Crusaders Return To The Road At Boston University

Dec. 31, 2008

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (4-9, 0-0 PL) vs. Boston University (5-6, 0-0 AEC)
Date: January 2, 2009
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Agganis Arena (7,200), Boston, Mass.
Live Video Streaming: www.goterriers.com
Live Stats: Gametracker
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; www.worcesterpike.com, internet; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play
Boston University Radio: WWZN 1510 AM, Boston; Doug Brown, play-by-play; Mike Shalin, color
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 50-12
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 65, Boston University 62 (January 2, 2008; Worcester, Mass.)


PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos.  No.  Name                Ht.   Wt.   Cl.
F      33  Colin Cunningham    6-6   220   Sr.
F      34  Andrew Keister      6-9   235   So.
C      45  Greg McCarthy      6-11   235   Sr.
G      10  R.J. Evans          6-3   200   Fr.
G      22  Andrew Beinert      6-4   185   So.

THE SERIES WITH BOSTON UNIVERSITY: This will be the 63rd meeting between the Crusaders and the Terriers on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 50-12. Holy Cross has won five straight and six of the last eight meetings in the series, but prior to that Boston University had won five straight games against the Crusaders. For games played in Boston, Holy Cross holds an 18-6 advantage. Holy Cross and Boston University first met on January 10, 1903, with the Crusaders posting a 33-4 victory in Worcester.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 50-12
In Boston: Holy Cross leads, 18-6
At Agganis Arena: First Meeting
Ralph Willard vs. Boston University: 5-2
Dennis Wolff vs. Holy Cross: 3-6
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, five games
In Overtime: Holy Cross leads, 2-0

CRUSADERS HAVE THREE 20-POINT SCORERS: In the 97-88 victory over San Francisco on Dec. 27, 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.

CRUSADERS RETURN TO THE ROAD: Following a brief two-game homestand, Holy Cross hits the road once again, traveling to Boston University on Jan. 2 at 7:00 p.m. The Crusaders will then head to Central Florida for a 7:00 p.m. contest on Jan. 6. Holy Cross returns home to open Patriot League play against Lafayette on Jan. 10 at 3:30 p.m. The Crusaders will then play three more games on the road, heading to Army on Jan. 14, Bucknell on Jan. 17 and Navy on Jan. 21.

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 seven games. During the Siena game, he led the team with 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. In the previous contest against San Francisco, Evans posted his first career double-double with career highs of 26 points and 10 rebounds. He also played well at Ohio, leading the team with 16 points, four rebounds and three steals. Earlier in the season, Evans had big games against Massachusetts (17 points, eight rebounds, four steals), 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 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 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.

MAY STEPS INTO PROMINENT ROLE: Junior forward Adam May (Mentor, Ohio) has become a key part of the Holy Cross rotation 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 6.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. During the Siena game, May totaled 15 points, three rebounds and three steals. Earlier in the season against St. Joseph's, he led the team with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists. May also played well at Northeastern, totaling 11 points, two rebounds and two assists. Last season, he averaged 5.2 points and 2.0 rebounds, while playing in 23 games with one start. May 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 221 points, 82 rebounds, 40 assists and 26 steals.

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. Some of his other top games this season have come against St. Joseph's (12 points, two rebounds, two assists) and Siena (10 points, three rebounds, two assists). Overall this year, he is averaging 9.1 points per game, while making a team-best 92.5 percent (49 of 53) 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.

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 San 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 8.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.7 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 506 points, 306 rebounds, 152 assists and 73 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 6.2 points, 2.8 assists and 1.5 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.

SIENA RECAP: Siena's Alex Franklin recorded 22 points and 13 rebounds, to lead the Saints to an 83-71 victory over Holy Cross at the Hart Center on Dec. 30, 2008. The Crusaders were led by R.J. Evans with 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. The game was tied 4-4 after three minutes of play, when the Saints went on an 8-0 run to take a 12-4 lead. Siena eventually extended its lead to 13 points (22-9) with 10 minutes remaining in the half, before the Crusaders went on a 20-8 run to make it a one-point game. But the Saints responded with a 9-1 spurt of their own a few minutes later, and took a 41-34 advantage into the locker room. Siena held onto its lead early in the second half, and was up by eight points (53-45) with 14 minutes left to play. The Saints then used a 9-0 run to take their largest lead of the game (62-45) with nine minutes remaining. Holy Cross was able to get no closer than eight points down the stretch, as Siena eventually posted a 12-point victory. Adam May finished the game with 15 points, three rebounds and three steals, while Devin Brown added 10 points and three rebounds.

