WORCESTER, Mass. – Justin Crosgile recorded career highs in points (19) and three-point baskets (five) Tuesday night as St. Joseph's beat Holy Cross, 65-54, in a nonconference game at the Hart Center.
The victory snapped a six-game losing streak and enabled the Hawks to avoid their longest slump since they lost seven straight in the 2008-09 season.
C.J. Aiken chipped in with 10 points for the Hawks. Mike Cavataio was the only Crusader to reach double figures as he scored 12 points.
Aiken also led both teams with five blocked shots while Langston Galloway topped the Hawks with nine rebounds.
The Hawks (4-8) led by 31-23 at halftime and gradually increased their lead as the second half progressed due in large part to the shooting of Crosgile.
During one sequence, he buried consecutive three-point shots, which gave the Hawks their largest lead of the game – 53-36 with 9 minutes, 12 seconds left on the clock.
The Crusaders (1-10) slapped on a full-court press in the final four minutes, which produced three Hawks turnovers.
Those miscues fueled a 6-0 run that enabled the Crusaders to pull within 62-51 with 1:40 remaining.
St. Joseph's blunted that rally when Galloway and Crosgile each sank both ends of one-and-one opportunities.
The Hawks almost gave new meaning to the phrase "deep freeze" because they began the game by missing their first nine shots and 12 of their first 13. But due to a combination of their man-to-man defense, blocked shots (five, to be precise) and errant shooting (9 for 28) on the part of Holy Cross, the Hawks led by eight at the half.
Holy Cross led by 12-10 after Eric Obeysekere nailed a jumper, but Aiken countered with a shot from the right baseline that ignited an 11-0 run by the Hawks.
Aiken scored the first five points during that run while Carl Jones accounted for the last five to give St. Joseph's a 23-10 lead.
Jones scored nine consecutive St. Joseph's points, including a three-point shot that increased the Hawks' lead to 26-12.
The Hawks came within inches of having a double-digit lead at the break, but Holy Cross' Andrew Keister tipped in a missed shot at the buzzer.