Holy Cross Travels To Harvard On Tuesday Night

Nov. 24, 2008

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (2-2, 0-0 PL) vs. Harvard (1-1, 0-0 Ivy)
Date: November 25, 2008
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Lavietes Pavilion (2,050), Cambridge, Mass.
Live Video Streaming: www.gocrimson.com
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; www.worcesterpike.com, internet; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 41-20
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 80, Harvard 69 (November 20, 2007; Worcester, Mass.)



PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:

Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl.
F 21 Alex Vander Baan 6-9 205 Sr.
F 33 Colin Cunningham 6-6 220 Sr.
C 53 Eric Meister 6-8 225 Jr.
G 12 Adam May 6-8 205 Jr.
G 22 Andrew Beinert 6-4 185 So.

THE SERIES WITH HARVARD: This will be the 62nd meeting between the Crusaders and the Crimson on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 41-20. The Crusaders have won seven of the last eight meetings in the series, with Harvard's only victory during that span coming at the Hart Center in 2005-2006 (70-55). For games played in Cambridge, Holy Cross holds a 21-7 advantage, including a 10-3 record at Lavietes Pavilion. Holy Cross and Harvard first met on January 15, 1901, with the Crimson posting a 20-10 victory in Worcester.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 41-20
In Cambridge: Holy Cross leads, 21-7
At Lavietes Pavilion: Holy Cross leads, 10-3
Ralph Willard vs. Harvard: 7-2
Tommy Amaker vs. Holy Cross: 0-1
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, two games
In Overtime: Harvard leads, 1-0

IMPRESSIVE AGAINST THE IVY LEAGUE: The Crusaders have enjoyed a great deal of success against schools from the Ivy League during Ralph Willard's tenure as head coach. Holy Cross stands 22-12 against Ivy League foes under Willard, including a 21-8 mark since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season. The Crusaders had won five straight games against Ivy League foes, before falling to Brown 62-57 last week. Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 196-114 against the eight schools which are members of the Ivy League (42-17 vs. Brown, 4-6 against Columbia, 3-2 vs. Cornell, 66-31 against Dartmouth, 41-20 vs. Harvard, 3-3 against Pennsylvania, 2-7 vs. Princeton and 35-28 against Yale).

MAY STEPS INTO STARTING ROLE: Junior forward Adam May (Mentor, Ohio) has moved into the Holy Cross starting lineup this season, and has been one of the team's top players on the offensive end of the court. So far this year, he is averaging 9.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. In the victory over St. Joseph's, May led the team with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists. He also played well at Northeastern, totaling 11 points, two rebounds and two assists. Last season, May averaged 5.2 points and 2.0 rebounds, while playing in 23 games with one start. He scored in double-figures three times in 2007-2008, including a career-best 16 points against Harvard. Over the course of his collegiate career, May has now totaled 187 points, 67 rebounds, 28 assists and 21 steals.

EVANS HAS BIG START TO COLLEGIATE CAREER: Freshman guard R.J. Evans (Salem, Conn.) has turned in some solid performances to start his Holy Cross career. In the season opening victory over Sacred Heart, Evans scored a team-high 15 points, hitting seven of 12 shots from the field. Then in the win over St. Joseph's, he scored 12 points and pulled down three rebounds. Evans' 15 points against Sacred Heart were the most by a Crusader in his collegiate debut since Torey Thomas scored 18 points against Boston University on Nov. 22, 2003. He also became the first Crusader since Thomas to reach double-figures in the first two games of his collegiate career. Through four games played, Evans is averaging a team-best 11.0 points, while hitting 48.8 percent of his field goal attempts. Evans came to Holy Cross from Norwich (Conn.) Free Academy, where he was a two-time All-State selection and score 2,030 career points.

HOLY CROSS NAMES CAPTAINS: Senior forward Colin Cunningham (Memphis, Tenn.), senior guard Pat Doherty (Scranton, Pa.) and senior forward Alex Vander Baan (Uxbridge, Mass.) have been selected as the Crusaders' captains for the 2008-2009 season. These three players will take over the leadership role from Tim Clifford and Kyle Cruze, who served as the Crusaders' captains as seniors during the 2007-2008 season.

