NEC RIVALRY WEEK
SACRED HEART vs. BRYANT
Game 27 * February 11, 2012 * Chase Athletic Center * Smithfield, RI * 1:00 pm
The Storyline... It is round two in the NEC Rivalry Week's "New England Knockout" as Sacred Heart travels to Bryant University Saturday afternoon. The Pioneers took round one at home Wednesday night, holding off a late Bryant rally for a 79-77 win behind Shane Gibson's 30-points. The Bulldogs had four players in double figures led by Raphael Jordan's 18 points.
All-Time Series vs. Bryant... The Pioneers lead the all-time series 14-9. Saturday afternoon's game is the 23rd meeting between Sacred Heart and Bryant, and the second-straight after the Pioneers won on Wednesday night. Since the Bulldogs became a member of the NEC, SHU leads the series 6-1. Prior to the 2008-09 season, the two teams hadn't met on the hardwood since the 1997-98 campaign. The two schools first met on the court in 1965-66, SHU's inaugural season.
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 518-475, 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. Tim O'Shea (Boston College '84) is in his fourth season on the Bryant University bench. Prior to becoming the seventh head coach in Bulldog program history, O'Shea spent seven seasons as the head coach at Ohio University where he recorded a 120-95 record. He led the Bobcats to the 2004-05 MAC Championship and spot in the NCAA Tournament. He had assistant coaching stints at Yale, Rhode Island and Boston College.
Up Next... The Pioneers stay on the road and head to Brooklyn for a pair of games next week. SHU is at LIU Brooklyn on Thursday and take on St. Francis (NY) Saturday night live on MSG TV.
- The Pioneers and Bulldogs are matched-up for back-to-back games during the NEC's third edition of "Rivalry Week". SHU took on in-state rival Quinnipiac during the past two seasons, splitting with the Bobcats in 2009-10 and dropping both meetings last year.
- The Pioneers shot a season-high 60.4% (29-48) in winning game one of the "New England Knockout" Wednesday night.
- Junior Shane Gibson scored 30 points in the win, his seventeenth game this season scoring 20 or more points and his third time hitting for 30 or more this season.
- Gibson broke the SHU Division I single season scoring mark in the win, needing just eight points coming in to set the mark. He has scored 564 points with at least five games left and moves past Maurice Bailey who posted 542 points during the 2003-04 campaign.
- Gibson continues to lead in the NEC scoring race, averaging 21.7 ppg. That figure also ranks him seventh in the nation.
- In 13 NEC games, Gibson is averaging 25.3 ppg, six points more than second-ranked Jamal Olaswere (19.5 ppg) of LIU Brooklyn.
- Freshman Phil Gaetano made all five shots he took against Bryant, finishing with a career-high 12 points. He added seven assists to his totals. Gaetano ranks third among NEC leaders, and first among league rookies in assists (113 - 4.35 pg).
- Junior Justin Swidowski scored 15 points against the Bulldogs, his highest point total since scoring 18 in a loss to St. Francis (NY). Swidowski was hurt in the Saint Francis (PA) game and missed four games with a shoulder injury.
- The Pioneers have used nine different starting line-ups this season, including a different batch of starters in each of the last five games. Many of Coach Bike's changes were due to injuries to Justin Swidowski, Evan Kelley and Chris Evans.
- Injury Bug - Sophomore Chris Evans has missed the last four games with a knee injury and is considered questionable. He was in uniform on Wednesday night but did not see action. SHU continues to be without the services of senior guard Steve Zazuri.
