LORETTO, Pa. – The Sacred Heart men's basketball team had a chance to force overtime Sunday afternoon against the Saint Francis U Red Flash at DeGol Arena, but split a pair of free throws with 0.6 seconds left in a 72-71 loss.
Sacred Heart – 7-16, 2-8 NEC
Saint Francis U – 12-9, 6-4 NEC
The Turning Point
Saint Francis U took a 64-57 lead with 8:16 to play in regulation on an Andre Wolford three-pointer. Back-to-back baskets by De'von Barnett sparked a 9-0 run over the next 2:41, with Chris Robinson's second three of the game giving SHU a 66-64 lead. After Wolford split a pair of free throws, the Pioneers extended the lead to five, 70-65, with 3:22 to go after consecutive layups by Barnett and Joseph Lopez.
The Red Flash stormed back. Two straight layups from Jamaal King cut the SHU lead to one, 70-69, with 1:12 to go. Scott Meredith then made a three-pointer with 0:03 left to give Saint Francis U a 72-70 lead. The Pioneers had a chance to tie when King fouled Robinson with 0.6 seconds left and SHU in the double bonus. Robinson made his first free throw, but his second rimmed out, making the final score 72-71.
- Mario Matasovic had five of SHU's first nine points, tying the game 9-9 at the 16:06 mark with a three-pointer.
- Saint Francis U went on a 13-3 run over 5:05 to take a 22-12 lead with 11:01 to go. SHU's only points during that stretch came on a Joseph Lopez three-point play at the 12:25 mark. The Pioneers were 1-for-5 from the field over that stretch with three turnovers.
- Back-to-back threes from Kinnon LaRose capped an 8-0 SHU run that got the Pioneers within two, 22-20, with 8:27 to play.
- LaRose's third three of the half, followed by an E.J. Anosike dunk, gave SHU a 34-32 lead with 1:07 to play. It was the Pioneers' first lead since 2-0. Jamaal King scored the final four points of the half for the Red Flash to give Saint Francis U a 36-34 advantage.
- Seven of the nine Pioneers that played in the first half scored.
- The Red Flash rolled King's four straight points that ended the first into an 11-2 run, with a King three-pointer putting Saint Francis U ahead 43-36 at the 17:26 mark.
- SHU held Saint Francis U without a field goal (0-for-5) during its 13-1 run to go up by five, 70-65. The Pioneers were 6-for-8 from the field during that stretch of 4:54, as Barnett and Lopez combined for 10 of the 13 points.
- Barnett had 14 points and six rebounds in the second half. He was 6-for-8 from the field.
- SHU shot 50% from the field in the half, with 20 of its 36 points coming in the paint.
Key Stats and Notes
- Barnett led SHU with 18 points, adding nine rebounds and two steals. He is now 25 points away from 1,000 for his career with 975. Barnett is also nine rebounds away from 500 career boards.
- Charles Tucker Jr. tied his season-high with 10 points Sunday. He also led the game with seven assists while committing just one turnover.
- SHU outrebounded the Red Flash 42-30, scoring 10 points off of 13 offensive rebounds.
- The Pioneers finished the game shooting 46.7% from the field, as Saint Francis U shot 44.1%.
- King led all scorers with 21 points. Keith Braxton had a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds.
SHU hosts LIU Brooklyn on Thursday, Feb. 1 at the Pitt Center for Pack The Pitt. Tipoff is at 9 p.m., with the game being televised on ESPNU.