Saint Francis U (3-9, 0-1 NEC) at Sacred Heart (5-9, 0-1 NEC)
Saturday, Dec. 31 - 3:30 PM
Coach Bike Court at the Pitt Center - Fairfield, Conn.
Setting the Scene... Sacred Heart looks to bounce back from its loss to Robert Morris when it hosts Saint Francis U Saturday at the Pitt Center.
Last Time Out... Sacred Heart led Robert Morris by seven points in the second half Thursday, but a 12-0 Colonials run put the game out of reach as RMU defeated the Pioneers 78-67 in the NEC opener for both teams. Forward Joseph Lopez had a game-high 23 points and 16 rebounds for SHU. Quincy McKnight added 18 points. Isaiah Still led Robert Morris with 22 points and seven rebounds.
All-Time vs. Saint Francis U... The Red Flash leads the all-time series 14-13. The two teams split their two games last season, with the home side winning both games. SHU's win on the final day of the regular season last year snapped a five-game Red Flash winning streak.
Last Meeting... SHU ended the 2015-16 regular season with an 88-78 win over Saint Francis U at the Pitt Center on Feb. 27, 2016. The win clinched the Pioneers the third seed in the NEC Tournament. SHU shot 63.3% from the field in the first half to take a 47-36 lead at halftime. Cane Broome led SHU with 23 points and six assists. Tevin Falzon added 17 points and 11 rebounds, going 10-for-10 at the free throw line. Greg Brown led Saint Francis U with 21 points.
Ringing In The New Year... Saturday marks the fifth time Sacred Heart has played a basketball game on New Year's Eve. This will be the first time the Pioneers are the home team. The last time SHU played on New Year's Eve was in 2008, an 89-76 loss at Boston College.
Lopez Double-Doubles Up, Again... Joseph Lopez set new season-highs for points and rebounds Thursday against Robert Morris. The junior forward led SHU with a 23 points and added 16 rebounds and three blocks. He had 22 points and 10 rebounds against Holy Cross on Dec. 21. Lopez has averaged 15.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game in the month of December, shooting 69.1% from the field. He currently leads the NEC with 8.9 rebounds per game and a .603 field goal percentage.
Paint It Red And White... Sacred Heart scored 44 points in the paint Thursday against Robert Morris, with 30 coming in the first half. It was the sixth time SHU had at least 40 points in the paint, and the third time in four games. The Pioneers had a season-high 46 points in the paint at Santa Clara on Nov. 21. Sacred Heart is fourth in the NEC in both field goal percentage (.439) and scoring offense (71.4 points per game).
Buovac Off The Bench... Senior Matej Buovac has scored in double figures in three of the last four games. He had 12 points off the bench Thursday against Robert Morris. Buovac scored 13 points in the win at Lafayette on Dec. 11. He is third on the team in scoring at 8.4 points per game.
Scouting the Red Flash... Picked to finish ninth in the NEC preseason poll, one spot behind Sacred Heart, Saint Francis U opened conference play with a 77-65 loss at Fairleigh Dickinson Thursday. Keith Braxton filled the box score with 15 points, five rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Jamaal King leads Saint Francis U in scoring with 13.6 points per game. Josh Nebo adds 11.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.