Pioneers Play Host to Wagner Seahawks Thursday Night
SACRED HEART vs. WAGNER
Game 22 * January 26, 2012 * William H. Pitt Center * Fairfield, CT * 7:00 pm
The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers play host to the Wagner Seahawks Thursday night. The Pioneers come in winners of two-straight and three of their last four to even their Northeast Conference record at 4-4 as they reach the mid-point of the league slate. Junior Shane Gibson provided the game-winner with 6.7 seconds left to deal Central Connecticut a 62-61 loss on Saturday. The Seahawks lost for the second time to LIU Brooklyn 73-63, on Saturday night.
All-Time Series vs. Wagner... This is the 27th meeting between Sacred Heart and Wagner on the hardwood with the Seahawks leading the all-time series, 14-12. The two teams split their two meetings last year, each winning on the other's home court. This will be the only meeting between SHU and Wagner this year. The Pioneers and Seahawks have played twice in the postseason with the Pioneers winning both games. Sacred Heart knocked out Wagner in the opening round of the 2007 tournament, 100-66 and won in Staten Island, 55-49, in the 2008 NEC Semifinals.
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 516-472, 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. Dan Hurley (Seton Hall '96) is in his second season as the head coach at Wagner College and has the Seahawks off to a 15-4 start this season. Hurley spent nine season as the head coach at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, NJ where he led the Grey Bees to a 223-21 record, coached four McDonald's All-Americans and developed four teams that were ranked in the top five in the nation. Hurley made his coaching debut as an assistant at Rutgers from 1997-2001.
Up Next... The Pioneers close out their longest stretch at home this season by hosting Mount St. Mary's on Saturday afternoon.
- Sophomore Luis Montes followed Shane Gibson by taking home the Choice Hotels NEC Co-Player of the Week Award. Montes averaged 24.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in leading the Pioneers to wins over rivals Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut.
- SHU is 3-4 in games decided by three points or less this season after Saturday's 62-61 win over CCSU. The last four games have been decided by three points or fewer with the Pioneers going 3-1.
- The Pioneers are 4-2 against fellow Nutmeg State teams this season - 1-1 vs. CCSU, 2-0 vs. Quinnipiac, 1-0 vs. Hartford, 0-1 vs. Yale
- Montes had a career night to lead the Pioneers past Quinnipiac. Montes scored 28 points making eight-of-13 from the field and nine-of-11 from the free throw line, all career-best marks. He made a season-best three-of-four from behind the arc.
- Montes notched his first double-double of the season with 21 points and 14 rebounds against CCSU. His 14 rebounds tied his career-high.
- Junior Shane Gibson has leapt into the lead in the NEC scoring race, raising his average to 20.7 ppg. He owns twelve 20-point games this season and has recorded nine 20-point efforts in his last 10 games.
- In eight NEC games this year, Gibson is scoring at a 25.0 per game clip, averging five more points per game then the next closer player (Ken Horton-CCSU - 20.9). Gibson is shooting 50.9% (27-53) from three in NEC games.
- In the NEC rankings, Gibson ranks third in three-point percentage (.450) and free throw percentage (.848), fourth in made three-pointers (2.6 per game), ninth in steals (1.29) and 10th in field goal percentage (.510).
- Gibson earned last week's Choice Hotels NEC Co-Player of the Week award after averaging 27.5 points on the Western Pennsylvania road trip. Gibson hit for 26 points at SFPA and followed that up with a 29 point night at Robert Morris where he set a new career-high with seven three's.
- Sacred Heart has shot 50.0% or better seven times this season but is just 3-4 in those games. SHU had their top-shooting effort of the season in their win at Saint Francis (PA), burying 56.1% (23-41) on a season-low 41 shots.
- Offensively, the Pioneers have scored 80 or more points four times this season but are just 1-3 in those games (L 82-80 ot at CCSU; W 84-79 vs. Lafayette; L vs. LIU Brooklyn 87-81; L vs. St. Francis-NY 99-84).
