(Notre Dame, IN) The Holy Cross Men's Basketball Team was looking to win it's sixth game out of seven tonight as they took on the visiting Tiger of Olivet Nazarene.
Holy Cross came in as one of the hottest teams in the region. Coming into tonight they had won their last two games, and were also winners of five out of their last six games. Olivet Nazarene was going to be a tough challenge as they are consistently at the top of the Division I CCAC standings. In the end, the Tigers proved to be too much for the Saints tonight beating them 89-74.
The game was closely contested early on as there were six lead changes and neither team led by more than five points in the first ten minutes. The Tigers were the first to throw a major blow as they used and 11-2 run to open up an eight point lead with just less than eight minutes remaining in the first half.
The Saints fought back as they used a 7-2 run over a span of just two minutes to cut the lead to three points with the score 38-35 with three minutes to play in the game. That deficit stayed the same heading into the locker room as the Tigers led the Saints by three with the score 41-38 at halftime.
"We were having trouble down low the entire half, and I thought if we could throw some more muscle around down there and grab some rebounds that we might have a chance at winning this game," said Head Coach Bob Schermerhorn.
The Saints shot the ball really well from behind the arc going 6-11 in the first half which is good for 54.5%. Like Coach Schermerhorn said, however, they were outrebounded 24-14, and that proved to be the difference in the half. Senior J.T. Breveard (South Bend, IN) and junior Yama Kader (Mission Viejo, CA) led the Saints with 8 first half points. Junior Michael VanderPloeg (Kalamazoo, MI) had a nice first half as well scoring 5 points and dishing out a team high 6 assists.
The second half looked as if it was going to be as good as the first with the score tied at 50-50 with just over seventeen minutes to play in the game. The Tigers called a timeout, and it was a good one to take as they went on an 11-2 run over the next two mintues to take a nine point lead with just under fifteen minutes to play.
Holy Cross was able to battle back as they cut the lead to five points midway through the second half. Unfortunately, that was as close as they got the rest of the night. Olivet Nazarene went on a 13-5 run over the next four minutes to push their lead to thirteen points with just over six minutes remaining in the game. The Saints battled hard until the end, but came up short as the visiting Tigers of Olivet Nazarene beat Holy Cross 89-74.
"They just have so much bulk down low that we were having trouble with handling all night. I also thought number 24 (Antonio Marshall) is a fantastic player for them, and he really gives you trouble on the perimeter when he is able to penetrate into the lane to free up their big men. I thought our guys played hard all night, but we just came up short in the end," said Coach Schermerhorn.
Breveard led the Saints with 14 points on the night as he went 4 for 6 from behind the three point line. Kader ended with 11 points, and VanderPloeg netted 7 points and 8 assists to just 2 turnovers for the evening.
The Saints are now 12-14 on the season, and 6-5 in the CCAC. They take on the CCAC standings leader Cardinal Stritch, this Saturday at 5:00 p.m.