FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A furious second half rally from the Sacred Heart men's basketball team came up short Friday night as the Pioneers opened the 2017-18 season with a 69-64 loss to the Holy Cross Crusaders.
Sean Hoehn led the Pioneers with 18 points, five assists, and two steals. Joseph Lopez had a double-double with 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Freshman E.J. Anosike had 13 points and eight rebounds in his collegiate debut. Mario Matasovic had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Holy Cross – 1-0
Sacred Heart – 0-1
The Turning Point…
After trailing by 11 at halftime, SHU opened the second half on a 13-3 run to cut the deficit to one 39-38 with 16:10 to go in the game. Holy Cross responded with a 17-6 run of their own over the next 6:42, as a Jacob Grandison three put the Crusaders ahead 56-44. Trailing 67-57 with just over two minutes to play, the Pioneers made one last charge. Hoehn scored seven straight points, with his free throws with 0:50 left putting SHU within three 67-64. The Pioneers got a stop on defense, but turned the ball over on their next trip down the floor. Fouling to keep time on the clock, SHU fouled Patrick Benzan with 0:04 left. Benzan made both ends of a one-and-one to make the score 69-64.
- The two sides traded the lead early and often to start the game. A 7-2 run capped by five straight points from Hoehn put SHU up 11-9 with 13:05 to play.
- The Crusaders used a 15-4 run over 6:18 to take a 24-15 lead at the 6:47 mark. SHU was 2-for-7 from the field over that stretch.
- SHU got as close as six for the rest of the half. Kinnon LaRose's first three as a Pioneer at the 5:33 mark made the score 24-18.
- Holy Cross shot 50% from the field in the half, with SHU shooting 40%.
- The Pioneers opened the half on a 13-3 run over 3:57 to cut the deficit to one, 39-38. SHU was 6-for-6 from the field to start the half and forced three Holy Cross turnovers.
- A 10-2 Holy Cross run put the Crusaders ahead 56-44 with 9:28 to go in the game.
- Hoehn scored seven points in 1:08 to cut the deficit to three, 67-64, with 0:50 left.
- Lopez had a double-double in the second half alone, scoring 11 points with 10 rebounds.
Key Stats and Notes…
- SHU outrebounded Holy Cross by 20, 44-24. The Pioneers' highest rebound margin for any game in the 2016-17 season was 17.
- The Pioneers shot 43.9% from the field, with Holy Cross shooting 48.1%.
- Karl Charles led Holy Cross with 23 points.
SHU travels to Boston College Tuesday night for a 7 p.m. matchup. The game is the first of four for the Pioneers in the 2017 Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament.