Holy Cross Concludes Road Swing At Sacred Heart

Eric Obeysekere

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The Teams: Holy Cross (4-4, 0-0 PL) vs. Sacred Heart (2-4, 0-0 NEC)
Date: December 5, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: William H. Pitt Center (2,100), Fairfield, Conn.
Live Video Streaming: www.NECFrontRow.com
Holy Cross Radio: Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Click Here to Listen
Unofficial Live Statistics: Presto Sports Primetime
Series Record: Tied, 4-4
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 71, Sacred Heart 60 (December 9, 2011; Worcester, Mass.)

Pos., No., Name, Ht., Wt., Cl.
F, 13, Malcolm Miller, 6-6, 190, So.
F, 50, Dave Dudzinski, 6-9, 227, Jr.
C, 44, Phil Beans, 6-9, 233, Sr.
G, 3, Justin Burrell, 5-9, 165, So.
G, 32, Jordan Stevens, 6-5, 200, Sr.

CRUSADERS CONCLUDE ROAD SWING AT SACRED HEART: Holy Cross will play the last of three straight games on the road, when it travels to Sacred Heart at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Following the contest against the Pioneers, the Crusaders will come home to face Dartmouth on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 4:00 p.m. Holy Cross will then take a 10-day break for final exams, before returning to action at San Francisco on Tuesday, Dec. 18.

THE SERIES WITH SACRED HEART: This will be just the ninth meeting between the Crusaders and the Pioneers on the hardwood, with the all-time series tied at 4-4. Holy Cross won the last contest between the schools, 71-60, last season in Worcester. Prior to that, Sacred Heart had come out victorious in four of the previous five meetings. For games played in Fairfield, the Pioneers own a perfect 3-0 record. Overall, the home team has won seven of the eight games in the series, with the lone exception being Sacred Heart's 82-79 victory at the Hart Center on Dec. 22, 2009. The schools first met on Jan. 3, 1999, with the Crusaders winning 55-52 in Worcester.

Overall: Tied, 4-4
In Fairfield: Sacred Heart leads, 3-0
At the William H. Pitt Center: Sacred Heart leads, 3-0
Milan Brown vs. Sacred Heart: 12-5
Dave Bike vs. Holy Cross: 4-4
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game
In Overtime: n/a

CRUSADERS AGAINST THE NORTHEAST CONFERENCE: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 23-9 against the 12 schools which currently compete in the Northeast Conference. The Crusaders are 12-4 against Northeast Conference foes since 1985, with the only four losses during that time coming against Sacred Heart. Holy Cross stands 2-0 all-time against Central Connecticut, 1-1 vs. Long Island, 4-0 against Mount St. Mary's, 2-0 vs. Quinnipiac, 4-4 against Sacred Heart, 10-3 vs. St. Francis (N.Y.) and 0-1 against St. Francis (Pa.).

HOLY CROSS SHINES ON THE DEFENSIVE END: The Crusaders have once again been a strong defensive team so far this season. Through eight games played, Holy Cross has given up only 57.0 points per contest, while holding the opposition to 38.6 percent shooting from the field and 22.2 percent shooting from three-point range. The Crusaders are also averaging 3.9 blocked shots per game, and are outrebounding the opposition by 1.9 boards per contest. In addition, Holy Cross has held five of its eight opponents to 60 points or less this season. Last year, the Crusaders ranked first in the Patriot League in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.5 percent) and blocked shots (4.4 blocks per game), while holding their opponents to 66.8 points per game and 42.1 percent field goal shooting overall.

