Providence, R.I. – Holy Cross held off a late Brown surge to come away with a 68-65 win over the Bears in the opening round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament at the Pizzitola Sports Center. Anthony Thompson's 15 points led five Holy Cross players in double figures, while Brown freshman Leland King led all scorers with 18 points.
The Crusaders (20-13) will advance to the second round of the CIT, March 21-22, at a site and opponent to be determined. The Bears close out their season with a 15-14 overall record.
After trailing by as many as 14 points in the second half, Brown, playing its first ever home game in the postseason, cut the Crusaders lead to four points, 64-60, on a short jump shot by King with 2:01 remaining. A layup by the Crusaders' Dave Dudzinski put the Crusaders back up by six points, 66-64.
Brown sophomore forward Cedric Kuakumensah pulled the Bears to within four points once again, 66-62, with 30.7 seconds left, but Anthony Thompson connected on two free throws with 28 seconds to play to put the Crusaders up by a 68-62 margin.
King scored on a trey with 5.7 seconds left to pull the Bears to within 68-65. The Crusaders threw the ball away with 4.4 seconds remaining, but King's jump shot was blocked by Malachi Alexander just before the final buzzer.
"I'm proud of our players and thought our effort was much better in the second half," said Brown head coach Mike Martin. "I thought we had a little more energy in the second half and got back in the game with defense."
The Bears received yeoman a performance from King, who posted a double-double with 18 points, on 7-of-13 shooting, while grabbing 11 rebounds. Freshman Tavon Blackmon scored 15 points for the Bears.
Kuakumensah, the Ivy League's Defensive Player of the Year, established a new Ivy League record for blocked shot in a season with 93. He posted a double-double with 12 points and a game high 12 rebounds, while swatting away three shots against the Crusaders.
Bears' senior Sean McGonagill, the Ivy league's second leading scorer and Brown's third all-time leading scorer with 1,618 career points, also scored in double figures with 10 points.
Thompson's 15 points acme on 4-of-8 shooting from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the three point arc, and perfect 4-of-4 shooting from the free throw line. Eric Green tossed in 15 points for the Crusaders, while Malcolm Miller, Dave Dudzinski and Justin Burrell chipped in with 10 points each.
Holy Cross jumped out to a 29-13 lead midway through the first half after connecting on four of its first eight treys. The Crusaders kept the pressure on the Bears throughout the remainder of the half and grabbed its biggest lead at intermission, 42-31. Green's 12 first half points paced the Crusaders.
The Bears climbed back in the game in the second half and pulled to within five points, 58-53, on a trey by McGonagill, with 7:35 left on the clock.