Hofstra Escapes Holy Cross in BracketBusters

February 18th, 2007

Hempstead, NY - Senior guard Carlos Rivera (San German, PR) celebrated Senior Day by hitting the game winning foul shots with 1.7 seconds left and adding a blocked shot at the buzzer to lead the Hofstra Men's Basketball team to a 65-64 win over Holy Cross in an O'Reilly's ESPNU Bracket Buster game on Saturday afternoon at the Mack Sports Complex.

With the win, the Pride improves its record to 20-8 on the season, marking the third year in a row that Hofstra has won 20 games, and its eighth time in 34 years at the NCAA Division I level. Holy Cross slips to 20-8 overall with the loss.

Rivera and junior guard Antoine Agudio (Huntington Station, NY) tied for team-high honors with 19 points, while senior guard Loren Stokes (Buffalo, NY) added 16. Senior guard Keith Simmons led all scorers with 22 points for Holy Cross.

Holy Cross had taken a 64-63 lead with 1:36 left on a put-back from forward Eric Meister. After Stokes was called for a charge, the Pride earned a stop when senior guard Torey Thomas tried to drive baseline, but sophomore forward Chris Gadley (Buffalo, NY) deflected the ball off Thomas' head and out of bounds.

Sophomore forward Zygis Sestokas (Vilnius, Lithuania) missed a three-pointer in the corner that Meister rebounded, but Meister missed both foul shots with 18 seconds left. Rivera grabbed the defensive rebound, and after a time-out, he forced a shot up under pressure as he was fouled by Thomas with 1.7 seconds left. Holy Cross called timeout to try to ice him, but Rivera swished both foul shots to give the Pride the lead. Holy Cross then threw a pass the length of the court that Simmons caught inside the three-point line, but Rivera blocked his 17-footer as time expired.

Hofstra led by as many as eight points in the second half at 56-48, but the Crusaders crawled back in it and pulled even at 59-59 with 3:39 left on a three-point play from Thomas. Pat Doherty hit a three-pointers with 2:54 left to give Holy Cross its first lead of the second half at 62-61, but Agudio answered with a jumper for Hofstra before Meister gave the Crusaders their final lead.

Stokes and Rivera picked up their 81st win of their four-year careers, including their third straight with 20 or more wins. The 81 wins is the second most for any class in the Pride's Division I history, behind only the Class of 2001 (91 wins). Thomas had 16 points and six steals for Holy Cross, while Tim Clifford added 11 before fouling out.

- Hofstra Media Relations -