Sports Information Director
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- For just the second time in the history of the program, the Holy Cross men's basketball team hosted a quarterfinal matchup in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) postseason on Wednesday night as they took on the No. 19 ranked Eagles of Robert Morris University. After a slow start, where they found themselves trailing by as many as 13-points, the Saints responded to take a one-point lead with 5:36 left in the game. However, it was the Eagles who would close out Wednesday night's meeting with the upper hand as they knocked off the Saints 78-70 to end their 2013-2014 season.
It was the No. 19 Eagles who would take control in the early stages of Wednesday night's quarterfinal matchup, gaining a 9-5 advantage in the game's first four minutes following the deep shot from Sean Montgomery. Zoe Bauer would knot the score at 9-9 for the Saints at the 14:34 mark of the half before Robert Morris would score 10 consecutive points to take a 19-9 advantage with 11:33 still to play. Brandon Evans ended the 10-0 scoring run by Robert Morris with a basket at the midway point of the half, but five straight points from Sean Montgomery extended the Eagles lead to 24-11 with nine minutes still to play.
The Eagles remained in control for the entire first half, much to the miscues on the offensive end by the Saints. They would get within three points following a deep shot from Zoe Bauer, but Robert Morris continued to find an answer. Bauer and Parker Dominguez, though, scored the final four points of the half as the Saints responded to within four at the break.
Turnovers were a major concern for the Saints over the first 20 minutes as they gave the ball away 14 times which Robert Morris converted into 17 points.
Despite the issue with ball security, Zoe Bauer provided a great spark for the offense as he led all scorers in the half with 14 points including a trio of shots from distance. The Saints shot 51.7% from the floor and were within striking distance despite being at a 17-3 disadvantage in points off turnovers.
Both teams struggled to put the ball in the hoop in the early stages of the second half before Clayton Webb brought the Saints within two at the 17:43 mark.
The basket by Webb remained the lone points for the Saints over the next several minutes as Robert Morris opened up an eight-point lead at the 14:40 mark of the second half. Robert Morris would remain in control following a free-throw by Demarko Nash which kept their lead 54-47 before the Saints saw their first offensive surge of the second half. A jumper by Drew Moore and free-throw by Parker Dominguez closed off a 10-0 run by the Saints which not only gave them their first lead of the night, but put them up 57-54 with 7:50 left to play. The Eagles would rally off four consecutive points of their own to retake the lead at 58-57 before six lead-changes would ensue. Parker Dominguez put the Saints up 63-62 with 5:32 to play but the Eagles were quick to respond as Maurice Williams finished off the basket inside on their ensuing possession.
A major turning point of the game occurred with less than five minutes remaining in the game as Robert Morris took a missed shot by the Saints down the floor. After Nash missed the initial layup, Cortney Bell grabbed a big offensive rebound and finished off an and-one basket inside to put the Eagles lead up to two possessions. It was Dominguez again who would draw the Saints to within two points, however, the clutch shooting by the Eagles down the stretch would help them hang on to the lead. Senior Dane Okuda brought the Saints to within three points one final time in the game following a three-pointer, but Jarrell Turner of Robert Morris had the answer on the other end to make it a five-point game. Turner would soon ice the game with a pair of free-throws with 21 seconds left as the Saints would fall to the No. 19 Eagles by a final score of 78-70, ending their 2013-2014 season.
Holy Cross did a much better job with ball security in the second half, only turning the ball over four times. The challenge then switched to getting shots to fall. After hitting over 50% of their shots from the field in the first half, the Saints went 8-for-34 (23.5%) from the field and 1-for-9 (11.1%) from beyond the arc.
Senior Parker Dominguez scored 13 of his game-high 22 points in the second half. He finished the game 7-for-14 (50.0%) from the field and 8-of-11 from the foul line while grabbing 11 rebounds. Dominguez finishes his senior season with three double-doubles on the year. Zoe Bauer added 18 points with a trio of three-pointers and a 7-for-8 performance from the foul line while Clayton Webb added eight points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
Jarrell Turner paved the way for Robert Morris with a team-high 19 points. Sean Montgomery added 14, respectively. Robert Morris will now face No. 1 ranked Cardinal Stritch in the CCAC semifinals on Friday.
The Saints close out the 2013-2014 season with a program-best 20-11 record. The five-member senior class will leave Holy Cross having compiled three consecutive seasons with at least 14 wins, a program-best 20-win season, a program-best seven-game winning streak and the only group to have knocked off a ranked opponent and an NCAA Division II opponent.
- Brandon Evans (777), Dane Okuda (737) and Parker Dominguez (608) will leave Holy Cross having all accumulated at least 600 points their careers.
- Parker Dominguez (474) and Brandon Evans (415) each compiled over 400 rebounds in their two-year careers with the Saints.
- Dane Okuda is the all-time leader in assists (340) and steals (150).
- Drew Moore set a single-season record this season with 82 made three-pointers.
- The only two games the Saints have lost when scoring 70 or more points this season came against Robert Morris.
Although the season has come to an end, several Saints are still up for all-conference and academic honors. Information regarding both will begin at the conclusion of the CCAC Championship.