Holy Cross Heads To Loyola On Saturday Afternoon

Nov. 26, 2008

Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (2-3, 0-0 PL) vs. Loyola (2-4, 0-0 Horizon)
Date: November 29, 2008
Time: 2:00 p.m. (EST)
Place: Gentile Center (5,200), Chicago, Ill.
Television: Lakeshore Public Television
Live Video Streaming: www.horizonleaguenetwork.tv
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; www.worcesterpike.com, internet; Dick Lutsk, play-by-play
Loyola Radio: WLUW 88.7 FM, Chicago; John Fitzgerald, play-by-play; Dave Klusendorf, color
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 4-1
Last Meeting: Loyola 77, Holy Cross 61 (December 27, 1985; Rochester, N.Y.)

 


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 LOYOLA: This will be only the sixth meeting between the Crusaders and the Ramblers on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 4-1. Holy Cross won the first four games in the series, which were all played between 1948-1951 in Boston. The only meeting between the schools in the last 50 years came on Dec. 27, 1985, when Loyola posted a 77-61 victory during the Rochester (N.Y.) Basketball Classic. This year's game will mark the first in the series to be played on the campus of either school.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 4-1
In Chicago: First Meeting
At the Gentile Center: First Meeting
Ralph Willard vs. Loyola: 0-0
Jim Whitesell vs. Holy Cross: 0-0
Current Win Streak: Loyola, one game
In Overtime: 0-0

CRUSADERS AGAINST THE HORIZON LEAGUE: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 9-5 against the 10 schools which currently compete in the Horizon League. The last time the Crusaders faced a Horizon League opponent came on Dec. 30, 1993, when they defeated Butler 78-67 at the Cable Car Classic in Santa Clara, Calif. Holy Cross stands 1-0 all-time against Butler, 1-1 vs. Detroit, 4-1 against Loyola and 3-2 vs. Valparaiso.

MCCARTHY PLAYS BIG ROLE OFF THE BENCH: Senior center Greg McCarthy (Mansfield, Mass.) has seen a good deal of action for Holy Cross at the low post positions this season. During the Harvard game, he posted new career highs with 18 points, eight rebounds and four steals, while hitting eight of 13 shots from the floor. In the previous contest at Northeastern, McCarthy finished with 11 points and four boards. Through five games played this season, he is now averaging 7.6 points and 4.0 rebounds, while leading the team in field goal percentage (48.5 percent, 16 of 33). Last season, McCarthy averaged 3.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has totaled 196 points and 103 rebounds, while hitting 81 of 165 (49.1 percent) field goal attempts.

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. He also scored 12 points and pulled down three rebounds against St. Joseph's, while totaling 10 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals at Harvard. 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 five games played, Evans is averaging a team-best 10.8 points, while hitting 47.3 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.

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 9.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 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 194 points, 70 rebounds, 30 assists and 23 steals.

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. He also had a big game at Harvard, posting his second double-double with 10 points and 11 boards. On the season, he is averaging 6.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 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 232 points, 240 rebounds and 39 blocked shots.

VANDER BAAN PLAYS KEY ROLE ON FRONT LINE: Senior forward Alex Vander Baan (Uxbridge, Mass.) 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. In 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.

HARVARD RECAP: Harvard's Jeremy Lin totaled 30 points, nine rebounds and four steals, to lead the Crimson to a 69-59 victory over Holy Cross at Lavietes Pavilion. Greg McCarthy led the Crusaders with a career-high 18 points and eight rebounds. Holy Cross led 12-11 after the first seven minutes of play, before going on a 12-2 run to increase its lead to 11 points (24-13) with just over six minutes left in the half. R.J. Evans scored six of the Crusaders' points during that spurt. But Harvard responded with a 16-0 run of its own to claim the lead, scoring 10 of those points on the free throw line. Holy Cross came back to score the final five points of the half, and the score was tied 29-29 heading into the locker room.The Crimson scored the first five points of the second half to regain the lead, but Holy Cross came back with a 6-1 run to tie up the score once again. Harvard was back in front 48-43 with 10 minutes left to play, when an 8-1 run put the Crusaders in the lead, 51-49. But the Crimson then regained control of the game, using an 11-1 spurt to take the lead for good. Holy Cross would get no closer than seven points in the closing minutes, as Harvard held on for the win. Eric Meister totaled 10 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season, while Evans added 10 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. The Crimson made 32 of 39 free throw attempts on the night, while the Crusaders were just 10 of 14 from the foul line.

