The Holy Cross men’s basketball team took the court Monday night against East-West University for their first game of the season. Even though the matchup was not a conference game, the team was aggressive in securing the win with a final score of 78-58.
McKenna Arena was filled with Holy Cross students and parents. Fans cheered for the players while dressed as construction workers, minions and hotdogs in celebration of Halloween.
The team ended last season with a 8-14 conference record. With nine freshmen players joining the team, head coach Mike McBride said that “the new guys have really given us a spark.”
The Saints gained the first possession and converted on a jump shot, but after East-West scored during their first possession as well, both teams struggled for the upper hand. The contest featured four early lead changes. But five minutes into the first half, Holy Cross gained the lead and refused to lose it the rest of the game.
In the first half, the Saints scored 45 points, putting them ahead by 12. The second half only increased the Saints lead, finishing with a 20-point margin of victory.
The Saints leading scorer and freshman forward Tommy Snyder brought in 31 points and 13 rebounds, setting a high expectation for his performance this season. Freshman guard Phil Robles II brought in 19 points behind Snyder. Robles also scored three of the Saints four 3-pointers tonight. Sophomore guard Justin O’Neal led the team with five assists, and senior guard Beau Ludwick led the way defensively with two steals.
East-West had three main scorers tonight: De’Quaniis Jackson, Thomas Teklegergis and Elgin Bowen, who scored 14, 13, and 12 points, respectively. The team scored 11 three-pointers throughout the game and had nine assists.
In the second half, a quick steal left William Perry open for a shot. Perry attempted to dunk the ball, but failed. The missed shot brought the Holy Cross fans to their feet in cheers.
The Saints ended the game with a 49.1% field goal percentage compared to East-West with 37.3%. Holy Cross also outperformed in free throw percentages, 69% to 30%.
East-West is, “on the perimeter, very similar to a lot [of] the teams in our league,” McBride said. With a “pretty high level [of] intensity and intent” coming from the Saints tonight, McBride expressed optimism that the team can perform well this upcoming season.
Next up, Holy Cross plays Bethel University on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
Contact Sarah Ryan at email@example.com.