WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ (January 8, 2011) – Sacred Heart shot a season-high 55.3% (26-47) led by 24 points from r-sophomore Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) as the Pioneers beat Monmouth on the road, 80-65. The Pioneers blew open a 53-53 game with 8:46 left using a 20-3 run to even their Northeast Conference record at 2-2 winning for the sixth time in their last seven games.
Gibson was on fire, hitting six-of-nine from the field and five-of-six from behind the arc en route to his fourth 20-point game in his last five outings. Senior Jerrell Thompson (Plainfield, NJ) scored 19 points and dished out eight assists with three steals as the Pioneers set new season's high's for points scored (80), assists (18), field goal percentage (.553) and three-point field goal percentage (.667) in the win.
"It was anybody's game for quite a while there, so we are very pleased," stated head coach Dave Bike. "Another big second half helped us. "We were very good offensively all around tonight."
For the second-straight game the Pioneers overcame both a halftime and second half deficit, outscoring the Hawks 51-35 in the final stanza. Junior Stan Dulaire (Bloomfield, CT) finished with 11 points and freshman Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) came off the bench for 13 points and four rebounds going a perfect five-of-five from the field.
The Pioneers (7-8, 2-2 NEC) got off to a slow start to the night, opening the game just one-of-seven from the field with the only bucket a Gibson three. Freshman Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) broke the drought with a three at 11:55 and Chris Evans followed with a three at 10:30. The first three makes of the game were from behind the arc. SHU up 13-11 midway through the first half as the Hawks struggled shooting, hitting just five-of-17 during that stretch.
SHU went up 19-13 on Gibson's second three of the half and a Nick Greenbacker (Coventry, CT) jumper, but Monmouth fired right back with back-to-back three's from Ed Waite and Mike Myers Keitt tying it 19-19 at 6:30. The Pioneers finished the first half shooting 52.6% (10-19) from the field and made five-of-seven from behind the arc, but turned it over 10 times and missed opportunities at the free throw line making just four of 12 to trail by one at the break, 30-29.
Monmouth (5-11, 1-3 NEC) opened up a quick six-point lead to start the second half, but SHU just as quickly closed the gap on back to back Gibson three's, 35-35, at 17:25. The two teams traded the lead back and forth over the next 10 minutes of action with the Hawks never pulling farther than four points in front. Thompson put the Pioneers up 50-49 off a steal and fast-break lay-up and then buried a three for a 53-49 advantage with 10:06 on the clock.
MU's Waite pulled the game even on a pair of lay-ups, producing the game's 10th tie at 53-53 with 8:46 on the clock. From there the Pioneers went to work, using their defense and rebounding to pull away on the strength of a 20-3 run. Evans hit a pair of tough jumpers in the lane over MU's seven-foot center Phil Wait and Dulaire capped the rally with a dunk off a lob from Thompson to give SHU a commanding 73-56 lead with 1:39 left.
After trailing for much of the game on the glass, the Pioneers outrebounded the Hawks 34-33 and outscored them in the paint as well, 28-26. SHU also got 18 points off 16 Monmouth turnovers in the win.
The Hawks were led by 15 points from Waite who also picked up eight rebounds. The Hawks did get 22 second chance points off their 33 caroms on the night.
SHU returns home for a pair of games next week playing host to Central Connecticut State on Thursday night and Bryant next Saturday.