Pioneers Lose Close One in Cancun Challange, 79-77 against Lipscomb

(Cancun, Mexico) – The Sacred Heart Men's Basketball team nearly pulled off a comeback from a ten-point deficit with three minutes to go, but the Lipscomb Bison held on for 79-77 win in the championship game of the Riviera Division in the Cancun Classic Wednesday afternoon. 

Down 76-66 with 3:22 to play, the Pioneers came back to take the lead with 31 seconds left behind an 11-0 run.  Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) started the comeback with a layup with 3:03 left, followed by a steal by Justin Swidowski (Cinnaminson, NJ) that led to a three-pointer by Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT).  Kelley forced another Bison turnover right after to set Chris Evans up for a layup.  Swidowski followed a missed free throw by Justin Glenn with a layup with 1:15 left to bring SHU within one, followed by a defensive stop and fast break layup by Steve Glowiak (New Britain, CT) to give SHU a 77-76 lead.

Glenn went to the free throw line again with 13 seconds left and hit the first one to tie.  He then missed the second one, but Damarius Smith snatched the offensive rebound to force SHU to foul.  He hit both of his free throws to make it 79-77 Lipscomb.  Trailing by two, Kelley drove to the hoop for SHU with three seconds left and was fouled, but he missed the first free throw.  After an intentional miss, the Pioneers fouled Robert Boyd with 2.6 seconds remaining, but he also missed his two shots.  SHU worked it into the front court for Shane Gibson, who shot a desperation three a second after the final horn that went in but did not count.

The Pioneers led at halftime 46-31, but sharpshooting guard Jordan Burgason went 5-5 from three in the second half to lead the Bison comeback.  He finished 7-11 from the floor and 6-8 from downtown for a team-high 20 points. Boyd also hit a couple threes for Lipscomb, who shot 9-12 in the second half from beyond the arc as a team.

Gibson led SHU with 21 points, while Swidowski went 7-9 from the field for 16 points.  Both were named to the All-Tournament team.  Kelley rounded out the SHU double-figure scorers with 12 points.  Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) led everyone on the glass with eight rebounds, and also contributed six points on 3-3 shooting. 

The Pioneers return to the United States on Friday, and are back in action Sunday afternoon at the Pitt Center for a 2:00 p.m. tip off with Brown.