(Originally posted Sat. at 7:29 p.m., links added 9:05 a.m.)
Down 15, with 16 minutes to go, Bucknell rallied behind smothering second half defense to reach 11-0 in the league, equaling the 1990-91 Fordham team's best start in league history.
The Bison clinched a home court edge in the first two rounds of the league tournament, winning its 11th game in a row.
Bucknell held HC to seven second half field goals (7-22, 31.8 percent) while battling back after falling behind 40-25 after allowing HC to score 7 unanswered points to open the second half.
Holy Cross scored first, 12 seconds into the game, and led all but 33 seconds of the game until Kevin Bettencourt hit a three-pointer with 2:02 to play to put the Bison on top 53-51.
Charles Lee was the star for the Bison. From the sound of things, Lee was the best player on the floor Saturday afternoon, leading all scorers with 24 points, including 14 in the final 16 minutes. Lee also had 4 of his 7 rebounds and 2 of his game-high 4 steals in that same stretch. Lee also hit the 1,000 career points mark, becoming the 32nd BU player to reach that milestone.
Lee was awarded Martin J. O'Malley Award as the Most Valuable Player of Holy Cross' Winter Homecoming game. He becomes the second Bison and just the fourth visiting player to win that honor in its 19-year history. Bison point guard Bill Courtney won it in 1991.
No other Bison reached double figures. Donald Brown came up a board and a bucket shy of a double-double with 9 points and a game-high 9 rebounds.
Foul trouble hurt the Crusaders. So did foul shooting. Kevin Hamilton was on the bench with four personals when Bucknell got things going in the second half. Tim Clifford also spent a good chunk of the second half with four fouls. And while Bucknell was hitting 16 of 21 free throws, Holy Cross hit only 11 of 20 at the line. Those math majors reading this already noticed that 5-point differential was the same as the final margin.
Keith Simmons led HC with 13 points. Hamilton added 12 and Clifford finished with 10. The Crusaders hit only 3 three-pointers (on 14 attempts, 21.4 percent). Four of those misses (0 for 4) came from Torey Thomas, who dished off 7 assists, but shot a horrible 1 for 11 from the field.