Holy Cross (12-17) at Lafayette (17-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 6, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Allan P. Kirby Sports Center (3,500) -- Easton, Pennsylvania. Television: Lafayette Sports Network. Home Record: Holy Cross 7-5, Lafayette 12-3. Away Record: Holy Cross 4-11, Lafayette 5-11. Neutral Record: Holy Cross 1-1, Lafayette 0-0. Conference Record: Holy Cross 3-10, Lafayette 10-4. Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 33-22.
GAME NOTES: The Holy Cross Crusaders will attempt to become the seventh No. 7 seed in Patriot League Tournament history to defeat the No. 2 seed in the quarterfinals as they visit the Allan P. Kirby Sports Center for a quarterfinals matchup against the Lafayette Leopards.
The winner of the Holy Cross-Lafayette game will move on to face the Colgate- Lehigh winner in the semifinals on Saturday, March 9, with the championship game set for Wednesday, March 13.
Lafayette swept its season series with the Crusaders in 2012-13, winning, 63-53, in Easton on Jan. 23, before Tony Johnson's 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds left lifted the Leopards to a 79-76 decision over Holy Cross in Worcester on Feb. 20. Holy Cross still owns a 33-22 all-time series lead despite losing the last three encounters.
Holy Cross ended a four-game losing slide in its regular-season finale as it coasted to a 74-59 victory over Colgate at home to arrive at a 12-17 overall record, including its 4-10 mark in league action. Dave Dudzinski led the team with 13 points, while De'Vaughn Reid chipped in 12 points for the Crusaders, who have won only two of their last 11 games. The Crusaders actually trailed by seven points in the second stanza before generating a 24-4 run to take control.
Dudzinski paces Holy Cross in both the scoring column (15.0 ppg) and on the glass (6.6 rpg), while converting 47.9 percent of his attempts from the floor. Justin Burrell chips in 12.4 points and 3.6 assists per tilt, but there are no other players carrying double-digit scoring averages for the Crusaders, who are sixth in the conference in average scoring offense at 61.4 ppg. Defensively, Holy Cross is slightly better with an allowed average of 63.9 ppg, good for fourth in the conference.
Lafayette played a very tough non-conference schedule that features the likes of Kentucky, Maryland, Princeton, Minnesota and Stanford. It managed to collect wins over Delaware and Penn, but entered Patriot League play with a 7-10 overall record. The Leopards played much better in conference action and closed out the regular season on a five-game winning streak to claim the No. 2 seed. Lafayette and Lehigh are the only two members of the Patriot League to take down the No. 1 seeded Bucknell Bison this season.
Sophomore guard Seth Hinrichs has emerged as the go-to-guy for Lafayette with team-leading averages of 14.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per outing. Sophomore forward Dan Trist has been sensational since returning from an injury four games ago, shooting 61.5 percent from the field to net 14 ppg during that span. The Leopards are the third most productive team in the conference offensively at 68.8 ppg, but they are tied for last in scoring defense with an allowed average of 69.6 ppg.
Defeating a team three times in a season is not an easy feat, but the recent improvement of Trist should help Lafayette keep Holy Cross at bay. The Crusaders will need to play above their heads to keep their season alive for another day.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Lafayette 68, Holy Cross 62
03/06 10:45:51 ET