WORCESTER, Mass. — Junior forward Dave Dudzinski sank a pair of free throws with four seconds left and a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer by Xavier Pollard didn’t fall as Holy Cross edged the University of Maine 57-54 in men’s basketball at the Hart Center Wednesday night.
Maine plays its home opener against Brown University on Saturday at 7.
Maine (0-2) used a 7-0 run capped by four Alasdair Fraser free throws to tie it 50-50 with 4:06 remaining, but senior center Phil Beans gave the Crusaders (3-1) the lead for good with a layup off a Jordan Stevens pass with 3:35 remaining. He hit a 3-pointer off a Dee Goens feed 25 seconds later to expand the lead to 55-50.
A Fraser layup cut the lead to 55-52 with 1:06 remaining and he rebounded a Justin Edwards 3-point miss and converted from underneath with six seconds left to pull Maine within one.
But Dudzinski gave Holy Cross valuable breathing room.
Maine jumped out to a 20-10 lead with 7:34 left in the first half, but Holy Cross closed out the half with a 17-5 run to take a two-point lead into the intermission.
The Crusaders used an 11-2 spurt in the second half to build a 41-30 lead, but the Bears rallied to eventually tie it.
Beans finished with 19 points and eight rebounds for Holy Cross and Stevens had 13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Dudzinski finished with 10 points and nine rebounds. Malcolm Miller contributed five points, five rebounds and three blocked shots.
Cullen Hamilton had seven rebounds, four points and two assists off the bench.
Fraser had 21 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots, all game-highs, to pace the Black Bears.
Pollard contributed 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Jon Mesghna had six points and four rebounds and Edwards had six assists and three steals, both game-highs, but he was held to two points on a 1-for-16 shooting night.
“That happens. Justin’s not going to have many nights like that,” said Maine coach Ted Woodward.
Senior center Mike Allison fouled out after playing just 22 minutes and had only two points.
Maine outrebounded Holy Cross 48-44.
Both teams shot poorly.
Holy Cross shot just 29 percent from the floor and Maine shot 29.2 percent.
But the Crusaders went 7-for-23 from 3-point land (30.4 percent), while Maine went just 2-for-19 (10.5 percent).
Maine had 13 turnovers, two more than Holy Cross.
“It was a good battle. It was their home opener and they’re a very good team. We knew it was going to be a tough contest,” said Woodward.
He pointed to the defenses as the key.
“Both teams did a great job defensively. I was very pleased with our defense,” Woodward said. “We made them work for everything they got and we held them down [shooting percentage-wise] like we wanted to.
“But we didn’t shoot the ball as well as we needed to. At the end of the day, you’ve got to make your shots. We need to continue to work on it.”
In addition to Fraser, Woodward felt Pollard turned in a solid performance and he was pleased to get 18 minutes out of sophomore guard Leon Cooper (2 points, 4 rebounds), who had been injured, and 16 out of freshman forward Till Gloger (4 points, 4 rebounds).
Gloger filled in for Allison.