SACRED HEART vs. ST. FRANCIS-NY
Game 17 * January 7, 2012 * William H. Pitt Center * Fairfield, CT * 3:30 pm
**Saturday's Game Will be Available on Audio Broadcast Only. There Will Be No Video Available
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers welcome St. Francis-NY to the Pitt Center on Saturday to close out a two-game homestand. SHU is coming off a tough 87-81 loss to defending Northeast Conference champion LIU Brooklyn on Thursday night. On the flip side, St. Francis-NY nabbed a 73-72 win at home over Quinnipiac. SHU's Shane Gibson continues to have the hot hand, posting his fifth-straight 20-point performance with 28 points in the loss to LIU.
Sacred Heart - SFNY All-Time Series... Saturday marks the 21st meeting between the two schools with the all-time series knotted a 10-10. The Terriers took the only meeting last season, running away with a 78-51 win at home. Despite the loss, SHU has won six of the last eight meeting against St. Francis (NY).
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 513-469, 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. Glenn Braica (Queens College '89) is in his second season as head coach at St. Francis (NY) College. Braica led his Terriers to a 15-15 mark in year one and the #5 seed in the NEC Tournament in 2011. Braica was named the school's 17th head coach after spending the previous seven years as an assistant at St. John's. He spent 15 years as an assistant and associate head coach at St. Francis (NY).
Up Next... Sacred Heart will make its only road trip in the month of January heading to Saint Francis (PA) on January 12th and Robert Morris on January 14th.
- Junior Shane Gibson is on a streak of five-straight 20-point performances and has climbed to second in the NEC in scoring (19.8 ppg). Gibson posted back-to-back 22 point games against Lafayette and Notre Dame, dropped 25 at BC and hit for 22 again in a win at New Hampshire. Gibson netted 28 in Thursday's loss to LIU Brooklyn. He is averaging 23.8 ppg over the last five games.
- - Gibson will be recognized before Saturday's game with a commemorative basketball for becoming the 33rd Pioneer to reach 1,000 career points.
- The junior guard has also caught fire from three and now ranks third in the NEC from behind the arc. Gibson is shooting 44.3% (39-88) on the season but over his last five games, he is 21-of-38 from three (55.3%). He is coming off a six-for-nine effort against LIU, matching his career-high for three's in a game. He previously hit six treys at Providence and at home against Monmouth, both last season.
- Gibson also notched his first career double double in the win over the Wildcats, collecting a career-high 10 rebounds to go with his 22 points.
- Junior Justin Swidowski is coming off a career-night in the loss to LIU Brooklyn. Swidowski made 10-of-18 from the field including a season-best three-of-six from three on his way to 23 points. Swidowski's previous high was a 21 point effort at CCSU.
- Sophomore Chris Evans set a new career-high with 19 points in the win at New Hampshire.
- With Thursday's loss at home to LIU Brooklyn, SHU opened a stretch of six out of eight games at home in the William H. Pitt Center in the month of January. The Pioneers are 3-2 at home this season thus far. SHU finished 5-7 at home last year.
- Thursday marked the first game this season the Pioneers did not play at least 10 players in a game. SHU continues to be without the services of senior guard Steve Zazuri and saw fellow senior and captain Stan Dulaire forced to the bench with a shoulder injury.
- The Pioneers as a team are first in the NEC in assists and coming off a 21 assist effort on Thursday night. SHU averages 15.0 helpers per game and is led by freshman guard Phil Gaetano who ranks eighth in the NEC in assist to turnover ratio (58 a/39 to) and ninth in assists (3.63 apg).
- Sacred Heart has shot 50.0% or better five times this season but is just 2-3 in those games. SHU beat Lafayette and New Hampshire making 50.0% of their shots but lost at Rutgers (51.5%), vs. Lipscomb (54.5%) and at Boston College (50.9%). In two of those losses, SHU allowed their opponent to hit 50.0% or better (RU-63.0%; BC-55.3%).
Last Meeting with St. Francis (NY)... 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 on February 5, 2011. The Pioneers got 17 points from 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. SHU's Stan Dulaire hit on a lay-up at 14:18 to put the Pioneers up 9-8 but the next Pioneer 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. Guard Evan Kelley came off the bench to score 10 points joining Evans in double figures. SHU's Shane Gibson, the second leading scorer in the NEC, was held to a season-low four points making just two-of-15 shots.
Facing the Terriers - Last 10 Meetings (SHU, 6-4)...
2/5/11 SFNY 78 SHU 51 Pope PE Center
2/13/10 SHU 62 SFNY 50 Pitt Center
2/26/09 SHU 76 SFNY 73 Pope PE Center
1/29/09 SHU 71 SFNY 51 Pitt Center
2/2/08 SHU 63 SFNY 59 Pope PE Center
1/10/08 SFNY 73 SHU 63 Pitt Center
1/6/07 SHU 63 SFNY 58 Pope PE Center
2/21/06 SHU 81 SFNY 73 Pitt Center
2/11/06 SFNY 62 SHU 58 Pope PE Center
2/15/05 SFNY 89 SHU 83 Pitt Center
Scouting the Terriers... The St. Francis (NY) Terriers come in at 2-1 in NEC play, fresh off a 73-72 win at home over Quinnipiac on Thursday. The Terriers got a three-point play with five seconds left from senior Stefan Pernunicic to deliver the win. SFNY were early season "road warriors", playing their first nine games of the season on the road and after an 0-4 start, the Terriers have rebounded to a 5-5 mark since. Pernunicic is the Terrier's leading scorer, averaging 12.7 points per game. Junior forward Akeem Johnson averages 10.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and is third in the NEC in field goal percentage at 55.3%. The Terriers are the third ranked rebounding team in the NEC averaging 36.5 caroms per game and are led by freshman Jalen Canon who pulls in 7.1 per night to rank first among league rookies.