FLUSHING, NY - The first problem you may face when playing the Holy Cross Knights is you never know which player will get hot and hurt you. The second problem is how to stop the bleeding if more than one player is doing damage.
The latter issue was one the Stepinac Crusaders dealt with first hand on Tuesday night, as the Knights used a third quarter avalanche to end the Crusaders' crusade and secure a 73-53 win at home.
Whether it was the potent outside shooting of Will Davis, the flawless charity stripe showing from Marquise Moore, or the inside-out game of Mairega Clarke, the senior trio anchored a second half charge that Stepinac couldn't contain. Early on, though, the game delivered evenly matched non-stop action.
Eight first quarter lead changes meant neither team led by more than three points in the first half. Stepinac matched the Knights trio's efforts with strong shooting performances from senior SG Josh James and solid sophomore PG Naim Thomas. Inside points from Davino McRae and willingness to take charges on defense also helped Stepinac's duo keep things close, but their four point halftime deficit (26-22) ballooned in the third quarter - they were outscored 27-11 in the period.
Thomas (17 points), James (a team high 19 points), and McRae (9 points) put up a fight for the Crusaders, but therein lay their dilemma - depth in the scoring department. The trio scored 45 of Stepinac's 53 points. The Knights trio got additional scoring help from Edward Roscigno (6 points) and Anthony Liboria (8 points), and by the time the latter sunk a corner three ball at the third quarter buzzer, Holy Cross had amassed a 20 point lead. Missed box-outs from the Crusaders limited their offensive possessions and worsened their plight - the Knights would lead by as many as 21 points before sealing the deal.
Moore's 20 points (including an 8-8 showing from the free throw stripe) led Holy Cross, while Clarke added 15 points and Davis, 13.