December 17, 2010

Pioneers Return to Action on Sunday at Yale

Sacred Heart Pioneers (3-7, 0-2 NEC) vs. Yale Bulldogs (5-4, 0-0 Ivy League)

Game #11 - Saturday, December 19, 2010 - 2:00 pm - New Haven, CT - John J. Lee Amphitheater (2,532) 

SHU at Yale Game Notes

The Storyline...  Sacred Heart returns to action after an eight-day break for exams facing the Yale Bulldogs.  The Pioneers take on Yale winners of two-straight, 56-55 over Hartford and 75-66 at Stony Brook.  Senior Jerrell Thompson was named the SHU Enterprise Rent-A-Car Student-Athlete of the Week after leading the Pioneers to the wins over the Hawks and Seawolves, boosting Sacred Heart's record to 3-0 against the America East conference this year.  Thompson leads the Pioneers in scoring (13.7 ppg), rebounding (5.1 rpg), assists (24) and steals (16).  Yale is coming off a 10-day layoff for exams but has won two-straight as well, beating Albany, 74-53, and Bryant, 75-53.  The Bulldogs are 1-1 against the Northeast Conference this season, losing 84-75 to Quinnipiac in the Connecticut 6.

Sacred Heart - Yale All-Time Series...  Sunday's match-up marks the 10th meeting between the two Connecticut school with Yale holding a 6-3 edge in the series.  The Pioneers have won two-straight after beating the Bulldogs, 92-86, in last year's Connecticut 6.  Yale won the first five meetings in the series but SHU has won three of the last four.

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 498-450, 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.  James Jones (Albany '86) is in his 12th season as the head coach at Yale University.  Jones is the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League and owns an 147-173 record at Yale.  He is currently the third winningest coach in program history and led Yale to their first Ivy League title since 1962-63 when he guided the Bulldogs to the 2001-02 crown.

On the Upcoming Slate... The Pioneers are right back in action on Tuesday night at Providence College of the Big East.  SHU will then be off until January 2nd when they host Holy Cross.

Scouting the Bulldogs...  The Yale Bulldogs opened the season with losses to Quinnipiac and Providence but battled back to a 5-4 record coming into Sunday's game.  The Bulldogs own a road win at Boston College of the ACC, 75-67, and are 3-0 at home this season with wins over Army, 87-79, Hartford, 81-76, and Albany, 74-53.  Yale is led by the tandem of Austin Morgan and Greg Mangano who are averaging 15.9 and 15.6 points per game, respectively.  Mangano leads the team in rebounding at 9.1 caroms per outing.  As a team, the Bulldogs are shooting 44.8% from the field and 41.5% from behind the arc.  Yale was picked to finish fifth in the eight team Ivy League Preseason Poll.

Last Meeting with the Yale...  Senior Corey Hassan poured in 30 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out five assists to help the Sacred Heart men's basketball team open the 2009-10 season with a 92-86 win over Yale in the inaugural Connecticut 6 Classic last November.  With the score tied 4-4 after two minutes, the Pioneers went on a 23-5 run to open commanding lead. Senior Chauncey Hardy got the burst started with a three, and Hassan accounted for ten points, including a pair of threes.  The Bulldogs cut the SHU lead to 15 before consecutive buckets by senior Josh Marshall, Hassan, and senior Ryan Litke  gave the Pioneers their largest lead at 35-14 with 7:27 to go in the half.  The Bulldogs hit three straight treys, two of them from senior Alex Zampier, to cut the SHU lead to 12 at 35-23 with 6:21 left in the half. Zampier finished the game with 35 points, the first time a Yale player had finished with that many points since 1983.  A Paul Nelson layup with 3:58 left had Yale within eight at 39-31, but a Litke three at 2:52 put the Pioneers back up 13 at 46-33 and they would ride that into a 52-39 intermission lead.  Back-to-back layups by Hardy five minutes into the second half helped the Pioneers extend the lead to 65-49. After a pair of free throws with 12:53 to play that made it 72-58, the Pioneers went cold and scored just two points in the next four minutes to allow the Bulldogs to close within three at 74-71.  A pair of Zampier free throws with just over five minutes left kept the Bulldogs within four, but junior Jerrell Thompson hit a couple of driving layups for SHU, the last coming with 3:10 to play that put the Pioneers ahead 83-77.  Hardy put the game away with 1:43 left when he buried a three to make it 86-77.

Pioneers vs. the Ivy League...  Sacred Heart has an 12-17 record against Ivy League foes.  The Pioneers saw a seven-game winning streak against the league snapped earlier this season with an 81-67 loss at Brown.  Sacred Heart has faced Brown (1-1), Columbia (4-4), Cornell (1-1), Harvard (3-5) and Yale (3-6). SHU has never faced Dartmouth, Penn and Princeton.

Last Time Out...  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 last Saturday afternoon.  Shane Gibson dropped in 14 of his game high 19 points in the second half to go along with nine rebounds to lead the Pioneers while senior Jerell Thompson had another solid outing with 16 points and five assists.  Freshman Evan Kelley and junior Stan Dulaire (Bloomfield, CT) both had double-digit performances of their own, 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.  Kelley 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 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.  The Pioneers led by nine with just under 12 minutes to play when 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 a dunk to silence the 1,237 Stony Brook fans in attendance.  The Seawolves used three quick baskets to close in on SHU , 64-60 but Thompson, Kelley, and Gibson combined for the 11-of-12 at the line in the final minute of regulation to seal the win.

Closing in on 500...  Head Coach Dave Bike is closing in on his 500th career victory.  Bike is in his 33rd season as the head coach of his alma mater and boasts 498 wins on the SHU sidelines.  He currently ranks first among active Northeast Conference coaches in all-time wins and 20th on the NCAA list of most career victories by an active coach.  Coach Bike ranks second among Division I head coaches who have stayed at the same school for over 20 years.  Jim Boeheim from Syracuse heads the list in his 35th season.  Bike is followed by Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (31), Don Maestri from Troy (29), Greg Kampe from Oakland (27), Rick Byrd, of Belmont (25), Jim Calhoun from Connecticut (25), Ron "Fang" Mitchell of Coppin State (25) and Vann Pettaway of Alabama A&M (25).