Holy Cross 57, Lehigh 53

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WORCESTER, Mass. (AP)—Kevin Hamilton scored 18 points, including eight free throws in overtime, as top-seeded Holy Cross outlasted Lehigh 57-53 in the semifinal round of the Patriot League basketball tournament.

Lehigh’s Erik Smith gave the Mountain Hawks a 49-44 lead with 3:45 left in regulation, but Hamilton converted a 3-point field goal and Keith Simmons hit two free throws to tie it at 49-49 with 42 seconds left.

With 10 seconds left, Holy Cross’ Nate Lufkin and John Hurley blocked Lehigh shot attempts, preserving the tie and forcing the game into overtime.

Lehigh, which led most of the game, went ahead 53-51 with 2:46 left on two free throws by Joe Knight, who had 11 points. But Hamilton was fouled twice on drives to the basket, and he made all four free throws to give Holy Cross a 55-53 lead with 54 seconds left in overtime.

The Crusaders held Lehigh (14-15) without field goals in overtime. Hamilton added two more free throws with nine seconds left to clinch the win.

Holy Cross (22-5) won its 16th consecutive game and meets Bucknell on Friday afternoon for the Patriot League championship. Bucknell defeated American University 53-35 to advance to the title game.

Holy Cross and Lehigh had eight lead changes and four ties early, but Lehigh took a five-point lead midway through the first half on a three-pointer by Jose Olivero and led 29-27 at halftime.

After Greg Kinsey put Holy Cross ahead 30-29 with a 3-pointer on the opening possession of the second half, Lehigh went up again by seven points three different times, the last when Earl Nurse made it 45-38 with 7:10 left in regulation.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
E. Nurse E. Nurse
2-3,  4 Pts
6 Rebs, 3 Assists
 Holy Cross
T. Thomas T. Thomas
2-6,  7 Pts
5 Rebs, 4 Assists

Team Stat Leaders