Sacred Heart Offense Struggles in 61-45 Loss at Mount St. Mary’s

EMMITSBURG, MD  (January 20, 2011) – Sacred Heart scored a season-low 45 points shooting 29.2% (14-48) in dropping their third-straight Northeast Conference game, 61-45 at Mount St. Mary's Thursday night.  The Mount dominated in the paint getting 20 points from senior forward Shawn Atupem as they outscored the Pioneers 34-14 inside.  SHU freshman Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) finished with a team-high 14 points making eight-of-11 at the charity stripe.

Atupem missed just once on Thursday night, making eight-of-nine from the floor while collecting six rebounds with three steals and a block.  The Mount shot 46.3% (25-54) and forced SHU into 18 turnovers. 

Sacred Heart (7-11, 2-5 NEC) r-sophomore Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) opened the game with two-straight three's as the Pioneers made four of their first five shots to lead 8-6 in the opening minutes.  The Pioneers took a 15-13 lead on a senior Jerrell Thompson (Plainfield, NJ) three at 10:12 in what would be their final lead of the night.

Game tied 15-15 at the third media time out at 7:42.  Evans hit in the lane and got fouled but missed the and-one free throw.  Thompson buried a three from the top to lead 15-13.  Atupem tied it a 15-15 hitting underneath and got the Mount started on a 17-3 run into halftime to lead 30-18.   The Mount scored 18 of their 30 points inside led by Atupem who finished with 10 in the half.  The Pioneers made just three-of-17 after their hot start and shot just 31.8% (7-22) in the first half while turning it over 12 times.

Mount St. Mary's (6-14, 4-3 NEC) extended their lead to 17 with a quick 7-2 spurt to open the second half coming on three-straight makes to force a SHU timeout with 18:06 on the clock.  The Pioneers would cut the lead to 12 at the 13:39 mark after a Thompson pull-up jumper in the lane and the fourth three off the hand of Gibson to make it 39-27. 

That would be as close as the Pioneers would get the rest of the way as the Mountaineers ran the lead back to 17 at the 9:33 mark.  Atupem delivered a three-point play on a dunk off a Jean Cajou feed at 10:46.  Cajou then buried a three from the corner for his only points of the night and a 48-31 advantage with nine and a half minutes left.  The Pioneers never pulled closer than down 14 the rest of the way.

Gibson's four-of-six shooting night behind the arc resulted in his 12 point effort, joining Evans in double figures.  The only other Pioneers to find the scoring column on the night was junior Stan Dulaire (Bloomfied, CT) who finished with eight points, Thompson who added six points and r-sophomore Femi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia) who had five points and a season-high eight rebounds.

The loss marked the sixth-straight against the Mount as they complete the season sweep of the Pioneers.  SHU suffered its second-consecutive sub 30.0% shooting night in the loss (27.4% last time out vs. Bryant).  The Pioneers made just 12-of-21 (57.1%) at the free throw line.

In addition to Atupum's 20 point effort, the Mount got 13 points from Julian Norfleet and 11 from Lamar Trice.

The Pioneers are right back in action Saturday night as they head to Wagner College.  Tip-off is scheduled for 7 pm.

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