LORETTO, PA (January 19, 2013) – Sacred Heart shot 50.0 percent (13-26) in the second half as senior Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) led four players in double figures with 23 points to guide the Pioneers to a 75-72 Northeast Conference win at Saint Francis U Saturday afternoon. Gibson had 14 of his game-high 23 points in the second half as SHU improved to 4-2 in NEC play closing a four-game road trip.
The Red Flash (1-16, 1-5 NEC) got off to a hot start, forcing a Pioneer (6-11, 4-2 NEC) time-out just 1:15 into play thanks to a 6-0 lead. The Pioneers started off just three-for-10 as a three from Ben Millaud-Meunier on the wing to push the lead to 16-10. SHU settled in and began nipping at the Red Flash heels the rest of the half.
A Gibson jumper in the corner then a steal and dunk by freshman De'Aires Tate (Lathonia, Georgia) got the Pioneers to within a bucket, 26-24, with 5:40 left. Saint Francis kept the Pioneers at bay until the final minute of the first half as SHU closed with a 5-0 spurt, a Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) three and two Steve Glowiak (New Britain, CT) free throws, to tie it at the break, 37-37. Montes had 11 in the first half for the Pioneers.
Gibson got the hot hand to start the second half and poured in 10 points in the first five minutes. The Pioneers put together an 11-0 run that gave them their first lead, one they would never relinquish. Gibson nailed a pair of three's around a triple by Glowiak to force a Saint Francis time-out at 17:20. After the time-out, Glowiak took one to the hole to complete the rally for a 48-43 lead.
Earl Brown ended the run with a tough lay-in underneath and came up with a monster reverse dunk to pull his team within five with 10:47 left. The Red Flash got it back to a two-point game as Millaud-Meunier buried a three with 9:55 left, pulling within 58-56. SHU responded and pushed their lead quickly back to seven off a Tate dunk and Gibson jumper.
The Red Flash made another push late, trimming a 71-62 SHU lead with 3:35 left down to just two with two minutes left. Ronnie Drinnon scored seven-straight points for the Red Flash and his put back with 1:59 left got his team within a bucket, 71-69.
Saint Francis got a stop and had two chances to tie or take the lead 1:03 left but a missed jumper by Dominique Major and a missed three from Ollie Jackson ended the threat as Gibson corralled the rebound. SHU ran the shot clock down and Gibson was able to draw a foul and hit both free throws with 36 seconds left.
Tate would add two more freebies with 16 seconds left to seal away the win for the now 4-2 Pioneers.
The Pioneers did a much better job of protecting the basketball on Saturday, turning it over 13 times to 18 for Saint Francis U. Tate came off the pine and for the second-straight game delivered 12 points. Montes and Glowiak each contributed 11 points in the win.
The Pioneers are back at home in the Pitt Center on Thursday night as they play host to the Bryant Bulldogs at 7 pm.