Sacred Heart Pioneers (1-5, 0-1 NEC) vs. Wagner Seahawks (3-3, 0-0 NEC)
Game #7 - Saturday, December 4, 2010 - 2:00 pm - Fairfield, CT - William H. Pitt Center (2,100)
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers look to bounce back from a 66-52 loss to Mount St. Mary's on Thursday as they welcome the Wagner Seahawks to town. The Pioneers continued to struggle offensively, shooting just 33.3% (18-54) while turning it over 19 times in the loss to the Mount. SHU ranks last in the NEC in scoring average (55.0 ppg) and ranks last averaging 17.8 turnovers per game. R-Sophomore Shane Gibson is coming off a career-high 21 point night and is averaging 12.2 points per game. Senior Jerrell Thompson leads the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 13.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Wagner comes in at an even 3-3 under first year head coach Dan Hurley. They fell short 69-61 at St. John's on Wednesday night.
Sacred Heart - Wagner All-Time Series... This is the 25th meeting between Sacred Heart and Wagner on the hardwood with the Seahawks leading the all-time series, 13-11. The two schools spilt their two meetings last year, each winning on their home court. The Pioneers and Seahawks have played twice in the postseason with the SHU winning both games. Sacred Heart knocked out Wagner in the opening round of the 2007 tournament, 100-66 and won in Staten Island, 55-49, in the 2008 NEC Semifinals.
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 496-448, 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. Dan Hurley (Seton Hall '96) is in his first season as the head coach at Wagner College and has the Seahawks off to a 3-3 start this year. Hurley spent nine season as the head coach at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, NJ where he led the Grey Bees to a 223-21 record, coached four McDonald's All-Americans and developed four teams that were ranked in the top five in the nation. Hurley made his coaching debut as an assistant at Rutgers from 1997-2001.
On the Upcoming Slate... Sacred Heart returns to non-conference action on Monday night when they head to Lafayette for a 7 pm tip. SHU will play three times next week, facing the Leopards, hosting Hartford and heading to Stony Brook.
Scouting the Seahawks... The Wagner Seahawks are 3-3 to open the season with wins over Lafayette, 63-58, Stony Brook, 58-54, and Bucknell, 77-73. Junior guard Tyler Murray is the team's leading scorer averaging 18.0 points per game. He also leads the team in rebounding with 4.8 caroms per game. Murray is shooting 48.3% (14-29) from behind the arc. Freshman Latif Rivers is averaging 15.7 points per game and has made 16 of 36 from three (.444).
Last Meeting with the Wagner... Chris Martin hit a runner in the lane with :06 left to lift the Wagner Seahawks to a 74-73 upset over Sacred Heart last January 30th. Martin finished with 28 points for the Seahawks in a game that featured 11 ties and nine lead changes. SHU senior Corey Hassan finished with a career-high 36 and poured in a school record ten three pointers. Hassan finished an impressive 10-12 from three-point range, but was unable to get a final three off from the top of the circle with a man in his face as the clock expired to give the Seahawks the win. SHU held a 67-61 lead with 6:55 left after a Hassan trey. A pair of free throws by Tyler Murray, followed by a Michael Orock layup cut the gap to two. After a Pioneer turnover, Danny Mudweiler buried his fourth three of the game to give the Seahawks a 68-67 lead. Ryan Litke gave the Pioneers the lead back with a three with 4:21 left, but Martin tied it with a jumper at the 2:52 mark. Jerrell Thompson buried a three from the top of the key with 1:34 to go that gave SHU a 73-70 lead. An Orock layup with :55 to go cut the lead to one. On the next Pioneer possession, Mehmet Sahan was called for an illegal screen with :32 on the clock, giving the ball back to Wagner and setting up Martin's winning floater from five feet out in the paint. The Pioneers finished the game just 4-15 from the free throw line.
Last Time Out... Sacred Heart got a career-high 21 points from r-sophomore Shane Gibson but a strong shooting effort in the second half and a 21-of-27 night at the free throw line by Mount St. Mary's led to a 66-52 loss at the hands of the Mountaineers in the Northeast Conference opener for both teams Thursday night. The Mount shot 50.0% (9-18) from the floor in the second half and got 21 points off the bench from junior Lamar Trice in the win. SHU committed 19 turnovers and shot just 33.3% (18-54) in the loss. The Pioneers led for most of the first 12 minutes Thursday night, going up 16-12 at the eight minute mark on a fast-break lay-up by freshman Evan Kelley. Gibson had the hot hand early, burying a pair of three's and a runner in the lane in the game's first five minutes. The Mount offense got started off the Kelley transition bucket as Trice and Julian Norfleet hit back to back threes. Kelly gave SHU the lead back but just briefly as he hit from underneath and then set up Gibson for a jumper on the wing for a 20-19 advantage with 4:29 on the clock. MSM's David Golladay got an offensive put back on their ensuing possession and the Mount would never again give the lead back to the Pioneers the rest of the night. Trice buried a three with 1:02 on the clock to finish the first half with 14 of his 21 points, sending his team into the locker room up 28-25 at the break. The Mount hit nine-of-18 from the field in the second half but did most of their damage at the charity stripe, making 19 of 21 over the final 20 minutes. SHU had nine of their turnovers in the second half that lead to 12 points at the other end. The Pioneers on the other end continued to struggle offensively making just nine-of-28 from the field. SHU cut the lead to two just over four minutes in and four just past the midway point of the second half but could never get over the hump.