Pioneers Visit First Place LIU Thursday Night
Sacred Heart Pioneers (9-12, 4-6 NEC) vs. Long Island Blackbirds (16-5, 8-2 NEC)
Game #22 - Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 7:00 pm - Brooklyn, N.Y. - Wellness, Recreation & Athletic Center (2,500)
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers head down to Brooklyn, NY for their next two games starting Thursday night at first place Long Island University. The Pioneers are coming off their best day offensively of the season, shooting 61.9% in an 84-75 win at home over Robert Morris. Five Pioneers found double digits in the win led by 19 from sophomore Shane Gibson while junior Nick Greenbacker chipped in a career-high 17 points. SHU sits a 4-6 in the Northeast Conference heading into this week's games, alone in 10th place but just a game behind five teams tied for fifth in the standings. The Blackbirds are the NEC's top-scoring team averaging 81.8 points per game. LIU has won 10 of their last 11 and come in off a 74-69 win at Monmouth last time out. Long Island sits at 8-2, one game in front of CCSU in second place. This will be the only meeting this season between Sacred Heart and Long Island.
Sacred Heart - Long Island All-Time Series... This is the 21st meeting between the two schools with LIU leading the all-time series 12-8. The Blackbirds won the only meeting last season, 81-75 in the Pitt Center.
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 504-455, 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. Jim Ferry (Keene State '90) is in his ninth season at the helm of the Long Island men's basketball program. He has led the Blackbirds to a 114-139 record over his nine seasons. Ferry was named the NEC Coach of the Year after the 2004-05 season. Ferry also had head coaching stints at Plymouth State and Adelphi
On the Upcoming Slate... Sacred Heart returns to Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon to take on St. Francis (NY).
Scouting the Blackbirds... The first place LIU Blackbirds come in at 16-5 overall and 8-2 in the NEC, holding a one game lead over Central Connecticut State in the standings. The Blackbirds, the highest scoring team in the NEC (81.8 ppg), feature a balanced offensive attack with all five starters averaging double figures. Sophomore forward Jamal Olasewere leads the team at 12.0 points per game. Fellow sophomore forward Julian Olasewere averages 11.8 points and leads the NEC in rebounding at 8.4 boards per game. Freshman guard Jason Brickman is third in the league in assists averaging 4.62 per game. Brickman is second in assist to turnover ratio, dishing 97 assists against just 38 turnovers.
Last Meeting with Long Island... Kyle Johnson scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and the visiting Long Island Blackbirds used an 11-2 run late in the second half to defeat Sacred Heart 81-75 on February 11, 2010. In a game when the Pioneers held LIU to just 38 percent from the floor and out rebounded the opposition, the Blackbirds took care of the basketball - turning it over just six times. LIU led 39-37 at the intermission on the strength of 14 from Johnson and a career-high eight from Corey Wright. The Pioneers were paced by senior Chauncey Hardy with 12 in the half, but the team was just 4-11 from the line. SHU would finish the game just 7-17 from the charity stripe. The Pioneers took the lead, 55-53, on a Ryan Litke three with 12:25 left in the game and would extend that to 60-55 after a Nick Greenbacker layup with 9:20 to play. A Johnson three-point play on the next LIU possession trimmed the lead to three. SHU led 64-62 after a Corey Hassan free throw with 5:17 left, but from there LIU used an 11-2 burst, started by a three from Michael Culpo, that gave them a 73-66 lead with 1:27 remaining. Liam Potter finished with a double-double, recording 10 points and a school Division I record 17 rebounds. He also chipped in five blocked shots. Sophomore Stan Dulaire finished with a career-high 14 points and four rebounds.
Last Time Out... The Sacred Heart Pioneers shot a scorching 61.9% (26-42) and for the first time this season had five players in double figures as they dealt Robert Morris an 84-75 loss last Saturday. Sophomore Shane Gibson led the SHU scoring contingent with 19 points while junior Nick Greenbacker chipped in a career-high 17 points to help end an 0-5 stretch at home in conference play this season. Robert Morris's Velton Jones led all scorers with 22 points. The Pioneers made 13-of-21 shots in both the first and second halves and held a big advantage at the free throw line. SHU made 26-of-32 at the charity stripe, 22-of-26 coming in the second half. The Colonials went to the line just 11 times, making eight in the loss. SHU also dished out a season-high 21 assists led by senior Jerrell Thompson who passed out a career-high 15 in the win. Gibson's 19 points came on six-of-10 shooting while Greenbacker finished seven-of-nine while collecting six rebounds, a steal and a block. Evans finished with 14 points and six re bounds while Dulaire had 10 points and six boards. Freshman Evan Kelley came off the bench for 13 points, making nine-of-10 at the free throw line. Thompson's 15 assists came against just one turnover while he added seven points, all at the free throw line. The Colonials shot 44.4% (28-63) and were outrebounded 31-26. Karon Abraham finished with 19 points while Bridges and Wallace came off the bench for 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Greenbacker Break Out... Junior Nick Greenbacker had a career-day in the win over Robert Morris, scoring a career-high 17 points and tying his career-high with six rebounds in the win over Robert Morris. Greenbacker made seven-of-nine shots and made his first career-three, going 3-3 from behind the arc. Greenbacker's previous high was nine points set earlier this season at Lafayette.
Thompson Passes to SHU Division I Mark... In a game where the Pioneers shot a season-best 61.9% and had a season-high 21 assists, senior point guard Jerrell Thompson led the way with 15 helpers. Thompson's career-high mark set a new Sacred Heart Division I record , topping the 12 by now assistant coach Drew Shubik against Providence on December 19, 2007. The school record for assists in a game is 19 set by Bill Burke vs. St. Michael's on January 10, 1972. Thompson's 15 assists ranks as the fifth highest game total in SHU history.