NEW HAVEN, CT (December 19, 2010) – Sacred Heart sophomore Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) poured in a career-high 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Pioneers to their third-straight victory beating Yale University, 71-62, on the road Sunday afternoon. The Pioneers used a strong defensive effort in the first half and built a 21-point lead early in the second half before fending off a Bulldog rally for the win. SHU improves to 4-7 overall while Yale evens their record at 5-5 with the loss.
Sacred Heart (4-7), who never trailed in Sunday's win, turned the Bulldogs over 14 times in the first half and took advantage with 11 points off the miscues. SHU kept Yale's hot-shooting in check as well, holding the Bulldogs to just 31.8% to build a 38-21 lead at the break. Yale came in shooting 44.8% from the field and 41.5% from behind the line on the year.
The Pioneers opened their first double digit lead at the seven-minute mark as freshman Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) hit on a put-back off a miss for a 22-12 advantage. Yale closed within seven, 24-17, at 5:31 but the Pioneers closed out the first half on a strong 14-4 run, highlighted by a pair of Gibson three's.
SHU r-sophomore Femi Akinpetide (Sydney, Australia) opened the second half with a lay-up off a baseline spin move and Gibson hit on the break after a Yale turnover and the Pioneer lead hit it's high-water mark at 42-21 just 56 seconds into the second half. From there, the Bulldogs' offense caught fire and cut the lead to seven by the mid way point.
Yale (5-5) shot 53.6% (15-28) in the second half and made seven of their first 10 shots to help fuel a 21-7 run that pulled the Bulldogs to within 49-42 with just under 11 minutes to play. SHU's Evans gave the Pioneers a 49-33 lead with a lay-in at 15:31 but Yale answered with a 9-0 spurt. Porter Braswell buried a three and hit a back-door lay-up and center Greg Mangano made it 49-42 with a put-back at 10:57.
Gibson had the answer for the Pioneers as he drilled his career-high fifth three of the afternoon on the next possession and SHU found a way to keep Yale at bay the rest of the way. Gibson's final points of the afternoon, a baseline leaner, pushed the lead back to double digits, 50-49, at 5:18. Yale pulled as close as down six twice over the final minutes but the Pioneers did the job at the free throw line making eight of 10 down the stretch.
Evans came off the bench for a season-high 18 points, making five of eight from the field and eight of 10 at the line. He added three rebounds and a steal. The Pioneers held a 35-31 edge on the glass and outscored the Bulldogs 34-28 in the paint.
Yale's Brawell finished with 20 points while Mangano posted a double double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
SHU is right back in action on Tuesday night when they travel to Providence College for a 7 pm tip against the Friars from the Big East. The Pioneers will then be off until January 2nd when they play host to the Holy Cross Crusaders.