Pioneers Travel to UMass for First Meeting on the Hardwood
Sacred Heart Pioneers (0-2, 0-0 NEC) vs. UMass Minutemen (1-0, 0-0 Atlantic-10)
Game #3 - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 7:00 pm - Amherst, MA - Mullins Center (9,493)
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers continue their season-opening four-game road swing taking on their second-straight Atlantic-10 opponent heading to the University of Massachusetts on Wednesday night. The Pioneers are 0-2 thanks to losses to Fairfield, 62-45, and at Fordham, 69-51, last time out. SHU has struggled offensively in the early going, shooting a combined 33.3% (37-111) over the first two games. The Minutemen are coming off a 77-67 win over Rider in their season opener last Friday. Senior guard Anthony Gurley hit 12-of-20 shots on his way to a 31 point night. Not to be outdone was sophomore guard Freddie Riley who buried six-of-11 from behind the arc for 28 points.
Sacred Heart - Massachusetts All-Time Series... This is the first-ever meeting between the Pioneers and Minutemen on the hardwood.
The Coaches... Dave Bike (Sacred Heart '69) is in his 33rd year as the head coach of Sacred Heart. He has a career record of 495-445, ranking him 20th among active coaches. Only Jim Boheim of Syracuse as spent more time coaching at one institution. He led the Pioneers to eight NCAA Division II tournaments and his 1985-86 team won the national championship while finishing 30-4. Bike was named the national Coach of the Year by the NABC following the title game. Derek Kellog (Massachusetts '95) returned to his alma mater to become the program's 21st head coach as he begins his third season on the UMass bench. This is Kellog's first head coaching stint after serving as an assistant coach for 12 years at the University of Memphis under former UMass head coach John Calipari. He has complied a 25-38 record over his three seasons.
On the Upcoming Slate... The Pioneers close out a four-game road swing on Saturday night at Brown University. SHU will host New Hampshire in their home opener on Tuesday night, November 23rd at 7:00 pm
Last Time Out... The Sacred Heart Pioneers got 11 points and five rebounds from r-sophomore Shane Gibson but the Fordham Rams shot 55.6% in the second half and used a 13-2 run to break open the game en route to a 69-51 win. Fordham was led by Brenton Butler who made four-of-seven from behind the arc en route to a game-high 17 points. Chris Gaston posted a double double for the Rams with 12 points and 17 rebounds. The Pioneers fall to 0-2 to start the season with the loss. Sacred Heart closed the first half with a 13-6 rally to trail 28-25 at the break. The Pioneers held the Rams (1-1) to just 35.7% (10-28) shooting over the first 20 minutes as they chipped away at a 22-12 Fordham lead. SHU cut it to 22-19 on a freshman Chris Evans three-point play and a senior Jerrell Thompson fast break lay-up to force a Fordham timeout with 5:47 left. Gibson buried a long three at the 3:10 mark and the Pioneers carried the momentum into the locker room after freshman Evan Kelley drilled a straightaway three with the shot clock expiring to send the team into the half down 28-25. The Pioneers had a chance early in the second half to take the lead, down 28-27 with 18:40 on the clock but a Gibson jumper from the right wing missed its mark. The Rams answered with a Kervin Briston jumper and then a steal and lay-in by Alberto Estwick to push the lead to 32-57 in the span of 50 seconds. SHU pulled within a bucket at 38-36 on a pair of Femi Akinpetide free throws but that would be as close as the Pioneers would get. Down 44-36 at 10:57, a Stan Dulaire dunk would be the only Pioneer points until the junior would hit another dunk at the six minute mark. The result of the scoring drought saw the Rams push their lead to 11 before extending the run to put the game away up 57-40 with four minutes left. Butler buried three of his four three's in the second half to lead the way. The Pioneers turned it over 16 times on Monday night leading to 20 Fordham points and shot just 28.1% (9-32) in the second half. Thompson finished with seven points and seven rebounds in the loss.
Pioneers vs. the Atlantic-10... The Pioneers have faced off with teams from the Atlantic-10 Conference six times and are still searching for their first win against the league. SHU is 0-3 against Fordham and 0-1 against Duquesne, Rhode Island and Xavier. The Pioneers will face the University of Massachusetts for the first time on Wednesday.
Scouting the Minutemen... The UMass Minutemen opened their 2010-11 season with a 77-67 come from behind win over Rider last Friday. UMass found itself down 22 points with 16:24 left in the second half before turning the tables on the Broncs for the win. The Minutemen two-headed offensive attack of senior Anthony Gurley and sophomore Freddie Riley combined for 59 of the team's 77 points in the win. Riley tossed in 23 of his career high 28 points all in the second half. The Minutemen returned four of its top five scorers from last season led by Gurley who averaged 13.6 points. UMass was picked to finish 11th in the Atlantic-10 Preseason Poll.