NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Quincy McKnight's two free throws with 0:34 remaining proved to be the difference Thursday night as the Sacred Heart Pioneers defeated the Central Connecticut Blue Devils 64-62 at Detrick Gymnasium.
McKnight finished the game with 23 points, going a perfect 8-for-8 at the foul line. Joseph Lopez had his fifth double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Sean Hoehn added nine points.
Sacred Heart (6-10, 1-2 NEC) got off to a fast start, taking a 7-2 lead in the first 2:47. The Pioneers led for the first seven minutes before Central Connecticut tied the game 15-15 on a Mustapha Jones three-point play. McKnight quickly put the Pioneers back in front with a layup at the 11:06 mark to make the score 17-15. The Blue Devils then came alive. Sparked by six straight points from Khalen Cumberlander, CCSU went on a 12-4 run over 7:01 to take a 27-21 lead. Sacred Heart was able to cut the deficit to three before halftime, as a Sean Hoehn triple made the score 31-28 at the break.
Central Connecticut (2-11, 0-3 NEC) led 35-33 early in the second half before SHU made a big charge. Sparked by a Robinson three-pointer, the Pioneers went on a 14-1 run over 4:14 to take a 47-36 lead with 12:36 to play. Sacred Heart led 55-45 with 7:40 to play when the Blue Devils went on a 10-0 run to tie the game with 5:27 left.
With the game tied 59-59, Hoehn converted his three-point play that put the Pioneers back in the lead 62-59 with 3:19 to play. CCSU then tied the game 62-62 with 0:55 as Cumberlander split a pair of free throws. McKnight then made two free throws with 0:34 to make the score 64-62. The Blue Devils had a chance to potentially force overtime in the final six seconds. Eric Bowles drove to the rim and attempted a layup but Hoehn got his hand on the ball to force a held-ball situation with 0.5 seconds left. SHU had the possession arrow to clinch the win.
Sacred Heart shot 42.6% from the field for the game with Central Connecticut shooting 41.9%. The Pioneers outrebounded the Blue Devils 38-37 and turned 10 offensive rebounds into 14 second-chance points. Jones led CCSU with 23 points, adding eight rebounds, four blocks, and four steals. Cumberlander added 18 points with Tidell Pierre putting up 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Pioneers are back in action Saturday afternoon at Wagner. Tipoff is at 4 p.m.
- SHU opened the game with a 7-2 run in the first 2:47.
- Mustapha Jones converted a three-point play with 13:02 left to tie the game at 15-15.
- CCSU took its first lead at the 7:20 mark on a Cumberlander layup, making the score 19-18.
- Matej Buovac tied the game 21-21 with his first three of the game with 6:36 to go.
- The Blue Devils went on a 6-0 run over 2:04 to take a 27-21 lead with 4:05 remaining, their largest lead of the half.
- SHU outscored CCSU 7-4 in the final four minutes to cut the deficit to three at halftime, 31-28.
- Only three players scored for CCSU in the half – Jones, Cumberlander, and Pierre.
- SHU made its first three three-point attempts of the half
- The Pioneers scored the first five points of the half to take a 33-31 lead.
- Jones scored on back-to-back possessions to put CCSU back ahead 35-33 with 16:50 to play. (next fg: 11:15)
- Sacred Heart held CCSU without a field goal for a span of 5:35 in the second half.
- Five different Pioneers scored during SHU's 14-1 run in the second half.
- SHU was 11-for-15 from the free throw line in the second half, scoring five of its last seven points at the charity stripe.