Sacred Heart (5-9, 1-0 NEC) vs. Central Connecticut (6-8, 0-1 NEC)
Saturday, Jan. 5 - 3:30 PM
Coach Bike Court at the Pitt Center - Fairfield, Conn.
Setting the Scene... After opening NEC-play with a win over defending NEC-champs LIU Brooklyn, Sacred Heart University men's basketball will play host to in-state rival and NEC-foe Central Connecticut State on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 3:30 p.m. on Coach Bike Court at the Pitt Center in Fairfield, Conn.
All-Time Vs. CCSU... The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 37-25, with SHU winning the last six meetings.
Last Meeting... Redshirt-Senior De'von Barnett scored his 1,000th career point in SHU's last meeting with CCSU, as the Sacred Heart men's basketball team earned a crucial 67-50 win over the Central Connecticut Blue Devils at Detrick Gymnasium..
SHU led 29-24 at halftime, and opened the second half on an 8-0 run to go up by 13, 37-24, and prompt a Blue Devils timeout. CCSU cut the deficit to eight, 40-32, with 13:59 to go before the Pioneers pulled away. Led by six points from Barnett and five from Kinnon LaRose, SHU went on a 13-1 run over 4:24 to take a 53-33 lead with 9:35 remaining. The Pioneers would lead by as much 24 in the second half.
Scouting the Blue Devils... CCSU comes into the contest with a 6-8 record and lost its lone NEC contest so far this season. The Blue Devils are led by senior Tyler Kohl who leads the team with averages of 18.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and three assists per game.
Last Time Out... E.J. Anosike's go-ahead three-pointer with 59 seconds left in regulation pushed Sacred Heart University men's basketball past defending NEC Tournament winners LIU Brooklyn, 79-75, at home Thursday evening on Coach Bike Court at the Pitt Center to open NEC-play. The win improves the Pioneers to 5-9 and 1-0 in the NEC on the year, while the Blackbirds fall to 6-7 and 0-1 in the NEC.
After LIU Brooklyn pushed its lead to 67-63 with 6:43 remaining, the pioneers answered with a 7-4 run to take a 70-67 lead with 4:49 left. After an E.J. Anosike dunk put SHU up 74-70, the Blackbirds battled to take a 75-74 lead with 1:25 remaining in regulation
The Pioneers took the lead for good after Anosike nailed a corner three-pointer to give SHU a 77-75 lead with 59 seconds left.
Oh Captain, Our Captain... The Pioneers' leading scorer from last season, Sean Hoehn, is currently third in the NEC in scoring, averaging 18.1 points per game. Hoehn is shooting 44.7% from the field and 39.3% from three so far this season.
Swat Leader Spellman... Red-shirt junior, Jare'l Spellman is averaging 2.43 blocks per game, which ranks 17th in the nation and is tops in the NEC. Spellman has totaled 34 blocks this season, which also ranks 15th in the nation and 1st in the conference. Spellman has led SHU in blocks in 13 of the 14 contests this season and has recorded three or more blocks in six contests this season.
Passing Parker... Freshman guard Cameron Parker's 7.3 assists per game ranks sixth in the nation and is tops among all freshmen in the nation. Parker has recorded 10+ assists three times this season, including a career-high 14-assist performance against Western New England on Nov. 12
Off to a Great Start... SHU's win over defending NEC-champs LIU Brooklyn to open NEC-play marked the first time the Pioneers opened conference-play with a win since the 2015-16 season
Count on E.J... E.J. Anosike's team-high 19 points helped push SHU past LIU Brooklyn to open league-play. Anosike made a career-high three three-pointers including the go-ahead three to put SHU up 77-75 with 59 seconds left
Mr. 1,000... In the December 19th loss at Seton Hall, Sean Hoehn became the 42nd player in program-history to score 1,000 career points. Hoehn achieved the feat after he made a free-throw with 13:56 remaining in the second half. Ironically, Hoehn scored the first point of his career at the free-throw line as well. Coming into the contest, Hoehn has scored 1,046 points in his career, which sits at 36th all-time in program-history.
