Sacred Heart Pioneers (9-13, 4-7 NEC) vs. St. Francis (NY) Terriers (10-12, 5-6 NEC)
Game #23 - Saturday, February 5, 2011 - 4:30 pm - Brooklyn, N.Y. - Pope Physical Education Center (1,200)
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers return to Brooklyn on Saturday for a match-up with the St. Francis (NY) Terriers. SHU is looking to bounce back after falling at the hands of Northeast Conference leader Long Island on Thursday night, 81-69. The Pioneers had a six-point lead early in the second half but saw it slip away along with their upset bid of the first-place Blackbirds. The Pioneers are 4-7 in the NEC with seven games left on the schedule as they sit alone in 10th place in the standings. The good news is SHU is just a game out of a potential playoff spot, trailing the Terriers and Saint Francis (PA) in seventh. St. Francis (NY) welcomes Sacred Heart to Brooklyn off a 74-60 loss at home to Quinnipiac on Thursday, just their second loss at home this season.
Sacred Heart - St. Francis (NY) All-Time Series... This is 20th meeting between the two schools with St. Francis holding a slim 10-9 advantage in the series. The Pioneers took the only meeting last season, winning 62-50 at home and have won six of the last seven against the Terriers heading into Saturday's match-up.
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 504-456, 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. Glenn Braca (Queens College '89) is in his first season as head coach at St. Francis (NY) College. Braca has the Terriers at 10-12 in his first stint as a head coach. Braca was named the school's 17th head coach after spending the last seven years as an assistant at St. John's. He spent 15 years as an assistant and associate head coach at St. Francis (NY).
On the Upcoming Slate... The Pioneers will enter NEC Rivalry Week facing back-to-back match-ups with the Quinnipiac Bobcats. SHU will head to QU on Wednesday February 9th and host the Bobcats on Valentine's Day. The February 14th match-up will be broadcast live on MSG.
Scouting the Terriers... The St. Francis (NY) Terriers are 5-6 in the NEC and tied for seventh in the standings. The Terriers are 7-2 at home this season and are one of the top-defensive clubs in the league. SFNY is third in the league in scoring defense allowing 65.8 points per game and are second in steals at 7.95 per game. They are the NEC's top team in turnover margin at +3.23 on the year. Senior Ricky Cadell is sixth in the league in scoring averaging 16.0 ppg. Fellow senior Akeem Bennett is 12th at 13.8 ppg. Bennett leads the NEC in steals with 56 swipes on the year.
Last Meeting with SFNY... Point guard Jerrell Thompson finished with 12 points, including a huge three in the final minutes to help the Sacred Heart hang on for a 62-50 win over visiting St. Francis College on February 13, 2010. With the Pioneers leading by eight, Thompson drained a straight-on three with 2:35 left to push the SHU edge to 58-47 and dash the Terrier comeback hopes. The game started sluggishly with neither team scoring for the first three minutes. The Terriers used a 13-0 run to open up a 13-5 lead with 10:47 left. The Pioneers dug in defensively and used a 21-4 run capped by a pair of Corey Hassan free throws with 2:20 left to make it 26-17. SHU would carry that into a 28-19 advantage at the intermission. SHU's Ryan Litke hit a three with 6:24 left in the game to give the Pioneers their largest lead at 53-38. St. Francis tried to mount a comeback and used a 9-0 spurt, finished off by a Ricky Cadell layup, to get back within six at 53-47 with 3:18 to go. Thompson ended the threat hitting his three with 2:35 on the clock. Senior Liam Potter finished with his eighth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds, to go along with four blocks. Hassan had 13, including the 200th trey of his career.
Last Time Out... Long Island University shot 55.6% (15-27) in the second half and used a 20-6 run to erase a Sacred Heart six-point lead dropping the Pioneers 81-69 Thursday night. The Blackbirds dominated on the glass out rebounding SHU, 48-34. Long Island got matching double doubles from forwards Julian Boyd and Kyle Johnson. Boyd scored a game-high 19 points and pulled down 11 boards while Johnson finished with 15 and 11. The Blackbirds made just six-of-27 from behind the arc but went to the free throw line 29 times to just 12 for Sacred Heart. LIU made 19-of-29 at the charity stripe. SHU's Shane Gibson finished with 18 points and three assists in the loss while Chris Evans had 12 points and four rebounds. Junior Stan Dulaire came up one rebound shy of his first career double double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Sacred Heart opened the game making four of their first seven shots and the two teams played to 9-9 tie five minutes in. LIU led 16-14 at the 11 minute mark and went on a tear as Jason Brickman and Kyle Johnson buried back-to-back three's to fuel a 10-2 spurt to open a double digit lead. SHU would close the half strong and used a 6-1 spurt to gain some momentum into the locker room. Gibson hit a jumper to get it started and freshman Evan Kelley ended the rally with a pair of transition lay-ups to trail 34-31 at the break. SHU tied the game just 1:20 into the second half and then took their first lead since the opening minutes of the game using a 7-0 spurt to take their biggest lead of the night, 45-39. The Blackbirds turned the defensive pressure up and put together a game-changing 20-6 run over the next six minutes. Boyd and David Hicks both converted three-point play opportunities and put LIU in front 59-51 with 9:15 to play. Despite a tough night from three-point land, Long Island came up with two big makes from downtown to push the lead back to double digits where it would stay. Johnson drilled consecutive three's at 6:46 and 5:06 to push the lead to 67-59. From there, LIU sprinted home, keeping the Pioneers at bay.