SACRED HEART vs. ROBERT MORRIS
Game 30 * February 23, 2012 * William H. Pitt Center * Fairfield, CT * 7:00 pm
The Storyline... Sacred Heart opens the final week of the regular season playing host to Robert Morris on Thursday night. The Pioneers are in the driver's seat to clinch the final Northeast Conference Tournament spot, needing just one win in their final two games to round out the eight team field. SHU suffered a pair of losses in Brooklyn last week, losing in overtime at LIU Brooklyn, 103-91, and in the closing seconds at St. Francis (NY), 58-56, to sit at 7-9. The Colonials come in on a five-game winning streak and tied for third in the standings with St. Francis (NY) at 12-4.
Sacred Heart - Robert Morris All-Time Series... Thursday is the 22nd meeting between the two schools with Robert Morris leading the series 13-8. The Colonials won the first meeting this season, a 70-67 win at home back in January. Robert Morris has won five of the last six match-ups with the Pioneers.
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 519-477, 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. Andrew Toole (Penn '03) is in his second season as the head coach at Robert Morris University. Toole is in his fifth season overall at Robert Morris, having served as an assistant in 2007-08 and as associate head coach from 2008 through 2010. Toole led the Colonials to an 18-14 record last year and an appearance in the NEC title game.
Up Next... The Pioneers close out the 2011-12 regular season on Saturday afternoon hosting Saint Francis (PA). The game will be broadcast live on MSG Plus at 12 noon.
- Junior Shane Gibson has been named a finalist for the 2012 Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year Award. Gibson is one of 25 finalists that also include LIU Brooklyn's Julian Boyd for the award presented by College Insider.
- SHU is coming off a 58-56 loss at St. Francis (NY). The Pioneers have played 11 games this season that have been decided by five points or less. SHU is 5-6 in those games.
- Playoff Push - The Pioneers are on the cusp of clinching the final spot in the Northeast Conference Tournament. SHU needs just one win in their final two games to earned the eighth spot. LIU Brooklyn, Wagner, Robert Morris, St. Francis (NY), Quinnipiac, CCSU and Monmouth have already punched their tickets to the NEC postseason. The Pioneers can also qualify with Mount St. Mary's and Saint Francis (PA) both losing one of their final two games. Mount St. Mary's can get in by winning its final two games combined with Sacred Heart losing twice this week. Saint Francis (PA) has a difficult path to the postseason, needing a pair of wins, coupled with two Sacred Heart setbacks and a Mount loss, and for Monmouth to finish ahead of CCSU in the standings. Bryant is ineligible for NEC Tournament play until the 2012-13 season when it completes the five-year NCAA Division I reclassification period. The Pioneers have missed the NEC Tournament the last two seasons.
- Junior Shane Gibson continues to lead in the NEC scoring race, averaging 22.2 ppg. That figure also ranks him fourth among the nation's leaders.
- Gibson has an outside shot a breaking the SHU single season three-point field goal record. Gibson needs 10 three-point to break the mark of 91 set by John Randazzo in 1998-99.
- Gibson's 643 points is the most in a single-season by an NEC player since Wagner's Jermaine Hall finished with 686 in leading the Seahawks to the NEC title in 2002-03. He currently ranks 19th, just 42 points out of the tenth spot held by Marist's Izett Buchanan (685 in 1993-94).
- In NEC games, Gibson is averaging 25.5 ppg. He has scored 20 or more points in 14-of-16 league games and an NEC-best 20 times overall this season. The 19 games of 20+ points are the most by an NEC player since Quinnipiac's DeMario Anderson had 20 in 2007-08. - Gibson also leads the conference with four 30+ point outings. He currently maintains the highest single-season average since 1998-99 when Ray Minlend (SFNY) also netted 25.8 ppg against NEC rivals.