BURRELL LEADS HOLY CROSS FROM THE POINT: Sophomore Justin Burrell (Dumfries, Va.) is now in his second season as Holy Cross' starting point guard, after being selected as the 2011-2012 Patriot League Rookie of the Year. Through eight games played this season, he has averaged 10.6 points, 2.3 assists and 2.3 rebounds per contest, while hitting 93.8 percent (15 of 16) of his free throws. During the Hartford game, Burrell totaled 10 points and three assists. Previously at St. John's, he recorded 12 points and five assists. Burrell also earned All-Tournament honors at the Liberty Tax Classic, where he averaged 16.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He totaled 16 points and four assists against Morgan State; 17 points, three rebounds and two steals against Texas-San Antonio; and 15 points and six rebounds against Old Dominion. Burrell started all 29 of the Crusaders' games last year, averaging 7.4 points, 3.7 assists and 2.0 rebounds per contest, and hitting 77.4 percent (65 of 84) of his free throw attempts. He really stepped up his play over the final seven games in 2011-2012, averaging 11.0 points, 3.3 assists and 1.9 rebounds during that time, while making on 47.4 percent of his three-pointers (nine of 19). Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Burrell has now totaled 299 points, 124 assists, 76 rebounds and 25 steals, while making 80.0 percent (80 of 100) of his free throws.

DUDZINSKI PLAYS BIG DOWN LOW: Junior forward Dave Dudzinski (Elburn, Ill.) is once again a key player for the Crusaders in the low post positions this year. In eight games played, he has averaged 12.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per contest, while connecting on 81.3 percent (26 of 32) of his free throw attempts. During the Hartford game, Dudzinski posted a double-double with 13 points, a career-high 15 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Previously at Providence, he led the team with 11 points and eight rebounds. Dudzinski also had a huge game against Morgan State with 20 points and eight rebounds, including a pair of free throws to give Holy Cross the lead with 17 seconds remaining. Some of his other top games this year have come against New Hampshire (19 points, eight rebounds, three steals, two assists), St. John's (12 points, five rebounds), Maine (10 points, nine rebounds) and Texas-San Antonio (eight points, 12 rebounds, three blocks). In 29 games played last season, Dudzinski averaged 9.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks, while making 48.7 percent (97 of 199) of his field goal attempts and 83.1 percent of his free throws (69 of 83). During the 2010-2011 campaign, he was named to the Patriot League All-Rookie team, after averaging 4.6 points and 2.8 rebounds in 27 games played, while hitting 54.8 percent (51 of 93) of his field goal attempts. Over the course of his collegiate career, Dudzinski has now totaled 495 points, 319 rebounds and 48 blocked shots, while connecting on 78.7 percent (111 of 141) of his free throws.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 94th season of Holy Cross men's basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1318-888 (.597), 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.

HARTFORD RECAP: Dave Dudzinski posted a double-double with 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, but Holy Cross was defeated by Hartford 48-45 at the Chase Family Arena on Dec. 1, 2012. Justin Burrell added 10 points and three assists for the Crusaders. The score was tied at 4-4 early on, before the Hawks scored five straight points to go up by five. Hartford would extend its lead to six points (12-6), before the Crusaders used a 6-0 run to tie up the score at 12-12. The Hawks came right back with a 7-2 spurt of their own to go back in front by five (19-14) with four minutes left before the break. Holy Cross responded with an 8-0 run to claim its first lead of the night, and would go on to take a 22-20 advantage into the locker room at halftime. Early in the second half, Hartford used a 7-0 spurt to pull back in front (27-24) with 16 minutes left to play. After the Crusaders had tied up the score at 27-27, the Hawks went on an 11-0 run to reclaim the lead. Hartford would increase its advantage to 14 points (42-28) with eight minutes remaining, before Holy Cross used an 8-0 run to get back into the game. The Crusaders would trim the margin down to one point (46-45) with 17.8 seconds to go on a three-point field goal by Jordan Stevens, before Evan Cooper hit a pair of free throws to put the Hawks back up by three (48-45). A three-point attempt by Burrell in the closing seconds was then off the mark, as Hartford held on for the victory. Holy Cross held a 43-28 rebounding advantage on the night, and held the Hawks to 31.5 percent shooting from the field. But the Crusaders also committed 17 turnovers, and made just 35.3 percent of their own field goal attempts. Mark Nwakamma led Hartford with 12 points and three steals.

