FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Sophomore guard Justin Burrell (Dumfries, Va.) scored a career-high 30 points to lead the Holy Cross men's basketball team to an 83-78 victory over Sacred Heart at the William H. Pitt Center. Burrell, who made 11 of 15 field goal attempts, four of six three-pointers and all four of his free throws, netted 20 of his points in the first half to eclipse his previous career high of 17 before the break. The Crusaders improve to 5-4 on the season with the victory, while the Pioneers fall to 2-5 overall.
Junior forward Dave Dudzinski (Elburn, Ill.) totaled 19 points and five rebounds for Holy Cross, while senior center Phil Beans (Toledo, Ohio) added 18 points, five rebounds and two assists. Sacred Heart was led by Shane Gibson with 24 points and three steals.
The Crusaders opened the game by scoring the first eight points, and used a 9-0 run a few minutes later to take a 22-8 lead with 14:14 remaining in the first half. Burrell scored 12 of Holy Cross' first 22 points on the night, sinking four three-point field goals. The Pioneers were able to cut the margin down to seven points (26-19) at the 9:19-mark, before a pair of layups by Burrell pushed the lead back to double digits. The Crusaders would lead by as many as 15 points late in the half, before taking a 46-32 advantage into the locker room.
Holy Cross held onto a double-figure lead early in the second half, and increased the margin to 17 points (59-42) with 13:40 left to play. But Sacred Heart then went on an 11-1 run over the next three and a half minutes to get back into the game. The Crusaders were still up by nine (72-63) with 4:24 remaining, when the Pioneers used a 9-0 spurt to tie up the game at 72-72 with 2:02 left to play. On Holy Cross' next possession, senior guard Jordan Stevens (Gansevoort, N.Y.) hit a three-point field goal as the shot clock expired to put the Crusaders back in front for good. Holy Cross then made eight of 10 free throws in the final 1:13 to hold on for the victory.
Holy Cross set season highs by making 52.7 percent of its field goal attempts (29 of 55) and 42.5 percent of its three-pointers (10 of 23). The Crusaders also outrebounded the Pioneers 35-26 on the night.
Holy Cross returns to action on Saturday, Dec. 8, when it plays host to Dartmouth at 4:00 p.m.