In a very unpatriotic performance, the Holy Cross Crusaders were able to repel the American University forces and withstand a furious second half charge to emerge victorious 59-52.
The day of the epic collision between HC's Class Agent Appreciation Day and Mid Majority's ALL CAPS DAY was ruled by the home team. The white-haired grads from years past showed up in their purple shirts as I YELLED GAME UPDATES from the stands via twitter, @3rdStringWalsh.
Alas, these two schools did the mid major world proud on its holiest of holidays. Neither team was ever out of the game until the final minute, when the Crusaders were able to hit just enough free throws to slam the door.
Holy Cross held a 28-20 halftime advantage thanks to some of the stingiest defense seen at the Hart Center since Ralph Willard paced the sidelines. American was held to 25% shooting from the field in the first 20 minutes, while stars Troy Brewer (3-8) and Charles Hinkle (4-18) were held well below their scoring averages.
Crusader coach Milan Brown has seen prettier games, however not many are more satisfying than taking down the second place Eagles at home after losing five of the last seven. When Brown was throwing Tiger-esque fist pumps after the final buzzer, Holy Cross had improved to 5-5 in the Patriot League with upcoming games against teams ahead of his in the standings.
Things were played evenly through the first half until the five minute mark where the Crusaders did everything but put a cap on the hoop, holding American scoreless while going on a 10-0 run to head into the intermission.
From there the Crusaders held the lead and more, pushing it to 15 points at the nine minute mark, 46-31. On a day where offensive highlights were few and far between, senior Devin Brown was somehow able to total 14 points though it took 13 shots to get there.
The Eagles, who average 65 points per game, were finally able to get some semblance of an offense going, and threes by Brewer and Mike Bersch cut the deficit to six, 53-47 with four minutes to go.
Holy Cross' interior offense was thrown off due to Dave Dudzinski's foul trouble granting him only 15 minutes of court time. While there he was effective, putting up 10 points and six rebounds including an important and-one with under five minutes to go.
Perhaps the Eagles should have started fouling earlier, as they were seemingly never out of the game with Holy Cross managing to go only 9-19 from the charity stripe. Luckily for the purple-clad faithful, the Crusaders were able to batten down the hatches on defense and hold off the American surge.
In the race for Patriot League tournament seeding, it can pay to be unpatriotic.
at HOLY CROSS 59, AMERICAN 52 02/11/2012
AMERICAN 16-9 (7-3) -- C. Hinkle 4-18 4-4 14; T. Brewer 3-8 0-0 9; D. Munoz 0-7 0-0 0; S. McCormack 4-6 0-0 8; B. Jolivette 0-3 0-0 0; T. Wroblicky 2-3 0-0 4; R. Grafft 0-0 0-0 0; M. Bersch 2-8 0-0 6; W. Simon II 2-2 0-0 5; J. Schoof 1-2 1-2 4; D. Fisher 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 19-59 5-6 52. HOLY CROSS 11-13 (5-5) -- D. Brown 4-13 4-6 14; R. Evans 2-5 2-8 6; J. Burrell 3-8 1-2 8; E. Obeysekere 3-6 0-0 6; M. Cavataio 1-3 0-0 2; T. Abt 2-3 0-0 5; J. Stevens 2-3 0-0 5; D. Dudzinski 4-8 2-3 10; M. Miller 1-2 0-0 3; P. Kerrigan 0-0 0-0 0; C. Mills 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-51 9-19 59.
Three-point goals: AMER 9-25 (T. Brewer 3-7; C. Hinkle 2-8; M. Bersch 2-5; D. Fisher 0-1; W. Simon 1-1; D. Munoz 0-1; J. Schoof 1-2), HC 6-16 (D. Brown 2-9; R. Evans 0-1; J. Stevens 1-2; J. Burrell 1-1; M. Miller 1-1; T. Abt 1-2); Rebounds: AMER 30 (C. Hinkle 8), HC 40 (R. Evans 8); Assists: AMER 12 (S. McCormack 4), HC 13 (M. Cavataio 3); Total Fouls -- AMER 20, HC 11; Fouled Out: AMER-S. McCormack; HC-None.