Holy Cross basketball returned to the hardwood Wednesday with both the men's and women's teams hosting Indiana Northwest. The women's team earned its second straight victory, winning 84-60. The score of the men's game was similar. But this time, the Saints found themselves on the wrong end of the ledger, falling 83-65.
The third quarter was when the women's squad truly separated themselves from the RedHawks. Already with a solid 10-point lead coming out of halftime, the Saints put up 29 points in the third frame, more than doubling their lead during those 10 minutes. Junior forward Grace Adams put up half of her 24 points in that quarter alone, while freshman guard Lilly Toppen sunk more than half of Holy Cross' nine 3-pointers on the night herself. Adams also pulled in a game-high 15 rebounds for her tenth double-double of the season.
The RedHawks shot just 32.8% from the field, including an ugly 3-17 mark from beyond the arc. The Saints were the better team in numerous areas, from ball movement (20-8 edge in assists) to protecting the paint (51-41 advantage in rebounds and 8 more points in the paint). The team's postseason outlook improved as a result of the win. The Saints are sixth in the CCAC and just 2 games back of Saint Xavier for home court advantage in the first round. They are three games ahead of St. Francis for a spot in the conference tournament.
However, one game after scoring 94 points in a last-second thrilling win over St. Ambrose, the men's squad’s offense regressed Wednesday night. The first half was very competitive, with neither team leading by more than 7 points and the RedHawks taking a small 4-point lead into the locker room. But a 9-0 run from the 5:20 to 8:02 mark in the second half gave Indiana Northwest some breathing room. After shooting a strong 50% from the field in the opening 20 minutes, the RedHawks shot a blistering 65.5% in the second half, going 60% from deep. Holy Cross matched pace in the first half before shooting below 40% in the final 20 minutes.
The loss puts Holy Cross behind the eight-ball in a four-team race for the No. 8 seed in the men's CCAC tournament. Governors State currently holds the No. 8 seed with a 4-8 record in conference play. Giving chase behind are Calumet, St. Francis and Holy Cross, who are all within a game and a half.
Both teams will take their home court again as Calumet comes to town on Saturday. The women's game starts a 1 p.m. and the men follow at 3 p.m.