Last Meeting with Bryant... The Sacred Heart Pioneers shot a season-high 60.4% (29-48) and got 30 points from junior Shane Gibson but needed to stave off a late Bryant rally to come away with a 79-77 win at home Wednesday night in game one of Northeast Conference Rivalry Week. The Pioneers never trailed on Wednesday night and led by as many as 14 early in the second half but saw that lead sliced down to one with just under six minutes to play. Gibson had the hot hand all night, scoring 15 points in each half on 10-of-16 shooting including five three's. SHU build a 13-point lead in the first half but Bryant's Frankie Dobbs got the Bulldogs off on a 8-0 spurt capped by an Alex Francis fast break bucket at 6:15, forcing a SHU time out and cutting the lead to 24-19. Sacred Heart responded with a quick run of their own, and closed out the first half on a 12-4 run as Gibson finished the stanza making six-of-seven on the way to a 39-26 lead. SHU went up 14 in the opening minute of the second half and held a 53-40 lead with 12:35 left looking to put Bryant away. The Bulldogs had other plans and chipped away over the next seven minutes with an 18-6 rally. Francis, who scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half, pulled his team within five, 59-54, on consecutive makes with 7:44 left. Out of the media timeout, Francis made one-of-two at the line for his seventh-straight point and Erick Smith buried a three to slice the SHU lead all the way down to 59-58 with 5:56 to play. Back-to-back dunks by Justin Swidowski and Stan Dulaire helped stabilize the Pioneers and consecutive three's by Phil Gaetano and Gibson built the Pioneer lead to 71-64 with 2:45 left. A pair of Gibson free throws gave SHU a 74-66 lead with 1:33 left but the Bulldogs continued to push back as a three from Dan Calandrillo followed by a pair of Pioneer turnovers left Bryant within striking distance. Raphael Jordan buried a triple with 59 ticks left that left SHU up just 74-72. Gaetano gave the Pioneers a lift with a runner underneath with 22 seconds left. Calandrillo missed the mark on a three but Dobbs cleaned up the rebound to pull back within two, 76-74, with 14 seconds left. SHU's Evan Kelley left room for a tie making just one of two at the line, but Dobbs missed fired on a three with six seconds left and Gibson sealed it with a pair of freebies.
Facing the Bulldogs - Last 10 Meetings (SHU, 8-2)...
2/8/12 SHU 79 Bryant 77 Pitt Center
2/17/11 SHU 83 Bryant 77 Bryant University
1/15/11 Bryant 72 SHU 59 Pitt Center
1/23/10 SHU 84 Bryant 60 Pitt Center
1/14/10 SHU 72 Bryant 60 Bryant University
2/28/09 SHU 90 Bryant 60 Pitt Center
1/14/09 SHU 73 Bryant 64 Bryant University
2/16/98 SHU 83 Bryant 67 Pitt Center
12/20/96 Bryant 91 SHU 86 Bryant University
12/5/92 SHU 68 Bryant 68 SHU Gymnasium
Scouting the Bulldogs... The Bryant Bulldogs saw their losing streak hit 10-straight with Wednesday's loss and is tied with Fairleigh Dickinson at the bottom of the standings at 1-12. The Bulldogs are in their final season of reclassifying to Division I and are not eligible for the NEC Tournament until the 2012-13 season. Sophomore forward Alex Francis leads Bryant is fifth among the NEC scoring leaders averaging 17.0 points per game. Francis is also one of the NEC's top-rebounders at 7.2 caroms per game, ninth in the rankings. Junior Frankie Dobbs is 14th among the league leaders averaging 13.4 ppg. Dobbs ranks second in the NEC in assists, dishing out 4.56 per game. Junior guard Raphael Jordan is fifth in the league in three-point shooting, making 39.5% (32-81).
Pioneers in the NEC... Sacred Heart is in its 13th season of play in the Northeast Conference in 2011-12. The Pioneers are 96-137 in conference play since joining the league in 1999-2000. SHU has qualified for the Northeast Conference Tournament five times but saw a streak of four-straight seasons making the postseason snapped in 2009-10. The Pioneers best finish in the league was second, a feat they accomplished twice, in 2006-07 and 2008-09. SHU has made two NEC Championship game appearances, falling to Central Connecticut State in 2007 and losing to Mount St. Mary's at home in 2008.
Gibson Sets a Scoring Mark... Shane Gibson's 30 point night against Bryant gave the junior guard the SHU Division I record for points scored in a season. He sets the new mark at 564 and counting with at least five games to play. Gibson passes former Pioneers Maurice Bailey who held the record at 542.
1. Shane Gibson (26 gms) 564 - '11-'12
2. Maurice Bailey (27 gms) 542 - '03-'04
3. Kibwe Trim (28 gms) 537 - '05-'06
Corey Hassan (28 gms) 537 - '09-'10
5. Shane Gibson (29 gms) 498 - '10-'11