WEST POINT – The Black Knights held on to defeat visiting Holy Cross, 69-65, on Saturday afternoon at Christl Arena.
The Black Knights (10-6, 6-5 Patriot League) had all nine players score in the game, including four in double figures. Josh Caldwell led the way with 12 points along with five rebounds, while Lonnie Grayson tallied 12 points, including 8-of-10 attempts from the charity stripe. Alex King had 10 along with being 2-for-3 from three-point land and Jalen Rucker finished with 10.
“I have a ton of respect for them. I think they play as tough as anyone in the league,” said head coach Jimmy Allen. “They are really, really physical. I thought they got on us early when the game started. We talked about how physical they were going to be and the type of energy they bring. I think we didn’t start off great, but our response to that was really, really great. Especially in transition, we were able to get the game going in transition. I think the difference in the second half when they were able to make a run there, we weren’t getting stops on the defensive end and we weren’t able to play in transition. I thought they were pretty physical with us, but I was proud of our guys and I thought they made enough toughness plays to win the game tonight.”
The Black Knights went down 9-2 in the first five minutes of the first half, but answered back, outscoring the Crusaders, 39-15 through the final 15 minutes to take a 41-24 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Black Knights extended their lead to a game-high 19 points, 45-26 at the 18:17 mark and again, 47-28 with 16:21 left. However, the Crusaders were not going to go down easily and through the rest of the contest they outscored the Black Knights, 37-22 down the stretch. They cut the lead down to just three points, 66-63, with 16 seconds left in the half.
The Black Knights sunk their free throws down the stretch, making 12 as they finished 20-for-29 from the charity stripe on the evening.