December 20, 2010

Sacred Heart Takes On the Providence Friars Tuesday Night

Sacred Heart Pioneers (4-7, 0-2 NEC) vs. Providence Friars (10-2, 0-0 Big East)

Game #12 - Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 7:00 pm - Providence, RI - Dunkin' Donuts Center (12,410)      

SHU at Providence Game Notes

The Storyline...  The Sacred Heart Pioneers travel to Providence College Tuesday night, winners of three-straight off a 71-62 win over instate rival Yale on Sunday.  R-sophomore Shane Gibson led the way with a career-high 23 points, earning this week's Choice Hotels Northeast Conference Player of the Week honors.  The win moved head coach Dave Bike within one victory of reaching 500 for his career.  Bike is in his 33rd season as he closes in on the milestone and will have two more opportunities, tonight against the Friars and January 2nd hosting Holy Cross, to reach the mark before returning to NEC play.  The Friars are 10-2 this season and 9-0 at home as the host the Pioneers in their final tune-up before opening Big East play.  Providence last played on December 11th when they beat Alabama at home, 82-70.

Sacred Heart - Providence All-Time Series...  This is the fourth meeting between the two schools with Providence holding a 3-0 advantage.  The first ever meeting took place during the 2001-02 season, an 85-76 Friar win at home.  Providence posted a 94-89 win during the 2007-08 season and an 111-87 win in 2008-09, both at home.

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 499-450, 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.  Keno Davis (Iowa '95) is in his third season at Providence College posting a 41-35 mark.  Davis became the program's 14th head coach in 2008 and led the Friars to a 19-14 mark and NIT appearance in his first season on the bench.  Davis spend the 2007-08 season at Drake where he earned six National Coach of the Year awards after leading his team to a 28-5 mark and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1971.

On the Upcoming Slate... The Pioneers are off until January 2nd when they host Holy Cross.

Scouting the Friars...  The Providence Friars close out the non-conference portion of their schedule on Tuesday night against the Pioneers.  Providence boasts a 10-2 record and have played a perfect home slate (9-0).  The Friars own a win over the NEC already this season, beating Central Connecticut State, 92-57.  PC also owns wins over common opponents Yale, 58-55, and Brown, 91-64.  Senior guard Marshon Brooks is leading the team and is second in the Big East in scoring at 22.9 points per game.  He ranks fourth in the conference in rebounding at 8.7 caroms per game.  Sophomore guard Vincent Council averages 16.0 points and leads the Big East in assists at 7.0 per game.  Providence was picked to finish 14th in the 16 team Big East.  They play their league opener at Syracuse on December 28th.

Last Meeting with the Providence...  Marshon Brooks scored 30 points, 24 in the first half, to lead Providence College past Sacred Heart, 111-87, on November 20, 2008.  A Joey Henley layup with 11:17 to go in the first half had the Pioneers ahead 16-14, but the Friars went on 23-7 run over the next four minutes to lead 37-23. Providence was 8-12 from the field during the spurt.  The Pioneers turned it over 15 times in the half, leading to 20 Providence points.  Providence hit just one of its first nine shots, but finished the half canning 19 of the next 30 (63%).  Henley and Chauncey Hardy had 18 points apiece while Corey Hassan added 15, including three-of-five from beyond the arc. Freshman Shane Gibson chipped in with 10 points off the bench.  The Pioneers out rebounded Providence, 42-38, led by Gibson with nine and Ryon Howard with eight.

Pioneers vs. the Big East...  Sacred Heart is 0-7 against teams currently in the Big East.  The Pioneers have faced UConn more than any other team, falling five times against the Huskies.  SHU has also faced Providence (0-3), St. John's (0-2), Notre Dame (0-1) and Marquette (0-1).  The Pioneers also lost to Boston College once when the Eagles were still a member of the conference in 2003-04.

Last Time Out...  Sacred Heart sophomore Shane Gibson 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.  Sacred Heart, 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.  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.  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.

One Away from #500...  Head Coach Dave Bike is one win away from his 500th career victory.  Bike is in his 33rd season as the head coach of his alma mater and boasts 499 wins on the SHU sidelines.  He currently ranks first among active Northeast Conference coaches in all-time wins and 20th on the NCAA list of most career victories by an active coach.  Coach Bike ranks second among Division I head coaches who have stayed at the same school for over 20 years.  Jim Boeheim from Syracuse heads the list in his 35th season.  Bike is followed by Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (31), Don Maestri from Troy (29), Greg Kampe from Oakland (27), Rick Byrd, of Belmont (25), Jim Calhoun from Connecticut (25), Ron "Fang" Mitchell of Coppin State (25) and Vann Pettaway of Alabama A&M (25).

Milestone Wins:

#1           vs. Tufts, 102-83, Dec. 2, 1978          

#100       at New Hampshire College, 68-66,  Feb. 16, 1983

#200       at Keene State, 96-81,  Feb. 7, 1987

#300       vs. Franklin Pierce 71, Jan. 12, 1994

#400       at Long Island, 79-73, March 1, 2003

First Win in Division I Era: vs. Cornell, 65-64, Nov. 27, 1999

First Northeast Conference Win:  vs. Wagner, 75-70, Jan. 19, 2000

First Division I Post Season Win:  vs. Wagner, 100-68, Mar. 1, 2007

Shane Gibson Named Choice Hotels NEC Player of the Week...  R-sophomore Shane Gibson registered a career-high 23 points, pulled down eight rebounds, made two steals and blocked a shot as the Pioneers won for the first time at the John J. Lee Amphitheater beating Yale, 71-62 on Sunday.  He shot 8-16 from the field and hit a career-best five three-pointers.  Facing a Yale team that already beat Boston College and nearly upset Providence, Sacred Heart jumped out to a 38-21 lead at the break behind Gibson's 11 points, which included a 3-5 performance from outside the arc.  After the Pioneers extended their advantage to 21 points early in the second half, Yale chipped away at the lead until cutting it to 49-42 with 11 minutes to play.  Gibson halted the run with a long three-pointer, then hit two free throws to keep the lead in double digits.  His put back with 5:18 to play gave Sacred Heart a 60-49 edge and helped keep the Bulldogs at bay.  Gibson, a native of Killingly, CT, recorded his eighth double digit game this season and his second 20-point effort of the year.  He has averaged 19.3 points and 7.0 rebounds over the three-game win streak, and now leads the team and ranks 11th in the NEC with 14.2 ppg.  Gibson is also ninth on the circuit with 2.1 made three-pointers per game.

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