February 25, 2011

Pioneers Close the Season Hosting Monmouth; SHU to Honor '86 National Championship Team at Halftime

Sacred Heart Pioneers (10-18, 5-12 NEC) vs. Monmouth Hawks (9-20, 5-12 NEC)

Game #29 - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - 3:30 pm - Fairfield, CT - William H. Pitt Center (2,100)

SHU vs. Monmouth Game Notes

The Storyline...  The Sacred Heart Pioneers close out the 2010-11 season on Saturday afternoon playing host to the Monmouth Hawks.  The Pioneers were eliminated from Northeast Conference playoff contention on Thursday night with an 85-74 loss to Fairleigh Dickinson.  Regardless of the loss, SHU was eliminated thanks to Saint Francis (PA)'s win over Wagner.  The Hawks were also eliminated on Thursday night, falling at Quinnipiac, 64-59.  Sacred Heart will honor their two graduating seniors before Saturday's game as well as the 25th anniversary of the 1986 NCAA Division II National Championship season during halftime.  Seniors Jerrell Thompson and Mehmet Sahan will don the Pioneer Red & White for the final time Saturday afternoon.

Sacred Heart - Monmouth All-Time Series...  Today's game marks the 22nd meeting between the Pioneers and the Hawks on the hardwood.  SHU holds a 12-9 edge in the all-time series and have won four-straight and nine of the last 11 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 505-461, 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) is in his 14th season on the bench at his alma mater, Monmouth University.  Calloway owns a 178-226 career mark leading the Hawks.  His 127 Northeast Conference wins ranks him fourth 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... The 2010-11 season comes to a close.

Scouting the Hawks...  The Monmouth Hawks saw their NEC Tournament hopes ended on Thursday night with a 64-59 loss at Quinnipiac.  The Hawks are 9-20 on the season and tied with the Pioneers in the NEC standings with a 5-12 league mark.  Monmouth does not have a player averaging double figures but is led by junior Mike Myers Keitt who averages 9.8 points per game.  Sophomore Ed Waite is averaging 9.2 points per game is the team's top-rebounder at 6.1 per outing.  Waite ranks 10th among conference leaders in rebounding.  Senior guard James Hett is sixth in the NEC in assists with 113 on the year.  The Hawks are the lowest scoring team in the NEC at 60.4 points per game. 

Last Meeting with Monmouth...  Sacred Heart shot 55.3% (26-47) led by 24 points from r-sophomore Shane Gibson as the Pioneers beat Monmouth on the road, 80-65 on January 8th.  The Pioneers blew open a 53-53 game with 8:46 left using a 20-3 run Gibson was on fire, hitting six-of-nine from the field and five-of-six from behind the arc en route to his fourth 20-point game in his last five outings.  Senior Jerrell Thompson scored 19 points and dished out eight assists with three steals as the Pioneers set new season's high's for points scored (80), assists (18), field goal percentage (.553) and three-point field goal percentage (.667) in the win.  For the second-straight game the Pioneers overcame both a halftime and second half deficit, outscoring the Hawks 51-35 in the final stanza.  Junior Stan Dulaire finished with 11 points and freshman Chris Evans came off the bench for 13 points and four rebounds going a perfect five-of-five from the field.  After trailing for much of the game on the glass, the Pioneers outrebounded the Hawks 34-33 and outscored them in the paint as well, 28-26.  SHU also got 18 points off 16 Monmouth turnovers in the win.  The Hawks were led by 15 points from Waite who also picked up eight rebounds.  The Hawks did get 22 second chance points off their 33 caroms on the night.

Last Time Out...  The Sacred Heart Pioneers got 22 points from sophomore guard Shane Gibson but allowed Fairleigh Dickinson to shoot 53.3% (32-60) from the field and scored 24 points in transition en route to an 85-74 loss at the hands of the Knights Thursday night in the William H. Pitt Center.  The loss eliminates the Pioneers from the Northeast Conference postseason play.  The Knights snapped a 14-game NEC losing streak with the win.  FDU got a game-high 34 points from senior Terence Grier who made 14-of-22 shots and four-of-five from behind the arch.  The Knights outscored the Pioneers 46-32 in the paint led by a double double from John Galvin who scored 14 points with 12 rebounds.  Senior Mike Scott flirted with a triple-double scoring 12 points with eight rebounds, eight assists and five steals.  The two teams played a nip and tuck first half with six lead changes and 10 ties over the first 20 minutes.  The Pioneers took their largest lead of the night with 2:29 left in the first half, pushing the advantage to 37-31 on an Evan Kelley fast break lay-up.  The Knights closed the final two minutes on a 12-1 run to take control of the game heading into the locker room up, 43-38.  Fairleigh Dickinson pushed their lead to 10 in the opening minutes of the second half would build their lead to as much as 18-points en route to the win.  The Pioneers shot 42.4% (28-66) but made just six-of-24 from three (.250).  Sophomore Femi Akinpetide came off the bench for 12 points and four rebounds.  Chris Evans chipped in with 10 points.  SHU outrebounded FDU 40-36 in the loss.

Sacred Heart Senior Day...  Sacred Heart seniors Jerrell Thompson and Mehmet Sahan will make their final appearances in a Pioneer uniform this afternoon.  Thompson has played in 102 career games, starting 55.  He is enjoying his best season statistically leading the Pioneers from his point guard position.  He is averaging 11.3 points per game this year, up from his 7.0 ppg last season, and is second on the team in rebounding at 4.3 per game.  He is the team's top assist man dishing 3.6 per game.  At the free throw line, he ranks among the Northeast Conference's best, making 86.0% (74-86) on the season good for third in the rankings.  Defensively, he has grown in to one of the Pioneer's top-defenders and is third in the NEC in steals this season with 45.  For his career, he has scored 618 points with 206 rebounds and 288 assists.  Earlier this season, he set a new Sacred Heart Division I record, by passing out 15 assists in a win over Robert Morris.  His 15 assist effort ranks as the fifth highest game total in SHU history.  He will graduate with a degree in sports management.  Sahan has appeared in 100 career games, making 39 starts.  He is a career 50.5% shooter and has scored 352 points and pulled down 283 rebounds over his four year career.  He has passed out 50 career assists, made 52 career steals and blocked 35 career shots.  He scored a career-high 14 points in an 80-75 win over Mount St. Mary's in December of 2008.  He recorded a double double with 14 points and 11 rebounds at Central Connecticut State last season.  He will graduate with a degree in economics.

25th Anniversary of the 1986 National Championship Season...  During halftime of today's game, Sacred Heart will honor the members of the 1986 NCAA Division II National Championship team.  The 1985-86 Pioneers posted a school record 30-4 record and became the first school from New England to claim a Division II National Title.  Head Coach Dave Bike took home the National Coach of the Year award while senior Roger Younger was selected a first team All-American that season.  SHU's title run began with a double overtime thriller, beating Springfield 76-74 in the NCAA New England Regional.  The Pioneers advanced into the Elite Eight with an 83-67 win over New Hampshire College and then took down Norfolk State, 84-74, in Norfolk to earn a spot in the NCAA Final Four in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Sacred Heart beat Florida Southern in the National Semifinal, 86-80, and before 5,863 fans at the Springfield Civic Center on March 22, 1986, made history.  The Pioneers defeated Southeast Missouri State 93-87 to cap off an amazing run bringing the 1986 title back to the Fairfield, Connecticut campus.