March 14, 2003
Box Score | 2003 Patriot League Championships Page
By HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer
WORCESTER, Mass. - Patrick Whearty converted a key three-point play
during an 11-0 run that carried Holy Cross to its third straight NCAA
tournament with a 72-64 victory over American in the Patriot League final
With the score tied at 51, Kevin Hamilton hit a layup, was fouled and missed
the free throw. But he got the rebound and passed to Whearty, who made the
layup, was fouled and made the free throw.
Whearty, the tournament MVP and league player of the year, led Holy Cross
with 21 points.
After his three-point play, Hamilton and Brian Wilson hit 3-pointers for a
62-51 lead with 5:06 remaining. The Crusaders led by at least four the rest of
Holy Cross (26-4, 14-1) extended its winning streak to 12 games, its longest
since 1949-50. American (16-14, 9-5) is the last team to beat Holy Cross, 72-49
on Jan. 26 in Washington, D.C.
Tim Szatko added 15 points for Holy Cross, and Hamilton, a freshman, had 13.
In addition to his layup and assist to Whearty, Hamilton made another big play
in the final minute when he sank a free throw and got the rebound after missing
the second shot. He fed Whearty, who was fouled and sank both shots for a 69-62
lead with 38 seconds to go.
Steven Miles single-handedly kept American in the rematch of last year's
Patriot League championship game. He scored the Eagles' last 15 points,
starting with two free throws that tied the score at 51, and ending with two
more free throws that made it 69-64.
But American had to foul, and Szatko finished the scoring with three free
Holy Cross is the first team in the 13-year history of the league to win
three straight titles and four overall. Now the Crusaders must try to improve
on their last two NCAA appearances, when they lost in the first round to
Kentucky and Kansas.
Holy Cross began the game with a 12-2 lead, and American called a timeout
after 4:24. The Crusaders made it 17-7 before the Eagles went on a 12-0 run
that put them ahead 19-17 with 9:22 left in the half.
Neither team led by more than four for the rest of the half, which ended in
a 33-33 tie.
Holy Cross got another quick start in the second half and led 47-36 on a
three-point play by Whearty with 15:46 left.
American rallied again and tied it at 51 with 8:02 remaining on Miles' free
throws, ending a 15-4 run.