When the Harvard men’s basketball team takes on Holy Cross at Lavietes Pavilion on Dec. 22, the Crimson will attempt to earn a fifth consecutive victory over the Crusaders. Harvard came out on top, 73-64, when the two teams met last year on Nov. 15, 2011.
But despite the Crimson’s recent dominance of the Crusaders, last season’s contest was closer than the score indicated. The game was tied, 34-34, at the half, and Harvard found itself up only four points with seven minutes remaining before a late run put the game out of reach.
The main contributors in the matchup will be very different than last year’s, as key players from both schools are no longer with their teams.
In last year’s campaign, most of the Holy Cross production came from guard Devin Brown and forward R.J. Evans, who led the team in season scoring and netted 17 and 13 points against the Crimson, respectively.
But although they lose Brown and Evans, the Crusaders return most of its core team this season. Both junior forward Dave Dudzinski and sophomore guard Justin Burrell, who started every game last year and were third and fourth on the team in scoring, will likely account for a good portion of the team’s offense.
Dudzinski, who led Holy Cross with 6.0 rebounds per game last year, will team up with senior center Phil Beans to anchor the Crusaders down low.
Holy Cross will also rely on freshman guard Cullen Hamilton, who scored 15 points in his first collegiate game and subsequently named Patriot League Rookie of the Week.
The Crusaders finished with a 15-14 record last year and lost to Lafayette in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League tournament. Holy Cross was picked to finish fourth this year in the conference preseason poll.
The Dec. 22 matchup represents the final game for both Harvard and Holy Cross before a weeklong break, and whoever can pull out the victory in Cambridge will be rewarded with an early Christmas gift.