'Saders broken after break; Press erodes 11-point lead.


Byline: Jennifer Toland

WORCESTER - Holy Cross hadn't played in 13 days before last night's game against Sacred Heart, and now they'll have five more days around Christmas to think about went wrong against the Pioneers.

The Crusaders led by as many as 11 in the second half, but when Sacred Heart went to its full-court press, it gave HC all kinds of problems. HC committed 23 turnovers - eight of them during a key seven-minute stretch of the second - and fell to the Pioneers, 82-79, at the Hart Center.

It was the third straight loss for HC (2-9).

"It's a lot of frustration," sophomore guard Devin Brown said, "and it hurts, but you can't give up on yourselves. We will not give up. We have to keep getting better."

HC players will head home for the holiday, then host George Washington on Monday.

Holy Cross played poorly in its last game, a 73-54 loss at Fairfield, but had some solid practices after exams ended last week and felt good coming into last night's game.

"We worked on some things and I thought we'd come out with some good energy and be ready to play," HC coach Sean Kearney said.

Brown, who scored a season-high 19 points, and freshman guard Dee Goens came off the bench to spark the Crusaders late in the first half and they led, 44-39, at the break.

Sophomore guard R.J. Evans, who scored a game-high 20 points, and Brown, who was 5-7 from 3-point territory, combined to score eight straight points early in the second half. Evans ripped down the rebound of a missed Phil Beans shot, put in the layup and was fouled. His 3-point play put Holy Cross ahead, 58-47, with 12:55 to play.

Then the trouble started. Sacred Heart pressed, got a quick turnover that led to a Corey Hassan 3-pointer and went on a 9-0 run. In less than three minutes, HC was clinging to a 58-56 lead.

With 8:47 to play, Hassan made a steal that led to a Stan Dulaire dunk and got Sacred Heart going on a 15-6 run. The Pioneers continued to create havoc with their press. Chauncey Hardy made another swipe, got the ball ahead to Hassan for an easy layup and Sacred Heart led, 66-65, with 5:50 to play.

"We had them, I thought we had them," Evans said. "When they put that press on, we got a little complacent with the ball and turned it over too much. They got momentum...

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