PROVIDENCE, RI (December 21, 2010) – For the second-straight game, Sacred Heart r-sophomore Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) eclipsed his career high scoring mark, hitting six-of-nine from downtown on the way to a 26 point night but the Pioneers fell just short of an upset bid losing at Providence College, 84-76. Providence shot 52.8% (28-53) from the field in the win and were led by a double double from Marshon Brooks who finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds.
"I thought we had a chance to steal one tonight," stated head coach Dave Bike who came in to the game with 499 career wins. "they didn't break. They kept coming up with the shots when they needed it and we couldn't get over the hump. We're disappointed. We had a chance."
The Pioneers (4-8) found themselves down 12 with 12 minutes to play in the second half but fought their way back cutting the Friar lead to 77-74 with 1:08 on the clock. SHU's Stan Dulaire (Bloomfield, CT) caught a follow up dunk and freshman Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT) made a transition lay-up off a steal to pull within three as the Pioneers called timeout.
Out of the break, Providence beat the Pioneer press for a Bilal Dixon dunk and then stole the inbounds pass forcing a SHU foul. Vincent Council buried both free throws and the Friars quickly led 81-74 with 40 seconds left to thwart the Sacred Heart threat and escape with the win.
Both Gibson and Brooks led their teams in an up-and-down offensive first half. Gibson finished with 16 points in the first half, hitting four-of-six from three as the Pioneers shot 52.9% (18-34). Brooks was equally as impressive with 19 points making seven of nine from the field and all three from behind the arc as the Friars shot 53.6% (15-28) en route to leading 44-41 at the break.
The Pioneers jumped in front early 7-6 as Jerrell Thompson (Plainfield, NJ) just beat the shot clock with a foul line jumper at 16:05. Thompson came up with a steal at midcourt off the inbounds and fed a streaking Dulaire for a thunderous dunk and a 9-6 lead forcing a Friar timeout at 15:52. With the game knotted at 15-15, Providence got six-straight points at the free throw line and extended their lead to 27-19 with a Brooks steal and dunk. SHU trailed 41-34 with 3:11 left but closed the half on a 7-3 spurt with a fast break lay-up and three from Gibson.
Dulaire's second dunk of the night followed by a baseline jumper from Nick Greenbacker (Coventry, CT) pulled SHU within 53-50 four minutes in to the second half. The Friars used a 12-3 run over the next four minutes to take their biggest lead at 65-53 at the 12 minute mark. SHU chipped away and pulled within three twice with under five minutes to play but just couldn't complete the comeback seeing their three-game win streak snapped.
The Friars (11-2) went to the free throw line 31 times, making 20 compared to a three-of-six night at the charity stripe for the Pioneers. The Pioneers made 14 steals in forcing 19 Friar turnovers, leading to 24 points. Thompson chipped in with 12 points and three steals for the Pioneers in the loss.
The Pioneers will have to wait until Sunday, January 2nd for another try at delivering Coach Bike his 500th win. SHU will play host to Holy Cross at 2:00 pm in the William H. Pitt Center in their final non-conference game of the year.