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 178-112 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 322-236. Willard is a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, and was a three-year letterwinner for the Crusaders.

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.

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 four 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 BOSTON UNIVERSITY: Pat Doherty totaled a career-high 20 points, three assists and three steals, to lead Holy Cross to a 65-62 victory over Boston University at the Hart Center on Jan. 2, 2008. Holy Cross opened the game with a 6-0 run over the first 5:38 of play, then increased its lead to 10 points (15-5) with 11 minutes left in the first half. Boston University came right back with a 12-2 spurt of its own, tying up the score at 17-17 with four minutes left before the break. The Crusaders would eventually take a one-point lead (21-20) into the locker room. At the start of the second half, Holy Cross used an 8-1 run to build its lead back up to eight points (29-21). But the Terriers refused to go away, using an 11-2 spurt to go in front by one, 32-31. The score stayed close for several minutes, and Boston University was still up 43-42 with 8:51 left to play. The Crusaders then used a 9-3 run to take the lead for good, including five points by Doherty. The Terriers would narrow the gap to two points three times in the closing minutes, but Tim Clifford and Colin Cunningham both hit key baskets down the stretch to keep the lead safe. Holy Cross then made five of six free throws in the final 15 seconds to secure the win. Clifford finished the night with 16 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots, while Cunningham added 16 points, four rebounds and three steals. Boston University was led by Corey Lowe with 20 points, while Carlos Strong added 18 points and six assists.

HOLY CROSS HAS GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders are once again an outstanding rebounding team this year, averaging 36.5 boards per contest and outrebounding their opponents by an average margin of 5.4 rebounds per game. So far this season, Holy Cross has outrebounded its opponent in 11 out of 13 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 5.5 boards per contest. Senior forward Alex Vander Baan is averaging 5.1 rebounds per game, while freshman guard R.J. Evans is averaging 4.5 boards per contest and sophomore forward Andrew Keister (Galloway, N.J.) is chipping in with 3.9 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, despite missing the last three games due to injury. 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 Fairfield (six points, eight rebounds). Overall this year, Keister is now averaging 4.2 points and 3.9 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 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds, while leading the team in field goal percentage (49.3 percent, 36 of 73). Last season, McCarthy averaged 3.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has totaled 243 points and 133 rebounds, while hitting 101 of 205 (49.3 percent) field goal attempts.

STEALING THE SHOW: Through 13 games played so far this season, Holy Cross has averaged 8.5 steals per game, including a high of 12 steals at Harvard. Freshman guard R.J. Evans currently leads the team with 23 steals, while sophomore guard Andrew Beinert stands second with 20 steals. Senior forward Colin Cunningham has totaled 18 steals, senior center Greg McCarthy has recorded 12 steals, and four other Crusaders have at least 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 REACH 300 VICTORIES AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 303-112 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 90-20 at home since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, including a 54-10 record against Patriot League foes.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 90th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1268-822 (.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.

SCOUTING THE TERRIERS: Boston University enters the game with an overall record of 5-6 on the year. The Terriers have lost their last three games, with their last victory coming on Dec. 10 over Yale (55-43). Junior guard Corey Lowe currently leads the team in scoring with an average of 18.8 points per game, in addition to handing out 33 assists. Sophomore forward John Holland is averaging 14.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest, while freshman forward Jake O'Brien is chipping in with 11.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Boston University is led by head coach Dennis Wolff, who owns an overall record of 235-190 in 15 seasons with the Terriers. Wolff's career record stands at 265-208, including two seasons at Connecticut College.

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.

DRIBBLES: The Crusaders stand 3-3 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.