BROOKLYN, N.Y. (February 6, 2011) – The Sacred Heart Pioneers scored just 15 points and shot just 25.0% (7-28) in the first half as St. Francis (NY) built a 20-point lead at the break en route to a 78-51 runaway win Saturday afternoon in Northeast Conference play. The Pioneers got 17 points from freshman Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) but fall to 9-14 and 4-8 in the NEC with the loss.
The Terriers (11-12, 6-6 NEC) were led by Akeem Bennett who scored 15 points with three assists, three steals and a block. SFNY shot 48.2% (27-56) from the field and scored 20 points off 15 Sacred Heart turnovers. St. Francis held a 42-31 edge on the glass.
SHU jumped out in front 9-8 in the game's opening minutes but would suffer through a nine minute stretch without scoring a point that allowed St. Francis (NY) to take a strangle hold on the game. Junior Stan Dulaire (Bloomfield, CT) hit on a lay-up at 14:18 to put the Pioneers up 9-8 but the next SHU point wouldn't come until 5:19. In between, St. Francis (NY) rattled off a 16-0 run to lead 24-9.
Dulaire would be the one to end the drought hitting underneath but the Terriers refused to falter and extended the run to 27-6 into halftime. With 20 second left before the break, Akeem Johnson got loose on the fast break and was fouled hard by Evans, who was called for an intentional foul. He made one of two but with the Terriers keeping the ball for a last shot they made the Pioneers pay as Travis Nichols buried a three from the wing before the horn to send his team to the locker room up 35-15. SHU's 15 points was the fewest in a half this season. Their previous low came way back in game one against Fairfield.
The Terriers left no room for the Pioneers to try and pull off the comeback, running their lead to 30-points midway through the second half. SHU briefly cut the lead to 18 twice in the first two minutes of the second half but St. Francis quickly opened a 26 point lead on a Matt Milk three-point play followed by a three from Stefan Perunicic. The SFNY lead hit its high-water mark at 36 with 6:40 to go, 71-35, and the Terriers cruised home from there.
Joining Bennett in double figures was Nichols who came off the bench for 14 points. Milk scored 10 points helping SFNY to a 34-22 scoring advantage in the paint.
SHU freshman Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT) came off the bench to score 10 points in the loss. Sophomore Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT), the second leading scorer in the NEC, was held to a season-low four points making just two-of-15 shots.
The Pioneers move on to Northeast Conference "Rivalry Week" taking on the Quinnipiac Bobcats in back to back games. SHU heads to Hamden on Wednesday, February 9th and host the Bobcats on Monday, February 14th.