NORFOLK, Va. – Freshman guard Cullen Hamilton (Washington, D.C.) hit the first of two free throws with 8.9 seconds remaining, to break a 45-45 tie and lift the Holy Cross men's basketball team to a 46-45 victory over Old Dominion on the opening day of the Liberty Tax Classic at the Ted Constant Convention Center. Hamilton finished the night with 15 points and four rebounds in his collegiate debut. The Crusaders open the year at 1-0 with the victory, while the Monarchs begin the season 0-1.
Holy Cross trailed 43-41 with less than a minute to play in the second half, when sophomore guard Justin Burrell (Dumfries, Va.) hit a three-point field goal to give the Crusaders the lead. A free throw by Hamilton with 22.4 seconds to go increased the Holy Cross advantage to 45-43, before a short jumper in the lane by Old Dominion's Dimitri Batten tied the game at 45-45 with 11.8 seconds to go. Hamilton was then fouled and hit what proved to be the game winning free throw. There was a scramble for the ball after the second free throw was missed, leaving just 3.3 seconds on the clock and the Monarchs were unable to get a shot off on their final possession.
Burrell finished the game with 15 points and six rebounds, while hitting three of seven shots from three-point range. Junior forward Dave Dudzinski (Elburn, Ill.) added six points and six rebounds, while senior center Phil Beans (Toledo, Ohio) finished with six points, four rebounds and two steals. The Monarchs were led by DeShawn Painter with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Old Dominion had opened the game by taking an early 5-2 lead, before Holy Cross responded with an 11-2 run to claim a 13-7 advantage midway through the first half. The Monarchs would trim the Holy Cross lead down to one point (17-16) with four minutes to go before the break, but the Crusaders scored the next five points and eventually took a 22-18 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Holy Cross held onto the lead early in the second half, and at one point used a 5-0 spurt to increase its advantage to eight points (30-22) with 15 minutes left to play. Old Dominion responded by scoring eight straight points over the next three minutes, to tie the game at 30-30. The score was still tied at 32-32, when the Crusaders used a 7-2 run to pull back in front by five (39-34) with seven minutes remaining. The Monarchs then used a 9-2 spurt to claim a 43-41 lead before, Holy Cross came back for the victory.
The Crusaders return to action on Saturday, Nov. 10, when they face Texas-San Antonio at 5:00 p.m. in their second game at the Liberty Tax Classic.