December 18, 2011

Pioneers and Fighting Irish Monday Night from South Bend

SACRED HEART vs. NOTRE DAME

All-Time Series: ND leads, 1-0 / Last Meeting: ND, 104-58 - 11/18/00

Game 13 * December 19, 2011 * Purcell Pavilion * Notre Dame, IN * 7:30 pm

Full Set of Game Notes

The Storyline...  Sacred Heart returns from an eight day break for final exams to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Monday night in South Bend.  The Pioneers open a three-game road swing during the next two weeks to close out the non-conference portion of their schedule.  SHU is an even 6-6 on the year and posted an 81-79 win over Lafayette in their last action on December 11th.  The Fighting Irish are 7-5 and coming off a 69-58 loss at Indiana on Saturday.

Sacred Heart - Notre Dame All-Time Series...  Notre Dame leads the all-time series, 1-0.  The only meeting between the two universities took place in the 2000-01 season opener, a 104-58 Notre Dame win at home.

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 512-467, 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.  Mike Brey (George Washington '82) begins his 12th season at the University of Notre Dame.  Brey is the third longest tenured coach in the Big East and has led the Irish to a 245-125 record.  During his coaching career, he has led his teams to nine NCAA Tournament and five NIT appearances.  He is three-time Big East Coach of the Year (2011, 2007, 2008) and has coached three Big East Players of the Year (Troy Murphy '01, Luke Harangody '08, Ben Hansbrough '11).  He was named the 2011 AP, Basketball Times and Henry Iba Coach of the Year.

Up Next...  The Pioneers head back east and face the Boston College Eagles on Wednesday night.  SHU will be off for the holidays until December 29th when they close out a three-game road swing at New Hampshire.

Quick Hits...

- Junior Shane Gibson is just 33 points away from reaching the 1,000 point plateau for his career.  He will become the 33rd player in school history to reach 1,000 career points.  He will be the ninth player to reach the goal in the Division I era (1999-present).

- The Pioneers end an eight-day layoff facing Notre Dame.  SHU will take eight days off again between facing Boston College and their trip to New Hampshire.

- SHU ended their longest losing streak of the season (3 games) with a win over Lafayette on Dec. 11th.  SHU is now 3-1 at home this season.

- For the third time this season, the Pioneers shot 50.0% or better but for the first time won a game when hitting that mark.  SHU hit 50.0% (30-60) vs. Lafayette.  The previous.ly hit the mark twice this season (51.1% at Rutgers; 54.5% vs. Lipscomb) but lost both games.  The Pioneers have been held to under 70 points just twice this year.

- On the flip side, SHU had their worst shooting performance of the year at Holy Cross, hitting just 34.3% (23-67).  The loss also marked their fewest points this season at the half (20) and their largest deficit at the half (15).

- Senior Stan Dulaire scored a career-high 15 points in the win over Lafayette.

- Junior Justin Swidowski has two double doubles this season but is coming off a season-low two point game vs. Lafayette.  He scored 14 with a season-high 11 boards at Holy Cross and notched a notched a season-high 21 points with 10 rebounds at Central.

- Junior Shane Gibson collected his fourth 20-point game of the season and 17th of his career with 22 against Lafayette.

- 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.   

- Positive Point Guards - Both Evan Kelley and Phil Gaetano sport positive assist/turnover ratios running the point.  Gaetano has 38 assists on the year, ranking 14th in the NEC, against 23 turnovers, putting him fourth among league leaders in assist/turnover ratio.  Kelley has 37 assists against 30 turnovers.

- The Pioneers are the top free throw shooting team in the NEC, making 73.0% at the charity stripe.  SHU has gone to the line more than their opponent in seven of their 12 games and have made the same or more free throws than their opponents in eight of the first 12.  Justin Swidowski and Shane Gibson are 5th and 6th in the NEC in free throw shooting.

Last Meeting with Notre Dame...   The Sacred Heart Pioneers opened the 2000-01 season, their second Division I season, with a trip out to South Bend to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  Notre Dame got a double double for eventual Big East Player of the Year Troy Murphy who led four players in double figures with 31 points.  Murphy hauled in 14 rebounds and added five assists, a pair of steals and a bock to his game totals.  Ryan Humphrey made seven-of-10 from the field on his way to 19 points with nine boards.  Guards Matt Carroll and Martin Ingelsby had 17 and 15 points each in the win.  Ingelsby buried five-of-five from behind the three-point line and dished six assists.  As a team, the Fighting Irish shot 57.1% (32-56) and 50.0% (10-20) from behind the arc and outrebounded the Pioneers 48-33.  SHU got 15 points from Andrew Hunter while Kurt Reis tallied 14 in the loss.  Forward Marijus Kovaliukas scored 10 points, making six-of-10 at the line to offset a two-for-12 shooting afternoon.  The Pioneers shot just 28.8% (17-59) and 13.6% (3-22) from three.

Facing the Fighting Irish - One Meetings (ND, 1-0)...

11/18/00    ND 104       SHU 58      @ Joyce Center

Pioneers vs. the Big East...  Sacred Heart is 0-15 against teams currently in the Big East. Tonight's game is SHU's second meeting with the league this season after falling at Rutgers, 91-75.  The Pioneers have faced UConn more than any other team, falling five times against the Huskies. SHU has also faced Providence (0-4), Rutgers (0-1), St. John's (0-2), Notre Dame (0-1) and Marquette (0-1). The Pioneers also lost to Boston College once when the Eagles were still a member of the conference in 2003-04.

Scouting the Fighting Irish...  Notre Dame comes in at 7-5 and off a 69-58 loss to #18 ranked Indiana in the Close the Gap Crossroads Classic at the Conseco Field house on Saturday.  The Irish have faced NEC competition once already this season, beating Bryant at home, 84-59.  Notre Dame is 25-0 all-time against teams from the Northeast Conference.  The Fighting Irish will carry a 26-game home winning streak at the Joyce Center into Monday night's game.  Sophomore guard Eric Atkins is the team's leading scorer averaging 14.0 points per game.  Atkins is the team's top free throw shooter as well, making 81.6% (40-49) at the line.  Sophomore guard Jerian Grant averages 12.5 points per game and leads the team with 50 assists, 4.2 per game.  The Irish were tabbed to finish ninth in the Big East Preseason Coaches' Poll with forward Tim Abromaitis named to the Preseason First Team.  Abromaitis will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury (ACL).

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