VANDER BAAN PLAYS KEY ROLE ON FRONT LINE: Senior forward Alex Vander Baan is once again a key member of the Holy Cross lineup this year. In the victory over St. Joseph's, Vander Baan posted his third career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. He also recorded nine points and seven rebounds against Sacred Heart, while totaling six points, eight rebounds and five assists against Brown. Through four games played, Vander Baan is averaging 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds. During the 2007-2008 season, he averaged 8.5 points and 5.7 rebounds in 19 games played, while missing a good deal of time in the second half of the year due to injury. During last year's victory over Harvard, Vander Baan totaled a season-high 18 points and eight rebounds. He also had a huge game in last year's win at St. Joseph's, recording 16 points and seven rebounds, while making all four of his free throws in the final minute of play. Some of Vander Baan's other top performances last year came against Hofstra (15 rebounds, 10 points, three assists, three blocks), at Bucknell (14 points, five rebounds) and at Army (13 points, seven rebounds). As a freshman in 2005-2006, Vander Baan was selected to the Patriot League All-Rookie team. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, he has now totaled 606 points, 475 rebounds, 132 assists, 68 steals and 31 blocked shots.

CUNNINGHAM STEPS UP IN SENIOR SEASON: Senior forward Colin Cunningham has returned to the Holy Cross lineup at small forward this year, and is once again one of the Crusaders' top players. In four games played so far this year, he has averaged 6.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and a team-best 3.8 assists per contest. During the Brown game, Cunningham led the team with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Last season, he averaged 8.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game, while hitting 36.8 percent (28 of 76) of his three-point attempts. Cunningham's top game in 2007-2008 came at American in the Patriot League quarterfinals, when he scored a career-high 20 points, to go along with four rebounds and three assists. He also had a big night at Lehigh in the regular season finale, recording 15 points, four rebounds and four assists. Some of Cunningham's other top performances last season came against Fairfield (career-high 17 points, 10 of 10 on the free throw line), Boston University (16 points, four rebounds, three steals, four of five from three-point range) and Siena (15 points, four assists, three rebounds, three steals). Over the course of his career as a Crusader, Cunningham has totaled 429 points, 261 rebounds, 123 assists and 59 steals.

NORTHEASTERN RECAP: Northeastern's Matt Janning totaled 27 points, four rebounds, and two steals, to lead the Huskies to a 61-49 win over Holy Cross at Matthews Arena on Nov. 22, 2008. Northeastern opened the game with a 14-0 run, with Janning and Eugene Spates both scoring five points during that spurt. The Huskies were still up by 14 (23-9) with nine minutes left in the first half, when Holy Cross used a 12-1 run to cut the deficit to just three points. But Northeastern was able to expand its lead back to eight points before the break, taking a 33-25 advantage into the locker room. The Crusaders would get within six points early in the second half, but by the 15-minute mark the Huskies had built their lead back to 11 points (42-31). Holy Cross would get no closer than 10 points the rest of the way, as Northeastern eventually posted a 12-point victory. Greg McCarthy totaled 11 points and four rebounds for the Crusaders, while Adam May added 11 points, two rebounds and two assists.

MEISTER MOVES INTO STARTING LINEUP: Junior forward Eric Meister (Boalsburg, Pa.) has taken over as a starter for Holy Cross in the low post this season. He opened the year strong against Sacred Heart, posting his first career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Meister then recorded nine points, seven rebounds and three blocks in the victory over St. Joseph's. On the season, he is averaging 5.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots per game. Last year, Meister averaged 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds, while playing in 18 games with eight starts. During the 2007-2008 victory at Army, he scored 11 points on four of four shooting from the field. Meister also had a big game in the victory over Lehigh, totaling 10 points, a team-high nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Some of Meister's other top performances last season came against Yale (eight points, nine rebounds), Ohio (eight points, six rebounds) and Hofstra (seven points, nine boards). As a freshman in 2006-2007, Meister was selected to the Patriot League All-Rookie team. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has now totaled 222 points, 229 rebounds and 38 blocked shots.

