Saints fall to Cougars, add to losing streak

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.


Saints battle but fall 72-79 to Goshen

After getting a win against East-West University at home and then a loss on the road against Bethel, the Holy Cross men’s basketball team did something on Friday they would not do for the rest of the season: play a neutral site game.

As a part of the Crossroads/Chicagoland Challenge, the men’s team took on the Goshen Maple Leafs, with the game taking place at the Indiana University South Bend facility.

The game began with Goshen jumping to a 7-1 lead in the first three minutes before freshman forward Tommy Snyder and guard Phil Robles II cut it to 9-5.

As the first half approached the 10-minute mark, Goshen turned an 18-18 tie into a 24-18 lead off of back-to-back three-pointers from Goshen’s Clayton MacLagan. After a foul from senior guard Ryan Cartaino gave Goshen two shots at the line, Goshen led 26-18.

With five minutes left in the first half, senior forward Mick Sullivan was able to give the Saints their first lead of the half, 31-30; though Goshen would quickly take it back, and the game would head to the half 39-33.

When the second half began, the two squads continued to trade scores until senior forward Jalen Martin hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to four. Then Snyder would make it a two-point game, laying the ball in.

Snyder got on a roll, making his next two shots to keep the Saints within one until sophomore guard Nash Hostetler would tie the game at 46.

Ultimately, the game would see five lead changes and eight ties with the Saints. The Saints built a two-point lead with 10:25 left in the second half. After Holy Cross briefly gained the upper hand, Goshen took it back with 9:36 to go and despite a few Saints ties, the Maple Leafs would hold onto the lead for the rest of the game.

The 72-79 loss drops the Saints to 1-2 on the season and snaps a two-game win streak against Goshen. The Saints are now 2-5 when playing the Maple Leafs.

The win provided Goshen head coach Kyle Capps with his first win as the school’s head coach after serving as an assistant coach for the past two seasons.

Turnover troubles:

The teams played an even game, and while Goshen outshot the Saints from range (Goshen made 7 of 24, the Saints just 2 of 10), the Saints were able to outrebound Goshen 40-27.

The difference maker? The Saints had the ball stolen from them eight different times while only making two steals themselves. Factor in the blocks both teams had (4-1), and Goshen was able to win the turnover battle by a margin of 9 (12-3).

Goshen scored 17 points off turnovers. The Saints scored just 10. Those seven points were the difference maker.

The Saints will begin CCAC Conference play when they host IUSB on November 9th at 7:30 p.m. IUSB began the season ranked 19th in the NAIA Coaches preseason poll and currently remain in the top 20.

The Trojans are currently 2-2 on the year, having lost to Bethel by a score of 78-98.

Holy Cross is 11-16 against the Trojans, dating back to 2009. The Saints are currently 0-5 in their last five games, with their last win coming at home in November of 2019.

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