Milwaukee, Wisc. - For the first time all season the Holy Cross men's basketball team held an opponent to under 60 points in a game. Holding Cardinal Stritch to 57 points Saturday afternoon, the Saints were able to leave Wisconsin with a much needed victory. The stifling defensive effort gave the Saints a 65-57 victory over the Wolves. With the win, the Saints improve to 11-12 on the season and 7-7 in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference play. Cardinal Stritch drops to 11-12 overall and 7-6 in conference action.
After giving up 90 points to Oliver Nazarene University Wednesday evening, the Holy Cross defense looked like they would be giving up at least that after the first three minutes. After three minutes of play the Saints trailed 12-0 as Carlos Knox went on a 8-0 run to start the game. Instead of caving, the Holy Cross lineup of Miller, Lutz, Lawler, Brackett, and Binegar went on a 14-0 run of their own to take a two point lead six minutes into the game. Robby Jimenez entered the game at the 11:53 mark in the first half with the Saints leading 16-14. Jimenez hit triples on three straight possessions to put Holy Cross up 25-18 with 10:15 left in the half. After baskets by Travon Brackett and Madison McCaffrey the Saint held a 10 point advantage with 7:53 remaining in the first period. The Wolves battled back late in the first half to cut the lead to 1, but a Bryce Crosen jumper as time expired gave Holy Cross a 39-36 lead at the intermission.
The second half was a defensive battle between both squads with neither team able to pull away. The Saints would build a three point lead but the Wolves would claw back to tie the game. With 7:51 remaining in the game, the game was tied in the second half for the fifth time when McCaffrey lined up a deep three that found the bottom of the net. Two consecutive stops and two Ryan Lutz baskets gave Holy Cross a 7 point lead with 4:28 remaining. On the following possession, lockdown defense and a Brackett block caused a shot clock violation on the home team. A Ja'Mare Washington steal and layup gave the Saints a 6 point advantage with 1:37 remaining in the contest. The Saints ended the game with three consecutive stops and no missed free throws to leave with a 65-57 conference victory.
Sharpshooting freshman Robby Jimenez finished with 15 points on 4/6 shooting from three. Travon Brackett continued his strong play shooting 5 for 6 from the field to score 11 points while also grabbing 3 rebounds. The trip of Ryan Lutz, Bryce Crosen, and Madison McCaffrey each added 10 points a piece in the winning effort. Crosen also pulled down a team-high 7 rebounds.
The Saints (11-12, 7-7) will look to continue their strong defensive play as they travel to take on crosstown rival Indiana University - South Bend Wednesday at 7:30pm.