Dec. 29, 2008
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (4-8, 0-0 PL) vs. Siena (7-4, 2-0 MAAC)
Date: December 30, 2008
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
WCTR Television: Kevin Shea, play-by-play; Kevin Wells, color
Live Video Streaming: Crusader All-Access
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; www.worcesterpike.com, internet; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester
Siena Radio: Robert Lee, play-by-play; Tom Huerter, color; WROW 590 AM, Albany, N.Y.
Series Record: Siena leads, 7-4
Last Meeting: Siena 84, Holy Cross 77 (OT; December 22, 2007; Albany, 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 34 Andrew Keister 6-9 235 So. G 10 R.J. Evans 6-3 200 Fr. G 22 Andrew Beinert 6-4 185 So.
THE SERIES WITH SIENA: This will be the 12th meeting between the Crusaders and the Saints on the hardwood, with Siena leading the all-time series 7-4. The Saints have won five of the last six games in the series, with Holy Cross' only win during that time being a 65-57 victory at the Hart Center on Nov. 18, 2006. For games played in Worcester, the Crusaders hold a 4-1 advantage, including a 3-1 mark at the Hart Center. The schools first met on Feb. 6, 1990, with Holy Cross winning 103-76 at the Hart Center.
SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Siena leads, 7-4
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 4-1
At the Hart Center: Holy Cross leads, 3-1
Ralph Willard vs. Siena: 1-2
Fran McCaffery vs. Holy Cross: 2-1
Current Win Streak: Siena, one game
In Overtime: Tied, 1-1
CRUSADERS HAVE THREE 20-POINT SCORERS: In Saturday's 97-88 victory over San Francisco, Holy Cross had three different players score at least 20 points. Senior forward Colin Cunningham (Memphis, Tenn.) and freshman guard R.J. Evans (Salem, Conn.) tied for the team lead with 26 points each, while freshman guard Devin Brown (Randallstown, Md.) added 22 points. That performance marked the first time that three different Crusaders scored 20 or more points in the same game since Nov. 18, 2005, against High Point. In that game, Kevin Hamilton led Holy Cross with 22 points, Keith Simmons scored 21 points, and Torey Thomas added 20 points.
OFFENSE LIGHTS UP SCOREBOARD AGAINST SAN FRANCISCO: In Saturday's victory over San Francisco, the Crusaders scored a season-best 97 points. That performance marked the most points scored by Holy Cross in a single game since Nov. 23, 2002, when it defeated Dowling 101-61. The 97 points were also the most by the Crusaders against a Division I opponent since they defeated Lehigh 100-81 on Jan. 27, 1996. Overall this season, Holy Cross is now averaging 64.0 points per game.
CRUSADERS AGAINST THE METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC CONFERENCE: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 99-75 against the 10 schools which currently compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Since the beginning of the 2004-2005 season, the Crusaders have a 5-4 mark against MAAC foes. Holy Cross stands 13-4 all-time against Canisius, 21-16 vs. Fairfield, 15-15 against Iona, 2-2 vs. Loyola (Md.), 21-9 against Manhattan, 1-2 vs. Marist, 8-7 against Niagara, 14-13 vs. St. Peter's and 4-7 against Siena. The Crusaders played in the MAAC for seven seasons from 1983-1990, posting a 52-48 record in conference play. Holy Cross' top season in the league came in 1989-1990, when it posted a 14-2 mark to win the MAAC North Division title.
EVANS HAS BIG START TO COLLEGIATE CAREER: Freshman guard R.J. Evans is enjoying an outstanding rookie season, and has scored in double-figures in each of his last six games. During the victory over San Francisco, he posted his first career double-double with career highs of 26 points and 10 rebounds. In the previous contest at Ohio, Evans led the team with 16 points, four rebounds and three steals. He also played well at Massachusetts, totaling 17 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Earlier in the season, Evans had big games against Western Michigan (17 points, six rebounds, two steals), Sacred Heart (15 points on seven of 12 shooting), Fairfield (13 points, three steals), Yale (12 points, three rebounds, three assists), St. Joseph's (12 points, three rebounds) and Harvard (10 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals). Evans' 26 points against San Francisco were the most by a Holy Cross freshman in a single game since Ronnie Perry scored 29 points at Iona on Dec. 21, 1976. Overall this season, Evans is averaging a team-best 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. 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.