CUNNINGHAM STEPS UP IN SENIOR SEASON: Senior forward Colin Cunningham (Memphis, Tenn.) has returned to the Holy Cross lineup at small forward this year, and is once again one of the Crusaders' top players. In four games played 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.

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 176-106 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 320-230. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

THE LAST MEETING WITH LOYOLA: Loyola's Andre Moore totaled 33 points and 21 rebounds, to lead the Ramblers to a 77-61 victory over Holy Cross during the first round of the Rochester (N.Y.) Basketball Classic on Dec. 27, 1985. The Crusaders led 9-6 after the first five minutes of play, when Loyola went on an 8-0 run to claim the lead for good. Later in the first half, the Ramblers used spurts of 7-0 and 6-0 to build their lead to double figures, eventually taking a 38-25 advantage into the locker room. Holy Cross scored the first four points of the second half, and was able to cut the lead to eight points (46-38) with just under 15 minutes remaining. The Crusaders were still down by nine (60-51) at the seven-minute mark, when Loyola went on a 14-3 run to put the game away. Brian Reale led Holy Cross with 16 points, five rebounds and four steals, while Glenn Tropf added 12 points and eight boards. Carl Golson had 14 points and five assists for Loyola. The Crusaders played the game without leading scorer Jim McCaffrey, who was injured.

HOLY CROSS HAS GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders are once again an outstanding rebounding team this year, averaging 40.0 boards per contest and outrebounding their opponents by an average margin of 8.6 rebounds per game. So far this season, Holy Cross' smallest advantage on the glass in any one game has been seven 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 6.8 boards per contest. Senior forward Colin Cunningham is averaging 5.3 rebounds per game, while senior center Greg McCarthy is chipping in with 4.0 boards per contest. Three other Crusaders are averaging at least three 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.

HOLY CROSS NAMES CAPTAINS: Senior forward Colin Cunningham, senior guard Pat Doherty (Scranton, Pa.) and senior forward Alex Vander Baan 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.

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.

CRUSADERS REMAIN TOUGH ON DEFENSE: Holy Cross should once again be among the top defensive teams in the nation in 2008-2009. In five games played so far this season, the Crusaders have allowed 63.8 points per game, while forcing 17.0 turnovers per contest and outrebounding the opposition by 8.6 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 59.0 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 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 1266-816 (.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 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

SCOUTING THE RAMBLERS: Loyola enters the game with an overall record of 2-4 on the year. The Ramblers have lost their last two games, falling to Cornell (78-53) and St. John's (73-54). Senior guard J.R. Blount has averaged 16.5 points, 3.7 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game so far this season, while senior guard Justin Cerasoli has added 10.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 steals per contest. Loyola is led by head coach Jim Whitesell, who owns a 67-62 during his five seasons with the Ramblers. Whitesell's career record stands at 345-256, including 12 years at Lewis University and five seasons at Elmhurst College.

THE JESUIT BASKETBALL SPOTLIGHT: The matchup between Holy Cross and Loyola is part of the nationwide Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project, using Jesuit basketball to raise awareness of Jesuit education. Both Holy Cross and Loyola are Jesuit schools. The Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project highlights more than 90 games this season between men's and women's teams from the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities across the United States. Each of the 28 is dedicated to strong academics and teaching women and men to serve others and live a faith that does justice. The spotlight project includes awareness announcements during these designated games and during gamecasts on radio and television. Jesuit, Catholic colleges and universities in the United States have more than 200,000 students currently and more than 1.7 million living alumni. The Jesuit educational mission began in Europe approximately 500 years ago. For more information on Jesuit higher education in the United States, visit `www.ajcunet.edu'.

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 1-1 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.