Senior Saints win final home game of season, move into tie for remaining playoff spot
Thomas Zwiller | Thursday, February 16, 2023
After 108 days that saw the team go 12-14 with a 6-5 home record, the Holy Cross men’s basketball team finished their season at home as they started it: hosting East-West University.
Back on Oct. 31, the Saints hosted the East-West University Phantoms and defeated them 78-58. That was the senior class’s first home game of the season, and as the seniors were honored in their final game at the Pfeil, the outcome was more of the same. The Saints put forth an even more dominant effort, winning 95-63.
The game started as a close contest, with both teams shooting well from deep. The Phantoms made 50% of their ten attempts which helped them keep pace with the Saints, who were four of ten.
With five minutes remaining in the first half, Phantom forward Jaha Jackson hammered home a dunk to take a four-point lead, the largest for the Phantoms to that point in the game. It would also be their last. Holy Cross senior forward Mick Sullivan was fouled and cut the lead to two after making his foul shots. Then, freshman guard Drew Adzia nailed a three to put the Saints up by one, and the Saints began a devastating run. In the final 4:43 of the half, the Saints scored 16 straight points to take a 42-29 halftime lead.
Despite cutting the Saints’ lead to nine at the start of the second, the Phantoms never recovered from a disastrous five minutes of basketball. Holy Cross controlled the rest of the game, and with 1:23 remaining (and a 29-point lead), Head Coach Mike McBride pulled his seniors off the court to a standing ovation. The final make of the game would go to sophomore guard Nash Hostetler, who hit a three to put the Saints up 95-63.
The Holy Cross seniors performed well in front of their final home crowd. Jalen Martin led the Saints in assists with four and contributed a steal and the team’s only block. Ryan Cartaino went 7-9 from the floor and had six total rebounds. Beau Ludwick contributed 18 points and made eight of ten shots. Mick Sullivan had a team-high ten rebounds and had a perfect 7-7 night. Storm Cook was unable to play due to injury. Cook, a late addition to the team, averaged 15 points per game this season. Holy Cross will finish its season when they play conference for Trinity International on the road. Historically, the Saints have fared well against the Trojans; they are 14-6 all-time against TIU, including an eight-game win streak dating back to 2016.
The game will have important playoff implications for the Saints. Holy Cross is tied for eighth place with Governors State. Governors State faces conference-leader Roosevelt in their regular season finale. Should the Saints defeat Trinity (who sits in seventh), Governors’ State loses, the Saints would leapfrog the Jaguars and sneak into the conference playoffs. The Saints finish up their regular season on Saturday, Feb. 18. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. CST.