November 26, 2011

Pioneers Back at Home to Host Brown on Sunday

SACRED HEART vs. BROWN
Game 07 * November 27, 2011 * William H. Pitt Center
Fairfield, CT * 2:00 pm
All-Time Series: Tied, 1-1 / Last Meeting: Brown, 81-67

The Storyline...  The Sacred Heart Pioneers return home to play host to the Brown Bears on Sunday afternoon.  SHU is coming off a nine-day road trip as part of the 2011 Cancun Challenge, finishing 1-3 in the tournament.  The Pioneers posted a 78-71 win over Hampton but came up just short of winning the Cancun Challenge Mayan Division title falling to Lipscomb, 79-77.  The Bears come in matching the Pioneers at 3-3, after losing to George Mason and rebounding to beat Monmouth in the NIT Season Tip-Off.

All-Time Series vs. Brown... The all-time series is tied at 1-1.  The Bears won on their home court last November, 81-67.  The Pioneers won the first ever meeting in 2009-10, beating the Bears 83-78 at home on December 30th.

The Coaches...  Dave Bike (Sacred Heart '69) is in his 34th year as the head coach of Sacred Heart. He has a career record of 508-463, ranking him 20th among active coaches. Only Jim Boheim of Syracuse has 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.  Jesse Agel (Vermont '84) begins his fourth season on the Brown University bench.  Agel owns a 34-59 record during his tenure as a head coach.  Agel spent 17 years as an assistant coach at his alma mater, the University of Vermont, the last eight season as an associate head coach under Tom Brennan.

Up Next...  SHU opens up Northeast Conference play with a pair of in-state road games at Quinnipiac on Thursday and Central Connecticut State.

Quick Hits...

- The Pioneers return home after participating in the Cancun Challenge.  SHU finished 1-3 in the event, falling in the Mayan Division championship game to Lipscomb.  This was the second tournament the Pioneers have played outside the United States, taking part in the 2003 San Juan Shootout in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  SHU was the first NEC school to participate in the Cancun Challenge, a field that consisted of three teams that made the NCAA Tournament last year (Illinois, Richmond, Hampton).

- Juniors Shane Gibson and Justin Swidowski were named to the Mayan Division All-Tournament team.  Gibson scored 13 points with three rebounds in the win over Hampton and 21 points, five rebounds and three assists in the loss to Lipscomb.  Swidowski netted 10 points with six rebounds and a pair of blocks against the Pirates and 16 points with three boards and a steal against the Bison.  He made 11-of-16 shots (.688) in the two games in Mexico.

- Gibson scored a season-high 26 points at Richmond, taking a career-high 21 shots.  He has a pair of 20-point games in the first six outings this year and 14 for his career.

- R-Freshman Steve Glowiak led five players in double figures against Hampton, scoring a season-high16 points helped by a four-of-seven performance behind the arc.

- Offensively, the Pioneers have shot over 50.0% twice this season (51.1% at Rutgers; 54.5% vs. Lipscomb) but have lost both games.  On the flip side, SHU has twice had five players scored double digits on the stat sheet this season, and have won both contests (vs. Hartford; vs. Hampton).

- The Pioneers as a team are making 73.7% at the free throw line, tops among NEC leaders.

- Center Justin Swidowski is averaging 12.5 ppg and 4.8 rpg through the first six games of his SHU career.  Swidowski ranks second among NEC players making 61.7% (29-47) of his shots.

- Sophomore guard Evan Kelley registered a career-high 16 points at Rutgers, making all five of the shots he took.

- Senior forward Stan Dulaire recorded his first career double double and matched his career high for points in the win over Stony Brook. Dulaire scored 14 points (14 vs. LIU 2/11/10) and pulled down 10 rebounds.

- The loss at Rutgers dropped the Pioneers to 0-15 all-time against teams from the Big East Conference. SHU will face the league once more this season at Notre Dame.  The loss to the Richmond Spiders dropped SHU to 0-8 against the Atlantic-10 Conference. 

Last Meeting with Brown...  Sacred Heart guard Shane Gibson scored 17 points while forward Femi Akinpetide came off the bench for a career-high 14 points but the Pioneers came up short, 81-67, at Brown last November 10th. The Pioneers an early season best 51.0% (25-49) but allowed the Bears to shoot 63.2% (24-38) from the field and 50.0% (8-16) from three in the loss. Brown's Peter Sullivan finished with a game-high 26 points making 12-of-12 at the free throw line. The Bears went to the charity stripe 30 times making 25 in the win. Brown put up 40 points in the first half, making 66.7% (12-18) from the field including five-of-10 from three.  The Bears kept up their hot shooting in the second half, making 12-of-20 from the field and 14-of-17 at the line on their way to building a double digit lead they would not relinquish by the 10 minute mark.

Facing the Brown Bears...

11/20/10  L, 81-67          at Brown (Pizzitola Center)

12/30/09  W, 83-78         at SHU (Pitt Center

Pioneers vs. the Ivy League...  Sacred Heart has an 13-17 record against Ivy League foes. The Pioneers saw a seven-game winning streak against the league snapped early last season with an 81-67 loss at Brown but bounced back with a 71-62 win at Yale. Sacred Heart has faced Brown (1-1), Columbia (4-4), Cornell (1-1), Harvard (3-5) and Yale (4-6). SHU has never faced Dartmouth, Penn and Princeton.  The Pioneers will play host to Yale on Monday, December 5th

Scouting the Bears...  The Brown Bears are coming off a split in the NIT Season Tip-Off, falling to George Mason, 74-48, but rebounding with a 79-71 win over NEC opponent Monmouth.  The Bears will also face the Pioneers, Central Connecticut, St. Francis (NY) and Bryant from the NEC this season.  Sophomore guard Sean McGonagill leads the team in scoring averaging 14.0 ppg while shooting 48.4% (15-31) from behind the three-point line. He is also dishing out 5.8 assists per game.  McGonagill was named last season's Ivy League Rookie of the Year.  The Bears were picked fifth in the Ivy League Preseason Media Poll. 

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