hawks on the hardwood. St. Joseph's won each of the first two games, 82-63 in Philadelphia on Dec. 26, 1964, and 62-58 in College Park, Md., on Dec. 30, 1978. Against current members of the Atlantic 10 Conference, Holy Cross has an all-time record of 121-101 (1-1 against Dayton, 3-5 vs. Duquesne, 38-41 against Fordham, 0-2 vs. George Washington, 5-16 against La Salle, 36-17 vs. Massachusetts, 26-12 against Rhode Island, 6-3 vs. Temple, 3-2 against St. Bonaventure, 0-2 vs. St. Joseph's and 3-0 against Xavier). The Crusaders have won their last eight games against Atlantic 10 foes, including this season's victories over Fordham and Rhode Island. Holy Cross has not lost to an Atlantic 10 opponent since it was downed by Fordham 87-73 on Nov. 27, 1999, in what was only Ralph Willard's third game as Holy Cross' head coach.
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 11-10 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 sixth time this week. Holy Cross stands 2-3 in NIT road games, with the victories coming at Southern Mississippi in 1981 and at Notre Dame last week. All 16 of the Crusaders' other games in the NIT have been played at Madison Square Garden.
HOLY CROSS POSTS FIRST POSTSEASON VICTORY SINCE 1981: With last Tuesday's victory at Notre Dame, the Crusaders recorded their first victory in a national postseason tournament since March 12, 1981, when they downed Southern Mississippi 56-54 in the first round of the NIT. Since that time, Holy Cross had lost six straight postseason games -- four in the NCAA Tournament (against Arkansas in 1993, Kentucky in 2001, Kansas in 2002 and Marquette in 2003) and two in the NIT (against Syracuse in 1981 and Rutgers in 1990).
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 28 times in 31 games, and earning Patriot League Player of the Week honors twice (on Jan. 31 and Feb. 14). In the NIT first round game at Notre Dame, Hamilton scored a career-high 26 points, in addition to totaling seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Hamilton previously earned All-Patriot League Tournament honors, after averaging 17.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals over three contests, including 21 points against Bucknell in the championship game. Earlier in the year against Iona, Hamilton scored 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 performances 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 31 games this year, he is averaging 15.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 2.8 assists per contest. Hamilton has now scored in double figures on 52 occasions during his Holy Cross career, including 42 times in his last 47 games.
THE ROAD WARRIORS: Holy Cross has posted an impressive 13-3 record this year in games away from the Hart Center, with a current eight-game winning streak away from home. During that time, the Crusaders have recorded road wins over Notre Dame (78-73), 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. This marks the longest road winning streak for Holy Cross since the 1953-1954 NIT championship team won 12 straight away from home, downing Springfield (92-68), Yale (87-57), Canisius (88-76) and Dartmouth (76-60) on the road; Niagara (93-85 in overtime), Boston College (82-77), St. John's (78-58), Fordham (68-54) and Temple (85-73) at Boston Garden; and St. Francis (93-69), Western Kentucky (75-69) and Duquesne (71-62) at Madison Square Garden. Through games of March 18, Holy Cross' 13 wins away from home were tied for the fourth-most in the nation, behind only Illinois (18-1), Pacific (15-2) and Oral Roberts (14-7).
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 last Tuesday's victory at Notre Dame, Thomas totaled 16 points, six rebounds and two assists. He also played well during the Patriot League Tournament, averaging 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 30 games this year, he is averaging 7.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.8 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.
NOTRE DAME RECAP: Kevin Hamilton totaled 26 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals to lead Holy Cross to a 78-73 victory over Notre Dame in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament at the Joyce Center on March 15, 2005. The first half featured five ties and eight lead changes, as Notre Dame held a 32-27 lead with 1:26 left before the break. The Crusaders then closed the half on a 5-0 run, tying the score at 32-32 heading into the locker room. Holy Cross then opened the second stanza with an 8-0 spurt, completing a 13-0 run to give the Crusaders an eight-point advantage. Holy Cross extended its lead to as many as 13 points (50-37 with 12:28 remaining), before the Irish went on an 8-0 run to get back in the game. Notre Dame closed to within one point (60-59) at the 4:20 mark, before the Crusaders went on a 9-2 run to put the game away. Holy Cross then hit 11 of 14 free throw attempts in the final two minutes to ice the victory. Torey Thomas finished the game with 16 points, six rebounds and two assists, while Nate Lufkin recorded 11 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Chris Thomas led Notre Dame with 21 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, while Colin Falls added 18 points.
