November 23, 2010

Sacred Heart Pioneers Grind Out First Win, 50-42 Over New Hampshire

FAIRFIELD, CT (November 23, 2010) – Sacred Heart senior Jerrell Thompson (Plainfield, NJ) scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds to help the Pioneers overcome 22 turnovers and some poor second half shooting en route to their first win of the season, 50-42, over visiting New Hampshire.  The Pioneers dominated on the boards, outrebounding the Wildcats 44-30 in the win.

"Over the first four games we had some defensive lapses," stated Thompson.  "Coach (Bike) emphasized pushing past it that we can't fold.  Tonight we showed more heart and more grit and pulled out the win."

The Pioneers (1-4) had a strong first half, shooting 41.4% (12-29) from the field while knocking down 10 of 14 at the free throw line in building a 36-19 lead at the half.  Junior Stan Dulaire (Bloomfield, CT) gave the Pioneers a spark on offense, scoring all of his season-high 11 points in the first half. 

SHU led 15-13 midway through the first 20 minutes of action and then went on a blistering 21-6 run into the locker room from there.  A three by UNH's Ferg Myrick at 6:19 cut the SHU lead to 20-16 but Thompson answered with a triple of his own and a four-point lead quickly hit 17 thanks to a 13-0 spurt.  Thompson made good on a lay-up and one and then buried another three at 1:38 to put his team up 33-16.  New Hampshire's Scott Morris connected from down town at the other end but Dulaire put his stamp on the first half by just beating the horn with a dunk off a full court pass from Thompson.

The tables turned for the Pioneers in the second half as SHU turned the ball over 15 times and shot just 14.3% (2-14) needing to rely on their defense to carry them to the win.  Luckily for the Pioneers, New Hampshire failed to capitalize, shooting just 26.9% (7-26) while going nearly 10 minutes without a field goal on the way to their first loss of 2010-11. 

Sacred Heart came out of the locker room and turned the ball over eight times in the first five minutes of action as New Hampshire (3-1) came out and pulled within 36-27 during that stretch.  Thompson hit the Pioneer's first field goal of the second half at 14:55 to put Sacred Heart in front 38-27.  SHU only managed to get six shots off by the 10 minute mark but the closest the Wildcats could cut the lead was to four.

UNH's Dane DiLiegro hit a lay-up off a feed from Tyrone Conley at 9:59 to pull his team within 40-36 but that would be the last field goal the Wildcats would make until 21 seconds left in the game.  In between SHU pushed the lead to 44-36 at the free throw line before Thompson would end a Pioneer span of 12:26 with their only other field goal of the second half, a jumper for a 46-38 lead with 2:29 left. 

DeAndray Buckley made it 47-40 SHU with a lay-up at the 21 second mark but Thompson made three-of-four at the charity stripe in the closing seconds to salt away the win.

SHU's 22 turnover led to only 15 points on the Wildcat's end as the Pioneers used their rebounding advantage for 11 second chance points.  Thompson's 24 point night came on seven-of-15 shooting and eight-of-11 at the line.  Dulaire added a career-high eight rebounds to his 11 points for the Pioneers.

Sacred Heart is off until Thursday, December 2nd when they open up Northeast Conference play hosting Mount St. Mary's at 7 pm in the William H. Pitt Center.

xxxxxxxxxxx