WILLARD CONTINUES IMPRESSIVE RUN AT HOLY CROSS: Ralph Willard is now in his 10th season as the Crusaders' head coach, and currently owns a mark of 176-105 during his time in Worcester. He now stands in second place on the all-time school list for career victories, behind only George Blaney (357-276 / 1972-1994). In 2006-2007, Willard was selected as the Patriot League Coach of the Year for the third time in his career. He was previously named the conference's Coach of the Year during the 2000-2001 and 2004-2005 seasons, and in 2004-2005 he was also one of 10 finalists for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award. Willard has led the Crusaders to four Patriot League tournament titles and four trips to the NCAA Tournament, during the 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003 and 2006-2007 seasons. He has also guided Holy Cross to four Patriot League regular season championships in 2000-2001, 2002-2003, 2004-2005 and 2006-2007, with the 2002-2003 squad posting an overall record of 26-5 to come up just one win shy of the school single season record for victories. Prior to his time at Holy Cross, Willard spent five seasons as the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh, and four years as head coach at Western Kentucky University. He led Western Kentucky to the NCAA Tournament during each of his final two seasons (advancing to the Sweet 16 in 1992-1993), and his overall career record stands at 320-229. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

THE LAST MEETING WITH HARVARD: Tim Clifford had 22 points and four rebounds, to lead Holy Cross to an 80-69 victory over Harvard at the Hart Center on Nov. 20, 2007. Clifford hit 10 of 16 field goal attempts on the night, in addition to making both of his foul shots. Alex Vander Baan scored the first nine points of the game for Holy Cross, as the Crusaders jumped out to a 9-4 lead after three minutes of play. A few minutes later Holy Cross went on a 12-3 run, including six points by Adam May, to take its biggest lead of the day, 27-12 with eight minutes left in the half. The Crusaders were still up by 15 at the 2:56-mark, before Harvard closed the half with an 8-3 spurt to trail by 10 points at the break (42-32). Holy Cross held a nine point lead (57-48) with 10:23 left to play, when the Crimson started to rally. Harvard went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to two points, and would eventually tie the score at 62-62 with 5:56 remaining in the game. Clifford hit a basket on the Crusaders' next possession to put Holy Cross back in front, but the lead was still just one point (66-65) with 4:21 left to play. The Crusaders then went on a 10-0 spurt over the next three and a half minutes to put the game away, with five different players scoring two points during that span. Vander Baan finished the night with 18 points and eight rebounds, while May added a career-high 16 points and six boards. Colin Cunningham also had a big game with 13 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals, while Pat Doherty totaled seven points, eight assists and four steals. Harvard was led by Drew Housman with 19 points and three rebounds, and Jeremy Lin with 15 points, four rebounds and four assists.

HOLY CROSS HAS GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders are once again an outstanding rebounding team this year, averaging 39.2 boards per contest and outrebounding their opponents by an average margin of 9.0 rebounds per game. So far this season, Holy Cross' smallest advantage on the glass in any one game has been eight rebounds. Senior forward Alex Vander Baan currently leads the team with an average of 7.3 rebounds per game, while junior forward Eric Meister has added 5.8 boards per contest and senior forward Colin Cunningham is averaging 5.3 rebounds per game. Five other Crusaders are averaging at least two rebounds per contest so far this season. In 2007-2008, Holy Cross was outrebounded only five times in 29 games, while averaging 33.5 rebounds per game and outrebounding the opposition by 5.6 boards per contest. The Crusaders were even more impressive in Patriot League play, outrebounding conference foes by 6.3 boards per game. Entering 2008-2009, the Crusaders have posted a positive rebounding margin in nine straight seasons, including seven years in which they outrebounded the opposition by at least four boards per game.

CRUSADERS PICKED THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL: In the 2008-2009 Patriot League preseason poll, Holy Cross was picked to finish in third place in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 68 total points in the poll, including two first place votes. American placed first in the poll with 98 points and 14 first place votes, while Lehigh was second with 75 points. Following Holy Cross in the poll were Colgate (fourth, 67 points), Bucknell (fifth, 47 points), Navy (sixth, 46 points), Army (seventh, 29 points) and Lafayette (eighth, 18 points).

