SMITHFIELD, R.I. – It took almost an hour of game time Saturday, but the Sacred Heart Pioneers defeated the Bryant Bulldogs 112-110 in three overtimes at Chace Athletic Center. Joseph Lopez scored the eventual game-winning basket with 0:04 left.
Sophomore guard Quincy McKnight became the first Pioneer in almost five years to score over 40 points. McKnight finished with a career-high 44 points, scoring 35 in the second half and overtimes. He was 16-for-26 from the field and 8-for-12 at the foul line. Four other Pioneers scored in double-figures Saturday. Joseph Lopez had his sixth double-double in the last nine games with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Matej Buovac made four threes on his way to 18 points. Sean Hoehn added 16 points with Chris Robinson putting up 10.
Sacred Heart (8-11, 3-3 NEC) jumped out to a 10-6 lead Saturday, as Chris Robinson's four-point play at the 16:39 mark broke a 6-6 tie. With the game tied 12-12, a McKnight basket sparked a 7-2 Pioneers run that put SHU ahead 19-14 with 11:49 left in the half. Bryant responded with a 14-2 run over the next 3:32, as a Bosko Kostur layup capped the run that put the Bulldogs up 28-21. The Bulldogs took their largest lead of the half with 2:27 to go when a Hunter Ware layup put Bryant ahead by 12, 39-27. SHU would cut the deficit to seven, but Bryant took a 43-34 lead into halftime.
McKnight single-handedly got SHU back in the game early in the second half. The sophomore went on a 10-2 run in 2:36 to get the Pioneers within three, 47-44, with 17:16 to play. Bryant (5-13, 2-4 NEC) then went on a 10-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back Adam Grant threes, to go up 57-44 with 13:36 to play. The Pioneers battled back, going on an 11-0 run to tie the game 60-60 with 8:33 to play. SHU took the lead on a McKnight jumper with 5:14 to play, making the score 66-64.
That's when things got wild. SHU led 77-71 with 0:37 left when Grant made a three to cut the deficit in half, 77-74. After two Hoehn free throws with 0:22 left put SHU back up by five, Grant made another triple to make the score 79-77. McKnight then split two free throws, giving Bryant one chance to tie. Grant forced overtime with his third straight three-pointer with 0:08 left in regulation, tying the game at 80.
SHU led for a majority of the first overtime, leading 91-88 with 0:25 left. Ikenna Ndugba then made a three-pointer with 0:13 remaining to tie the game at 91-91, forcing a second overtime. In the second overtime, Bryant took a 101-99 lead with 0:37 to play on a Sabastian Townes three-point play. McKnight then drove the length of the floor to tie the game at 101 and force a third overtime. With the game tied at 110, McKnight drove to the rim and dished the ball off to Lopez for the game-winning shot. Bryant's last-second heave missed the mark, giving SHU the 112-110 win.
Sacred Heart finished the game shooting 52.7% from the floor and made a season-high 11 three-pointers. Bryant shot 47.1% from the field. SHU outrebounded the Bulldogs 50-43, but committed 22 turnovers. Grant led Bryant with 32 points, making nine three-pointers. Ndugba had 22 points and seven assists.
The Pioneers return to the Pitt Center on Thursday, Jan. 19 to face Mount St. Mary's at 7 p.m.