Pioneers and Blackbirds Meet in NEC Quarterfinals Thursday Night

2012 Northeast Conference Tournament

SACRED HEART vs. LIU BROOKLYN

Game 32 * March 1, 2012 * Wellness Center * Brooklyn, NY * 7:00 pm

Full Set of Game Notes

The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers return to the postseason as the #8 seed in the 2012 Northeast Conference Tournament starting Thursday night.  The Pioneers will head to top-seed and defending NEC Champion LIU Brooklyn in the quarterfinal round.  As the top seed, the Blackbirds will have home court advantage for as long as they are alive in the tournament.  SHU qualified after a two-year absence, posting an 8-10 league mark.  In NEC Tournament history, no #8 seed has ever beaten a #1 seed.

Sacred Heart - LIU Brooklyn All-Time Series...  Thursday's NEC Quarterfinal match-up is the 24th meeting between the two schools but first in the postseason.  LIU Brooklyn leads the all-time series 15-8.  The Blackbirds have won four-straight and four of the last five against the Pioneers after sweeping the season series.  LIU won in Fairfield, 87-81, and 103-91 in overtime at home

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 520-475, 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.  Jim Ferry (Keene State '90) is in his 10th season at the helm of the Long Island men's basketball program.  He has led the Blackbirds to back to back 16-2 NEC season as they try to capture their second consecutive conference championship.  He has led LIU to a 147-148 record over his 10 seasons.  Ferry is a two-time NEC Coach of the Year (2011, 2005) and was named the 2011 NABC District 18 Coach of the Year and the Peter A. Carlesimo Division I Coach of the Year.  Ferry also had head coaching stints at Plymouth State and Adelphi

Up Next...  It the Pioneers win on Thursday night they will move on the NEC Tournament semifinals at the site of the highest remaining seed.

NEC Tournament Notes...

- Sacred Heart returns to the postseason following a two-year absence.  The Pioneers own a 5-5 record in NEC postseason play as they make their sixth appearance in the NEC Tournament since joining the league in 1999-2000.

- The Pioneers will be the #8 seed for just the second time. The program's first ever appearance in the conference tournament had the Pioneers as the #8 seed in 2002. SHU lost to eventual champion CCSU, 65-54, in the opening round at Wagner.

- The Pioneers were the #7 seed in the 2006 playoffs, falling in the first round to CCSU once again. In 2007, SHU was a #2 seed and in 2008, the #3 seed, both seasons ending with an appearance in the NEC Championship game.  SHU's last trip in 2009 was as the #3 seed and ended with a semifinal loss to Mount St. Mary's.

- The only two players on the Sacred Heart roster with NEC Tournament experience are senior forward Stan Dulaire and junior guard Shane Gibson. Dulaire played 10 minutes off the bench and had two rebounds in a quarterfinal win over CCSU and played just a minute in the loss at the Mount. As a rookie, Gibson scored eight points off the bench in his playoff debut against CCSU and missed two shots and had two turnovers at the Mount.

- The Pioneers and LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds will meet for the first time in post season play Thursday night. This season, they lost to the Blackbirds, 87-81, at home and forced overtime before falling 103-91 in Brooklyn.

- If the Pioneers reach the semis, head coach Dave Bike will coach his 1,000th career game, all at Sacred Heart.

- SHU has had 11 games decided by three points or less and are just 4-7 in those games.  In NEC play, the Pioneers are 4-5 in games decided by three points or fewer.

- Junior Shane Gibson was named to the All-Northeast Conference first team on Tuesday.  Gibson earned All-NEC second team honors last season.  Gibson, along with LIU's Julian Boyd, are finalists for the 2012 Lou Henson Award, recognizing the nation's best mid-major player.

- Gibson is the NEC's leading scorer and ranks fourth in the nation with 22.0 ppg.  In league play, Gibson averaged 24.9 ppg this season.  He scored 20 or more points in 15 of the 18 conference games this season.

