Home » Columns »Your Phil of Hoops » Currently Reading:

Holy Cross may be turning a corner after pulling out a close one

December 4, 2011 Columns, Your Phil of Hoops No Comments
holycross

WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross may have conquered a demon in Saturday night’s 62-57 win over New Hampshire. The Crusaders appeared to have the game locked up in the final minute, leading by ten, but they allowed the Wildcats a couple of extra chances that suddenly made it a ballgame. A year ago, they might have ultimately blown this game, but the Crusaders pulled it out by doing just enough late.

 

The Crusaders led 60-50 with 38 seconds left after two free throws by Justin Burrell. The game was all but in hand at that point, especially since the Crusaders fought back rallies all night long. Then two missed free throws and two missed turnovers, one in their own end, helped New Hampshire suddenly get within 60-57. Burrell then sank two more free throws to finally seal the game and get the Crusaders over the hump.

 

“Coach said that we’re a lot different from last year,” said senior guard Devin Brown. “Today, we didn’t win the way people would want us to win, but at the end of the day, we won. That’s something that maybe we wouldn’t have done last year.”

 

The past couple of seasons have seen the Crusaders drop several heart-breakers as part of disappointing seasons. Last year, they lost three in non-league play where they had a lead in the final minute, including an overtime loss to Yale where they led by four with 26 seconds left. Nothing will top a loss to Loyola (Ill.) two seasons ago, where they led by eight with a minute to play and lost at the buzzer.

 

So the Crusaders haven’t exactly been experts at finishing close games the last couple of years. Perhaps Saturday night’s win is a sign that the veterans and this team as a whole are turning a corner.

 

“If teams are going to beat us, they have to beat us with us throwing them our best stuff,” said head coach Milan Brown.

 

The last minute wasn’t the only missed opportunity for the Crusaders. They played better defense early in the second half, but never broke the game open. At one point in the opening minutes, New Hampshire turned the ball over twice on consecutive possessions in their own end, but the Crusaders didn’t score following either one. They also shot 33.3 percent from the field in the second half, so it’s not as though they caught fire offensively. Missing those chances to break the game open could have come back to haunt them later.

 

That was another piece of adversity the Crusaders had to overcome on the night. Doing so seems to be a theme of late, as the Crusaders suffered a tough loss a few nights earlier at Providence where they were able to hang around and take the lead late in the game, but couldn’t hang on. Milan Brown said he thought the team got better from the loss and responded positively in practice after that. It showed in the second half when they made mistakes, even late in the game.

 

“We didn’t look like deer in the headlights when we made those mistakes,” said the second-year Holy Cross mentor. “We just made mistakes trying to make a play. It wasn’t like we weren’t confident trying to make a play.”

 

Holy Cross fell behind by one about eight minutes into the second half, but over a minute later they regained the lead for good despite a number of challenges to it by the Wildcats. In the last 2:33, they turned a one-point lead into the final margin thanks to eight free throws, including a 6-6 showing from Burrell, who finished with 13 points.

 

Milan Brown said the players are all on the same page and have bought in to what the staff is trying to do. Add in that they won a game they might have lost a year earlier, and Holy Cross looks like they may be headed in the right direction.

 

Comment on this Article:







Advertisement

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Your Phil of Hoops

Saturday Notes – January 24, 2015

January 25, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

This Saturday didn’t have quite the marquee matchups as a week earlier, but there were some important ones, especially with teams in the middle of a few conferences trying to separate themselves from the pack.

Saturday notes – January 17, 2015

January 18, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

High school games may have grabbed a lot of attention, but there were plenty of college games as well. Most results weren’t surprising, but were well worth looking at some notes on, and we do that here.

Rhode Island keeping perspective after tough loss

January 15, 2015 by

rhodeisland

Rhode Island controlled Tuesday night’s game against VCU, but couldn’t finish it and took a tough loss. Their improvement is evident, though, and they are keeping perspective on that in trying to keep improving.

Hoopville Archives

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

The Boston Winter Invitational is coming up on Sunday at UMass-Boston. Here is a look at some of what to expect in the four prep school games that are on the schedule.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

January 21, 2015 by

hoophall

Monday was the big day despite having just five games, as all were big matchups and most were nationally televised. There was plenty of talent in these games, and some big names played well.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

January 19, 2015 by

hoophall

It was a bad weather day outside, but fortunately we play the games indoors. Prep schools took center stage on a busy Sunday with some good talent and good games all the way to the end.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

January 18, 2015 by

hoophall

The Spalding Hoophall Classic picked up on Saturday, with a few good games, a couple of blowouts, then the best game of the day at the end. There was also plenty of good talent in each game.

2015 Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic – Sunday notes

January 14, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was the day for a trip a little down the road from Saturday’s destination to check out some prep school action. We take a look at some notes from the day’s games in the Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic.

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.