SACRED HEART (4-9, 2-0 NEC) AT CENTRAL CONNECTICUT (5-8, 1-1 NEC)
Game 14 * Thursday, January 10, 2012 * Detrick Gymnaisum * 7:00 pm
TV: CPTV Sports
Setting the Scene... The Sacred Heart Pioneers open up a four-game Northeast Conference road swing Thursday night with a trip up-state to face the Central Connecticut Blue Devils. SHU is riding their first 2-0 start to NEC play since the 2007-08 season thanks to a pair of home wins last week. The Pioneers took down defending NEC champion LIU Brooklyn, 77-73, and topped St. Francis Brooklyn, 66-65 during the league's opening weekend. Central returns home after a 1-1 trip to Western Pennsylvania where they lost to previously winless Saint Francis (PA), 67-60, but rebounded to beat Robert Morris, 77-70.
Series Notes... Tonight is the 50th meeting all-time between SHU and CCSU
- Central leads the all-time series, 31-18
- The instate rivalry goes back to the Division II days for both schools.
- The Blue Devils own a 21-10 record against the Pioneers since SHU joined the NEC in 1999-2000.
- The two teams split last season's meetings, each winning on their home court. CCSU won 82-80 in overtime but the Pioneers responded with a 62-61 win on a Shane Gibson shot to beat the horn in the return match-up.
- CCSU is 13-3 at home against SHU since the Pioneers joined the NEC
- Sacred Heart and Central have met five times in the postseason.
- The Blue Devils knocked the Pioneers from the NEC Tournament three times including winning the 2007 NEC title game. Sacred Heart ousted CCSU from the 2008 and 2009 tournaments.
Pioneers in the NEC... Sacred Heart begins its 14th season of play in the Northeast Conference in 2012-13.
- SHU is 100-140 in conference play since joining the league in 1999-2000.
- The Pioneers best finish in the league was second, a feat they accomplished twice, in 2006-07 and 2008-09.
- SHU has qualified for the Northeast Conference Tournament six times.
- SHU has made two NEC Championship game appearances, falling to Central Connecticut in 2007 and losing to Mount St. Mary's at home in 2008.
The Head Coaches... Dave Bike (Sacred Heart '69) begins his 35th year as the head coach of Sacred Heart University where he owns a career record of 523-487. 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. Howie Dickenman (Central Connecticut '70) is in his 17th season as the head coach at his alma mater. Dickenman is the second longest tenured head coach in school history and carries a 254-232 career record with 166 career NEC wins. He is a four-time NEC Coach of the Year award recipient and has led the Blue Devils to three conference titles. He has led CCSU to 14-straight NEC Tournament appearances, the longest active streak in the league.
Up Next... The Pioneers stay in-state and head to NEC rival Quinnipiac on Saturday afternoon for a 3:00 pm tip-off.