BROWN NOW IN THIRD YEAR WITH CRUSADERS: Milan Brown is in his third season as the head coach at Holy Cross in 2012-2013, with an overall record of 27-39 and a 16-12 mark in Patriot League regular season games. With the win over Army on Feb. 9, 2011, he recorded the 100th victory of his collegiate head coaching career. Brown's overall career record now stands at 122-159 (.434). The 16th head coach in the history of the program, he came to Holy Cross after spending the previous seven seasons as head coach at Mount St. Mary's. During his final three years at Mount St. Mary's, Brown led the Mountaineers to three straight winning seasons and a pair of postseason appearances. His teams posted a 54-44 record (.551) during those three years, including a 35-19 mark (.648) in Northeast Conference play. During the 2007-2008 campaign, Brown led Mount St. Mary's to the first NCAA Division I Tournament victory in school history (69-60 over Coppin State).

STEVENS STEPS INTO STARTING ROLE: Senior guard Jordan Stevens (Gansevoort, N.Y.) has taken over as a starter for the Crusaders on the wing this year, after serving as a key reserve last season. In eight games played this year, he has averaged 7.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.0 steals per contest. During the victory over Maine, Stevens posted his first career double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. He previously had 14 points, four rebounds and four steals against Texas-San Antonio. Stevens also scored nine points at Hartford, while recording seven points and two rebounds in the victory over Morgan State. In 28 games played in 2011-2012, he averaged 5.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists, while making 44.0 percent (22 of 50) of his three-point field goal attempts. As a sophomore in 2010-2011, Stevens averaged 7.1 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, scoring a season-high 15 points against both Army and Navy. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 402 points, 161 rebounds and 88 assists, while connecting on 33.9 percent (60 of 177) of his three-point field goal attempts.

OBEYSEKERE STEPS UP ON FRONT LINE: Senior forward Eric Obeysekere (Orinda, Calif.) has developed into a solid presence for the Crusaders in the low post. After missing the first four games of the season due to injury, he has averaged 3.8 points and 6.5 rebounds over the last three contests. Obeysekere totaled eight points, seven rebounds and two assists at Providence, and pulled down 10 rebounds at Hartford. Last season, he averaged 3.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Obeysekere's best game during the 2011-2012 campaign came against San Francisco, when he totaled 10 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots. In 2010-2011, he averaged 4.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. Over the course of his career with the Crusaders, Obeysekere has now totaled 255 points, 354 rebounds and 101 blocked shots.

THE LAST MEETING WITH SACRED HEART: R.J. Evans totaled 12 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists, as Holy Cross posted a 71-60 victory over Sacred Heart at the Hart Center on Dec. 9, 2011. Evans became the 46th player in school history to score 1,000 career points when he netted a layup with 11:41 remaining in the second half. Devin Brown scored a game-high 22 points for the Crusaders, while Justin Burrell added 10 points, six assists and two steals. Jeff Harris also had a solid night off the bench, recording seven points, two rebounds and two steals. Sacred Heart was led by Justin Swidowski with 14 points and 11 rebounds. The game was tied at 6-6 early on, when Holy Cross went on an 18-2 run to open up a 16-point advantage (24-8). Both Brown and Dave Dudzinski scored five points during that spurt. The Crusaders would increase their lead to 18 points late in the half, before eventually taking a 35-20 advantage into the locker room. The Pioneers chipped away at the lead early on in the second half, cutting the margin to nine points (39-30) with 15 minutes to go on a three-pointer by Shane Gibson. But Harris then scored the next five points, igniting a 12-3 run which put Holy Cross back up by 18 (51-33). The Crusaders' lead would remain in double figures until the 4:11-mark, when a pair of free throws by Gibson made the score 61-52. But Sacred Heart would get no closer, as Holy Cross made eight of 10 free throws in the final two minutes to ice the victory.

