November 19, 2010

SHU Ends Four-Game Road Swing at Brown on Saturday

Sacred Heart Pioneers (0-3, 0-0 NEC) vs. Brown Bears (1-1, 0-0 Ivy League)

Game #4 - Saturday, November 20, 2010 - 7:00 pm - Providence, RI - Pizzitola Sports Center (2,800)     

SHU vs. Brown Game Notes

The Storyline...  Sacred Heart will finish off a four-game road swing to open 2010-11 this Saturday night at Brown University.  The Pioneers are off to a 0-3 start to the season after a 73-65 loss at UMass on Wednesday.  SHU is shooting just 36.7% (61-166) from the field and 28.1% (16-57) from behind the arc to start the year.  Guards Shane Gibson and Jerrell Thompson have been the Pioneer's top-offensive weapons averaging 10.7 and 10.3 points, respectively.  The Brown Bears are 1-1 as they host the Pioneers in their home opener.  Brown beat Fordham, 69-65, in their opener and fell at Rhode Island last time out, 92-67.

Sacred Heart - Brown All-Time Series...  The Pioneers hold a 1-0 edge in the series between the two schools.  SHU won the first meeting last season, beating the Bears 83-78 at home on December 30th.

The Coaches...  Dave Bike (Sacred Heart '69) is in his 33rd year as the head coach of Sacred Heart. He has a career record of 495-446, ranking him 20th among active coaches. Only Jim Boheim of Syracuse as spent more time coaching at one institution. He led the Pioneers to eight NCAA Division II tournaments and his 1985-86 team won the national championship while finishing 30-4. Bike was named the national Coach of the Year by the NABC following the title game.  Jesse Agel (Vermont '84) begins his third season on the Brown bench.  Agel has posted a 21-40 record during his tenure as a head coach.  Agel spent 17 years as an assistant coach at his alma mater, the University of Vermont, the last eight season as an associate head coach under Tom Brennan.

On the Upcoming Slate...  Sacred Heart will play host to the University of New Hampshire Wildcats in the 2010-11 home opener Tuesday night at 7:00 pm.  The Pioneers play their next four of five at home in the William H. Pitt Center including a pair of Northeast Conference match-ups with Mount St. Mary's and Wagner.

Pioneers vs. the Ivy League...  Sacred Heart has an 12-16 record against Ivy League foes but has won seven-straight against the league dating back to the 2007-08 season. The Pioneers have faced Brown (1-0), Columbia (4-4), Cornell (1-1), Harvard (3-5) and Yale (3-6). SHU has never faced Dartmouth, Penn and Princeton.  SHU faces Brown and Yale this season.

Scouting the Bears...  The Brown Bears are off to a 1-1 start to their season as they return home to host the Pioneers.  Brown is led by senior forward Peter Sullivan who is averaging 13.0 points per game in the early going.  Sullivan is the Bears top-returning scorer from last season's 11-20 team, averaging 12.3 points as a junior.  Brown also returns a pair of senior guards to their backcourt in Garrett Leffelman and Adrian Williams.  Leffelman averaged 12.0 points in Ivy League games last season while Williams led the team from behind the arc with 42 threes.  The Bears were picked sixth in the Ivy League Preseason Media Poll.

Last Meeting with Brown...  Senior Ryan Litke had his first career double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and set the school career three-point shooting record in the process, to help the Sacred Heart men's basketball team come back to defeat Brown 83-78 last December 30th.  Litke hit three treys in the game, giving him 220 in his career. He eclipsed the mark set by Darrin Robinson from 1989-93.  The Pioneers jumped out to a 17-12 lead in the first seven minutes of the game. Senior Corey Hassan had nine of the first 17 points, while six came from Litke on a pair of threes. Hassan finished the game with 23 points.   Senior Liam Potter, who had his third straight double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, made one of two free throws with 2:34 remaining to give SHU a 74-73 lead.  After a Brown turnover, junior Jerrell Thompson put the Bears in trouble with a three with 1:17 left to push the SHU edge to four at 77-73. The Bears missed a layup the next time down and were forced to foul Thompson, who canned both tries and put Brown away.

Last Time Out...  The Sacred Heart men's basketball team took a 35-34 lead early in the second half but the University of Massachusetts used a 17-5 run to pull away for a 73-65 win Wednesday night in the Mullins Center.  The Pioneers got 14 points and six rebounds from r-sophomore Shane Gibson in the loss.  The Minutemen were led by 18 points from senior guard Anthony Gurley as they improve to 2-0.  UMass shot 40.4% (23-57) in the win and did much of their damage at the free throw line making 24-of-32 including nine-of-11 over the final two minutes to preserve the win.  The Pioneers did a solid job defensively in the first half, holding the Minutemen to just 32.3% (10-31) shooting while hitting 44.4% (8-18).  Both teams got off to a slow start offensively, heading into the first media timeout with UMass in front 4-2.  The Minutemen opened the game just one-of-eight from the field but came out of the second media timeout with points on four-straight possessions to lead 11-7 with 10:03 left and then pushed their lead to 16-9.  The Pioneers closed strong, using a 9-4 spurt capped by a leaning Evan Kelley three with the shot clock running down at the 30 second mark to trail 32-27.  UMass would grab back some of the momentum just before the halftime horn as Hashim Bailey caught a dunk for a 34-27 lead.  Sacred Heart made their run right out of the locker room using an 8-0 spurt to take the lead just two and half minutes into play.  Nick Greenbacker started the rally with a jumper in the paint and was followed by consecutive junior Stan Dulaire and Gibson lay-ups.  Dulaire finished off the rally with a follow-up dunk for a 35-34 lead forcing an UMass timeout at 17:31.  The Minutemen came out of the time-out answering with jumpers by Matt Hill and Daryl Traynham to pull back in front for good at 38-35.  SHU stayed close, trailing 44-41 with 10:37 to play before UMass would pull away with a 17-5 run over the next five and a half minutes.  The Pioneers put together one last run over the final minutes as Gibson and Kelley buried three's and a Chris Evans lay-in pulled the Pioneers within four, 69-65 but strong shooting at the charity stripe by the Minutemen, nine-of-11, kept SHU at bay.

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