Point Guard Parker... Cameron Parker is 10th in the nation in total assists (95) and is sixth in the nation in assists per game (7.3)
Sicko Mode... E.J. Anosike recorded his second double-double of the season after tallying 13 points and 12 rebounds in a loss at Seton Hall. The double-double brought Anosike's season-total to two and career-total to four. Anosike is averaging a career-best 13.2 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game.
Busy Beaver... Beaverton, Ore. product Cameron Parker has lived up to his billing as a gifted passer so far during his first-year campaign. Parker recorded his first collegiate double-double with 12 points and 10 assists in a win over Hartford. Parker is the first Pioneer with a points-assists double-double since Phil Gaetano recorded 15 points and 10 assists on Feb. 28, 2015
Off to the Races... Racine, Wisconsin-product, Koreem Ozier is averaging 20 points per game, on 48.6% shooting from the field and 45.2% shooting from beyond the arc in five games played this season. Ozier has scored 20+ points in three of the five contests he's appeared in, with his lowest scoring output being a 15-point performance at St. Johns (12/22)
Not in His House... Jare'l Spellman tallied a career-high five blocks in the Pioneers' win over Lafayette. Spellman's five blocks marked the first time a Pioneer player recorded five or more blocks in a game since Tevin Falzon recorded five blocks against Bryant on Jan. 24, 2015.
Everybody Eats... E.J. Anosike tallied 13 points and 12 rebounds against Seton Hall for the fourth double-double of his career. It was the fourth time a Pioneers' player recorded a double-double with points and rebounds this season as Anosike has done so twice this season and Kinnon LaRose and Jare'l Spellman each did so once earlier this season.
Big on the Boards... E.J. Anosike and Jare'l Spellman have been big contributers for the Pioneers on the boards. Spellman is second in the NEC, averaging 8.1 boards per game, while Anosike's 7.6 rebounds per game is tied for third. Anosike's 3.79 offensive rebounds per game is tops in the NEC and eighth in the nation.
Protecting the Ball... The Pioneers are averaging 15.71 assists per game and have a 1.05 assist-to-turnover ratio, which both rank first in the NEC.
Good in His Hands... Cameron Parker ranks in the top-3 in the NEC in both assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio. Parker's 7.3 assists a game ranks first, while his 1.86 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks third in the NEC
Efficiency is Everything... The Pioneers have two players ranked in the top-10 in the NEC in field goal percentage. Jare'l Spellman ranks third in the NEC, shooting 52.6% from the field, while E.J. Anosike's 48.2% ranks ninth in the conference.
Another One... Freshman guard Cameron Parker was named the Northeast Conference Men's Basketball Rookie of the Week, as announced by the league office Monday, Dec. 17, making it the second time this season Parker earned the honor.
Parker came off the bench to dish for a team-best seven assists, to go along with six points, three rebounds and a pair of steals in a setback at Dartmouth last Monday. Parker, who hit 3-5 from the floor, sparked SHU's second half comeback, assisting on four buckets in a 3:30 span that help the Pioneers slice a 14-point deficit to six with 3:31 to play the game.
Sean the Scoring Machine... Sean Hoehn has scored in double-figures in 13 of the Pioneers' 14 games, leading the team in scoring in seven games and dropping at least 20 points in five of the 14 contests. Hoehn topped his previous career-high of 31 points, by dropping 35 points against Binghamton on Nov. 24, including a career-high seven made three-pointers.
Kinnon the Conqueror... Red-shirt junior Kinnon LaRose has recorded two double-figure rebound games in his career. Ironically, both performances resulted in double-doubles for LaRose, most recently at Binghamton (11/24) where he tallied 12 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in the loss.
Heating Up... Kinnon LaRose has scored in double-figures in five of the last 10 contests, including a season-high 20-point performance against UMass Lowell. LaRose most recent double-figure output was a 15-point performance in a 64-62 win at Lafayette (12/2).
Have a Day Jare'l... Jare'l Spellman had a career day in SHU's 64-62 win over Lafayette. Along with scoring the game-winner, Spellman tallied 18 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks, which were all career-highs for the big man at the time.
Swiper, No Swiping... Sean Hoehn is averaging 1.71 steals a game which is ranks sixth in the conference. Hoehn has recorded multiple steals in six of the Pioneers' 14 games and has recorded at least three steals in a game four times.
