Holy Cross on Friday night got off to a winning start by beating Sacred Heart, 69-64, away from home.
Junior guard Patrick Benzan came up clutch for the Crusaders, making two free throws with 4.8 seconds left to extended the lead to 69-64. Benzan was fouled by Charles Tucker Jr. after he stole the ball from Joseph Lopez.
Junior forward Karl Charles lead the Crusaders in scoring with 23 points, and he also contributed four rebounds and three assists. Charles was 3 for 5 from 3-point land and 8 of 15 from the field. Benzan had a standout game, dropping 14 points, with three rebounds and two assists. He also made six of his eight free throws. Freshman forward Matt Faw added three points and three rebounds in his first game for the Crusaders.
Sacred Heart out-rebounded the Crusaders by 20, as both teams had 44 and 24 rebounds respectively. This gap came from the offensive rebounds, as Sacred Heart had 17, while the Crusaders only managed three. Holy Cross did a good job of limiting Sacred Hearts chances from beyond the arc, as they shot 20 percent from three, only making four in total.
Aside from their rebounding struggles, Holy Cross did play well defensively, as Sacred Heart only lead three times during the game. The first two leads for Sacred Heart came within the first three minutes.
Going forward for the Crusaders, rebounding is going to be the key to their success. While their shooting could be improved, as they shot 48 percent from the field and 39 percent from three, a 20 rebound gap is not a pleasant statistic. If the Crusaders can manage to get more offensive rebounds, they will be much more successful going forward.
This victory means that have six of their last seven games against Sacred Heart.
The Crusaders are now 1-0, and will have their home opener against Harvard (1-0) on Thursday, Nov. 16th. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.