slides: Holy Cross Beats Southern in NCAA First Four
Thursday, March 17, 2016
"The main thing we want to do is show people what we're about, what our team's about, and represent Holy Cross in a way we thought would be positive, win or loss. So I think we came out and did that today. We showed fight. There were times I think that we could have caved, and I don't -- I think that we hung tough and I think we've hung tough in the Patriot League tournament and I think we hung tough tonight. And I'm just really proud that we were able to do that," said Robert Champion after the game.
Grinding in the 2nd
With the game tied at 52 with 1:21 left to play, Holy Cross's Robert Champion hit a three to give Holy Cross a 55-52 lead with 56 seconds left to play in the game.
Cullen Hamilton would hit two free throws to put the Crusaders up 57-52 with 28 seconds left.
The Jaguars got within two, 57-55, after Adrian Rodgers hit a three with 24 seconds to play, however, Robert Champion was able to close the game out at the free throw line.
After leading by as much as 12 in the first half, Holy Cross trailed by as much as four, 42-38 and 44-40, in the second half.
Good Start, Poor Finish in 1st Half
Holy Cross led by as much as 12 points in the first half and were up 25-13 with 3:51 to play before Southern closed the half on a 9-2 run to trail 27-22 at the half.
"Well, we started out like gang busters and had a nice lead. But Southern didn't quit and they started finding, probably in the last six minutes or so of the first half, they started getting their rhythm. And very close at halftime," said Head Coach Bill Carmody after the game.
Prior to that, Holy Cross had held Southern to just 7 points with 7:12 to play in the half.
The Crusaders forced Southern into 6 first half turnovers, once again executing the 1-3-1 zone to perfection.
Robert Champion led Holy Cross with 19 points off the bench while Anthony Thompson followed up with 12.
Holy Cross moves on to the first round of the NCAA Tournament when they take on top seeded Oregon on Friday in Spokane. Tip off is set for 7:27 p.m.
Related Slideshow: 5 Takeaways From Holy Cross’ First Four Win Over Southern
A Win of Significanse
Holy Cross go thier first NCAA Tournament win in 53 years and have at least partly began to re introduce themselves to the college basketball world.
Coach Carmody talked about the significanse of the win.
"I think it's fantastic. I think it's everything that we're trying to do at Holy Cross. Father Boroughs, our president, is here tonight. Nate Pine, our athletic director, and a lot of alums. And we're trying to jump-start this program, because we recognize what an athletic program can do to a school. And this is a real, it's a great first step, a great first step. And it's also good for the city of Worcester, because it needs some help, like a lot of cities in the Northeast and across the Rust Belt and all that. So I just think it's just terrific for everything, recruiting, of course, and the small picture, that's going to help us a little bit. And the big picture, it's great for the school and the program."
Holy Cross' 1-3-1 zone was very effective in the first half, forcing Southern into 6 turnovers and allowing them only 7 points with 7:12 to play in the half.
Holy Cross was able to build a 12 point lead before Southern would get got and eventually take a lead of their own in the second half.
Southern ended up with 9 turnovers in the game.
Holy Cross was in control heading into the second half, even though Southern had a bit of momentum, but in the second turnovers were nearly costly.
The Crusaders turned the ball over 14 times in the game and that led to 19 Southern points.
Holy Cross had just 9 points off of Southern turnovers.
Robert Champion led Holy Cross with 19 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the field and 3 of 5 from the free throw line.
Champion hit a big three-pointer with 57 seconds left and the score tied at 52 to give Holy Cross a 55-52 lead. The Crusaders would not look back.
"I mean, it's a dream come true. Everybody dreams of making that shot. But the 3 was set up way before I even took it. Malachi made a great play to get me open. And it was just a practice shot," said Champion after the game.
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