Sacred Heart Pioneers (6-9, 1-1 NEC) at Wagner Seahawks (8-5, 1-1 NEC)
Thursday, Jan. 4 - 7:00 PM
Spiro Sports Center - Staten Island, N.Y.
Setting the Scene... SHU opens the 2018 calendar year on the road at Wagner Thursday night.
Catch the Game... Thursday's game will be available on NEC Front Row.
Last Time Out... Mario Matasovic's driving layup with 2.8 seconds remaining gave SHU a 66-65 win over Fairleigh Dickinson on New Year's Eve. Redshirt-Sophomore guard Kinnon LaRose led all scorers with 24 points and nine rebounds. Matasovic and Joseph Lopez both scored 15 points. Darian Anderson led the Knights with 19 points.
Hitting The Glass... Thursday's game showcases the NEC's top two teams in terms of rebound margin. Sacred Heart leads the league at +7.5 with Wagner second at +5.8. The Pioneers outrebounded FDU by 16, 49-33, on Dec. 31 after posting a +17 rebound margin (45-28) against St. Francis Brooklyn. SHU has outrebounded its opponent by at least 10 boards six times in 2017-18.
High-Percentage Points... The Pioneers have shot over 40% from the field in four of the last five games. In those four games (Hartford, Binghamton, St. Francis Brooklyn, FDU), SHU has scored at least half of its points in the paint. On Dec. 31, the Pioneers scored 36 of its 66 points in the paint.
Threes From LaRose... Redshirt-Sophomore guard Kinnon LaRose had a career game on Dec. 31 against Fairleigh Dickinson. LaRose scored 24 points, made six three-pointers, and pulled down nine rebounds. He scored all 16 of his second-half points in the final eight minutes as SHU ended the game on a 22-8 run to get the win over FDU. LaRose had made four threes in his previous six games combined prior to last Sunday's game against FDU.
All-Time Vs. Wagner... The Seahawks lead the all-time series against the Pioneers 22-14. Wagner has won eight of the last 10 meetings between the two schools, and split last season's series.
Last Meeting... Led by 22 points and 10 rebounds from Michael Carey, Wagner defeated Sacred Heart 67-62 at the Pitt Center on Jan. 21, 2017. SHU led 34-29 at the half, but the Seahawks shot over 50% from the field in the second half to rally for the win. Joseph Lopez led the Pioneers with 14 points. Sean Hoehn had 12 points, five rebounds, and six assists off the bench.
Scouting Wagner... Picked to finish third in the NEC in the preseason, the Seahawks enter this week 8-5 overall and 1-1 in the NEC after an 82-75 loss at St. Francis Brooklyn on Dec. 31. Wagner opened the season going 7-1, but has lost four of its last five games. Blake Francis led the Seahawks with 23 points at St. Francis Brooklyn, with JoJo Cooper adding 15 points and 12 rebounds. Francis leads Wagner in scoring at 19.5 points per game.