February 8, 2011

NEC Rivalry Week Pits Pioneers vs. Bobcats Wednesday Night

Sacred Heart Pioneers (9-14, 4-8 NEC) vs. Quinnipiac Bobcats (15-8, 7-5 NEC)

Game #24 - Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 7:00 pm - Hamden, CT - TD Bank Sports Center (3,254)

Sacred Heart at Quinnipiac Game Notes

The Storyline...  The Sacred Heart Pioneers enter the Northeast Conference's Rivalry Week with back-to-back match-ups with the Quinnipiac Bobcats on deck.  SHU heads to the TD Bank Sports Center on Wednesday night and play host to QU on Monday night in the William H. Pitt Center.  The Pioneers are coming off their worst loss of the season, suffering a 78-51 beating at St. Francis (NY) on Saturday.  SHU has lost three of their last four and sit in 10th place in the NEC with a 4-8 mark.  Sophomore Shane Gibson is looking to bounce back as well after his worst shooting game of the season, making just two-of-15 for four points against the Terriers.  The Bobcats saw a three-game winning streak snapped last time out falling to first Long Island, 84-74.

Sacred Heart - Quinnipiac All-Time Series...  This is the 58th meeting all-time between the Pioneers and Bobcats in the series dating back to the Division II era for both teams.  Since joining the NEC in 1999-00, Quinnipiac holds a slim 11-10 edge in the series and has won three-straight.  The Bobcats swept last season's NEC Rivalry Week series, winning 86-71 in Fairfield and 90-87 at home.  Sacred Heart holds the all-time edge, 37-20.  The first meeting between the teams was in 1965, a 100-83 Quinnipiac win.

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 504-457, 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.  Tom Moore (Boston University '87) is in his fourth season as the head coach at Quinnipiac University.  Moore is coming off a season where he led the Bobcats to a share of their first NEC regular season title and a school record 23 wins in 2009-10 in earning the league's Coach of the Year award.  Prior to becoming the Bobcat's head coach  he was an assistant coach at UConn from 1994 through 2007.  He owns a 68-49 record at QU and was the head coach at Worcester State College for five seasons where he compiled a 76-59 mark.

On the Upcoming Slate... NEC Rivalry Week continues on Monday, February 14th when SHU and QU face-off again this time in the Pitt Center.  The game will be televised live on MSG Network as part of a double header with the women's game.

Scouting the Bobcats...  The Quinnipiac Bobcats come in at 15-8 overall and tied for fourth with Mount St. Mary's in the league standings, both with 7-5 marks.  Junior guard James Johnson is tied for second in the NEC in scoring at 17.1 points per game.  Senior Deontay Twyman is 16th in the league rankings averaging 13.1 ppg.  Senior Justin Rutty, the defending NEC Player of the Year, was forced to miss seven games this season with injury but posts 15.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.  The Bobcats are second in the NEC in scoring averaging 73.5 points a night and lead the league in rebounding at 42.3 boards per game.

Last Meeting with QU...  Quinnipiac's James Feldeine scored 18 of his team-high 22 points in the second half, while the team converted 45-52 from the free throw line as the Bobcats dealt visiting Sacred Heart a 90-87 loss on February 6, 2010.  The Pioneers led by as much as 11 in the first half thanks to point guard Jerrell Thompson who scored 16 in the period on the way to a career-high 30 points.  A steady march to the free throw line helped Quinnipiac helped keep the Bobcats in the game as they pulled within four, 46-42, at the break.  Quinnipiac closed the gap to 66-65 midway through the second half and took the lead on a Feldeine runner with 9:04 on the clock, 67-66.  The QU lead peaked at 73-66 as the Bobcats finished off a 10-0 run. SHU was able to pull within 83-80 with less than two minutes left but Quinnipiac continued to convert at the charity stripe to keep the Pioneers at bay en route to the NEC Rivalry Week sweep.  SHU's Corey Hassan nearly completed a triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Liam Potter and Ryan Litke finished with 15 apiece. Jeremy Baker finished with 18 for the Bobcats, while Justin Rutty had 16 and 14 rebounds.

Last Time Out...  The Sacred Heart Pioneers scored just 15 points and shot just 25.0% (7-28) in the first half as St. Francis (NY) built a 20-point lead at the break en route to a 78-51 runaway win last Saturday afternoon.  The Pioneers got 17 points from freshman Chris Evans in the loss.  The Terriers were led by Akeem Bennett who scored 15 points with three assists, three steals and a block.  SFNY shot 48.2% (27-56) from the field and scored 20 points off 15 Sacred Heart turnovers.  St. Francis also held a 42-31 edge on the glass.  SHU jumped out in front 9-8 in the game's opening minutes but would suffer through a nine minute stretch without scoring a point that allowed St. Francis (NY) to take a strangle hold on the game.  Junior Stan Dulaire hit on a lay-up at 14:18 to put the Pioneers up 9-8 but the next SHU point wouldn't come until 5:19.  In between, St. Francis (NY) rattled off a 16-0 run to lead 24-9 and never look back.  SHU's 15 points was the fewest in a half this season.  Their previous low came way back in game one against Fairfield.  Joining Bennett in double figures was Nichols who came off the bench for 14 points.  Milk scored 10 points helping SFNY to a 34-22 scoring advantage in the paint.  SHU freshman Evan Kelley came off the bench to score 10 points joining Evans in double figures.  Sophomore Shane Gibson, the second leading scorer in the NEC, was held to a season-low four points making just two-of-15 shots.

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