FAIRFIELD, CT (January 28, 2011) - Junior Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) had the offensive performance of his Sacred Heart career, hitting for a career-high 41 points but the Pioneers were dealt their second-straight home loss, 81-80 in double overtime by Mount St. Mary's Saturday afternoon. Mount sophomore guard Josh Castellanos had a team-high 19 points, none bigger then the pair of free throws he buried with just six seconds left in the second overtime for the win.
Gibson produced the first 40-point game by a Pioneer during the program's Division I tenure and the first since Darrin Robinson dropped 47 on New Haven on Feburay 17, 1993. The junior guard made 16-of-28 shots from the field and six-of-13 from three en route to a single game high in the Northeast Conference as well this season. Gibson sent the game to overtime drilling a step-back three, his sixth on the afternoon, with 19 seconds left in regulation.
It looked like it would be a special afternoon for Gibson right from the get go as he scored 10 of the Pioneers first 12 points of the game eight minutes in. Tied at 26-26 with 4:38 left, Mount rattled off a 10-3 run to close the first half. Danny Thompson got a tip-in to beat the buzzer and send his team to the locker room up 36-29. Gibson finished the first half with 15 points, making six-of-eight.
The Mount (5-16, 3-7 NEC) took their biggest lead in the opening minutes of the second half on a Castellanos triple, 43-31. The Pioneers (10-13, 4-6 NEC) began to chip away and seven-straight by Gibson, including two three's, had SHU within 49-47 with 13:21 left. Gibson gave the Pioneers their first lead since 14:34 of the first half making one-of-two at the line to cap a 19-6 run and go up 50-49 with 11 minutes left.
SHU held a 52-51 lead at the 8:41 mark but the Mount used a conventional three-point play from Raven Barber and a fast-break lay-in to lead 56-52 and force a SHU time-out. Senior Stan Dulaire (Bloomfield, CT) pulled the Pioneers back even at 60-60 thanks to a lay-in, plus one opportunity at 3:53.
Mount's Kelvin Parker dominated the next three possesions, drilling a three, making a steal and feed for a break-away lay-in by Castellanos and then hitting a triple from almost the same spot to go up 68-60 with two minutes left. Junior Justin Swidowski (Cinnaminson, NJ), back for the first time in four games, buried a three to pull SHU within 69-65 at 1:35. A pair of free throws from freshman Phil Gaetano (Wallingford, CT) cut the deficit to 69-67 and after Kristijan Krajina made just one of two at the line, that left the stage set for Gibson's heroics with 25 ticks left.
Gibson came up big once again for the Pioneers, a week after hitting the game-winner to beat CCSU with six seconds left, he stepped-back and drilled a three to knot the game at 70-70 with 19 seconds left. Mount had two great looks but Julian Norfleet and Danny Thompson missed on lay-ups in the final seconds to send the game to overtime.
Neither team took more than a two-point lead in the first extra session and with a Norfleet jumper putting the Mount up 76-74 with 1:02 left, SHU got two free throws from sophomore Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) to answer. Norfleet got a look at a three at the buzzer, but missed the mark to send the game to a second overtime.
Gibson drilled a jumper to open the second overtime and made it an 80-76 lead converting on a back-door cut with 1:46 left. That would be SHU's final make of the game, finishing 0-3 down the stretch. Mount's Thompson caught a vicious dunk off a feed from Castellanos and drew a foul. His free throw left his team down 80-79, with 50 ticks left. After holding SHU and forcing a miss, Castellanos got to the rim and drew a foul with six seconds left. He promptly drilled both setting up a final attempt by the Pioneers.
SHU went to Gibson who got a shot off on the right baseline but Thompson was able to get a piece and the rebound went to Swidowski who tried to get a last second tip-in but couldn't convert sending the Pioneers home a point short.
Montes finished with 11 points and six rebounds before fouling out while Swidowski scored 10 with five rebounds and two blocks in his first game back. SHU was out rebounded 45-34 and saw Mount convert on 23 second chance points.
Mount added 16 points from Norfleet while Thompson just missed a double double with 13 points and nine rebounds. Parker would finish with 11 in the win.
The Pioneers will hit the road next Thursday and head to Monmouth for a NEC match-up with the Hawks. Tip-off is 7 pm.