Last Meeting with Robert Morris... The Sacred Heart Pioneers used some hot shooting from behind the arc to erase a 10-point second half deficit but fell short of completing the comeback, losing at Robert Morris 70-67 back on January 14th. Shane Gibson hit for 29 points and Steve Glowiak tied his career-high with 16 for the Pioneers. Gibson hit a career-best seven three's in the loss, finishing seven-of-11 from downtown. He was three-of-five in the first half and four-of-six in the second half; three on a 17-7 run that tied the score at 67-67 late. Glowiak buried four-of-nine from three coming off the bench in the loss. Turnovers where the story in the first half, as both teams were sloppy with the basketball at times with the Colonials turning it over 11 times and the Pioneers 10. Some sharp shooting from Robert Morris proved the difference as the Colonials shot 51.9% and made six-of-12 from three on their way to a 37-30 halftime lead. Robert Morris started to catch fire opening the second half, grabbing a 46-35 lead three minutes in and a Jones three at 6:52 gave the Colonials a 60-50 lead. The Pioneers began their late push at the free throw line as Chris Evans hit a pair and Louis Montes went one-of-two to start the Pioneers off on what would be a 17-7 run over the four minutes. Gibson's fifth three pulled SHU within 60-53 at 5:46. Montes converted on an acrobatic lay-in, plus one opportunity to cut within 62-61 and Gibson's sixth trey pulled SHU within 65-64 with 3:28 left. RMU went to Jones and the junior delivered with a runner to push the lead back to three, 67-64. After a missed Glowiak three, Montes chased down the rebound and Gibson delivered, burying his career-best seventh three ball of the game to knot it up at 67-67 with 2:37 to go. The Pioneers would have a shot at the lead, but misses by Montes and Glowiak put the ball back in the Colonials hands. Robert Morris took a 69-67 lead with 51 ticks left and the Pioneers got a look at a three by Montes but missed the mark as did a last second shot by Gibson, sending the Pioneers to a 70-67 loss.
Facing the Colonials - Last 10 Meetings (Tied, 5-5)...
1/14/12 RMU 70 SHU 67 Sewell Center
1/27/11 SHU 84 RMU 75 Pitt Center
2/18/10 RMU 64 SHU 39 Sewell Center
2/12/09 RMU 85 SHU 79 Sewell Center
1/10/09 RMU 72 SHU 70 (ot) Pitt Center
2/28/08 RMU 82 SHU 69 Pitt Center
1/13/08 SHU 82 RMU 69 Sewell Center
1/18/07 SHU 84 RMU 82 Sewell Center
12/7/06 SHU 90 RMU 74 Pitt Center
1/19/06 SHU 73 RMU 60 Pitt Center
Scouting the Colonials... Since facing the Pioneers back on January 14th, the Colonials have run nine wins in their last 11 games, secured a berth to the NEC Tournament and are battling St. Francis (NY) for the #3 seed in the field of eight teams heading into the final week of the season. Robert Morris has won five-straight coming in thanks to a home sweep of Bryant, 69-40, and CCSU, 68-60, last week. Junior guard Velton Jones ranks 10th among NEC leaders in scoring this season, averaging 16.1 ppg. Jones is also one of the league's top-playmakers, ranking fourth in assists per game (4.31). He anchors one of the top-defensive units in the league and is second in the NEC with 54 steals (1.86 pg). Sophomore guard Coron Williams comes in averaging 10.7 ppg while freshman Lucky Jones is 12th in the league in rebounding averaging 6.2 per game.
Chasing the SHU 3-pt Record... - Shane Gibson is closing in on the SHU school record for three-point field goals in a season. He comes in to Thursday with 81 three's this season, fourth on the all-time list. John Randazzo holds the record with 91 in 1998-99.
1. John Randazzo (27 gms) - 91 - '98-'99
2. Corey Hassan (28 gms) - 90 - '09-'10
3. Ryan Litke (29 gms) - 85 - '09-'10
4. Shane Gibson (29 gms) - 81 - '11-'12
Gibson Among the NCAA Leaders... Just as Shane Gibson has climbed to the top of the NEC scoring list, he is making his way up the NCAA's scoring charts as well. Gibson ranks fourth among the nation's leaders at 22.2 ppg. He ranks 14th in 3pt% (.440), 26th in 3pt makes per game (2.8), 52nd in FT% (.847) and 61st in FG% (.508).
NCAA Scoring Leaders:
1. Reggie Hamilton, Oakland 25.1 ppg
2. Damian Lillard, Weber State 24.8 ppg
3. Doug McDermott, Creighton 23.2 ppg
4. Shane Gibson, SHU 22.2 ppg