Stony Brook, NY - The Sacred Heart men's basketball team made 11-of-12 free throws down the stretch to seal a 75-66 road victory over Stony Brook Saturday afternoon. Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) dropped in 14 of his game high 19 points in the second half to go along with nine rebounds to lead the Pioneers. Jerell Thompson (Plainfield, NJ) had another solid outing with 16 points and five assists. Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT) and Stan Dulaire (Bloomfield, CT) both had double-digit performances of their, each tallying 11 points. As a team the Pioneers hit at an 85 percent clip from the charity stripe in the second half, sinking 17 of 20 attempts.
Sacred Heart (3-7) notched the first points of the game on a layup from Dulaire 1:45 after the opening tip. The Pioneers played smothering defense to open the game, forcing three turnovers in the first two minutes of action. Gibson drained his first trey of the game as SHU exploded out of the gates with a 7-0 run.
Stony Brook (4-5) got its first four points of the game with free throws and would respond to the Pioneer run with 12 straight points of their own. After driving hard to the basket Kelley took a hard fall and would be forced to leave the game early in the first half. Sacred Heart found its first basket in seven minutes to stop the SBU run as Dulaire powered his way inside for the basket and a foul.
Bryan Dougher sunk a three-ball on the next possession to push the lead back to 15-10 Seawolves. Dougher made five of his first six shots from downtown and totaled 15 of his team high 18 points in the opening stanza. Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) answered for SHU with a step back jump on the next trip up the floor. Three minutes later Montes and Dougher would trade three pointers as Stony Brook maintained a slim 25-21 advantage.
Kelley returned to the lineup and scored the final five points of the first half as SHU cut the deficit to 33-32 at the intermission. The freshman guard finished a tough lay-in through traffic before banging home a three with two seconds remaining in the half.
Despite trailing by one Sacred Heart shot over 51 percent from the floor while the Seawolves went 44 percent in the opening frame. The numbers from beyond the arc were the difference early as Stony Brook made six-of-12 (50%) from three in the first half while SHU managed just three-for-10 (30%).
Femi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia) gave the Pioneers the lead early in the second half with a banked three to make it 34-33. Gibson then caught fire with a trio of three-point plays in a four minute span, two treys and a conventional three-point play, the final sequence moving the SHU cushion to 45-37. Just before the last Gibson surge Dulaire threw down a thunderous dunk to move all of the momentum in Sacred Heart's corner.
The Pioneers led by nine with just under 12 minutes to play when a questionable whistle sparked a Stony Brook spurt. Steve Zazuri (Monroe, CT) appeared to have taken a clear charge in the lane, but was instead whistled for blocking. Chris Martin made both free throws and the Seawolves went on a 6-0 run to cut the SHU advantage to 51-48. Al Rapier knotted the game 54-54 with 6:30 to play in regulation on a reverse layup.
Gibson and Thompson each hit a trey on the next two SHU possessions to immediately restore the Pioneer lead to 60-54. Dulaire capped off the 10-0 Pioneer surge with another mammoth dunk to silence the 1,237 Stony Brook fans in attendance.
The Seawolves used three quick baskets to close in on SHU , 64-60. On the next SBU possession Chris Evans (Stamford, CT), who finished with seven points and five rebounds, came up with a huge block with under a minute to play. The Seawolves then began fouling the Pioneers, who were solid on the line down the stretch.
Thompson, Kelley, and Gibson combined for the 11-of-12 at the line in the final minute of regulation as Sacred Heart earned back-to-back victories for the first time in 2010-11. Sacred Heart finished the afternoon shooting 45 percent from the field, 35 percent from three-point range. The Pioneers won the turnover battle, forcing 15 Stony Brook miscues, and passed the ball efficiently to the tune of 15 assists.
The Pioneer men's basketball team returns to action, looking to win their third straight, next Monday on the road against Yale.