Crusaders season ends

(Box score) The curtain came down on the best season in Patriot League hoops history last night in Philly when the Holy Cross Crusaders bowed out of the NIT with a 68-60 loss to Saint Joseph's.

Dick Jerardi of the Philadelphia Daily News summed it up best:
The Hawks never trailed and were never really comfortable. When the Crusaders started in some kind of matchup zone that wasn't matching up with anybody, the Hawks' shooters were wide open. They put up points on six of seven possessions and opened up a pair of 13-point leads.

Holy Cross' defense got way better in the second half. The Hawks went 11 minutes without a basket. They missed nine consecutive shots and had five turnovers during that forgettable stretch. Only free throws were keeping them ahead as Holy Cross attacked the rim on every possession.

Three times, Holy Cross had the ball down by a point. They turned it over twice and missed a contested runner.

When Carroll (15 points) hit a forced three-pointer with 8 ? minutes left that Hawks coach Phil Martelli rightly called 'an impossible shot,' the Hawks' karma returned. With the shot clock about done, Chet Stachitas (13 points) lost the ball in the lane. It went right to Dwayne Jones, who converted a three-point play. When Jones missed two free throws, Carroll got the rebound and took a shot from the corner. It hit the rim about 10 times and fell in.

Holy Cross had put up a great fight, but the basketball gods clearly were with St. Joe's. When Dwayne Lee (15 points) kept converting free throws (13 of 14), only the final margin was in doubt.
According to Jen Toland, in the Worcester Telegram-Gazette (apparently they are back to the password deal, so we will only quote with no link here):
For HC, it was almost like a nasty flashback to the Patriot League Tournament final when champion Bucknell . . .
Toland points out that Saint Joe's outscored HC by 13 at the free throw line. But it was really more a matter of HC not making its free throws than home cooking. Saint Joe's shot 28 free throws to 19 for the Crusaders, but at least eight of those came in the end game as HC fouled out of desperation.

The big difference was that while Saint Joe's was shooting 83 percent from the stripe (23-of-28), Holy Cross barely made half its free throws (10-of-19).

  • Hawks top Holy Cross in NIT second-rounder (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Carroll leads Hawks to win in home finale (Morning Call)
  • Carroll, St. Joseph's win, advance in NIT (Camden Courier Post)
  • McCaffery: Hawks are successful in the transition game (Delco Daily Times)

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