Sacred Heart (2-9, 0-0 Northeast) at UNLV (5-4, 0-0 Mountain West)
December 20th, 2013 - 7:00 pm - Thomas & Mack Center (19,522)
Continental Tires Las Vegas Classic - Las Vegas, NV
Setting the Scene... Sacred Heart continues its four-game west coast swing with a Friday night match-up in Las Vegas with the UNLV Rebels at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Pioneers come into Friday's game having lost their last three. Most recently, SHU lost 70-61 Wednesday night at Santa Clara in its first game of the Continental Tires Las Vegas Classic. UNLV comes into Friday's contest riding high off a two game winning streak. The Rebels defeated the Radford Highlanders 81-62 in their Las Vegas Classic opener.
The Field...The Continental Tires Las Vegas Classic field includes Santa Clara of the West Coast Conference, UNLV of the Mountain West Conference Mississippi State of the Southeastern Conference, South Florida of the American Athletic Conference, Florida A&M University (Tallahassee, FL), Radford University (VA), and Florida Gulf Coast University.
Last Time Out... The Sacred Heart Pioneers lost their third consecutive game Wednesday night, 70-61 at Santa Clara. The Pioneer held a 31-27 halftime lead but Santa Clara came on strong, outrebounding SHU 23-6 in the second half. Both teams shot 432. percent from the field (22-of-52) but Santa Clara knocked down two more three-pointers and seven more free throws. Redshirt junior Evan Kelley led the way for the Pioneers, scoring a team-high 20 points to go along with five assists. Three other Pioneers scored in double figures; Chris Evans (12), De'Von Barnett (10), and Louis Montes (10). The 61 points is the second lowest scoring output of the season for the Pioneers.
UNLV vs SHU Series Notes... UNLV defeated Sacred Heart 103-56 at the Thomas & Mack Center on November 14th, 1998 in the only game ever played between the two programs. That is also the only game Sacred Heart has played against a Mountain West Conference opponent.
Scouting the Rebels... Picked to finish second in the highly competitive Mountain West Conference, UNLV comes into Friday's game with a 5-4 record. The Rebels have won back-to-back games over Southern Utah and Radford. The Rebels lost by just five points to #1 ranked Arizona 63-58 on December 7th. UNLV is led by UCONN transfer Roscoe Smith who leads the team with 12.3 points per game. Like SHU, UNLV is eceptionally balanced offensively with four players scoring in double digits.
Barnett Burstin' Thru... Freshman De'Von Barnett was named NEC Rookie of the Week two weeks ago after playing his first two games in a SHU uniform. In Barnett's debut game, a 73-59 win over Hofstra on December 4th, the 6'4'' wing put in 8 points on 4-6 shooting. Barnett has followed that up with three more solid games, averaging 9.0 points per game in his first four contests.
That Gaetano is Scoring... Junior guard Phil Gaetano is averaging a career- high 7.5 points per game this season, to go along with his usual output of assists (5.36/gm). He set a new career-high in scoring at Boston College, putting in 16 points as he made four three-pointers. In his first two seasons at Sacred Heart, Gaetano averaged 4.5 points per game. Gaetano is curently third in the NEC in assists per game.
Montes 1,000.... Senior Louis Montes scored his 1,000th career points on Wednesday night in the Pioneers 70-61 loss to Santa Clara. The senior forward now has 1,006 career points in 101 career games. Montes becomes the 37th Pioneer to eclipse 1,000 points in a career and the 190th player in Northeast Conference history. Montes also has 531 career rebounds.
Consistent Chris... Redshirt Junior Chris Evans has scored in double digits in six consective games, and nine of his last ten. The Connecticut native scored a season high 23 points (Career-high - 24 pts) against Brown on November 16th. Evans is currently second on the team, averaging 13.8 points per game. Both Kelley and Evans have scored in double digits a team-high nine times.
Kelley Back on Track... Following a 2 for 12 shooting performance in the Pioneers' overtime loss to Boston College, Evan Kelley has put in double digit points in the past five games games. Most recently, the Connecticut native poured in a team-high 20 points against Santa Clara to go along with five assists. Kelley is the Pioneers' top scorer, averaging 15.3 points per game. He is seventh in the NEC in scoring and 9th in field goal percentage (.471). Kelley scored a career-high 32 points in Sacred Heart's 122-118 double-overtime loss at Holy Cross on Nov. 13.
Up Next... Sacred Heart will play the Radford Highlanders at the Orleans Arena on Sunday afternoon in game three of the Continental Tires Las Vegas Classic.