SOUTH BEND, Ind. (December 19, 2011) – Sacred Heart junior Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) scored a game-high 22 points but Notre Dame shot 61.4% (35-57) and had five players in double figures on the way to a 106-65 win in South Bend Monday night. Junior Jack Cooley led the Fighting Irish (8-5) with 19 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the win.
The Pioneers (6-7) jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead and road the hot hand of Gibson for the majority of the first half, scoring 16 of his 22 in the first stanza. The junior guard put SHU up 17-12 with a three from the left wing and came down on the next possession and drilled a long three in front of the Notre Dame bench for a 20-14 lead with 12 minutes on the clock.
A 6-0 ND spurt tied the game at 20-20 but the Pioneers answered with a 10-3 spurt of their own for their biggest lead of the first half. Junior Nick Greenbacker (Coventry, CT) started it with a straight-away three followed by nice back-door cut by Stan Dulaire (Bloomfield, CT) finished a feed from sophomore Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT) at 9:08.
SHU freshman Steve Glowiak (New Britain, CT) put the Pioneers up 30-23 burying a triple from the left wing with 7:30 on the clock. The Irish responded with a 9-0 rally, capped by a Cooley put-back that forced a SHU timeout with 5:52 left. The Pioneers would grab the lead back one last time as Gibson scored underneath on a lay-in and freshman Phil Gaetano (Wallingford, CT) drained a three for a 39-37 lead with 3:27 left in the first half.
Gaetano's three would be the final Pioneer points of the half and the first 2:49 of the second half. In between, Notre Dame would blow the game wide open, closing the first half on a 9-0 run and extending it to a 20-0 burst into the second half. Alex Dragicevich and Jerian Grant both hit three's in the opening minutes of the second half as the Irish turned a two-point deficit into a 59-37 lead before a Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) ended the SHU scoring drought.
The Fighting Irish lead swelled to 30 points at the 11:36 mark cruising home to their 27th-straight win at home. Notre Dame shot 66.7% (18-27) and made six-of-nine from behind the arc in the second half. As a team, the Irish had 25 assists while turning it over just four times.
Notre Dame got 13 points and nine assists from Eric Atkins and 15 points and seven assists from Grant. Dragicevich tallied 12 while Joey Brooks came off the bench for 12 point. The Irish remain a perfect 26-0 when facing the Northeast Conference with the win.
SHU finished the game shooting 39.3% (22-56) and were outrebounded 37-24 in the loss.
Sacred Heart will now head to Boston College to face the Eagles on Wednesday night at 7:30 pm.