First-Half Struggles... Through the first 14 games, the Pioneers are averaging 37.3 points per game in the first half of games and are being outscored by three points per game by opponents
Second-Half Team... Through the first 14 games, the Pioneers are averaging 44.2 points per game in the second half of games and are outscoring opponents by 1.5 points per game.
Protect the Pitt... In its four games played at home, the Pioneers are 3-1 and are outscoring opponents on average by 11.5 points per game.
Road Blues... The Pioneers are 1-7 on the road so far this season and are being outscored by 9.1 points per game away from the Pitt.
75 Points or Less... SHU is 3-0 this season when holding opponents to 75 points or less
Radical Radz... In his season-debut, junior Zach Radz scored 12 points, all in the second-half to aid Sacred Heart to a 79-78 win over Army West Point to open the Brown Bears Classic.
Hold The Lead... In its seven games where the Pioneers held the lead at halftime, they are 5-2.
Shooters Shoot... Sean Hoehn, Kinnon LaRose, Koreem Ozier and Aaron Clarke are among the top three-point marksmen in the NEC. Hoehn is averaging 2.5 made three-pointers a game which ranks fourth in the conference. LaRose is knocking down 1.4 threes per game, while Clarke is knocking down 1.1 three-pointers a game. Ozier rounds out the squad with 2.8 three-point makes per game in five games played.
Let it Fly... Through 14 games, the Pioneers lead the conference in scoring with 82.1 points per game. SHU is shooting 47% from the field, which is tops in the NEC and 36.3% from beyond the arc, which ranks third in the conference.
Scoring is a Habit... Freshman guard Aaron Clarke is averaging 10.1 points per game and has been able to do it from multiple levels. Clarke is shooting 44% from the field and 80% from the free-throw line. Clarke has scored in double-figures in seven of the Pioneers' 14 games, leading the Pioneers' in scoring with 17 points in a loss at Seton Hall and dropping a career-high 24 points against Army West Point on 9-for-12 shooting and 4-for-6 from three.
Familiar Faces... SHU returns seven letter-winners from last season's team, including team captain Sean Hoehn. The Pioneers also return Kinnon LaRose, E.J. Anosike, Anthony Boateng, Alex Watson, Zach Radz and Jare'l Spellman.
The Young and the Restless... The Pioneers also added seven new players to the roster, all being freshmen.
Welcome to College... The Pioneers had four players make their collegiate debuts against Holy Cross on 11/6. Koreem Ozier and Cameron Parker started in the backcourt, while Aaron Clarke and Zach Pfaffenberger contributed minutes off the bench for the Pioneers
NEC Rookie of the Week... Freshman guard Koreem Ozier was named the Northeast Conference Men's Basketball Rookie of the Week on Monday, Nov. 12.
Ozier came off a stellar collegiate debut for the Pioneers with a 23-point effort at Holy Cross to open the season on Tuesday, Nov. 6. It was the highest scoring game by an NEC freshman in his first outing since Robert Morris' Marcquise Reed went for 24 against North Carolina on November 16, 2014. Ozier also became the first SHU freshman to score at least 20 in a game since Cane Broome dropped 23 against Bryant on March 4, 2015.
Preseason Prognostication... SHU men's basketball team was picked to finish ninth in the Northeast Conference. Saint Francis U is this season's preseason favorite, garnering eight first-place votes. Fairleigh Dickinson was second choice and received a first place vote, followed by reigning NEC champions LIU Brooklyn in third with the final first-place vote. Wagner and Robert Morris rounded out the top-five, with Central Connecticut State and St. Francis Brooklyn in sixth and seventh. Bryant, the Pioneers and Mount St. Mary's rounded out the remaining NEC teams.
NEC Preseason Poll:
1. Saint Francis U (8 first-place votes)
2. Fairleigh Dickinson (1 first-place vote)
3. LIU Brooklyn (1 first-place vote)
5. Robert Morris
6. Central Connecticut
7. St. Francis Brooklyn
9. Sacred Heart
10. Mount St. Mary's
NEC Men's Basketball Preseason All-NEC Team
G – Jamaal King, St. Francis
G – Keith Braxton, St. Francis
G/F – Tyler Kohl, CCSU
G/F – Raiquan Clark, LIU Brooklyn
F – Mike Holloway, FDU