HACKENSACK, NJ – Fairleigh Dickinson had five players score in double digits Saturday afternoon, on its way to a 73-66 win over Sacred Heart at Stratis Arena. SHU has now dropped eleven consecutive games and falls to 1-12 in the NEC this season.
For the second consecutive game, Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) led the way for SHU, scoring a game-high 19 points, on 5-of-12 shooting.Freshman De'Von Barnett scored 18 points on 8-of-17 shooting, while senior Mostafa Abdel Latif (Alexandria, Egypt) grabbed 14 rebounds to go along with four points.
Each member of FDU's starting lineup scored in double digits, with Mathias Seilund pouring in a team-high 13 points. Sidney Sanders Jr. dished out seven assists to go along with his 11 points.
Abdel Latif got things started for SHU, grabbing an offensive rebound and putting in a lay-up to give SHU an early 2-0 lead.
Sacred Heart trailed for much of the first half. Xavier Harris dunked home a nice dish from Sanders Jr. off an out of bounds play to give FDU a 13-9 lead. Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT) responded on the other end with a lay-in.
Sanders Jr. and Scooter Gillette followed Kelley's lay-up with back-to-back lay-ups to give FDU a six-point lead with 9:55 left in the first half.
Abdel Latif snagged another offensive board, leading to a Kelley three-ball to bring SHU within three, 19-16 with 8:21 left.
A Seilund three-pointer, followed by three FDU free throws achieved FDU a 28-20 lead with 4:54 left in the first.
Down eight with less than five to go, Sacred Heart ramped up the defense, shutting down FDU and scoring the final 11 points of the first half.
The run was jumpstarted by a Kelley lay-in, and a Glowiak three-ball on consecutive possessions. From there, the Pioneers made six consecutive free throws.
The SHU defense did not allow a FDU basket on its final nine possessions. SHU held a 31-28 lead at the break.
Like he did to begin the first half, Abdel Latif kick-started SHU with an offensive rebound and jump hook to open up the scoring after halftime.
SHU and FDU went back and forth to begin the second, each team exchanging leads.
A nice spin and left-handed lay-up by Barnett tied the game at 36 with 16:28 left. FDU started to pull away near the halfway point of the second with a 10-0 run to open up a 50-41 lead with 12:28 left. Scott Kingsley capped off the spurt with back-to-back lay-ups, sandwiched around a Sacred Heart timeout.
The Pioneers fought back as Steve Glowiak and Phil Gaetano buried back-to-back three-pointers to bring SHU within four with 9:42 remaining.Montes followed their lead with a three-ball of his own, only to be answered on the other end with a Matt MacDonald long ball.
Montes answered back with potentially the highlight of the game, throwing down a thunderous dunk in-between two defenders on a Sacred Heart fast break. The dunk once again brought SHU to within four.
Each time it seemed the Pioneers were close to tying the game, the Knights responded with a basket of their own. Sanders Jr. answered the Montes dunk with a three-pointer to extend FDU's lead back to seven.
Glowiak knocked down another three with 2:23 left to make it a 64-40 FDU lead.
After fouling and FDU making the first free throw, SHU let up an offensive rebound on the second. With the extra possession, Gillette knocked down two more from the line to give the Knights a 67-60 lead with 1:47 left.
A Sacred Heart turnover on the other end would shut the door on the Pioneers.
Sacred Heart close out the regular season this week with three games in five days, starting Tuesday night with a home game against the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds.
Notes: Montes and Abdel Latif both fouled out near the end of the second half. Montes came in averaging 9.25 points per game in Saturday NEC game, shooting 20.5 percent from the floor.