(Hammond, IN) The Holy Cross Men's Basketball Team got their first conference win of the season on the road Saturday afternoon beating the Peregrines of Purdue Calumet University 83-77.
The win did not come easy as the Saints battled back from a seven point halftime deficit to get a huge conference win on the road against Purdue Calumet Saturday.
Holy Cross came out firing out of the gates opening up a 9-2 lead after a Taylor Williams free throw with 16:40 remaining in the first half. The Peregrines battled back, however, going on a 7-0 run over the next two minutes and tying the game at 9-9.
The game was back and forth for the next seven minutes as neither team led more than 3 points. Purdue Calumet pushed on the gas a little harder at the end of the half as they went on 19-11 run to end the half, and pushed their lead to seven points with the score 46-39 in favor of the Peregrines at the break.
"We came out playing very well. I told the guys that if we tighten up a little bit better defensively we not only could get right back into this, but we could win this game. They just needed to believe that if they battled and worked hard that they would be rewarded with a win," said Head Coach Bob Schermerhorn.
The Saints did tighten up defensively as they only gave up 31 points in the second half. A 15 point improvement from the first half.
The Peregrines led by as many as nine points with sixteen minutes remaining, but the Saints went on 6-0 run in a minute span to get within 3 points with fifteen minutes left in the contest.
Holy Cross then got it's first lead in the second half off of jumper from junior Michael VanderPloeg (Kalamazoo, Michigan) with 13:33 left in the game. This was VanderPloeg's first game in a Holy Cross uniform, and he made it count, finishing the game with 12 points.
The game was tied for a seventh time at 74-74 with 5:47. Junior Taylor Williams (South Bend, Indiana) broke the deadlock with a jumper at the 5:00 mark, and it was a lead the Saints never gave back to Purdue Calumet.
The Saints hot shooting in the second half helped them build a lead as high as four points with three minutes remaining. (Holy Cross shot 50 percent in the second half.) Then some clutch free throw shooting from Kader, and sophomore Dane Okuda (Huntington Beach, California) iced the victory for the Saints at 83-77.
"I was really proud of our guys today. They worked very hard to battle back from the halftime deficit, and they truly deserved to win. This was a great win for our team and program, and I couldn't be prouder of the boys today," said Coach Horn.
The surge in the second half was led by junior Yama Kader (Mission Viejo, California). Kader scored a team best 29 points on the afternoon for the second straight game, and had a career high 9 rebounds on the afternoon. Okuda had a season high 17 points, and VanderPloeg tossed in 12 points in his Saints debut. Senior Taylor Williams was close to a double-double scoring 9 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Holy Cross is now 4-9 on the season overall. They have already tied the amount of wins they had all of last season. The win was also their first conference win, and it improves their record to 1-2 in the CCAC.
The Saints have a twelve day hiatus from game action over the winter break until they host visiting Brescia University at McKenna Arena in the Pfeil Center on December 28th at 7:00 p.m.