SHU Looks to Even NEC Record at Monmouth Saturday Night
Sacred Heart Pioneers (6-8, 1-2 NEC) vs. Monmouth Hawks (5-10, 1-2 NEC)
Game #15 - Saturday, January 8, 2011 - 7:00 pm - West Long Branch, NJ - Multipurpose Activity Center (4,000)
The Storyline... Sacred Heart looks to even their Northeast Conference record Saturday night as they take on the Monmouth Hawks on the road in West Long Branch, NJ. The Pioneers put together a strong defensive effort on Thursday night, erasing what was a five-point Fairleigh Dickinson second half en route to a lopsided 67-50 win over the Knights. SHU outscored FDU 29-7 over the final seven minutes of the game to notch their first NEC win on the year. Senior Jerrell Thompson was good for 18 points in the win while freshman Evan Kelley tallied a season-high 14 points with five rebounds and four steals. The Monmouth Hawks are 1-2 as well in the league with an overtime loss to Central Connecticut on the road, 54-50, and a 72-70 defeat at the hands of preseason favorite Quinnipiac on Thursday night. The Hawks are 1-5 in their last six games with that lone win coming over Bryant, 66-57.
Sacred Heart - Monmouth All-Time Series... Saturday's game marks the 21st meeting between the Pioneers and the Hawks on the hardwood. SHU holds an 11-9 edge in the all-time series and have won three-straight and eight of the last 10 meetings.
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 501-451, 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. Dave Calloway (Monmouth '89) begins his 14th season on the bench at his alma mater, Monmouth University. Calloway owns a 174-216 career mark leading the Hawks. His 123 Northeast Conference wins ranks him fourth all-time among the all-time leaders. Calloway led his team Northeast Conference Championships and trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2001, 2004 and 2006.
On the Upcoming Slate... Sacred Heart returns home next week to play host to instate rival Central Connecticut State on Thursday and newest NEC member Bryant on Saturday.
Scouting the Hawks... The Monmouth Hawks come in 5-10 on the year and 1-2 in the NEC. The Hawks' two losses were to Central Connecticut State in overtime, 54-50, and last time out against Quinnipiac, 72-70. Sophomore forward Ed Waite is the only Hawk averaging double figures this season at 10.1 per night. Waite is also the team's top rebounder at 5.9 per game. Waite is seventh in the NEC in field goal percentage, making 50.0% (59-118) of his shots on the year. Senior guard James Hett is averaging 4.1 assists per game and 1.6 steals per game and owns the NEC's top assist-to-turnover ratio (2.77) with 61 assists to 22 turnovers. Junior Mike Myers-Keitt is one of the league's top three-point threats, knocking down 41.7% (15-36) on the season.
Last Meeting with Monmouth... Senior Ryan Litke led five players in double figures with 16 points to help Sacred Heart beat Monmouth 68-63 in the 2009-10 season finale. Sacred Heart took a 25-17 lead and led 38-30 at the intermission thanks to 12 points from Litke. Sophomore Travis Taylor led all scorers for Monmouth with 16 in the first half. Monmouth started the second half with an 11-2 spurt that gave the Hawks a 41-40 lead with 16:07 to play. A Justin Sofman three with 7:30 to go gave the Hawks their largest lead, 54-51. A Jerrell Thompson three-point play with 4:29 to play tied the game at 56-56, but the Hawks quickly answered with a Sofman layup at the other end. Taylor made one of two free throws with 2:55 left to make it 59-58, Monmouth, but Liam Potter gave the Pioneers the lead with a layup with 2:36 to play. Josh Marshall made it 64-59 with a layup with 1:45 to go. A Taylor layup with :24 to go got the Hawks back within one, 64-63. Hardy got a dunk on a touchdown pass from Thompson after the inbound pass to give the Pioneers the three-point lead. After a Whitney Coleman three-point miss, Thompson got the rebound and was fouled. Monmouth was not over the limit, so the Pioneers got the ball out of bounds again. On the next inbound play, Marshall was fouled and missed the front end of the one-and-one but Hardy got the rebound for the Pioneers to put the game away. Hardy finished the game with 14 points, while Thompson, Potter and Marshall had 12 apiece. Taylor led the way for the Hawks with 30 points on 12 of 16 shooting.
Last Time Out... The Sacred Heart Pioneers held Fairleigh Dickinson to 30.6% (15-49) shooting and forced 21 turnovers to earn their first Northeast Conference victory on the year, 67-50, Thursday night. The Pioneers doubled up the Knights in the second half, outscoring FDU 42-22, and were led by an 18 point effort from senior Jerrell Thompson. The Pioneers blew open a 43-43 game with 6:17 left, outscoring the Knights 24-7 to close it out. SHU held the Knights to just one-of-16 shooting behind the three-point line and turned FDU's 21 miscues into 21 points at the other end. SHU took 22 of their 26 trips to the free throw line in the second half, making 18. They finished the game 20-26 overall. The Knights used a 10-0 run to go up 19-10 as the Pioneers went nearly five minutes without a field goal before a Thompson jumper at 7:40 ended the drought. The Knights extended their run to 14-2 and took their biggest lead, 23-12, on a Kamil Svrdlik lay-in with 6:08 left in the half. The Pioneers chipped away and closed the half strong to trail by just five at the break. Thompson buried a three and freshman Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) converted on a pair of fast break lay-ups as SHU outscored FDU 11-5 to close the half down 28-23. Sacred Heart took their first lead in the second half, 32-31, at 14:15 on a Thompson break-away lay-in but Fairleigh Dickinson jumped right back in front and built a 43-38 lead at the 7:31 mark. From there it was all Sacred Heart as the Pioneers dominated the final seven minutes outscoring the Knights 29-7. The Pioneers hit 10-of-12 at the free throw line in the closing minutes to ice away their first conference win on the year. Thompson added five rebounds with a pair of steals to his game-high 18 points. Evan Kelley finished with a career-high 14 points, five rebounds and four steals and made seven-of-eight at the charity stripe. Chris Evans came off the bench for 13 points with four assist and three rebounds. FDU was led by 13 points from Svrdlik. SHU held Mike Scott, the NEC's leading scorer coming in to the game, to just nine points with one assist and six turnovers