Men's Basketball Looks to Win Third-Straight Thursday at Wagner on ESPN3

Men's Basketball Looks to Win Third-Straight Thursday at Wagner on ESPN3

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Sacred Heart (6-9, 2-0 NEC) at Central Connecticut (6-7, 1-1 NEC)

Thursday, Jan. 10 - 7:00 PM

Spirto Sports Center - Staten Island, N.Y.

Setting the Scene... After defeating Central Connecticut in its last time out, Sacred Heart University men's basketball travels to take on NEC-foe Wagner on Thursday, Jan. 10 at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN3.

All-Time Vs. Wagner... The Seahawks lead the all-time series 24-14

Last Meeting... The Sacred Heart men's basketball team could not withstand the three-point shooting of the first-place Wagner Seahawks in a 99-84 loss at Coach Bike Court at the Pitt Center.

SHU cut down an 11-point deficit to four with 5:10 to play in the first half, as a Chris Robinson layup made the score 28-24. Wagner responded with a 13-4 run over the next 2:51 to take a 41-28 lead with 2:19 left in the half. The Pioneers got within nine at halftime, 45-36. Wagner opened the second half with eight three-pointers in the first 9:23, as Romone Saunders' triple put the Seahawks ahead 74-59. SHU got within 11 with 6:15 to play when a Sean Hoehn three capped a 9-2 Pioneers run and made the score 84-73, but Wagner held on for the 99-84 win. 

Scouting the Seahawks... Wagner comes into the contest with a 6-7 record and split its lone NEC contests so far this season. The Seahawks are led by Romone Saunders who leads the team with averages of 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.46 assists per game.

Last Time Out... The Sacred Heart University men's basketball team improved to 2-0 in Northeast Conference play, with a 73-61 win over Central Connecticut State University Saturday afternoon at the Pitt Center. The win improved the Pioneers to 6-9 overall and 2-0 in league play, while the Blue Devils fell to 6-9 on the season and 0-2 in NEC play.

SHU finished with four players in double figures on the afternoon. E.J. Anosike led the Pioneers with 20 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Sean Hoehn scored 17 while Jare'l Spellman added 11 and Kinnon LaRose finished with 10. 

Sean Hoehn knocked down a pair of technical free throws as the Pioneers opened the half with a 7-2 run, to extend their lead to 12, 45-33.The lead reached 13, the largest of the game, when Anosike hit his second of two free throws, with 12:01 to play.

Joe Hugley hit a pair of free throws and Coleman drained a three to get the Blue Devils back within six points, 61-55 with 4:59 to play, but Pioneers slowly extended the lead through a pair of Koreem Ozier free throws with 60 seconds left put the advantage back to a dozen for the final time.

Oh Captain, Our Captain... The Pioneers' leading scorer from last season, Sean Hoehn, is currently third in the NEC in scoring, averaging 18 points per game. Hoehn is shooting 45.2% from the field and 39.8% from three so far this season. 

Swat Leader Spellman... Red-shirt junior, Jare'l Spellman is averaging 2.53 blocks per game, which ranks 12th in the nation and is tops in the NEC. Spellman has totaled 38 blocks this season, which ranks 11th in the nation and 1st in the conference. Spellman has led SHU in blocks in 14 of the 15 contests this season and has recorded three or more blocks in seven contests this season.

Passing Parker... Freshman guard Cameron Parker's 7.1 assists per game ranks seventh 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 wins over defending NEC-champs LIU Brooklyn and Central Connecticut to open NEC-play marked the first time the Pioneers opened conference-play at 2-0 since the 2012-13 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 1,063 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 (100) and is seventh in the nation in assists per game (7.1) 

Sicko Mode... E.J. Anosike recorded his third double-double of the season after tallying 20 points and 14 rebounds in win over CCSU. The double-double brought Anosike's season-total to three and career-total to five. Anosike is averaging a career-best 13.7 points per game and 8.1 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 18.2 points per game, on 47.6% shooting from the field and 41.7% shooting from beyond the arc in six games played this season. Ozier has scored 20+ points in three of the six contests he's appeared in.

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. 

Protecting the Ball... The Pioneers are averaging 15.6 assists per game and have a 1.02 assist-to-turnover ratio, which both rank first in the NEC. 

Player of the Week... E.J. Anosike was named the NEC Player of the Week after averaging 19.5 points and 10 rebounds per game in SHU's first two games in NEC-play.

Everybody Eats... E.J. Anosike tallied 20 points and 14 rebounds against CCSU for the fifth double-double of his career. It was the fifth time a Pioneers' player recorded a double-double with points and rebounds this season as Anosike has done so three times 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 and Anosike are tied for second in the NEC, averaging 8.1 boards per game. Anosike's 4.07 offensive rebounds per game is tops in the NEC and third in the nation, while Spellman's 2.47 offensive rebounds per game ranks third 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 7.1 assists a game ranks first, while his 1.79 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks third in the NEC

Efficiency is Everything... The Pioneers have three players ranked in the top-15 in the NEC in field goal percentage. Jare'l Spellman ranks second in the NEC, shooting 53.3% from the field, while E.J. Anosike's 48% ranks ninth in the conference. Kinnon LaRose rounds out the group, shooting 47.4%, which ranks 12th.

Sean the Scoring Machine... Sean Hoehn has scored in double-figures in 14 of the Pioneers' 15 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.

Hold The Lead... In its eight games where the Pioneers held the lead at halftime, they are 6-2.

First-Half Struggles... Through the first 15 games, the Pioneers are averaging 37.3 points per game in the first half of games and are being outscored by 2.3 per game by opponents

Second-Half Team... Through the first 15 games, the Pioneers are averaging 43.6 points per game in the second half of games and are outscoring opponents by 1.73 points per game. 

Protect the Pitt... In its five games played at home, the Pioneers are 4-1 and are outscoring opponents on average by 11.6 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 4-0 this season when holding opponents to 75 points or less

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 1.6 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. 

Captain Closer... Senior-captain Sean Hoehn is averaging a team-high 10.5 points per game in the second-half of games this season.

He Will Find You... In 14 games played, Cameron Parker has led SHU in assists in 13 of those contests.

Let it Fly... Through 15 games, the Pioneers lead the conference in scoring with 81.5 points per game. SHU is shooting 46.7% from the field, which is tops in the NEC and 35.6% from beyond the arc, which ranks third in the conference.

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.

Shooters Shoot... Sean Hoehn, Kinnon LaRose and Koreem Ozier and are among the top three-point marksmen in the NEC. Hoehn is averaging 2.47 made three-pointers a game which ranks fourth in the conference. LaRose is knocking down 1.4 threes per game, while Ozier rounds out the squad with 2.5 three-point makes per game in six games played.

Scoring is a Habit... Freshman guard Aaron Clarke is averaging 9.5 points per game and has been able to do it from multiple levels. Clarke is shooting 42.3% from the field and 75% 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 six letter-winners from last season's team, including team captain Sean Hoehn. The Pioneers also return Kinnon LaRose, E.J. Anosike, 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

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.

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)

4. Wagner

5. Robert Morris

6. Central Connecticut

7. St. Francis Brooklyn

8. Bryant

9. Sacred Heart

10. Mount St. Mary's