SHU Closes Non-Conference Play at New Hampshire



Game 15 * December 29, 2011 * Lundholm Gymnasium * Durham, NH * 7:00 pm


All-Time Series: SHU, 1-0 / Last Meeting: SHU, 50-42 - 11/23/10

The Storyline...  The Sacred Heart men's basketball team closes out the non-conference portion of their 2011-12 schedule on the road Thursday night at the University of New Hampshire.  The Pioneers are 5-7 in non-league action this season and will head into the finale having lost five of their last six games and just 1-6 on the road this season.  SHU was last in action on December 21st, an 83-73 loss at Boston College.  The Wildcats are 4-5 overall and return to the court after a 67-52 loss at Providence on December 20th.

Sacred Heart - New Hampshire All-Time Series...  The Pioneers lead 1-0.  Sacred Heart and New Hampshire met for the first time last season, with the Pioneers posting a 50-42 win at home in the William H. Pitt Center on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

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 512-469, 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.  Bill Herrion (Merrimack '81) is in his seventh season at the University of New Hampshire. He owns a 74-113 record at UNH and a 311-282 record in his 21 seasons as a head coach. Herrion was named the program's 20th head coach after a stint as associate head coach at Arkansas. He was the head coach at Drexel from 1991-99, leading the Dragons to an impressive 167-71 record and three NCAA Tournament appearances. He was also the head coach at East Carolina from 1999-2005.

Up Next...  Sacred Heart opens Northeast Conference play full-time on Thursday, January 5th playing host to defending league champion Long Island.

Quick Hits...

- Junior Shane Gibson scored 25 points at Boston College and became the 33rd player in school history to reach 1,000 career points.  He is the ninth player to reach the mark during SHU's Division I era (1999-present).

- Gibson is on a streak of three-straight 20-point performances and has climbed to third in the NEC in scoring.  Gibson posted back-to-back 22 point games against Lafayette and Notre Dame and dropped 25 at BC.  He is averaging 19.0 ppg.

- The junior guard has also caught fire from three and now ranks eighth in the NEC from behind the arc.  Gibson is shooting 40.3% (29-72) and is coming off a five-for-seven outing at Boston College.  Over his last three games, he is 11-of-22 from three (50.0%).

- The Pioneers as a team are first in the NEC in assists, dishing out 14.6 per game.  SHU is led by freshman guard Phil Gaetano who ranks fourth in the NEC in assist to turnover ratio (49 a/28 to) and ninth in assists (3.50 apg).

- SHU is just 1-6 on the road this season with their lone victory coming at Quinnipiac in their NEC opener.

- The Pioneers finished this season 0-3 against teams from BCS conferences.  SHU lost twice to the Big East (Rutgers, Notre Dame) and once to the ACC (Boston College).  The Pioneers have never beaten a team from a BCS conferece, going 0-16 all-time against the Big East, 0-7 vs. the ACC, 0-5 vs. the Big Ten and 0-1 against the Big 12.  SHU has never faced a school from the Pac-10 or the SEC.

- Sacred Heart has shot 50.0% or better four times this season but is just 1-3 in those games.  SHU beat Lafayette making 50.0% of their shots but lost at Rutgers (51.5%), vs. Lipscomb (54.5%) and at Boston College (50.9%).  In two of those losses, SHU allowed their opponent to hit 50.0% or better (RU-63.0%; BC-55.3%). 

- Junior Justin Swidowski is looking to snap out of a three-game slump.  Swidowski is coming off a six-point game at BC, four points at Notre Dame and a season-low two points against Lafayette.  He battled foul trouble against Lafayette and ND, fouling out for the first time this season against the Irish.  He has made just five-of-17 from the field over the last three games.

- Gibson scored a season-high 32 points in the overtime loss to CCSU.  He made a career-best 13 of 22 shots and just missed matching his career-high of 34 points, set last season at Wagner.  Gibson now owns a pair of 30-point games for his career.   

- The Pioneers are the top free throw shooting team in the NEC, making 73.9% at the charity stripe.  SHU has gone to the line more than their opponent in seven of their 14 games and have made the same or more free throws than their opponents in eight of the first 14.  Justin Swidowski and Shane Gibson are 5th and 6th in the NEC in free throw shooting.

Last Meeting with New Hampshire...   Sacred Heart senior Jerrell Thompson scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds to help the Pioneers overcome 22 turnovers and some poor second half shooting en route to their first win of the 2010-11 season, 50-42, over visiting New Hampshire on Nov. 23, 2010. The Pioneers dominated on the boards, outrebounding the Wildcats 44-30 in the win. SHU had a strong first half, shooting 41.4% (12-29) from the field while knocking down 10 of 14 at the free throw line in building a 36-19 lead at the half. Junior Stan Dulaire gave the Pioneers a spark on offense, scoring all of his 11 points in the first half. The tables turned for the Pioneers in the second half as SHU turned the ball over 15 times and shot just 14.3% (2-14) needing to rely on their defense to carry them to the win. Luckily for the Pioneers, New Hampshire failed to capitalize, shooting just 26.9% (7-26) while going nearly 10 minutes without a field goal on the way to their first loss of on the year. Sacred Heart came out of the locker room and turned the ball over eight times in the first five minutes of action as New Hampshire pulled within 36-27 during that stretch. Thompson hit the Pioneer's first field goal of the second half at 14:55 to put Sacred Heart in front 38-27. SHU only managed to get six shots off by the 10 minute mark but the closest the Wildcats could cut the lead was to four. UNH's Dane DiLiegro hit a lay-up off a feed from Tyrone Conley at 9:59 to pull his team within 40-36 but that would be the last field goal the Wildcats would make until 21 seconds left in the game. In between SHU pushed the lead to 44-36 at the free throw line before Thompson would end a Pioneer span of 12:26 with their only other field goal of the second half, a jumper for a 46-38 lead with 2:29 left. DeAndray Buckley made it 47-40 SHU with a lay-up at the 21 second mark but Thompson made three-of-four at the charity stripe in the closing seconds to salt away the win.

Facing the Wildcats - One Meetings (SHU, 1-0)...

11/23/10    SHU 50       UNH 42    William H. Pitt Center

Pioneers vs. the America East...  Sacred Heart is 39-27 all-time against schools currently in America East. The Pioneers opened the year with two-straight wins against the league, beating Hartford and Stony Brook and will ride a seven-game winning streak against the America East into their match-up with New Hampshire. The Pioneers have faced every team from the league, posting winning records against Albany (8-5), Hartford (12-6), New Hampshire (1-0) and Stony Brook (15-4), is even with Binghamton (1-1) and have a losing record against Maine (0-3), UMBC (2-7) and Vermont (0-2).

Scouting the Wildcats...  New Hampshire will close out their non-conference schedule hosting SHU on Thursday and Colgate on Saturday.  UNH and the Pioneers have three common opponents this season as the Wildcats lost at BC, 67-64, and at Holy Cross, 62-57 and won at Brown, 69-56.  The Wildcats are 4-5 on the season and 3-1 at home in Lundholm Gymnasium.  UNH is led by senior guard Alvin Abreu who averages 14.1 points per game.  Junior guard Chandler Rhoads scores at a 12.7 per game clip while senior center Brian Benson is the team's top-rebounder, collecting 9.9 rebounds per night.  The Wildcats were picked fifth in the America East Preseason Poll.


Full Set of Game Notes