SACRED HEART (9-17, 7-8 NEC) AT BRYANT (17-9, 10-5 NEC)
Game 27 * Mon., Feb. 25, 2013 * Smithfield, RI * Chace Athletic Center
Setting the Scene... Sacred Heart will finish the regular season with three-straight on the road starting Monday night at Bryant University. SHU and Bryant were originally scheduled to meet on Saturday, February 9th but the blizzard that struck the Northeast forced the game to be rescheduled. Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Pioneers are in a battle with Central Connecticut and St. Francis Brooklyn for two of the final Northeast Conference Tournament spots. SHU has dropped four-straight and five of their last six to fall to 7-8 in the standings, tied for seventh with CCSU and a half game in front of the Terriers (7-9). The Pioneers are coming off their fourth-straight loss at home, an 80-72 defeat to Central on Saturday. Bryant comes in at 10-5 and tied for second in the NEC. Despite losing to at Quinnipiac on Saturday, 69-58, the Bulldogs have clinched a spot in the playoff field in their first season of eligibility for the postseason. Bryant is 9-2 at home this season and close their regular season with three-straight in the Chace Athletic Center.
Series Notes... Monday will be the 26th meeting between SHU and Bryant.
- The Pioneers lead the all-time series 16-9.
- Since the Bulldogs became a member of the NEC, SHU leads the series 8-1.
- Sacred Heart has won four-straight over Bryant and took the first meeting this season, an 87-76 win at home in the Pitt Center.
- SHU's Shane Gibson scored a combined 64 points in the two wins last season over the Bulldogs and has averaged 26.4 ppg in the last five meetings with Bryant.
- 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.
Pioneers in the NEC... Sacred Heart is in its 14th season of play in the Northeast Conference in 2012-13.
- SHU is 105-149 in conference play since joining the league in 1999-2000.
- The Pioneers best finish in the league was second, a feat they accomplished twice, in 2006-07 and 2008-09.
- SHU has qualified for the Northeast Conference Tournament six times.
- SHU has made two NEC Championship game appearances, falling to Central Connecticut in 2007 and losing to Mount St. Mary's at home in 2008.
The Head Coaches... Dave Bike (Sacred Heart '69) begins his 35th year as the head coach of Sacred Heart University where he owns a career record of 529-495. 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 fifth 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 will travel to Brooklyn, N.Y. for the final two games of the regular season. SHU faces defending NEC champion LIU Brooklyn on Thursday night and St. Francis Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon.
Last Meeting with Bryant... The Pioneers shot a season-best 60.0 percent (33-55) and scored a season-high 87 points in dealing the Bryant Bulldogs their first NEC loss of the season on January 24th in the Pitt Center. Senior Shane Gibson and sophomore Steve Glowiak each topped 20 points with 26 and 21 respectively. The Pioneers hit 10-of-22 (.455) from three with Gibson and Glowiak combining on nine of SHU's threes. The Bulldogs got a game-high 28 points from Dyami Starks. Guard Corey Maynard had 14 points and six boards while Joe O'Shea came off the bench for 11 points.