Sports Information Director
WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- A strong second half was capped off with a buzzer-beating three-point shot from senior Dane Okuda (Lakewood, Calif.) as the Holy Cross men's basketball team knocked off the No. 16 Grace Lancers in the opening round of the Terry Polston Hoops for Hope on Friday evening. The Saints trailed the Lancers the entire game, and by 10 points at the half, before Okuda's shot gave Grace its first loss of the 2013-2014 season and the Saints its first win over a ranked opponent in the history of the program.
"Our team was very resilient tonight," first year head coach Mike McBride said. "We shot the ball well and had great effort from the entire team. It's a huge win for our program."
A 9-0 run to open up the game gave the tournament host Grace Lancer great momentum in the early stages of the first half. Led by Niko Read and Greg Miller's scoring, the Lancers had the Saints behind by as many as 13 points and went to the break with a 47-37 advantage.
Despite trailing by 10 points, the Saints produced one of their better shooting performance in the first half knocking down 16-of-33 (48.5%) shots from the field. Zoe Bauer (Culver, Ind.) found his shooting touch from the 2012-2013 season and closed out the first half with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 3-of-6 from distance.
Although they only had five first half turnovers, Grace was able to capitalize on the Saints mistakes and score 18 points off turnovers.
In the early stages of the second half, the Lancers extended their halftime lead to 12 points and held a double digit lead at 61-51 with 14:24 to play in the game.
A 10-3 run by Holy Cross was capped off with a three-pointer from junior Drew Moore (Dayton, Ohio) to cut the Grace lead to 64-61 with 11:21 still to play. The Saints continued to chip away and tied the game at 67-67 after Adam Vizard's (Kalamazoo, Mich.) first career field goal make.
Grace responded to the Saints second half comeback with a 14-5 run of their own to hold an 81-72 lead with 2:31 to play. Once again, however, the Saints rallied back and tied the game at 85-85 following a three-point shot from Dane Okuda with 11 seconds left in the game.
Following the shot from Okuda, Grace guard Logan Irwin took the ball the length of the court for the layup to take a two point lead with five second to play.
It was then where Okuda's heroics would strike again. Okuda banked in his third three-point shot of the game, and second in the final 11 seconds, at the buzzer to give the Saints the upset win over No. 16 Grace and advance to the championship round of the Terry Polston Hoops for Hope tournament on Saturday afternoon.
Four players reached double figures in scoring for the Saints, led by Zoe Bauer who finished with a team-high 21 points. Clayton Webb (Dallas, Texas) picked up his second double-double of the season with a 20 point and 12 rebound performance on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. Dane Okuda scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half while knocking down 3-of-3 shots from distance.
The win over Grace (4-1) marked the first time a Holy Cross men's basketball team has defeated a program ranked in the NAIA top 25.
With the victory, Holy Cross (3-3) will head to the championship round on Saturday as they take on the University of the Cumberlands. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 4:00 p.m. EST.