BEANS PLAYS KEY MINUTES IN THE POST: Senior center Phil Beans (Toledo, Ohio) is once again playing a key role for Holy Cross in the paint this season. In six games played, Beans has averaged 7.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest, while making 32.0 percent (eight of 25) of his shots from three-point range. During the victory over Maine, he led the Crusaders with a career-high 19 points and eight rebounds. Beans previously earned All-Tournament honors at the Liberty Tax Classic, where he averaged 8.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He recorded 17 points and six rebounds against Morgan State, posted three points and seven rebounds against Texas-San Antonio, and totaled six points, four rebounds and two steals against Old Dominion. In 28 games last year, Beans averaged 6.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per contest, while making 36.8 percent (21 of 57) of his three-point field goal attempts. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has now recorded 266 points, 168 rebounds and 19 blocked shots.

HOLY CROSS NAMES CAPTAINS: Senior center Phil Beans, sophomore guard Justin Burrell and junior forward Dave Dudzinski have been selected as the Crusaders' captains for the 2012-2013 season. These three players have taken over the leadership role from Devin Brown and R.J. Evans, who served as the Crusaders' captains during the 2011-2012 campaign.

CRUSADERS PICKED FOURTH IN PRESEASON POLL: In the 2012-2013 Patriot League preseason poll, Holy Cross was picked to finish in fourth place in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 55 total points in the conference preseason poll, to tie with Lafayette for fourth place. Lehigh placed first in the poll with 96 total points and 12 first-place votes, followed by Bucknell in second with 88 points and four first-place votes, and American in third with 66 points. The preseason rankings were rounded out by Army (sixth, 47 points), Colgate (seventh, 26 points) and Navy (eighth, 15 points).

HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I leaders for five statistical categories, through games of Dec. 2. In addition, two players stand among the best in the nation in individual statistical categories. The rankings:

Category Rank   Player / Team Avg.
Three-Point Percent Defense 5   Holy Cross 22.2
Free Throw Percent 11   Holy Cross 78.0
  184   Dave Dudzinski 81.3
Scoring Defense 26   Holy Cross 57.0
Rebounding 54   Dave Dudzinski 8.9
Field Goal Percent Defense 59   Holy Cross 38.6
Fewest Personal Fouls
76   Holy Cross 16.1
Blocked Shots 194   Malcolm Miller 1.4

CRUSADERS AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 332-132 at the Hart Center, including a 2-0 mark so far this year. The Crusaders posted their 300th win in the building against Sacred Heart on Nov. 14, 2008. Holy Cross 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 the Crusaders posted a perfect 14-0 mark at the Hart Center, setting a school record for the most home victories since they moved into the building. During the Hart Center's history, Holy Cross has posted a winning record at home in 31 out of 37 seasons, while recording double-figure home victories 17 times. The Crusaders stand 118-40 at home since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, including a 76-20 record against Patriot League foes.

CRUSADERS LOOKING FOR SIXTH PATRIOT LEAGUE REGULAR SEASON TITLE: During the 2012-2013 campaign, Holy Cross will attempt to win the Patriot League regular season title for the sixth time in school history. 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' three outright titles are the second-most in league history, and Holy Cross' five total championships are tied for the second-most in conference history with Navy (one outright, four shared), behind only Bucknell (four outright, three shared).

HOLY CROSS LOOKS TO POST ANOTHER WINNING RECORD IN LEAGUE PLAY: With a 9-5 mark in conference games last year, the Crusaders once again finished the regular season with a winning record in Patriot League play. That marked the 14th time Holy Cross has posted a winning record against conference opponents in the league's 22-year history. The Crusaders previously finished with winning records in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009. Holy Cross' 14 winning seasons in conference play are the second-most in the history of the Patriot League, behind only Bucknell with 17.

CRUSADERS IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Two current Holy Cross players have already earned spots in the school's all-time record book. Senior forward Eric Obeysekere currently ranks seventh all-time at Holy Cross in career blocked shots (101). In addition, senior guard Jordan Stevens tied the all-time school single-game record for three-point field goal percentage when he hit all four of his attempts from behind the arc against Hartford on Nov. 23, 2011.

