Dec. 5, 2009
FAIRFIELD, CT - Senior Chauncey Hardy (Middletown, CT) led four players in double figures with 18 points and Corey Hassan (Merrimack, NH) had 17 points and nine rebounds as the Sacred Heart University men's basketball team won its Northeast Conference opener, 81-73 over visiting Monmouth Saturday afternoon.
The Pioneers, now 4-3, led by as much as 25 points in the first half. After SHU opened up a 41-16 lead, the Hawks hit a couple of three pointers down the stretch to close with 44-28 at the intermission. Hassan led the Pioneer attack in the first half with 12 points. His team shot a blistering 63 percent (17-27) in the period, including six of eight from three.
Despite the big lead, SHU coach Dave Bike was a little concerned with his team's defense late. "They made two three's in a row," Bike said. "I told the guys at halftime that I knew they (Monmouth) were going to make shots but I didn't want them to be uncontested. I thought we got a little lax at times on defense."
SHU kept the lead at 16 through the first two media timeouts, holding a 57-41 advantage with 11:26 left after a Nick Greenbacker (Manchester, CT) jumper. By the next media break with 7:52 left, the Hawks had whittled the Pioneer advantage to 62-54.
The Hawks, now 2-6, would crawl within five at 69-64 with 3:36 left after a bucket by Mike Myers Keitt but back-to-back treys from Hassan and senior Ryan Litke extended the SHU lead back to 11 and effectively put the Hawks away.
"I think we won this game because we played excellent defense in the first half and then hit a couple of big three's in the second when we needed them," said Bike.
Litke finished the game with 13 points, including three treys. Junior forward Mehmet Sahan (Istanbul, Turkey) had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Pioneers.
Whitney Coleman poured in 26 for Monmouth, including six of nine from beyond the arc. Travis Taylor finished with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.