Sports Information Director
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Holy Cross men's basketball team returned home on Wednesday evening for a clash with their second consecutive top-five opponent as they hosted No. 4 Saint Xavier University in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) action. The Saints rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to tie the game in the second half but were unable to get over the hump as the Cougars held on to win 57-50.
A 12-2 run by the Cougars, where they scored the first nine points of the game, put the Saints in a difficult spot in Wednesday night's doubleheader finale. It was eight points from junior Drew Moore (Dayton, Ohio), including two three-pointers, which helped the Saints close the gap to 15-12 at the near midway mark of the first half. The Saints would be within three points five times during the half before a 7-3 run by the Cougars gave them a 28-21 advantage at the break.
The Saints made just 6-of-22 (27.3%) shots in the first half but were still right in the game.
An 8-4 run by the Saints to open the second half cut the Cougars lead to three points once again. They were able to keep the Cougars from extending the lead over five points and tied the game for the first time since the score read 0-0 at the 12:08 mark following a layup from Drew Moore. Michael Simpson knocked down a pair of free-throws on the Cougars ensuing possession to quickly retake the lead.
Saint Xavier would remain in control for much of the second half before Dane Okuda (Lakewood, Calif.) capped off an 8-4 run to make it a one-point game. Jack Krieger of Saint Xavier did his best to halt any momentum by the Saints by knocking down two big shots in the final three minutes of the game. Unable to cut it to a one-possession game on their last offensive possession, Saint Xavier would knock down a pair of free-throws to ice the game and defeat the Saints 57-50.
The Saints made nearly double the shots of Saint Xavier in the second half, however, it was the Cougars ability to convert at the foul line which helped put them over the top. Saint Xavier went 15-for-16 from the line in the second half while Holy Cross had just two attempts.
Michael Simpson led the way for the Cougars with 16 points while Jack Krieger (14) and Josh Mawhorr (12) each added double figured scoring numbers.
- Drew Moore has now led the Saints in scoring eight times this season after finishing with a team-high 15 points.
- The loss to Saint Xavier was the first home loss in CCAC play for the Saints this season.
- With the loss, the Saints have now dropped back-to-back games for just the second time this season (Nov. 8- Nov. 9).
Holy Cross (15-7, 8-3 CCAC) will continue their home stand on Saturday, February 1 against CCAC South Division-foe Purdue North Central. The two last met on November 20 where the Saints came away with a 79-64 road victory. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. EST.