Sports Information Director
RENSSELAER, Ind. -- The Holy Cross men's basketball team picked up a confidence boosting victory on Saturday evening against NCAA Div. II opponent Saint Joseph's College. Fresh off seeing their program-best seven-game winning streak end to St. Francis (Ill.), the Saints rallied for the 77-75 victory over the Pumas despite shooting just 29.4% from the field in the second half. Although the win doesn't count in the Saints record due to being an exhibition, the team heads into the Christmas holiday with a 10-5 overall record marking the best start in program history.
The Saints got off to a strong start in Saturday evening's exhibition against the Pumas on both ends of the floor. They shot 46.9% from the field with five three-pointers while turning eight Puma turnovers into eight points. Junior Zoe Bauer (Culver, Ind.) was very productive in the first half going 5-of-7 from the field with four three-pointers and four rebounds as the Saints took a 39-34 lead to the break.
While the strong shooting from the Saints began to cool down in the second half, the team continued to stay resilient. After extending their lead to nine points early in the second half, the Pumas went on a 15-5 run to take a 51-50 lead at the midway point of the second half. The production of Saint Joseph's continued in the half as the Pumas extended their lead to as many as four points with 7:11 remaining in the game.
Trailing by three in the later stages, junior Drew Moore (Dayton, Ohio) knocked down a key three-pointer to tie the game at 68-68. Tealgil Stonewall came up big down the stretch for the Pumas with a go-ahead jumper to put the Saints behind by two points with 35 seconds remaining. With time being of the essence, senior point guard Dane Okuda (Lakewood, Calif.) found himself in a familiar position. Despite struggling to make a shot in the first 39 minutes, Okuda came up with the biggest shot of the night as he knocked down a three-pointer with 20 seconds left to put the Saints up 74-73. A costly turnover by the Pumas gave the Saints the ball back and Drew Moore knocked down a pair of free-throws to extend the Saints lead to three points. Jon Smith scored a bucket for the Pumas to cut the Saints lead to one but Dane Okuda came up big once again. After being fouled, Okuda knocked down the first free-throw and then grabbed a key offensive rebound on the miss as the clock wound down to secure the 77-75 exhibition win for the Saints.
Holy Cross shot just 29.4% from the floor in the second half, but had a lot of production from their bigs. Brandon Evans (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Parker Dominguez (Santa Clarita, Calif.) combined for 19 points and 17 rebounds in the second half. Evans finished the game with a 16-point and 10 rebound double-double while Dominguez contributed with a 15-point and 12 rebound double-double. Of Dominguez' game-high 12 rebounds, 10 of them were offensive. Dominguez also finished with a game-high seven assists.
Zoe Bauer (16), Drew Moore (16) and Darrell McIntyre (Indianapolis, Ind.) (10) rounded out the bulk of the Saints scoring. The Saints held a 32-24 advantage on points in the paint and a 19-2 advantage on points off turnovers.
Holy Cross (10-5) will close out 2013 and their non-conference schedule on Monday, December 30 with a home matchup against IU-Northwest. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 7:00 p.m. EST at McKenna Arena.