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 90th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1266-815 (.608), while making 24 postseason tournament appearances -- 12 trips to the NCAA Tournament and 12 to the National Invitation Tournament. In the history of collegiate basketball, Holy Cross is one of only 16 schools to have won the NCAA Tournament (1946-1947) as well as the National Invitational Tournament (1953-1954). Throughout its history, Holy Cross has had six first team All-America selections, sent 10 players to the National Basketball Association, had four players inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, had 23 players drafted by professional teams, had three players go on to coach professionally, and had 15 players who have coached in college, including current Crusader coach Ralph Willard.

CRUSADERS REACH 300 VICTORIES AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 301-110 at the Hart Center, after posting its 300th win in the building against Sacred Heart on Nov. 14. The Crusaders had a 23-game winning streak at the Hart Center from Feb. 15, 2006-Jan. 2, 2008, which was the longest streak in the history of the building and the sixth-longest home court winning streak in the nation at the time. In 2006-2007 Holy Cross posted a perfect 14-0 mark at the Hart Center, setting a school record for the most home victories since it moved into the building. During the Hart Center's history, Holy Cross has posted a winning record at home in 29 out of 33 seasons, while recording double-figure home victories 15 times. The Crusaders stand 88-18 at home since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, including a 54-10 record against Patriot League foes.

SCOUTING THE CRIMSON: Harvard enters the game with an overall record of 1-1 on the year. The Crimson opened the season with an 80-69 victory over New Hampshire, then lost to Colorado 70-57. Freshman forward Keith Wright is averaging 16.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, while hitting 68.2 percent (15 of 22) of his field goal attempts. Junior guard Jeremy Lin has added 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest, while freshman guard Max Kenyi has chipped in with 13.0 points and 5.0 assists per game. The Crimson is led by head coach Tommy Amaker, who has a 9-23 mark in two seasons at Harvard. Amaker previously spent six years as the head coach at Michigan and four seasons at Seton Hall, and owns an overall career record of 186-161.

CRUSADERS LOOK TO REMAIN TOUGH ON DEFENSE: Holy Cross should once again be among the top defensive teams in the nation in 2008-2009. In four games played so far this season, the Crusaders have allowed 62.5 points per game, while forcing 16.5 turnovers per contest and outrebounding the opposition by 9.0 board per game. Last year, the Crusaders held their opponents to 60.5 points per contest and 41.0 percent shooting from the field. Holy Cross also outrebounded the opposition by 5.6 boards per game, while forcing 13.9 turnovers per contest. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Holy Cross has held its opposition to only 58.9 points per contest. In addition, the Crusaders have ranked in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense in five of the last seven seasons (sixth in 2001-2002 at 59.6; third in 2002-2003 at 58.7; seventh in 2003-2004 at 58.6; fifth in 2004-2005 at 56.8; and eighth in 2006-2007 at 57.5). Here is a look at Holy Cross' defensive statistics under Ralph Willard.

 

Season       PPG    FG%   3FG%    SPG   BPG
1999-2000 63.3 39.6 31.3 6.5 3.8
2000-2001 62.3 38.2 35.2 6.3 5.2
2001-2002 59.6 42.0 38.5 7.8 3.1
2002-2003 58.7 40.6 33.2 7.9 4.5
2003-2004 58.6 40.3 32.9 10.7 4.5
2004-2005 56.8 38.9 36.3 10.3 5.0
2005-2006 60.5 40.2 30.3 9.1 3.5
2006-2007 57.5 41.4 37.8 9.5 3.6
2007-2008 60.5 41.0 36.9 7.4 3.9

CRUSADERS OWN FIVE PATRIOT LEAGUE REGULAR SEASON TITLES: Throughout its first 18 years of play in the conference, Holy Cross has won five Patriot League regular season titles. The last championship for the Crusaders came in 2006-2007, when they tied for first place in the conference with Bucknell, as both teams posted 13-1 records in league play. Prior to that, Holy Cross won outright Patriot League regular season titles in 2001, 2003 and 2005, while sharing the regular season championship in 1994. The Crusaders are the only team in league history to win more than two outright titles, while their five total championships are tied for the most in conference history with Navy (one outright, four shared) and Bucknell (two outright, three shared).

HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders finished the 2007-2008 season ranked among the NCAA Division I leaders in six statistical categories. In addition, center Tim Clifford stood among the national leaders in field goal percentage, blocked shots and scoring. The rankings:

 

Category                   Rank  Player / Team    Avg.
Scoring Defense 16 Holy Cross 60.5
Rebound Margin 26 Holy Cross +5.6
Field Goal Percent 28 Tim Clifford 57.1
Blocked Shots 29 Tim Clifford 2.3
80 Holy Cross 3.9
Field Goal Percent Defense 47 Holy Cross 41.0
Free Throw Percent 58 Holy Cross 72.9
Scoring 71 Tim Clifford 18.0
Steals 99 Holy Cross 7.4

HOLY CROSS ON THE RADIO: Most of the Crusaders' basketball contests during the 2008-2009 season will be carried by The Pike, WWFX 100.1 FM in Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre will be in his 22nd season calling the play-by-play for Crusader basketball on the radio. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their fifth year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. The Pike is currently scheduled to air 23 of the Crusaders' 29 regular season games. All games aired on The Pike can also be heard live over the internet at `www.worcesterpike.com'. The six games not carried on The Pike will be broadcast exclusively over the internet at `www.sportsjuice.com'. In addition, the Holy Cross student station, WCHC 88.1 FM, will carry a number of games this year.

CRUSADERS ON TELEVISION: Holy Cross is currently scheduled to have eight games shown on live television during the 2007-2008 season. The Crusaders had eight television appearances last year, while appearing on television 13 times in 2006-2007, 10 times in 2005-2006 and 10 times in 2004-2005. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2008-2009 season:

 

Date     Opponent       Television Outlet
Nov. 29 Loyola (Ill.) Lakeshore Public Television
Dec. 30 Siena WCTR-TV3
Jan. 17 Bucknell ESPNU
Jan. 24 American ESPNU
Jan. 31 Lehigh Service Electric Cable
Feb. 7 Lafayette Lafayette Sports Network
Feb. 11 Army WCTR-TV3
Feb. 25 Colgate Time Warner Cable

CRUSADER ALL-ACCESS: Live video streaming of a number of Holy Cross basketball games will be available over the internet through Crusader All-Access. The package, done in association with CBS College Sports Online, is available for a $9.95 monthly subscription. For details on how to sign up for Crusader All-Access, click here.

DRIBBLES: The Crusaders stand 1-1 this season when wearing their white uniforms, while going 1-0 in their black uniforms and 0-1 in their purple uniforms ... At halftime of the game between Holy Cross and St. Joseph's on Nov. 16, four all-time Crusader basketball greats were honored. George Kaftan (Class of 1949), Bob Cousy (Class of 1950), Togo Palazzi (Class of 1954) and Tom Heinsohn (Class of 1956) were all be on hand to witness their jerseys being lifted to the Hart Center rafters -- the first time Holy Cross held such a ceremony for any former student-athlete ... With the victory over St. Joseph's, Holy Cross is 1-0 this season in overtime games. The Crusaders now stand 12-3 in overtime contests under Ralph Willard ... With the Nov. 14 victory over Sacred Heart, Holy Cross improved to 27-7 in home openers at the Hart Center, with an 8-2 mark under Ralph Willard ... The Crusaders also improved their all-time mark in season openers to 65-25, including a 39-6 mark at home and an 8-2 record under Ralph Willard ... Holy Cross wore its black uniforms at home for the first time ever against Sacred Heart, as part of the Black Out Night promotion ... Holy Cross' victory at Bucknell on Feb. 16, 2008, was its first at Sojka Pavilion in five years, breaking a five-game losing streak in the building.