FAIRFIELD, CT (January 19, 2012) - Sacred Heart junior Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) netted a career-high 28 points to lead the Pioneers to a 78-75 win over Quinnipiac Thursday night, sweeping the season series with the Bobcats for the first time since the 2007-08 season. Junior Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) hit for 23 points before fouling out late, notching his eighth 20-point game in the last nine games.
The Pioneers (9-11, 3-4 NEC) were out rebounded 45-34 on the night but came up with three huge rebounds, two offensive, in the closing minute Thursday night to salt away the win. Junior Nick Greenbacker (Coventry, CT)finished with a season-high 10 points and fueled a key 10-0 run in the second half with eight-straight points.
Tied at 10-10 into the first media time-out, Quinnipiac's (9-9, 2-5 NEC) James Johnson drilled a pair of three's to fuel an 8-0 spurt. Montes helped carry the Pioneers in the first half, scoring 15 of his 28 points over the first 20 minutes. Montes hit on a fade-away three followed by a fast-break lay-in to pull SHU within 18-17. Freshman Steve Glowiak (New Britain, CT) got a put-back underneath and the Pioneers cobbled together a 9-0 run to answer and lead 19-18 at the second media time-out.
SHU freshman Phil Gaetano (Wallingford, CT) drilled a transition jumper and a Chris Evans (Stamford, CT)to Montes alley-oop dunk had the Pioneers up 31-29 with 1:20 to go in the half. The Bobcats would close strong as Dave Johnson drilled a three and Ousmane Drame made one-of-two at the line to send QU into the break up 33-31. The Bobcats did a good job on Gibson in the first half, holding the Northeast Conference's leading scorer to just five points on two-of-eight shooting.
Gibson would find his offense in the second half to compliment the hot hand of Montes who opened the second stanza with an old fashioned three-point play on a lay-in and one underneath. Quinnipiac would grab the lead back and push it to 49-44 on a Johnson jumper in the left corner with 15:39 left.
Greenbacker got the Pioneers started on a 10-0 run burying a three at 14:30. The junior center converted on a back-door cut, finishing a Stan Dulaire (Bloomfield, CT) pass. Greenbacker would make it eight-straight points off a QU turnover, drilling his second three. Gibson pushed it to a 54-49 lead with a transition lay-in, forcing a Quinnipiac time-out wit 11:33 left.
QU cut the lead down to a bucket before a Montes three pushed it to 60-55 with 9:40 on the clock. Gibson was forced to the bench with 9:21 left and the Bobcats went to work. Jamee Jackson converted a three-point play opportunity and Garvey Young produced the game's 10th tie of the night, 62-62, with a put back at 7:10. The two teams battled back and forth to tie it twice more before Gibson put SHU in front for good with his final points of the night.
The junior guard used a spin move to the baseline to get to the basket, hitting the lay-up and drawing the foul. He converted the free throw and SHU lead 67-66. After a pair of Gaetano free throws, the freshman point guard drilled a three from the left wing with 2:45 left to give the Pioneers a 72-68 lead. The Bobcats answered right back as Zaid Hearst converted on a three-point play opportunity. Montes would make a tough lay-up underneath but SHU would lose the services of Gibson as he fouled out with 1:39 to go.
The Bobcats would hit the two free throws and force the Pioneers to work the shot clock down before Gaetano would throw up a runner that missed. Dulaire came up with the first big rebound of the night, hauling in the miss. Out of a time-out, Evans beat his man to the rim but saw his shot just carom out. Again the Pioneers hit the glass, this time it was Greenbacker who collected the miss with 35 seconds left, effectively turning the shot clock off.
Forced to foul, QU sent Montes to the line and he hit both for a 76-73 lead. Quinnipiac's Johnson missed the mark on a three to tie with 21 seconds left but the Pioneers would chase down their third key rebound, this time sophomore Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT) got the board and was fouled. He would make one of two and another miss by QU would seal their fate, forced to foul as the final seconds ticked off a 78-75 SHU win.
Montes made eight-of-13 from the field and nine-of-11 at the free throw line. Gibson made eight-of-14 and scored 18 points in the second half. He led all SHU players with eight rebounds. SHU shot 46.2% and turned it over just nine times in the win.
The Pioneers are right back at home on Saturday afternoon for "Pack the Pitt" day as they play host to the CCSU Blue Devils at 3:30 pm.