November 23, 2010

Pioneers Host New Hampshire in Home Opener

Sacred Heart Pioneers (0-4, 0-0 NEC) vs. New Hampshire Wildcats (3-0, 0-0 America East)

Game #5 - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - 7:00 pm - Fairfield, CT - William H. Pitt Center (2,100)

SHU vs. New Hampshire Game Notes

The Storyline...  The Sacred Heart Pioneers return to the friendly confines of the William H. Pitt Center Tuesday night for their 2010-11 home opener against the New Hampshire Wildcats.  The Pioneers are looking to shake off an 0-4 start to the season coming off an 81-67 loss at Brown on Saturday.  SHU had their best offensive shooting night of the season thus far, hitting 51.0% (25-49) from the field.  On the flip side, the Pioneers had their worst defensive effort allowing Brown to shoot 63.2% (24-38) in the loss.  SHU's guard tandem of r-sophomore Shane Gibson and senior Jerrell Thompson lead the team in scoring at 12.2 and 10.0 points per game.  New Hampshire comes in off to a 3-0 start to their season with wins over Lesley (79-47), Dartmouth (55-53) and Holy Cross (55-52) on their ledger.

Sacred Heart - UNH All-Time Series...  This is the first meeting between the two schools.

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 495-447, 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.  Bill Herrion (Merrimack '81) begins his sixth season at the University of New Hampshire.  He owns a 48-73 record at UNH and a 285-242 in his 18 seasons as a head coach.  Herrion was named the program's 20th head coach after a stint as associate head coach at Arkansas.  He was the head coach at Drexel from 1991-99, leading the Dragons to an impressive 167-71 record and three NCAA Tournament appearances.  He was also the head coach at East Carolina from 1999-2005.

On the Upcoming Slate...  The Pioneers will have eight days off before they return to action hosting a pair of Northeast Conference games.  SHU will take on Mount St. Mary's on Thursday, December 2nd and Wagner on Saturday, December 4th.

Last Time Out...  Sacred Heart r-sophomore guard Shane Gibson scored 17 points while r-sophomore forward Femi Akinpetide came off the bench for 14 points but the Pioneers came up short, 81-67, at Brown Saturday night.  The Pioneers had their best offensive game of the early season, shooting 51.0% (25-49) but allowed the Bears to shoot 63.2% (24-38) from the field and 50.0% (8-16) from three in falling to 0-4 on the year.  Brown's Peter Sullivan finished with a game-high 26 points making 12-of-12 at the free throw line.  The Bears went to the charity stripe 30 times making 25 in the win.  Brown put up 40 points in the first half, making 66.7% (12-18) from the field including five-of-10 from three.  The two teams traded the lead four times over the game's first five minutes before the Bears opened up a nine point lead, 21-11, thanks to a 10-0 run fueled by three's from Sean McGonagill and Sullivan.  Brown took their biggest lead of the first half at the 9:43 mark as Adrian Williams buried a three to put the Bears up 26-14.  SHU put together a run of their own over the next eight minutes as an Akinpetide lay-in and one started a 17-6 rally.  Junior Stan Dulaire capped the run with a dunk off a feed from fellow junior Steve Zazuri to trail by one, 32-31, with 1:43 to go before the break.  Brown responded right back with an 8-0 spurt but SHU bounded into the locker room thanks to an incredible 75-foot heave at the horn by freshman Evan Kelley.  Brown's Tyler Ponticelli completed a three-point play with a second left before Kelley took the inbounds pass and fired a shot the length of the court, banking it in for some momentum into the locker room with the team down six, 40-34.  The Bears kept up their hot shooting in the second half, making 12-of-20 from the field and 14-of-17 at the line on their way to building a double digit lead they would not relinquish by the 10 minute mark.  SHU came out of the break with a spark as a pair of Nick Greenbacker jumpers and two Gibson free throws had the Pioneers down just a bucket, 42-40, just over two minutes in.  SHU cut it to six but Brown put the game away as a Williams three at 11:33 gave his team in front 58-46 and the lead never dipped below double digits the rest of the way.

Pioneers vs. the America East...  Sacred Heart is 34-27 all-time against schools currently in America East. The Pioneers have faced Albany (8-5), Binghamton (1-1), Hartford (10-6), Maine (0-3), Stony Brook (13-4), UMBC (2-7) and Vermont (0-2). The only team the Pioneers have never played until tonight is the University of New Hampshire.

Scouting the Wildcats...  The New Hampshire Wildcats are off to a 3-0 start to their season thanks in most part to some stingy defense.  The Wildcats are giving up just 50.7 points per game and allowing opponents to shoot just 39.1% (59-151) from the field and 15.4% (4-26) from behind the arc.  They are also getting it done on the glass outrebounding opponents 39.7 to 34.7 on the year.  The trio of Ferg Myrick, Alvin Abreu and Tyrone Conley are leading the team offensively, all averaging in double figures.  Myrick and Abreu are posting 14.0 points per game with Conley right on their heels at 13.0 per night.  The Wildcats were tabbed to finish fourth in the America East Preseason Coaches' Poll.