HOLY CROSS ON THE RADIO: Most of the Crusaders' basketball contests during the 2012-2013 season will be carried live over the internet. The games will be streamed by Stretch Internet free of charge, with links to the broadcasts available by clicking here. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre will be in his 26th season calling the play-by-play for Crusader basketball on the radio. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their ninth year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. WCHC 88.1 FM, the Holy Cross student station, will also carry a number of games this year.

CRUSADERS ON TELEVISION: Holy Cross will have at least seven games shown on live television during the 2012-2013 season. The Crusaders had seven television appearances last year, while appearing on television eight times in 2010-2011, nine times in 2009-2010, 10 times in 2008-2009, eight times in 2007-2008, 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 2012-2013 season:

Nov. 21 at St. John's: SportsNet New York
Nov. 27 at Providence: Cox Sports
Jan. 12 at Lehigh: CBS Sports Network
Jan. 23 at Lafayette: Lafayette Sports Network
Jan. 26 vs. Bucknell: CBS Sports Network
Jan. 30 vs. Army: Charter TV3
Feb. 17 at American: CBS Sports Network

PATRIOT LEAGUE ALL-ACCESS: Live video streaming of most Patriot League regular season games during the 2012-2013 season will be available over the internet through Patriot League All-Access. The package, done in association with CBS College Sports Online, is available for a monthly subscription. For details on how to sign up for Patriot League All-Access, click here.

CRUSADER VISION: Live video streaming of all 2012-2013 Holy Cross home non-conference games will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision. The package, done in association with Stretch Internet, is available for $8.95 per game. Season packages are also available for men's basketball only ($29.95) or all Holy Cross sports ($99.95). For details on how to view games through Crusader Vision, click here.

E-MAIL ALERTS: Get all the latest news and results on the Holy Cross men's basketball team sent directly to your e-mail. To sign up for e-mail alerts, click here.

SCOUTING THE PIONEERS: Sacred Heart enters the game with an overall record of 2-4 on the season. The Pioneers have lost four of their last five games, and are coming off a 69-56 setback at Brown. Junior forward Louis Montes leads the team with an averages of 14.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game so far this season. Senior guard Shane Gibson has averaged 13.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest, while senior forward Justin Swidowski is chipping in with 8.5 points and 4.3 boards per game. Sacred Heart is led by Dave Bike, who owns an overall record of 522-483 in 35 seasons as the Pioneers' head coach.

DRIBBLES: Freshman forward Christopher Morgan (Gloucester, Va.) scored a career-high six points at Providence, while hitting all three of his field goal attempts ... Sophomore forward Malcolm Miller (Laytonsville, Md.) totaled 10 points and seven rebounds during the victory over New Hampshire. He also scored 10 points earlier in the year against Texas-San Antonio, and has now averaged 5.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 assists per game this season ... Sophomore forward Taylor Abt (Darnestown, Md.) set new career highs with nine points and eight rebounds in the win over New Hampshire. After missing the first three games of the season due to injury, he in now averaging 4.6 points and 2.8 rebounds per contest ... Freshman guard Cullen Hamilton (Washington, D.C.) totaled 15 points and four rebounds in the season opener at Old Dominion, including the game-winning free throw with 8.9 seconds remaining. His 15 points were the most by a Holy Cross player in his collegiate debut since R.J. Evans scored 15 points against Sacred Heart in 2008. Hamilton added 11 points in the victory over New Hampshire, and is now averaging 6.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game ... Last season, Holy Cross assistant coach Dan Engelstad took part in Shots from the Heart, a project created by CollegeInsider.com to help raise awareness for the growing problem of heart disease ... Holy Cross' six-game winning streak in 2012 (from Feb. 8-25) was its longest since winning six consecutive contests in 2007 (from Nov. 10-28) ... Holy Cross' victory over Boston College on Nov. 18, 2011, snapped a 14-game losing streak against Atlantic Coast Conference schools, since a 63-61 win at North Carolina State during the Dixie Classic on Dec. 29, 1959. The Crusaders' next most previous win over Boston College came on Dec. 1, 2002, when the Eagles were members of the Big East Conference.