BROWN PLAYS KEY MINUTES OFF THE BENCH: Freshman guard Devin Brown has been the first player off the bench in the Holy Cross backcourt this season. During the victory over San Francisco, Brown recorded 22 points and five assists, while making 11 of 12 free throw attempts. Previously at Massachusetts, he totaled 14 points and three rebounds. Brown also had a huge game against Fairfield, scoring a career-high 22 points while hitting five of nine shots from the field and all 10 of his shots at the foul line. Earlier in the season, he totaled 12 points, two rebounds and two assists against St. Joseph's. Overall this year, he is averaging 9.0 points per game, while making a team-best 93.9 percent (46 of 49) of his free throws. Brown came to Holy Cross from Notre Dame Preparatory School in Fitchburg, Mass., after previously graduating from Baltimore City High School.
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 178-111 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 322-235. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.
SAN FRANCISCO RECAP: R.J. Evans posted his first career double-double with career-highs of 26 points and 10 rebounds, to lead Holy Cross to a 97-88 victory over San Francisco at the Hart Center on Dec. 27, 2008. Colin Cunningham added a career-high 26 points and six assists for the Crusaders, while Devin Brown finished with 22 points and five assists. The Dons jumped out to a seven-point lead in the opening minutes of the game, but the Crusaders came back to go in front 19-16 with 11 minutes left in the first half. The Dons would then go on a 7-0 run to reclaim the lead, and were eventually up by as many as 10 points late in the half. San Francisco led 48-40 heading into the locker room. Holy Cross trimmed the Dons' lead to two-points early in the second half, but San Francisco was eventually able to pull in front by 13 points (73-60) with just over nine minutes left to play. The Dons were still up by 10 (77-67) with 7:11 remaining, when the Crusaders went on a 17-1 run to take the lead for good. Evans scored eight of Holy Cross' points during that spurt, while Brown added five and Cunningham had four. San Francisco would get no closer than five points down the stretch, as the Crusaders hit 12 of 17 free throws in the final five minutes to secure the victory. Holy Cross' 97 points were its most since a 101-61 victory over Dowling on Nov. 23, 2002, and its most against a Division I opponent since defeating Lehigh 100-81 on Jan. 27, 1996. In addition, the Crusaders had three different players score 20 points for the first time since Nov. 18, 2005, against High Point. San Francisco was led by Dior Lowhorn with 27 points and six rebounds, while Manny Quezada added 26 points and six assists for the Dons.
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 the victory over Sand Francisco, Cunningham scored a career-high 26 points and handed out six assists. Previously against Western Michigan, he totaled 12 points, two rebounds and two steals. Cunningham also played well against Loyola (13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals) and Brown (11 points, eight rebounds, six assists). Overall this year, Cunningham has averaged 8.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals per contest. 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 recorded 20 points, four rebounds and three assists. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, Cunningham has totaled 500 points, 299 rebounds, 145 assists and 72 steals.
BEINERT TAKES OVER AT THE POINT: Sophomore guard Andrew Beinert (Floral Park, N.Y.) has been one of the Crusaders' top players in the backcourt this season. During the San Francisco game, Beinert totaled seven points, three rebounds and a career-high 10 assists. Previously at Ohio, he recorded seven points, five assists and three steals. Some of Beinert's other top games this season have come against Yale (career-high 15 points, five of seven from three-point range), Brown (nine points, three assists), Loyola (eight points, four steals) and Western Michigan (six points, five assists, five steals). Overall this season, he has averaged 6.8 points, 3.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game, while hitting 40.0 percent (14 of 35) of his three-point field goal attempts. Last year, Beinert was selected to the Patriot League All-Rookie team, after averaging 3.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.