- Gibson leads the NEC in made three-pointers (85) and three-pointers per game (2.7), and ranks second in three-point accuracy (.436) and third in free throw percentage (.857).

- His 21 games of 20+ points are the most by an NEC player since Saint Francis (PA)'s Darshan Luckey had 22 in 2002-03.

- The Pioneers rank second in the league in both field goal (.459) and free throw (.745) percentage.  They are 32nd in the nation in free throw shooting.

- Gibson's 683 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 two points out of the tenth spot held by Marist's Izett Buchanan (685 in 1993-94).

- Gibson enters the NEC Tournament with 1,431 career points, passing Maurice Bailey (2001-04) for the top-spot on SHU's Division I career scoring list

- Freshman point guard Phil Gaetano leads all NEC freshman with 4.1 assists per game

- Junior forward Justin Swidowski is the only other Pioneer averaging double figures at 11.1 ppg and ranks ninth in the league in field goal percentage (.531).

Facing the Blackbirds - Last 10 Meetings (LIU, 6-4)...

2/16/12     LIU 103            SHU 91         Wellness Center

1/5/12       LIU 87             SHU 81         William H. Pitt Center

2/2/11       LIU 81             SHU 69         Wellness Center

2/11/10     LIU 81             SHU 75         William H. Pitt Center

2/7/09       SHU 101           LIU 72          William H. Pitt Center

1/5/09       LIU 74             SHU 67         Wellness Center

1/24/08     SHU 77            LIU 76          William H. Pitt Center

1/7/08       SHU 75            LIU 68          Wellness Center

2/2/07       SHU 80            LIU 72          William H. Pitt Center

2/4/06       LIU 80             SHU 65         William H. Pitt Center

2011-12 Season Series with LIU Brooklyn... 

LIU Brooklyn 87- SHU 81, 1/5/12 - Sacred Heart junior Shane Gibson poured in 28 points but it wasn't enough as the Pioneers came up short against the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds, 87-81, at home.  The Blackbirds used a punishing inside game outscoring SHU 52-26 in the paint led by double doubles from junior forwards Jamal Olasewere and Julian Boyd on their way to a 3-0 NEC start.  Gibson finished 11-of-18 and hit six-of-nine behind the arc on his way to a 28 point night.  Junior Justin Swidowski finished with a career high 23 points in the loss.  SHU made just five-of-seven at the free throw line while LIU Brooklyn hit 20-of-31.  Olasewere added 12 rebounds to his game-high 29 points as well as four steals and a pair of blocks.  Boyd scored 12 points and posted 12 rebounds.  The Blackbirds shot 48.5% (32-66) from the field in the win.  The Pioneers led 69-68 with 4:26 left but couldn't hold on as LIU hit 11-of-14 at the free throw line to ice away the win.

LIU Brooklyn 103 - SHU 91, 2/16/12 - Sacred Heart junior Shane Gibson drilled the game-tying three with 10.0 seconds left to force overtime at LIU Brooklyn but the Blackbirds left no doubt opening the extra session with a10-0 run on the way to a 103-91 win.  The Pioneers shot 50.0% (15-30) in the first half despite Gibson making just two-of-eight from the field.  The Blackbirds where a touch better, making 15 of the 27 shots they took (55.6%) led by the inside presence of Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere who had 12 and 11, respectively.  After struggling offensively in the first half, Gibson finished with a team-high 24 points, hitting four-of-nine from three.  He added five steals and four assists to his totals.   Junior Justin Swidowski totaled 23 points, matching his career-high, with five rebounds and three blocks.  The Pioneers started the second half with a 17-3 run and twice held 11-point leads in the second stanza but couldn't finish off the Blackbirds.  Both teams shot well, with the Blackbirds checking in at 55.0% (33-60) and the Pioneers at 52.9% (37-70).  LIU held a big advantage at the charity stripe, making 29-of-38 while SHU was 11-of-11.  Evan Kelley finished with 15 points for the Pioneers with eight rebounds and five assists.  The loss was SHU's third overtime loss in NEC play this season.

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