Pioneers and Bulldogs from the Pitt Center Monday Night
SACRED HEART vs. YALE
Game 10 * December 5, 2011 * William H. Pitt Center
Fairfield, CT * 7:00 pm
All-Time Series: Yale, 6-4 / Last Meeting: SHU, 71-62- 12/19/10
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers will play their third game in the last five days taking on the Yale Bulldogs Monday night at home. SHU is hoping to shake off a tough 82-80 overtime loss at Central Connecticut on Saturday where junior Shane Gibson netted a season-high 32 points and junior Justin Swidowski notched his first double double of the season with 21 points and 10 boards. The Bulldogs have won three-straight after beating the Vermont Catamounts on Saturday, 68-52.
All-Time Series vs. Yale... Monday night's game will mark the 11th meeting between the two Connecticut schools with the Bulldogs holding a 6-4 edge in the series. The Pioneers have won three-straight after beating the Bulldogs, 71-62, in New Haven last December. The two teams have met every year since the 2001-02 season with Yale winning the first five meetings but SHU taking four of the last five. Sacred Heart and Yale are currently working to finalize and eight-year extension to continue the series.
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 511-465, 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. James Jones (Albany '86) is in his 13th season as the head coach at Yale University. Jones is the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League and owns an 162-183 record at Yale. He is currently the third winningest coach in program history and led Yale to their first Ivy League title since 1962-63 when he guided the Bulldogs to the 2001-02 crown.
Up Next... SHU will travel to Holy Cross on Friday night and return home to play host to Lafayette as part of the first doubleheader of the season with the women's team. The Pioneer women host Cal Poly at 1 pm.
- The Pioneers wrap-up a three game stretch against schools from the Connecticut 6 Classic tonight against Yale. SHU beat Hartford in this year's event and are coming off a win at Quinnipiac and overtime loss at CCSU. The only team SHU will not face from the tournament field is Fairfield.
- SHU and Yale have played three common opponents this season. Both teams have defeated the University of Hartford. Sacred Heart beat Quinnipiac and lost to Central while Yale fell to the Bobcats and topped the Blue Devils.
- The Pioneers are 2-0 at home this season and will play just twice at home in the month of December, hosting Yale on Monday night and Lafayette on Sunday the 11th.
- Junior Shane Gibson scored a season-high 32 points in the overtime loss to CCSU. He made a career-best 13 of 22 shots and just missed matching his career-high of 34 points, set last season at Wagner. Gibson now owns a pair of 30-point games for his career. This season, Gibson has scored at least 20 three times and found double digits in every game.
- Junior Justin Swidowski notched the first double double of his SHU career with season-highs for points (21) and rebounds (10) at Central.
- Swidowski is shooting 57.1% (44-77) from the field to start the season, ranking fifth among NEC leaders. He is SHU's top-rebounder at 5.8 rpg.
- Positive Point Guards - Both Evan Kelley and Phil Gaetano sport positive assist/turnover ratios running the point. Kelley has a team best 30 assists against 24 turnovers while Gaetano has 25 helpers with 20 assists.
- The win over Quinnipiac snapped a five-game losing streak to the Bobcats while the loss at Central Connecticut marked three-straight losses to the Blue Devils. The Pioneers have matched their best Division I start with five wins in their first nine games, set during the 2009-10 season.
- The Pioneers rank second in the NEC in free throw shooting, making 74.2% at the charity stripe. SHU has gone to the line more than their opponent in six of their nine games and have made more free throws than their opponents in seven of the first nine.
- Offensively, the Pioneers have shot over 50.0% twice this season (51.1% at Rutgers; 54.5% vs. Lipscomb) but have lost both games. SHU has had four or more players score in double figures in four games this season and have been held to under 70 points just twice.
- Junior Femi Akinpetide, in his second-straight start, posted a season-high 11 points and six rebounds against QU. Akinpetide had 11 points combined in the previous seven games combined coming into Thursday night.
- 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.
- SHU finished 1-3 in the 2011 Cancun Challenge with juniors Shane Gibson and Justin Swidowski being 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.
Pioneers in the NEC... Sacred Heart begins its 13th season of play in the Northeast Conference in 2011-12. The Pioneers are 91-130 in conference play since joining the league in 1999-2000. SHU has qualified for the Northeast Conference Tournament five times but saw a streak of four-straight seasons making the postseason snapped in 2009-10. The Pioneers best finish in the league was second, a feat they accomplished twice, in 2006-07 and 2008-09. SHU has made two NEC Championship game appearances, falling to Central Connecticut State in 2007 and losing to Mount St. Mary's at home in 2008.
Last Meeting with Yale... Sacred Heart's Shane Gibson poured in 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Pioneers to a third-straight victory, beating Yale University, 71-62, on the road on December 19, 2010. The Pioneers used a strong defensive effort in the first half and built a 21-point lead early in the second half before fending off a Bulldog rally for the win. Sacred Heart, who never trailed in the win, turned the Bulldogs over 14 times in the first half and took advantage with 11 points off the miscues. SHU kept Yale's hot-shooting in check as well, holding the Bulldogs to just 31.8% to build a 38-21 lead at the break. Yale came in shooting 44.8% from the field and 41.5% from behind the line on the year. SHU forward Femi Akinpetide opened the second half with a lay-up off a baseline spin move and Gibson hit on the break after a Yale turnover and the Pioneer lead hit it's high-water mark at 42-21 just 56 seconds into the second half. From there, the Bulldogs' offense caught fire and cut the lead to seven by the mid way point. Yale shot 53.6% (15-28) in the second half and made seven of their first 10 shots to help fuel a 21-7 run that pulled the Bulldogs to within 49-42 with just under 11 minutes to play. SHU's Chris Evans gave the Pioneers a 49-33 lead with a lay-in at 15:31 but Yale answered with a 9-0 spurt. Gibson had the answer for the Pioneers as he drilled his fifth three of the afternoon on the next possession and SHU found a way to keep Yale at bay the rest of the way. Gibson's final points of the afternoon, a baseline leaner, pushed the lead back to double digits, 50-49, at 5:18. Yale pulled as close as down six twice over the final minutes but the Pioneers did the job at the free throw line making eight of 10 down the stretch. Evans came off the bench for a career-high 18 points, making five of eight from the field and eight of 10 at the line.
Pioneers vs. the Ivy League... This is the Pioneers second match-up against the historic league this season. SHU beat Brown at home on November 27th, 77-64. Sacred Heart has a 14-17 record against Ivy League foes and had owned a seven-game winning streak against the league before seeing it snapped early last season with an 81-67 loss at Brown. Sacred Heart has faced Brown (2-1), Columbia (4-4), Cornell (1-1), Harvard (3-5) and Yale (4-6). SHU has never faced Dartmouth, Penn and Princeton.
Scouting the Bulldogs... The Yale Bulldogs are riding a three-game winning streak with road wins at Army and Hartford and over Vermont at home on Saturday. The Bulldogs have been stingy on defense in the early part of the season, holding teams to 37.3% shooting from the field and 27.1% from three. Yale's inside-outside combinations of senior forward Greg Mangano and junior guard Austin Morgan are averaging 16.1 and 15.4 points per game on the year. Mangano is averaging a near double double a night with 9.7 rebounds per game. Austin has been filling it up from behind the arch, knocking down 51.2% (21-41) of his three's. Senior Reggie Willhite is also in double figures averaging 13.7 points per game. Yale was picked second, receiving a first place vote, in the Ivy League Preseason Poll. Mangano spent the summer on Team USA playing the World University Games.