By Curt Herron
After jumping out to a 14-point midway through the first half, things were looking up for the University of St. Francis' men's basketball team when it met up with 19th-ranked Holy Cross College in a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference game on Wednesday.
The Saints still led 39-31 at halftime but Holy Cross not only quickly got back into the game but used a strong shooting performance to help them score 54 points in the second half as it rallied to claim an 85-81 victory at the Sullivan Center.
Cole Micek had a great shooting performance for the Saints (9-17, 7-13), connecting on 9 of 14 shots, including 8 of 10 from behind the arc, to give him a career-high 29 points.
After shooting just 41 percent in the first half on 12 of 29 accuracy, Holy Cross (22-5, 17-2) connected on 22 of its 30 attempts in the final half, which was good for 73.3 percent shooting. That gave it a 34 for 59 effort on the night, for a 57.6 percent performance from the floor.
Holy Cross had five players in double figures with Parker Sims leading the way with 21 points. With the win, Holy Cross stayed even with fourth-ranked Olivet Nazarene, which rolled past Saint Ambrose 107-74, atop the CCAC standings.
USF, which made 15 of 30 3-point shots, had two more players in double figures and just missed getting two others in that category. Lewis Holey had 12 points, six rebounds and three blocks, Eric Ting added 11 points and six assists, Malik Bailey had nine points and five rebounds and Joey Buggemi had nine points.
Holy Cross owned a 44-24 advantage in points in the paint and a 32-24 edge on rebounds. It defeated Olivet Nazarene 85-68 when the teams met on January 15 at Holy Cross.
The Saints close out regular season play with a 3 p.m. home game against Trinity International on Saturday and a 5 p.m. game at Saint Xavier on Wednesday.