November 13, 2009

Men's Basketball Opens Season With Win at Connecticut 6

Nov. 13, 2009

Final Stats

BRIDGEPORT, CT - Junior Corey Hassan (Merrimack, NH) poured in a career-high 30 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out five assists to help the Sacred Heart men's basketball team open the 2009-10 season with a 92-86 win over Yale in the inaugural Connecticut 6 Classic Friday night.

It is the first time the Pioneers have opened the season with a win since 2001 when SHU defeated Stony Brook at home, 76-71. It is also the second straight season, and third time in the last four, that the Pioneers have defeated Yale.

It looked like the game would be a Pioneer rout in the early going. The score was tied 4-4 after two minutes when SHU went on a 23-5 run to open a 27-9 lead. Senior Chauncey Hardy (Middletown, CT) got the burst started with a three, and Hassan accounted for ten points, including a pair of threes.

The Bulldogs cut the SHU lead to 15 before consecutive buckets by senior Josh Marshall (Farmingdale, NY), Hassan, and senior Ryan Litke (Windsor, CT) gave the Pioneers their largest lead at 35-14 with 7:27 to go in the half.

Yale coach James Jones called a time out after the Litke basket and the Bulldogs began to climb back in the game. The Bulldogs hit three straight treys, two of them from senior Alex Zampier, to cut the SHU lead to 12 at 35-23 with 6:21 left in the half. Zampier finished the game with 35 points, the first time a Yale player had finished with that many points since 1983.

A Paul Nelson layup with 3:58 left had Yale within eight at 39-31, but a Litke three at 2:52 put the Pioneers back up 13 at 46-33 and they would ride that into a 52-39 intermission lead.

Back-to-back layups by Hardy five minutes into the second half helped the Pioneers extend the lead to 65-49. After Litke canned a pair of free throws with 12:53 to play that made it 72-58, the Pioneers went cold and scored just two points in the next four minutes to allow the Bulldogs to close within three at 74-71.

Liam Potter (Lincolnshire, England), making his first appearance for the Pioneers after sitting out last season, hit one of two free throws with 8:20 to play that made it 75-71. Potter finished the game with nine points, a career-high ten rebounds, and four blocked shots.

A pair of Zampier free throws with just over five minutes left kept the Bulldogs within four, but a couple of Jerrell Thompson (Plainfield, NJ) hit a couple of driving layups for SHU, the last coming with 3:10 to play that put the Pioneers ahead 83-77.

The Yale killer came off the hand of Hardy with 1:43 left when he buried a three to make it 86-77. The senior hit the trey despite a sore wrist that had forced him from the game a couple of times to have it taped.

"It's a little sore," Hardy said after the game. "But I'll work through it. When I went out the first time I told coach I hurt it and I couldn't shoot."

"Tell them what I told you," Bike broke in during the post-game press conference.

"He told me to fake it," Hardy grinned.

The Pioneers will play their home opener on Sunday against the Leopards of Lafayetter. Game time is scheduled for 4:00.