BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The Sacred Heart men's basketball team opened its 2016-17 season Friday night with an 85-63 loss to the Fairfield Stags at Webster Bank Arena.
Sophomore guard Quincy McKnight led the Pioneers with a career-high 25 points, shooting 50% from the floor and a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw line. He also had nine rebounds, one shy of a double-double. McKnight scored 19 points in the second half alone. De'von Barnett had 12 points and five rebounds in his first game back after redshirting the 2015-16 season. Joseph Lopez had a game-high 14 rebounds and added eight points in his first game as a Pioneer.
Fairfield's (1-0) Curtis Cobb proved to be a force early. Cobb scored the Stags' first 16 points, putting up nine points in a row to break an early 7-7 tie. The Stags led by 11 before a Chris Robinson layup and Mario Matasovic three-pointer got SHU within six, 19-13, with 12:24 left in the first half. The Pioneers were as close as five points, 35-30, at the 1:06 mark on a McKnight jumper but Fairfield scored the final five points of the half to take a 40-30 lead at halftime.
Sacred Heart (0-1) went on an 8-2 run early in the second half as a Barnett jumper make the score 45-38 with 16:41 to play. The Pioneers were as close as six when a a Matija Milin layup sparked an 11-0 Fairfield run over 2:39, giving the Stags a 61-44 lead. Fairfield shot 53.1% from the field in the second half to pull away.
The Stags shot 52.2% from the field to SHU's 39.1%. Fairfield also shot 44% from the three-point line. Cobb led all scorers with 26 points. Jerome Segura had a double-double with 17 points and a game-high 10 assists.
Sacred Heart hosts Hofstra in the home opener Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Pitt Center.
- Curtis Cobb scored Fairfield's first 16 points, making his first seven shots from the floor. He singlehandedly went on a 9-0 run to break a 7-7 tie early, giving Fairfield a 16-7 lead with 14:36 to play in the half.
- Chris Robinson's layup at the 12:24 mark ended an almost five-minute field goal drought for the Pioneers. SHU opened the game making three of its first four shots from the field.
- The Pioneers closed to within five, 35-30, with 1:06 left in the half on a 6-0 run that included baskets by McKnight and Tucker Jr., as well as a pair of McKnight free throws.
- SHU's bench outscored the Fairfield reserves 9-0 in the first half, led by Robinson's six points.
- The Pioneers used a 6-0 run early in the half, capped off by a pair of Lopez free throws, to close within seven at 43-36 less than two minutes in.
- Fairfield went on a 9-0 run over 2:07 to take a 15-point lead, 59-44, at the 11:48 mark.
- McKnight was 7-of-10 from the field in the second half, making his only three-point attempt and all four of his free throws.