Holy Cross (0-0) at Sacred Heart (0-0)
Friday,Nov. 10 - 6 PM
Coach Bike Court at the Pitt Center - Fairfield, Conn.
Setting the Scene... Sacred Heart opens the 2017-18 season on its home floor for the first time since 2004 as it hosts Holy Cross.
Last Season... SHU posted its third consecutive double-digit wins season in 2016-17, going 13-19. The Pioneers were 8-10 in NEC play, qualifying for the NEC Tournament as the eighth seed. SHU drove top-seed and eventual champion Mount St. Mary's to the brink in the quarterfinals, falling 76-73.
All-Time vs. Holy Cross... The Crusaders lead the all-time series against the Pioneers 8-5. SHU won four of the first seven meetings, but since the 2011-12 season Holy Cross has won five of the last six editions. The Pioneers are 4-2 all-time against the Crusaders at the Pitt Center.
Last Meeting... SHU rallied from an eight-point deficit to tie Holy Cross 67-67 with 0:45 left in regulation, but the Crusaders scored the final five points for a 72-67 win at the Pitt Center on Dec. 21, 2016. Joseph Lopez led the Pioneers with 22 points and 10 rebounds, going 10-for-14 from the field. Sean Hoehn and Matej Buovac each added 10 points. Malachi Alexander had a game-high 38 points for the Crusaders, adding 10 rebounds. SHU shot below 30% from the three-point line in the game, while Holy Cross shot 37.5%.
Look Who's Back... The Pioneers return six of their top eight scorers from a year ago, and four of five starters. SHU returns 63.3% of its scoring from the 2016-17 campaign, led by Joseph Lopez's 13.2 points per game. Senior Charles Tucker Jr. led the team with 4.06 assists per game, with junior Sean Hoehn adding another 3.09 assists and eight points per game.
Lopez Tops On The Block… SHU returns one of the top frontcourts in the NEC this season, led by senior forward Joseph Lopez. A Third Team All-NEC selection in 2016-17, Lopez finished his first year as a Pioneer fourth in the NEC in blocks (1.23/game), fifth in rebounding (8.5/game), and sixth in field goal percentage (.565). Lopez had 11 double-doubles last season, with eight coming in conference play, and averaged 13.2 points per game. The senior forward was the only low-post player selected to the Preseason All-NEC Team.
Cha Cha Dimes… Senior point guard Charles Tucker Jr. was fourth in the NEC in assists last season, averaging 4.06 per game. Tucker had at least five assists in a game 12 times in 2016-17, including a stretch of seven straight games from Dec. 21 to Jan. 14. He was also fourth in the league in assist/turnover ratio at 1.43.
Hoehn Homed In From Three… Junior guard Sean Hoehn nearly doubled his scoring output last season as a sophomore. After averaging 4.8 points as a freshman, Hoehn averaged eight points a contest last season. Hoehn made 50 three-pointers in 2016-17, shooting 35.2% from the three-point arc. He also shot 82.9% from the free throw line.
Matasovic Off The Mat... Redshirt-Senior forward Mario Matasovic is primed to be a key contributor for the Pioneers this season. Despite averaging just 5.9 points per game last season, the Croatian forward shot almost 44% from the field and averaged 3.4 rebounds per game. Matasovic had four games in double-figures in 2016, scoring a season-high 19 points in a win over St. Francis Brooklyn on Feb. 9. He shot 70% from the field in that game and added eight rebounds and three steals.
Scouting Holy Cross… The Crusaders went 15-17 overall in 2016-17, finishing fifth in the Patriot League with a 9-9 conference record. Junior forward Karl Charles is the Crusaders' leading returning scorer, averaging 9.4 points and 3.7 assists per game last season. Holy Cross was picked to finish eighth in the Patriot League preseason poll.