SACRED HEART vs. MOUNT ST. MARY'S
Game 23 * January 28, 2012 * William H. Pitt Center * Fairfield, CT * 3:30 pm
The Storyline... Sacred Heart closes out their longest homestand of the season hosting Mount St. Mary's on Saturday. SHU is looking to bounce back after a 73-54 loss to Wagner on Thursday where they shot just three-of-20 from three, turned it over 19 times and had a season-low for points. The Mount lost their third-straight on Thursday, falling in overtime 69-66 at Quinnipiac.
All-Time Series vs. Mount... This is the 25th meeting between these schools with the Mount holding a 17-7 advantage. Mount St. Mary's swept the season series last year and extended their streak to six-straight wins over the Pioneers. The Pioneers and Mountaineers have played twice in the postseason with Mount St. Mary's winning both meetings. The Mount knocked the Pioneers out of the 2009 tournament with a 68-63 win at home in the semifinals. They also met in the 2008 NEC Championship with the Pioneers falling at home, 68-55.
The Coaches... Dave Bike (Sacred Heart '69) is in his 34th year as the head coach of Sacred Heart. He has a career record of 516-473, ranking him 20th among active coaches. Only Jim Boheim of Syracuse has 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. Robert Burke (Haverford '88) is in his second season as the head coach at Mount St. Mary's University. He led the Mount to a 9-9 NEC mark last season, including a trip to the conference tournament in his first season. Burke brings 22 seasons of experience as an assistant coach on the Division I level with stops at American University, Georgetown and Princeton on his resume.
Up Next... Sacred Heart opens the month of February on the road with stops at Monmouth and Fairleigh Dickinson next week. SHU will play five of their next six on the road.
- The Pioneers scored a season-low 54 points in their lose to Wagner Thursday night. It was the only meeting between SHU and Wagner this season.
- The Pioneers are in a four-game NEC stretch against opponents they will face just once this season. After the Mount, SHU battles FDU and Monmouth on the road.
- Junior Nick Greenbacker scored a season-high 14 points with seven rebounds and a career-high four blocks against Wagner.
- Sophomore Evan Kelley scored 10 points off the bench, his first double digit effort since a 12-point night at Boston College.
- SHU's three-for-20 shooting night from three on Thursday was their worst night from behind the arc in NEC play this season. They did go two-for-13 from three in the loss at Richmond.
- Junior Shane Gibson continued his scoring tear on Thursday with his tenth 20-point game in his last 11. Gibson scored an even 20 in the loss to Wagner, marking his 13th game this season he has scored 20 or more points. He owns the lead in the NEC scoring race, averaging 20.7 ppg.
- At the midpoint of the NEC schedule, Gibson is scoring at a 24.4 per game clip, averaging nearly five more points per game then the next closer player (Ken Horton-CCSU - 20.3).
- Sophomore Luis Montes followed Shane Gibson by taking home the Choice Hotels NEC Co-Player of the Week Award. Montes averaged 24.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in leading the Pioneers to wins over rivals Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut.
- Gibson earned last week's Choice Hotels NEC Co-Player of the Week award after averaging 27.5 points on the Western Pennsylvania road trip. Gibson hit for 26 points at SFPA and followed that up with a 29 point night at Robert Morris where he set a new career-high with seven three's.
- Sacred Heart has shot 50.0% or better seven times this season but is just 3-4 in those games. SHU had their top-shooting effort of the season in their win at Saint Francis (PA), burying 56.1% (23-41) on a season-low 41 shots.
- Offensively, the Pioneers have scored 80 or more points four times this season but are just 1-3 in those games (L 82-80 ot at CCSU; W 84-79 vs. Lafayette; L vs. LIU Brooklyn 87-81; L vs. St. Francis-NY 99-84).
- Defensively, the Pioneers gave up their most points in an NEC game for the first time since the 2007-08 season in the 99-84 loss to St. Francis-NY. SHU lost 100-87 at home to Central Connecticut State in the season finale on March 2, 2008. On the year, SHU has allowed 80 or more points seven times and on three occasions given up 90 or more points.
- Injury Bug - Junior center Justin Swidowski was limited to just four minutes at Saint Francis (PA) after suffering a shoulder injury. He has missed four-straight games. and there is no timetable for his return. SHU continues to be without the services of senior guard Steve Zazuri.
Last Meeting with Wagner... Sacred Heart scored a season-low 45 points shooting 29.2% (14-48) in a 61-45 loss at Mount St. Mary's on January 20, 2011. The Mount, who swept the season series with the win, dominated in the paint getting 20 points from senior forward Shawn Atupem as they outscored the Pioneers 34-14 inside. SHU's Chris Evans finished with a team-high 14 points making eight-of-11 at the charity stripe. Atupem missed just once 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. With SHU up 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 four-of-five start and shot just 31.8% (7-22) in the first half while turning it over 12 times. Mount St. Mary's 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 Jerrell Thompson pull-up jumper in the lane and the fourth three off the hand of Shane 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. 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 Stan Dulaire who finished with eight points, Thompson added six points and Femi Akinpetide had five points and a season-high eight rebounds.
Facing the Mount - Last 10 Meetings (Mount, 7-3)...
1/20/11 Mount 61 SHU 45 Knott Arena
12/2/10 Mount 66 SHU 52 Pitt Center
1/28/10 Mount 64 SHU 52 Knott Arena
1/9/10 Mount 69 SHU 65 Pitt Center
3/8/09 Mount 68 SHU 63 Knott Arena (NEC Tourn. Semifinal)
1/17/09 Mount 78 SHU 67 Knott Arena
12/4/08 SHU 80 Mount 75 Pitt Center
3/12/08 Mount 68 SHU 55 Pitt Center (NEC Championship)
1/19/08 SHU 67 Mount 59 Knott Arena
2/15/07 SHU 79 Mount 51 Pitt Center
Scouting the Mountaineers... Mount St. Mary's comes in at 2-6 in NEC play with their pair of wins coming at Fairleigh Dickinson and at home versus Bryant. The Mount has dropped three-straight and four of their last five after a 69-66 overtime loss at Quinnipiac at Thursday. The Mountaineers average the fewest points in the NEC, scoring 58.2 points per game. They also are rank last in the league in turnover margin (-3.75) and assist/turnover ratio (0.65). Defensively, the Mount ranks third among the league leaders scoring defense (67.2 ppg) and first in three-point defense (.304). Sophomore guard Julian Norfleet is the team's top-scorer averaging 12.6 ppg. Senior forward Danny Thompson averages 8.5 points per game and ranks fourth in the NEC in rebounding with 7.8 per game. Thompson is second in the NEC in blocks per game (1.40).
Full Set of Game Notes