HOLY CROSS CLOSES IN ON SCHOOL RECORD FOR VICTORIES: With their 25-6 record so far this season, the Crusaders stand only two wins away from the school single season record for victories. That mark is currently shared by the 1946-1947 team which won the NCAA title (27-3) and the 1949-1950 squad (27-4). With one more victory this year, the Crusaders would tie for the third-most victories in a single season, matching the total of the 1947-1948 (26-4), 1953-1954 (26-2, NIT champions) and 2002-2003 (26-5) squads. During the 15-year history of the Patriot League, Holy Cross also has two of the highest single season win totals in conference history. The 2002-2003 team holds the record with its 26-5 mark, while this year's team stands tied for second at 25-6 (Fordham also had 25 wins, going 25-8 in 1990-1991).
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 114-67 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 258-191. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.
CRUSADERS STEP UP ON DEFENSE: The Holy Cross defense has been outstanding so far this season, allowing its opponents to average just 56.4 points per game. The Crusaders have held 22 of their 31 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 5.0 blocks per contest, while outrebounding the opposition by 4.3 boards per game and holding opponents to 38.7 percent shooting from the field. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Holy Cross has never allowed its opponents to average over 60 points per game for a season, while holding the opposition to only 58.4 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).
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. Prior to this season, the Crusaders 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: From Jan. 12-March 6, Holy Cross 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).
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) and Vermont (15 points, eight rebounds). Through 31 games, he is averaging 12.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals per contest, while hitting 50.2 percent of his field goals (128 of 255) and 41.9 percent of his three-pointers (49 of 117). 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 NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders ranked among the NCAA Division I leaders in eight different statistical categories, through games of March 14. In addition, junior guard Kevin Hamilton was listed among the nation's leaders in steals. The rankings:
Category Rank Player / Team Avg. / No. Scoring Defense 5 Holy Cross 55.9 Steals 5 Holy Cross 10.4 6 Kevin Hamilton 3.0 Field Goal Percentage Defense 8 Holy Cross 38.6 Won-Lost Percentage 18 Holy Cross 80.0 Scoring Margin 22 Holy Cross +10.9 Blocked Shots 25 Holy Cross 5.1
STEALING THE SHOW: In 31 games played this season, Holy Cross has recorded 321 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 91 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 stands only three steals away from 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 31 steals away from the Patriot League single season record of 352 (Navy, 1999-2000).
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 31 games this year, he is averaging 7.7 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 572 points, 425 rebounds, 76 assists, 54 blocks and 83 steals.
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), Notre Dame (11 points, seven rebounds, two steals), 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 7.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per contest, while shooting 45.9 percent from the field (73 of 159). The 2001-2002 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Lufkin has now totaled 818 points and 552 rebounds in his career at Holy Cross.
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 marked only the third time in Patriot League history that a team 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.
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 played extremely well during an eight-game stretch from Feb. 4-March 4, averaging 10.0 points per game while hitting 32 of 59 field goal attempts (54.2 percent) and nine of 18 shots from three-point range (50.0 percent). During the Patriot League quarterfinal win over Army, Kinsey recorded 13 points, three rebounds and two assists. He previously totaled 10 points and four rebounds in the victory over Bucknell, while posting 14 points and four rebounds at Colgate. Kinsey also totaled 11 points, three rebounds and two assists against Lehigh, while recording 13 points, three assists and two rebounds against Lafayette. Some of his other top performances this season have come against Princeton (11 points), Marist (10 points, five rebounds, two assists), Colgate (nine points, two rebounds, two assists), Navy (eight points, three rebounds, three steals) and Northeastern (seven points, five assists, three rebounds). Last season, Kinsey started all 28 of Holy Cross' games, averaging 5.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Kinsey has now totaled 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 1204-776 (.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.
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 second round game at St. Joseph's will mark the 10th 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' third appearance on ESPN2 this year, as the Patriot League championship game against Bucknell and the NIT first round contest at Notre Dame were 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.
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.
HOLY CROSS IN THE RPI: The Crusaders entered the NIT ranked 53rd in the nation in the Ratings Percentage Index, according to Collegiate Basketball News. In the final regular season ratings, 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).
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 31 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).
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. In last week's victory at Notre Dame, Clifford posted seven points and three rebounds in only six minutes of action. During the Feb. 11 victory over Lafayette, he totaled eight points and five rebounds, while tying his career high with six blocked shots. Previously 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 2.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per contest.
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 31 games played this year, Hyland is averaging 4.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 59.8 percent (55 of 92) from the field.
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.
DRIBBLES: The Crusaders are ranked No. 16 in the most recent Mid-Major Top 25 Poll from CollegeInsider.com, released on March 14 ... Seniors John Hurley and Greg Kinsey are serving as Holy Cross' co-captains this year ... Holy Cross served 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.