Survive and advance

"Survive. That's the name of the game this time of year and we found a way to do it," Ralph Willard told the Express-Times.

That pretty much sums up what happened in Worcester, where the top seeded Crusaders found themselves in a 7-point hole with 7 minutes to go Sunday afternoon.

Three minutes later, after HC had cut the lead to 3, Lehigh's Erik Smith tried to sneak a pass to a cutter and HC's Kevin Hamilton was there to get a hand on it. Only instead of causing a turnover, the ball was delected into the hoop to push the Hawks lead back to 5.

At that point, Willard told the Morning Call,"You've got to feel it's not your day."

As it turned out, though, that was the last field goal Lehigh would manage. HC tied it on a Hamilton three and a pair of free throws by Keith Simmons, then won it at the foul line in overtime.

All 12 points scored in OT (8 by HC, 4 by Lehigh) came on foul shots. Hamilton showed why he is the player of the year, hitting 6-for-6 at the line in OT (unlike some other pretenders to the throne who struggle in such situations).

A tip of the hat to Mark Cofman of the Boston Herald, who was the only one to share this key tidbit aboiut the end of regulation in the stories we read this morning:
John Hurley and Nate Lufkin came up with consecutive blocks of shots by Bryan White and Nick Monserez, sparking a brilliant Crusaders defensive stand in which the shot clock expired on Lehigh with 6.5 seconds left.
Here are some interesting notes from the box score of a game with nine ties and 11 lead changes:
  • Lehigh's last field goal came with 3:45 to play in regulation
  • Juco Joe Knight, after a 45-point performance against Colgate, was 3-14, 3-9 from 3-point range for 11 points
  • No assists, 3 turnovers for the Lehigh point guard
  • HC point guard tandem Torey Thomas and Pat Doherty combined for 6 assists, 1 turnover
  • Jason Mgebroff, Lehigh's 6-10 center was a DNP. He also missed the Colgate game with a foot injury
  • In his stead, 6-9 junior Michael Fischman has 10 rebounds
  • John Hurley was a difference maker for HC with 11 points and 9 boards
  • Hurley played 40 minutes; Kevin Hamilton logged 42
  • Though the game was won at the foul line in OT, overall, both teams were even with 20 made free throws. The difference in the box score was Holy Cross' 16-14 edge in field goals
  • Hamilton, the league's player of the year, was 3-for-11 from the field, but his 8-for-9 at the free throw line helped him lead all scorers with 16 points
    Box score| AP wrap | HC recap | Boston Globe

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