EASTON, Pa. (December 6, 2010) – For the second-straight game, the Sacred Heart Pioneers battled back from a double digit second half deficit but came up short of a comeback victory falling at Lafayette Monday night, 76-71. Senior Jerrell Thompson (Plainfield, NJ) led all scorers with 19 points while r-freshman Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) notched a season-high 13 points in the loss. SHU falls to 1-7 overall while Lafayette improves to 3-6.
SHU (1-7) trailed by 15 points with 13:54 left in the second half before coming storming back to take a 65-63 lead with 4:28 left. Lafayette closed the game on 13-3 run before a Thompson three with a second left produced the final 76-71. Lafayette got off on a 13-4 run to open the second half when their lead hit its high water mark at 55-40.
Thompson got the Pioneers off on an 18-3 run over the seven minutes with a lay-up and a jumper. Montes got out on a fast break lay-up and then drilled a three to cut it to 57-54 at 8:31. Freshman Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT) cut it to two, 58-56, on a break-away lay-in and Montes pulled the Pioneers even with two free throws at 6:32. Lafayette would pull back in front by four but SHU answered again and Stan Dulaire made a three-point play and followed with a put-back off a miss to give the Pioneers their first lead since the opening minutes at 65-63.
Lafayette came right down and answered as Rob Delaney drilled his fourth three of the night and the Leopards would never lose the lead again. SHU turned it over twice down the stretch but still cut it the lead to two, 70-68, with 1:13 left. The Leopards put the game away at the free throw line making six-of-six over the last minute to seal the win.
The Leopards (2-6) were on fire offensively in the first half, shooting 53.8% (14-2^) and 54.5% (6-11) from three to lead 42-34 at the half. The Pioneers forced nine Lafayette turnovers over the first 20 minutes of action but converted them into just eight points. The Pioneers did most of their work at the free throw line in the first half, going to the charity stripe 15 times while hitting 12. SHU also dealt with foul trouble in the first half, as three SHU starters, Femi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia), Shane Gibson (Killingly, MA) and Stan Dulaire (Bloomfield, CT) all had to go to the bench at different points due two fouls.
The Pioneers had the hot hand in the second half, making 50.0% (14-28) from the field. The Pioneers forced 17 turnovers in total by the Leopards and used them to the tune of 20 points at the other end. SHU also held the advantage in the paint, outscoring Lafayette 30-20.
The Pioneers are back at home on Wednesday night when they play host to the Hartford Hawks at 7 pm.