February 11, 2010

Men's Basketball Tripped up By LIU, 81-75

Feb. 11, 2010

Final Stats

FAIRFIELD, CT - Kyle Johnson scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed ten rebounds and the visiting Long Island Blackbirds used an 11-2 run late in the second half to defeat Sacred Heart 81-75 in the Pitt Center Thursday night. The loss drops the Pioneers to 12-12 overall and 5-8 in the Northeast Conference, while LIU improves to 10-14 and 8-5.

The loss puts the Pioneers in tenth place in the Northeast Conference standings, but a game out of seventh behind Monmouth, Saint Francis, and Central Connecticut that are all tied at 6-7.

In a game when the Pioneers held LIU to just 38 percent from the floor and out rebounded the opposition, the Blackbirds took care of the basketball - turning it over just six times.

LIU led 39-37 at the intermission on the strength of 14 from Johnson and a career-high eight from Corey Wright. The Pioneers were paced by senior Chauncey Hardy with 12 in the half, but the team was just 4-11 from the line. SHU would finish the game just 7-17 from the stripe.

"We make the game too hard," said head coach Dave Bike. "When you shoot just 41 percent from the line it makes things harder."

The Pioneers took the lead, 55-53, on a Ryan Litke three with 12:25 left in the game. They would extend that to 60-55 after a Nick Greenbacker layup with 9:20 to play.

A Johnson three-point play on the next LIU possession trimmed the lead to three. SHU led 64-62 after a Corey Hassan free throw with 5:17 left, but at that point the Blackbirds used that 11-2 burst, started by a three from Michael Culpo, that gave them a 73-66 lead with 1:27 remaining.

Liam Potter finished with his seventh double-double of the season for SHU, recording ten points and a school Division I high 17 rebounds. He also chipped in five blocked shots. Sophomore Stan Dulaire had his best collegiate performance, finishing with a career-high 14 points and four rebounds.

"What is important now is to not worry about the playoffs but to get better," says Bike. "If we do manage to get into the playoffs, are we playing the way we're supposed to play? Right now we're not."