VANDER BAAN PLAYS KEY ROLE ON FRONT LINE: Senior forward Alex Vander Baan (Uxbridge, Mass.) has been a key member of the Holy Cross lineup this year, despite missing three contests due to injury. During the Ohio game, he recorded 10 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Previously at Loyola (Ill.), Vander Baan totaled nine points, three rebounds and two assists. Earlier in the season, he had big games against St. Joseph's (13 points, 11 rebounds), Sacred Heart (nine points, seven rebounds) and Brown (six points, eight rebounds, five assists). Overall this year, Vander Baan is averaging 6.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. During the 2007-2008 season, he averaged 8.5 points and 5.7 rebounds in 19 games played. 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 634 points, 492 rebounds, 135 assists, 74 steals and 35 blocked shots.
THE LAST MEETING WITH SIENA: Tim Clifford totaled 26 points and six rebounds, but it was not enough as Holy Cross was defeated by Siena 84-77 in overtime at the Times Union Center on Dec. 22, 2007. Clifford made 11 of 16 shots from the floor on the day, including two of four attempts from three-point range. Siena made its first four shots of the day, to jump out to a quick 10-4 lead. Colin Cunningham then scored five straight points to bring Holy Cross within one, 10-9. The Saints responded with a 13-4 run, to claim their biggest lead of the half, 23-13 with nine minutes left before the break. But the Crusaders came right back with a 7-0 spurt to get back into the game. Holy Cross would eventually claim a 30-29 lead with 1:30 left in the half, before Siena took a 34-31 advantage into the locker room. The Saints maintained a small lead early in the second half, before using a 6-0 spurt to build their lead back up to 10 points (50-40) with 11:44 left in regulation. The Crusaders would close to within one point two times in the closing minutes, before Josh Duell hit a three-pointer to bring Siena's lead back to seven points with one minute left. But the Saints made just four of seven free throw attempts in the final minute, and Clifford hit two three-pointers in the last 12 seconds, including one as time expired, to force overtime tied at 70-70. In the extra session, Holy Cross struggled on the offensive end of the court, missing its first six shots as Siena took a 75-70 lead. The Saints would also convert nine of their 10 free throws in overtime to secure the win.
HOLY CROSS HAS GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders are once again an outstanding rebounding team this year, averaging 36.7 boards per contest and outrebounding their opponents by an average margin of 6.2 rebounds per game. So far this season, Holy Cross has outrebounded its opponent in 11 out of 12 games played. Junior forward Eric Meister (Boalsburg, Pa.) leads the team with an average of 5.8 rebounds per game, while senior forward Colin Cunningham stands second with 5.4 boards per contest. Senior forward Alex Vander Baan is averaging 5.1 rebounds per game, while freshman guard R.J. Evans is averaging 4.3 boards per contest and sophomore forward Andrew Keister (Galloway, N.J.) is chipping in with 4.0 rebounds per game. 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.
MEISTER CLEANS THE GLASS FOR THE CRUSADERS: Junior forward Eric Meister has been a key player for Holy Cross in the low post this season, and currently leads the team in rebounding. During the victory over Western Michigan, he totaled 10 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Previously at Harvard, Meister posted his second double-double of the year with 10 points and 11 boards. He also had big games earlier in the season against Sacred Heart (11 points, career-high 11 rebounds) and St. Joseph's (nine points, seven rebounds, three blocks). On the season, he is averaging 6.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots per game. Last year, Meister averaged 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds, while playing in 18 games with eight starts. As a freshman in 2006-2007, he was selected to the Patriot League All-Rookie team. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has now totaled 267 points, 264 rebounds and 43 blocked shots.
KEISTER BECOMING A FACTOR UP FRONT: Sophomore forward Andrew Keister is developing into one of the Crusaders' top players at the low post positions. During the victory over San Francisco, he scored eight points and pulled down a career-best nine rebounds. In the previous contest at Ohio, Keister totaled eight points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. He also played well against Massachusetts (career-high 10 points, six rebounds), Western Michigan (nine points, eight rebounds) and Farifield (six points, eight rebounds). Overall this year, Keister is now averaging 4.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
MCCARTHY PLAYS BIG ROLE UP FRONT: 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 Yale game, McCarthy scored 12 points and pulled down a career-best nine rebounds. Previously at Loyola (Ill.), he posted 13 points on six of 10 shooting, in addition to recording three rebounds and two steals. Earlier in the season, McCarthy also played well at Harvard (18 points, eight rebounds, four steals) and Northeastern (11 points, four rebounds). Overall this season, he is now averaging 6.3 points and 3.8 rebounds, while leading the team in field goal percentage (47.8 percent, 32 of 67). Last season, McCarthy averaged 3.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has totaled 234 points and 129 rebounds, while hitting 97 of 199 (48.7 percent) field goal attempts.
CRUSADERS REACH 300 VICTORIES AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 303-111 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 90-19 at home since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, including a 54-10 record against Patriot League foes.
STEALING THE SHOW: Through 12 games played so far this season, Holy Cross has averaged 8.4 steals per game, including a high of 12 steals at Harvard. Sophomore guard Andrew Beinert currently leads the team with 20 steals, while freshman guard R.J. Evans stands second with 19 steals. Senior forward Colin Cunningham has totaled 17 steals, senior center Greg McCarthy has recorded 12 steals, senior forward Alex Vander Baan has added 10 steals, and three other Crusaders have seven steals. Holy Cross has led the Patriot League in steals five times in the last six seasons, while averaging over 10 steals per game in both 2003-2004 (10.7 steals per game) and 2004-2005 (10.3 steals per game).
HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I leaders in two statistical categories, through games of Dec. 21. In addition, freshman guard Devin Brown ranks among the national leaders in free throw percentage. The rankings:
Category Rank Player / Team Avg. Free Throw Percent 3 Devin Brown 94.6 Steals 41 Holy Cross 8.9 Rebound Margin 54 Holy Cross +5.9
CRUSADERS REMAIN TOUGH ON DEFENSE: Holy Cross is once again among the top defensive teams in the nation in 2008-2009. In 12 games played so far this season, the Crusaders have allowed 67.8 points per game, while forcing 15.7 turnovers per contest and outrebounding the opposition by 6.2 boards per game. Holy Cross is also averaging 8.4 steals and 3.4 blocked shots per contest. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, the Crusaders have held their opponents to only 59.3 points per contest. In addition, Holy Cross has 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 the Crusaders' 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 2008-2009 67.8 44.5 36.6 8.4 3.4
TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 90th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1268-821 (.607), 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.
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 is 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 nine games shown on live television during the 2008-2009 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. 6 Central Florida Bright House Sports Network 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.
SCOUTING THE SAINTS: Siena enters the game with an overall record of 7-4 on the year, including a 2-0 mark in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Saints have won five of their last six games, and are coming off a 75-74 victory at St. Joseph's. Junior forward Edwin Ubiles leads the team in scoring with an average of 14.8 points per game, while junior forward Alex Franklin has averaged 13.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Kenny Hasbrouck is also enjoying a solid year, averaging 10.6 points and 3.1 assists per game. Siena is led by Fran McCaffery, who is now in his fourth season with the Saints, with a 65-40 overall record. McCaffery's career record stands at 204-167, including six years at North Carolina-Greensboro and three seasons at Lehigh.
DRIBBLES: The Crusaders stand 3-2 this season when wearing their white uniforms, while going 1-0 in their black uniforms and 0-6 in their purple uniforms ... 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 ... Senior forward Colin Cunningham, senior guard Pat Doherty (Scranton, Pa.) and senior forward Alex Vander Baan are serving as the Crusaders' tri-captains this season ... Holy Cross was picked to finish third in the 2008-2009 Patriot League preseason poll, receiving 68 total points and two first place votes. American placed first in the poll, while Lehigh was second ... The New England Basketball Hall of Fame has established the Ronald S. Perry New England Basketball Legend Award, which will be presented at each New England Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony to an individual who, in demonstrating uncommon basketball excellence, has made an extraordinary contribution to the sport in the New England region. The award is named in honor of former Holy Cross student-athlete and athletic director Ron Perry (Class of 1954) ... 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 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.