The Holy Cross Men’s Basketball continued their conference home stand on Saturday when they took on the Saint Xavier University Cougars.
Sophomore guard Nash Hostetler opened up the game by sinking a three-pointer, a sign of the strong Saints shooting performance to come. In the first half, the Saints would go on to shoot 70% from beyond the arc. Hostetler himself went 4-4 from range, helping the Saints make seven out of 10.
Saint Xavier was able to nullify this shooting performance by the Saints, converting seven of their 11 three-point tries in the first. The shooting effort felt like two heavy-weight fighters trading blows. With 5:04 remaining in the first half and the Saints down two, Hostetler sank a three to take a 29-28. After the Saints were unable to score on a Xavier turnover, Xavier’s Maki Mohr reclaimed the lead with a three-ball of his own.
Moments later, Hostetler fought for a defensive rebound, and then hit his fourth and final three of the half. Just 16 seconds later, Drew Bishop reclaimed the lead with another Xavier three. That lead lasted for all of 17 seconds until senior guard Beau Ludwick put the Saints back up 38-37. The half closed with a clutch buzzer-beater three by TJ Babikir, putting the Saints down 40-38.
After the half, Babikir picked up right where he left off, with a three. That shot sparked a 10-2 Cougar run in the first five minutes of the second half.
Though the Saints would cut Saint Xavier’s lead down four midways through the half courtesy of a pair of free throws from senior guard Ryan Cartaino, Xavier would maintain control of the game until the final buzzer, winning 76-67.
Holy Cross now falls to 1-4 on the year and 0-2 in conference play. The Saints, now on a four-game losing streak, falling by at least seven points in each game, are scrambling for answers.
Conversely, Saint Xavier extended their winning streak to four games, and after losing their first two games of the season are 4-2, with a 2-0 conference record.
Saint Xavier now has a four-game winning streak against the Saints. The last time the Saints defeated the Cougars was at home Feb. 15, 2020. Holy Cross is 3-18 all-time against the Cougars.
Four Factors View
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)
Though the Saints started out with a dominant three-point shooting performance in the first half, they cooled off quickly in the second, going just 2-10. That brought the Saints to a 9/20 (45%) outing, compared to Xavier’s 13-23 (56.5%) performance.
Both teams shot incredibly well in the first half with the Saints boasting a .638 eFG%, and Xavier a .672%. However, the second half saw the Saints dip to .375%, while Xavier improved to .692%.
Turnover Percentage (TOV%)
The Saints had 12 turnovers and a TOV% of .166 while Xavier had 8 and a TOV% of .126. The Saints were able to compensate for their turnovers by scoring 15 points off their turnovers forced. Xavier only scored 14.
Offensive and Defensive Rebound Percentage (ORB% and DRB%)
Holy Cross dominated the glass at their end, boasting a .917 DRB%, only allowing Xavier 2 offensive rebounds. As a result, Xavier scored 0 second-chance points. The Saints also had a strong ORB% of .235 (compared to Xavier’s .083) and were able to score second-chance points.
Free Throw Factor
Holy Cross was able to get to the line 17 times and made 12 (an FT% of .226) while allowing Xavier just one trip to the line (.018).
The Saints will conclude their first stretch of home games on Nov. 16, when they host Governors State University at McKenna Arena.