FAIRFIELD, CT (December 11, 2011) – Sacred Heart junior Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) scored 22 points including the final six-straight in the final minute to help the Pioneers secure an 84-79 win over Lafayette College, snapping a three-game slide. Sophomore Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) chipped in with 16 points while senior Stan Dulaire (Bloomfield, CT) scored a career-high 15 points off the bench as the Pioneers even their record at 6-6 on the season.
Sacred Heart (6-6) got off to a 12-6 start thanks to a pair of early Gibson threes but the Leopards (4-6) would show early on that they would answer with some hot shooting from long range as well. Jim Mower delivered back-to-back threes and pulled his team even at 12-12 but early turnovers continued to plague Lafayette. SHU went up five on a Dulaire dunk and led 22-14 thanks to a Luis Montes (Brookfield, MA) three at 8:12.
With SHU up 24-19, the Leopards went to work and put together a 13-5 run to end the first half. Mower hit his third three of the first half and Nick Petkovich made it 33-27 with just under 30 seconds left. The Pioneers cut it to four right at the halftime horn as Gibson grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw and threw a perfect full court pass to Evans who dunked it home right before the horn.
The Pioneers opened the second half with four-straight points to knot it at 33-33 and built that into an 8-2 run to open the second stanza leading 37-35 with 17:49 on the clock. Up 40-39 at the 15:41 media timeout, the two teams traded three-point makes as Evans was followed by a Joey Ptasinski triple. Sophomore Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT) answered that with a three of his own followed by an outlet to Evans on the break for two and SHU led 48-44 with 14:11 left.
Up seven with just over nine to go, the two teams went on another three-point spurt as freshmen Steve Glowiak (New Britain, CT) and Phil Gaetano (Wallingford, CT) wrapped three's around Mower's fourth of the night for a 66-58 lead. The Pioneers took their biggest lead of the night after a Gibson fade away jumper was followed by Gaetano stealing the inbounds, getting fouled and making the lay-up and ensuing free throw for a 71-60 lead with 6:13 left on the clock.
Lafayette would not let SHU pull away and chipped away with a 10-2 run capped by Seth Hinrichs three to pull within 73-70 with three minutes left. SHU pushed the lead back to eight quickly with an old fashioned three-point play from Montes and a Dulaire dunk but Lafayette continued to push the action. The Leopards got another three from Hinrichs and one from Rob Delaney and trailed by just one, 78-77 with a minute left.
Gibson went to work and put the game away for the Pioneers. With the shot clock winding down, the junior guard drilled a straight-away three with a hand in his face. Following a missed three at the other end, Gibson corralled the rebound, got fouled and knocked down both for an 83-77 lead. He hit one of two after being fouled with 12 ticks left and came up with a block on defense to salt away the win in the waning seconds.
For the third time this season, the Pioneers shot 50.0% in a game, making 30-of-60. SHU also took advantage of 17 Lafayette turnovers to the tune of 23 points on the other end. Gaetano chipped in with nine points and five assists off the bench for the Pioneers.
Gibson finished with seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks as well.
The Leopards hit 12-of-27 from three point land and were led by Mower who posted a game-high 24 points. Hinrichs notched 17 in the loss.
SHU will be off for the next eight days for final exams and return to action December 19th at Notre Dame and December 21st at Boston College.