- Defensively, the Pioneers gave up their most points in an NEC game for the first time since the 2007-08 season in the 99-84 loss to St. Francis-NY. SHU lost 100-87 at home to Central Connecticut State in the season finale on March 2, 2008. On the year, SHU has allowed 80 or more points seven times and on three occasions given up 90 or more points.
- Injury Bug - Junior center Justin Swidowski was limited to just four minutes at Saint Francis (PA) after suffering a shoulder injury. He has missed three-straight games. and there is no timetable for his return. SHU continues to be without the services of senior guard Steve Zazuri.
Last Meeting with Wagner... Sacred Heart's Shane Gibson poured in a career-high 34 points to lead the Pioneers past Wagner College 79-76 on the road on January 22, 2011. Gibson hit 12-of-15 from the field, four-of-seven from three and six-of-seven at the line en route to his career night. The Pioneers as a team were lights out at the free throw line, making 30-of-34 at the charity stripe. The Pioneers put together a 14-2 run to pull in front 19-10 and built their lead to 36-30 at the break. Gibson went to work in the second half and exploded for 27 of his 34 points during the final 20 minutes as the Pioneers also continued their parade to the free throw line. Gibson's three at 16:07 put the Pioneers up 10, 44-34, just four minutes in. Wagner pulled within five, 49-44, at 11:33 but the Pioneer's again were able to extend their lead back to double digits. Gibson hit on back to back dribble drive lay-ups and the Pioneers led 60-50 with 7:48 to play. With SHU up 11 the Pioneers had a chance to extend the lead back to 13 at the free throw line but junior Stan Dulaire missed the front end of a one-and-one and in the blink of an eye, Wagner sliced the lead in half. The Seahawks trailed 64-58 at 5:18 and then put together a spurt to take the lead late. Tyler Murray pulled Wagner within one at 1:16 thanks to a three-point play and then delivered the go ahead three from the top of the key to lead 76-74 with 46 seconds left. SHU came right down and went to Gibson and the sophomore guard got to the rim and made an acrobatic reverse lay-up, drawing a foul. He buried the free throw and SHU went back in front 77-76. After a Murray missed jumper, Jerrell Thompson buried both of his free throws to push the lead to three, 79-76, and Wagner's last second shot at a tie missed its mark. Thompson added 13 points and six rebounds while Dulaire tied his season-high with 12 points.
Facing the Seahawks - Last 10 Meetings (SHU, 6-4)...
1/22/11 SHU 79 Wagner 76 Spiro Sports Center
12/4/10 Wagner 73 SHU 68 (ot) Pitt Center
1/30/10 Wagner 74 SHU 73 Spiro Sports Center
1/7/10 SHU 75 Wagner 59 Pitt Center
1/25/09 SHU 68 Wagner 64 Spiro Sports Center`
3/9/08 SHU 55 Wagner 49 Spiro Sports Center (NEC Tourn.)
2/14/08 Wagner 100 SHU 92 (2ot) Spiro Sports Center
1/5/08 Wagner 70 SHU 63 Pitt Center
3/1/07 SHU 100 Wagner 68 Pitt Center (NEC Tourn.)
2/10/07 SHU 81 Wagner 79 Pitt Center
Scouting the Seahawks... The Wagner Seahawks are part of a pack of four teams 6-2 in the NEC and tied for second place behind the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds. Wagner's two losses came at the hands of the Blackbirds. The Seahawks are second in the NEC in scoring (73.9) and scoring defense (64.7) and lead the league in field goal percent defense (.408). Wagner is also tops in the NEC in taking care of the basketball , with a +4.11 turnover margin and 1.03 assist/turnover ratio. Three Seahawks average double figures led by sophomore Latif Rivers who is scoring 15.1 ppg. junior Jonathan Williams is scoring 13.4 ppg and averages 4.7 rebounds per game. Senior Tyler Murray is a 12.5 per game scorer and rebounds at a 4.3 per game clip. Murray is the NEC's top-three point threat, knocking down 50.0% (44-88).