Cancun Challenge Continues Saturday Against the Richmond Spiders

2011 Cancun Challenge
Game 04 * November 19, 2011 * Robins Center (9,071)
Richmond, VA * 5:00 pm
All-Time Series: First Meeting / Last Meeting: First Meeting

Full Set of Game Notes

The Storyline...  Sacred Heart heads to the University of Richmond for Game 2 of the 2011 Cancun Challenge Saturday afternoon.  The Pioneers opened this year's event on Thursday night suffering their first loss of the young season.  SHU saw a three-point halftime lead at Rutgers erased by some blistering second half shooting as the Scarlet Knights made 21-of-26 (80.8%) on their way to a 91-74 win.  After facing the Spiders, the Pioneers will head to Cancun, Mexico for games three and four of the tournament.  SHU is slated to face Hampton on Tuesday and either Lipscomb or Southern Illinois Edwardsville.  Richmond opened play in the Challenge with a 72-51 at home over Hampton on Thursday.

Sacred Heart - Richmond All-Time Series... Saturday will mark the first-ever meeting between Sacred Heart and Richmond on the basketball court.

The Coaches...  Dave Bike (Sacred Heart '69) is in his 34th year as the head coach of Sacred Heart. He has a career record of 508-462, ranking him 20th among active coaches. Only Jim Boheim of Syracuse has spent more time coaching at one institution. He led the Pioneers to eight NCAA Division II tournaments and his 1985-86 team won the national championship while finishing 30-4. Bike was named the national Coach of the Year by the NABC following the title game.  Chris Mooney (Princeton '94) is in his seventh season on the bench at the University of Richmond.  Mooney has led the Spiders to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments and in 2011 advanced to the Sweet 16.  He has his team coming off an Atlantic-10 Championship and earned the 2010 Sporting News Atlantic-10 Coach of the Year.  Under his guidance, Richmond owns three-straight 20-win seasons.

Cancun Challenge Notes...

- This is the fourth year of the Cancun Challenge

- The tournament is set for its third season at the Moon Palace Resort where a ballroom is converted into a 1,200 seat basketball arena

- The 2011 Cancun Challenge features eight teams split into two divisions.  The Riviera Division consists of Illinois, Illinois State, Richmond and Rutgers and the Mayan Division is made up of Sacred Heart, Hampton, Lipscomb and Southern Illinois Edwardsville.

- The Pioneers have never faced any of the teams they are matched up with in the tournament.  SHU faces Rutgers and Richmond in the states and will take on Hampton and either Lipscomb or Southern Illinois Edwardsville in the final game.

- Three teams in this year's tournament made it to the NCAA Tournament last season.  Richmond advanced to the Sweet 16, Illinois to the 3rd Round and Hampton was knocked out by Duke in the 2nd Round.

- The Pioneers are the first team from the Northeast Conference participating in the Cancun Challenge.  This year's tournament features teams from the Big East, Big Ten, Atlantic-10, Atlantic Sun, Missouri Valley, Mid-Eastern and Ohio Valley conferences as well.

- Vanderbilt won the inaugural Cancun Challenge in 2008.  In 2009, Kentucky was the Riviera Champion and Sam Houston State the Mayan winner.  Last season, Missouri won the Riviera and North Florida the Mayan.

- This will be the second regular season tournament the Pioneers participate in outside the United States.  SHU took part in the 2003 San Juan Shootout in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The Pioneers went 1-2 in that tournament, losing to Duquesne and Northeastern while beating Puerto Rico-Mayaguez.

- Coach Dave Bike on participating in the Cancun Challenge   "We are very excited to be playing in a first class event.  It is a great opportunity for our players and supporters to play in another country and compete against quality programs outside of our conference."

- CBS Sports Network will broadcast the four games in the Riviera Division in Cancun. 

Quick Hits...

- The Pioneers shot a season-best 51.1% (24-57) on Thursday night but couldn't overcome Rutgers 63.0% (34-54) effort in the loss.

- The Scarlet Knights erased a SHU three-point lead at the half with a 21-of-26 (80.8%) shooting effort in the second half.

- The 91-75 loss at Rutgers dropped the Pioneers to 0-15 all-time against teams from the Big East Conference.  SHU will face the league once more this season

- Balanced Scoring Continues - For the second-straight game at least four Pioneers found double digits on the scoring sheet.

- Sophomore guard Evan Kelley registered a career-high 16 points at Rutgers, making all five of the shots he took.

- R-Junior center Justin Swidowski is off to a fast start, scoring in double figures in all three games.  Swidowski is averaging 14.0 ppg and is shooting 61.5% (16-26) from the field.

- R-Junior Shane Gibson saw a streak of 31-straight starts end on Thursday night as he was held out of the starting line-up for violating a team rule.  Gibson still made his presence felt however, scoring 14 points in 18 minutes before fouling out.  It was the first foul out of Gibson's career.

- Parade to the Free Throw Line - In each of their first three games, the Pioneers have gone to the line more than their opponent.  SHU has gone to the line 83 times, hitting 57 (68.7%).  By comparison, SHU's opponents have made 53 trips, knocking down 34 (64.2%).

- Senior forward Stan Dulaire recorded his first career double double and matched his career high for points in the win over Stony Brook.  Dulaire scored 14 points (14 vs. LIU 2/11/10) and pulled down 10 rebounds.

- With 18-points against Hartford, Swidowsk posted the most points by a Pioneer in their debut since Maurice Bailey had 20 points in the 2002-03 opening win over Stony Brook.

Pioneers vs. the Atlantic-10...   The Pioneers have faced off with teams from the Atlantic-10 Conference seven times and are still searching for their first win against the league.  SHU is 0-3 against Fordham and 0-1 against Duquesne, UMass, Rhode Island and Xavier.  The Pioneers match-up just once this season with the league in facing the Spiders.  SHU lost to Fordham and UMass, both on the road, last year.

Scouting the Spiders...  Richmond comes in with a matching 2-1 record after beating Hampton, 72-51, Thursday night in their Cancun Challenge opener.  The Spiders opened their season beating American at home, 66-56, before losing at Davidson 74-61.  The Spiders have won 55 games over the last two seasons and are coming off a NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance last year.  The defending Atlantic-10 Champions, were picked fifth in the preseason poll while senior Darrius Garrett was named to the preseason All-Defensive team while freshman Alonzo Nelson-Ododa earned a spot on the preseason all-rookie team.  Freshman guard Kendall Anthony leads the team in the early going averaging 17.0 ppg.  Sophomore guard Cedrick Lindsay has gotten to the free throw line 24 times in the first three games hitting 21 (87.5%).