Pioneers Back in Action Monday Night at Lafayette

Sacred Heart Pioneers (1-6, 0-2 NEC) vs. Lafayette Leopards (2-6, 0-0 Patriot)

Game #8 - Monday, December 6, 2010 - 7:00 pm - Easton, PA - Kirby Sports Center (3,500)

SHU at Lafayette Game Notes

The Storyline...  Sacred Heart returns to the non-conference portion of their schedule Monday night at Lafayette College.  The Pioneers dropped a pair of Northeast Conference tilts last week, falling to Mount St. Mary's, 66-52, and Wagner in overtime, 73-68.  Lafayette snapped a four-game losing streak with a 95-73 win over Susquehanna on December 1st.  The Leopards already own one win over an NEC school this season, beating Saint Francis (PA), 72-68.  SHU's starting guards, Jerrell Thompson and Shane Gibson, are the Pioneer's top-scorers averaging 13.0 and 12.9 points, respectively.

Sacred Heart - Lafayette All-Time Series...  The Pioneers lead, 1-0.  Sacred Heart won the first ever meeting last season, beating the Leopards at home, 81-70.

Pioneers vs. the Patriot League...  This marks the 17th game the Pioneers have played against a Patriot League opponent.  SHU is 8-8 against the league - 1-0 against Lafayette, 2-2 against Lehigh, 3-3 against Army and 2-3 against Holy Cross.  The Pioneers will match-up with the Patriot League once more this year, playing host to Holy Cross on January 2nd.

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 496-449, 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.  Fran O'Hanlon (Villanova '70) is in his 16th season as the head coach of the Lafayette men's basketball program.  O'Hanlon is the longest tenured coach in the Patriot League and has won three conference titles and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances.  He owns a 215-229 record at Lafayette. 

On the Upcoming Slate...  The Pioneers are back at home on Wednesday night to play host to the Hartford Hawks.  SHU will close out a stretch of five games in 10 days on Saturday when they travel to Stony Brook.

Scouting the Leopards...  The Lafayette Leopards are off to a 2-6 start to their season and coming off a 95-73 win over Susquehanna on December 1st.  The Leopards have played teams from the NEC twice already this season, losing at Wagner, 63-58, and beating Saint Francis (PA) at home, 72-68.  They will also face Long Island and Columbia this season.  The Leopards are in the midst of a five-game homestand, their longest since 2007-08.  Senior forward Jared Mintz leads the team in scoring averaging 16.1 points per game.  Juniors Ryan Willen and Jim Mower are also averaging in double figures at 13.0 and 11.9 points per game, respectively.  Lafayette was picked third in the preseason

Last Meeting with the Lafayette...  Sacred Heart fell behind 20-8 to the Lafayette Leopards seven minutes into the game but battled their way back to an 81-70 win last November.  The Pioneers used a 12-2 run on offense and forced the Leopards to miss nine of ten shots to close the gap to 22-20 with 7:30 to go in the first half.  The Leopards held a slim 36-34 edge at the intermission, led by Darion Benbow's seven points. SHU's Chauncey Hardy erased that with a three just over a minute into the second half to give the Pioneers their first lead.  The two teams went back and forth before the Pioneers outraced the Leopard 33-17 and opened up a 77-62 lead.  SHU finished the night 11-17 (61.3%) from three-point range, four of them from Ryan Litke who finished with 14 points.   Center Liam Potter finished with ten points, six rebounds and a pair of blocked shots in 28 minutes. The win gave the Pioneers their first 2-0 start since turning Division I in 1999.

Last Time Out...  The Sacred Heart Pioneers battled back from down 10 points in the second half to lead by five late but couldn't hold off a furious Wagner rally to force overtime, losing 73-68 in Northeast Conference action Saturday.  The Seahawks never trailed in the overtime and outscored the Pioneers 13-8 during the extra session.  The Pioneers found themselves in a 10-point hole with 12:01 left in the second half, 45-35, before responding with a 17-3 run to take their first lead since late in the first half.  The Pioneers built their lead to five, 58-53, with 47 seconds to go before Wagner made their final run.  Wagner got a quick three from Tyler Murray and after a pair of senior Jerrell Thompson free throws pushed the SHU lead to 59-56, Latif Rivers drilled another from downtown to pull the Seahawks to within 60-59 with 24 ticks left.  The Pioneers got the ball into Thompson who got bottled up at half court where he was whistled for a backcourt violation trying to avoid the Wagner trap.  The Seahawks went to Murray in the closing seconds and the junior got fouled on his way to the hoop.  He missed the first and got the shooter's roll on the second to knot the game at 60-60 with eight seconds left.  SHU was forced to settle for desperation three by freshman Louis Montes that was blocked sending the two teams to overtime.  The Seahawks struck first in overtime as Murray got a steal and fed Ryan Schrotenboer for a break-away lay-up.  SHU tied it at 62-62 as Shane Gibson hit a leaner underneath but Wagner would pull away from there.  Murray hit a lay-up and the Seahawks closed out the game hitting seven-of-10 at the line for the 73-66 win.  Gibson led four Pioneers in double figures with 17 points adding five rebounds and three steals to his totals.  Thompson finished with 13 points and eight rebounds while Akinpetide came up with 13 points off the bench before fouling out.  Kelley hit for 11 points.  The Pioneers shot 36.4% (20-55) in the loss but out rebounded the Seahawks, 39-38.  Wagner got a game-high 23 points from Murray and 21 from Rivers who made nine-of-10 at the free throw line.  Murray added 10 rebounds for a double double and also dished four assists.  The Seahawks made 26-of-32 at the line in the win.