(Notre Dame, Ind.) It was a trio of upperclassmen that helped lead the Saints to their second straight victory and fourth in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Saturday night at the Pfeil Center.
This was the first game action for the Saints in a week after a 60 - 56 victory over then conference leader Judson University.
Dane Okuda (Huntington Beach, Calif.) started the night with a 3-pointer and the Saints took an early 7 - 3 lead over the visting Panthers of Purdue North Central. However, PNC responded and built up a 6 point lead after Panther guard Nick Neal hit a lay-up at the 8:42 mark.
Over the final 7 minutes of the half the Saints went on a 9 - 2 run and took a 31 - 26 lead into halftime. The Saints held the Panthers without a field goal during the stretch as Kyle Sanders netted a pair of free throws for PNC.
"I thought we came out a little sluggish to start the game," said Head Coach Bob Schermerhorn. "However, the guys responded nicely and we were able to close out the first half with a great defensive effort."
Matt Demler cut the Saints lead to 3 to open the second half, but Holy Cross responded with a 9 - 0 run to take a 12 point lead early in the second half.
The Panthers managed to pull within 5 at the 5:27 mark, however the Saints hit their free throws down the stretch and held on to a 77 - 65 victory.
Junior Taylor Williams (South Bend, Ind.) led Holy Cross with 20 points and 9 rebounds while Senior Adam Dobrzykowski (South Bend, Ind.) set a career high 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. Senior Mark Wilkins (Chicago, Ill.) had a season high 19 points and 7 rebounds on 9-of-11 shooting from the field.
"It was a good win for the guys after having a week off of game action," said Coach Horn. "Our two seniors came out and really helped to carry this team coming up with big plays on both ends of the court."
The Saints shot nearly 53% on the night while holding PNC to 40% from the field. Holy Cross outrebounded PNC 34 - 30 and converted 13 PNC turnovers into 21 points.
The win puts the Saints at 6th place in the conference standings with a conference showdown this Monday, February 8th, at Purdue Calumet. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30pm (est).
Holy Cross now stands at 4 - 21 overall and 4 - 6 in the CCAC. They will return home next Saturday to host conference leader Cardinal Stritch at 3pm. The HCC athletic department will be honoring faculty and staff members at halftime of the game.