Pioneers Blitzed by St. Francis-NY Terriers, 99-84

FAIRFIELD, CT (January 7, 2012) – The Sacred Heart offense shot 51.7% (30-58) but was out gunned by the St. Francis (NY) Terriers who shot a scorching 58.2% including 15-of-27 from three on the way to a 99-84 win Saturday afternoon in the William H. Pitt Center.  The Terriers were led by guard Ben Mockford who buried eight-of-13 from behind the arc on his way to a game-high 28 points.  The Pioneers fall to 7-10 overall and 1-3 in the NEC with the loss.

The Pioneers (7-10) had four players score double figures led by a career-high 24 points from sophomore Chris Evans (Stamford, CT).  SHU tied their season-high with 84 points but had no answers defensively for St. Francis-NY who blew the game open in the first half with sharp shooting from three (10-16) to lead 53-31 at the break. 

Tied at 8-8 in the early minutes, the Terriers made their first move with a 13-3 run fueled by a three by Stefan Perunicic and two from Mockford for a 21-11 lead at 14:25.  An Evans lay-up and one with 11:33 on the clock pulled the Pioneers within nine, 28-19, with 11:33 to go and that would be the closest SHU would get the rest of the afternoon.

The Terriers (6-9, 3-1 NEC) would outscore the Pioneers 25-12 the rest of the first half, continuing to rain down the threes.  P.J. Santavenere drilled a triple as well as Travis Nichols and Brent Jones.  Perunicic put the stamp on the first half with a long three from the wing and SFNY led 53-29.  SHU finished the half shooting just 39.3% while the Terriers saw five different players drill three's over the first 20 minutes.

The second half saw more of the same for the Pioneers as Perunicic got fouled shooting a three on their first possession, hitting all three free throws to give the Terriers their biggest lead of the day at 56-31.  The closest the Pioneers could get in the second half was down 14 with just over two minutes left, en route to their third-straight NEC loss.

Joining Evans in double figures was junior Justin Swidowski (Cinnaminson, NJ) tallied 18 with eight rebounds in the loss.  Junior Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) saw his streak of five-straight games with 20 or more points ended with a 15 point afternoon.  Sophomore Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) came off the bench to score 14 points and grab nine rebounds. 

Freshman point guard Phil Gaetano (Wallingford, CT), getting the start for injured Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT), scored four points and dished seven assists.

The Terriers also had four players in double figures as Perunicic threw in 21 points while Akeem Johnson and Matt Milk scored 10 points each.

This was the sixth time on the year the Pioneers have shot 50.0% or better but are just 2-4 in those games.  On defense, Saturday marked the fourth time SHU has allowed an opponent to hit for 50.0% or better and have lost each of those contests.

SHU will hit the road for the Western Pennsylvania road swing next week, stopping in Saint Francis (PA) on Thursday, January 12th and Robert Morris on Saturday, January 14th.