FAIRFIELD, Conn – It was a tale of two halves for the Sacred Heart men's basketball team on Saturday in the Pitt Center as they defeated the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights 71-67 to earn their first NEC victory of the 2013-14 season. After allowing the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights to score 40 first half points and trailing by six at the break, the Pioneers clamped down in the second half, giving up just 27 points and outscoring the Knights 37-27. Sacred Heart improves to 4-13 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
Senior Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) knocked down eight of eight from the free throw line on his way to a team-high 15 points, to go along with 11 rebounds. It is Montes' second double-double of the season and tenth of his career. Three other Pioneers scored in double digits, with Steve Glowiak (New Britain, CT) pouring in 13, and De'Von Barnett (Waldorf, MD) and Mostafa Abdel Latif (Alexandria, Egypt) both chipping in with ten points apiece.
The Pioneers shot a less than stellar 34% (21-of-62) from the field, but shot a season-high 89% (24-of-27) from the free-throw line. The Pioneers came into the game shooting just 68 percent from the charity stripe.
Sidney Sanders led the way for Fairleigh Dickinson with 19 points on 7-of-18 shooting. Scooter Gillette and Matt McDonald both pitched in with 13 points each.
Fairleigh Dickinson jumped out early on the Pioneers, drilling their first three-pointers to take a quick 9-2 lead. Matt McDonald knocked down two of those long balls for FDU, to force a Sacred Heart timeout just two minutes into the game. FDU hit 7-of-11 from behind the arc in the first half.
Following the early Anthony Latina timeout, Sacred Heart battled back but spent the entire first half trailing. De'Von Barnett got the Pioneers excited with a steal and dunk as FDU led 11-8 with 14:50 left.
The Knights climbed out to a nine-point lead halfway with 7:03 remaining in the first but Sacred Heart hung tough. Glowiak scored five points in about five seconds to get SHU within two at 31-29. Glowiak finished off a lay-up off a nice dish from Phil Gaetano (Wallingford, CT) and then following a Sacred Heart steal, Gaetano found Glowiak again for a quick three-ball. Jayde Dawson responded for FDU with a long ball of own to put FDU back up five with 5:39 left in the first.
Fairleigh Dickinson led the Pioneers 40-34 at halftime.
Sacred Heart's defense ramped up in the second half, forcing the Knights to shoot 32.2% (10-of-31) from the field, including 1-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Sacred Heart evened FDU at 57 for the first time all afternoon as Glowiak made all three free throws after he was fouled in the act of shooting a three-pointer. The Pioneers then took their first lead of the game at 58-57 on a Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) free throw. Louis Montes hammered home a clutch three-ball to give SHU their largest lead of the game 69-63 with 4:42 left. S
anders made a jumper for FDU to cut into SHU's lead at 69-67 with 2:44 left. Chris Evans put away Fairleigh Dickinson for good with two clutch free throws to make it a two-possession game with 19 seconds on the clock. Sidney Sanders missed a lay-up on FDU's next possession and the Pioneers were victorious in the Pitt Center for the first time all season.
The Pioneers are back in action Thursday night at Bryant as they begin a four-game road trip.