Smithfield, RI – On a night when Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) only needed five points to notch 2,000 in his career, the senior guard poured in 30 to become only the fifth player in Northeast Conference history to reach the 2,000 point plateau but the Pioneers could not hang with a hot shooting Bryant team, falling to the Bulldogs, 84-68, Monday night at the Chase Athletic Center. Gibson scored his 2,000th point on a runner in the lane just 6:24 into the game, and now has 2,025 points in his illustrious career. The Pioneers have now dropped five straight games and fall to 7-9 in the NEC.
Bryant was led by red shirt sophomore guard Dyami Starks, who led the Bulldogs with 25 points, 20 of them coming in the second half, while senior guard Frankie Dobbs chipped in with 17 points of his own. Alex Francis added 15 points for Bryant.
Junior guard Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) chipped in with 16 points and 9 rebounds for the Pioneers, the only other Sacred Heart player in double digits. Sophomore point guard Phil Gaetano (Wallingford, CT) added 8 assists.
Junior Louis Montes scored the first 6 points for the Pioneers, keeping the Pioneers in the game early with a lay-up, a three pointer and a free throw. Gibson would go on to score the next seven for Sacred Heart including a deep three to tie the game at 9. A fast break lay-up from freshman Tevin Falzon (Newton, MA) put the Pioneers up 15-12 with 13:20 left in the first, their last lead of the game.
Bryant shot an impressive 51 percent (16-31) from the floor in the first half, including starting the game 4-4 from three point land before finishing 5-9 from behind the arc for the first half. Back-to-back threes from Bryant's Frankie Dobbs created a six point lead over SHU, 26-20, at the 9:30 mark. A Phil Gaetano three cut the deficit to four at 31-27 at the 5:56 mark. Gibson would go on to score the final five points of the half for the Pioneers, a three from the right side, followed by a steal and lay-up to send the Pioneers to the locker room down 40-34.
Dobbs scored 11 for the Bulldogs in the first half, while Corey Maynard and Alex Francis both chipped in with 8 apiece.
The Pioneers started the second half strong, started by a basket and foul from Louis Montes to cut the Bulldogs' lead to three, 40-37 early in the second. SHU would cut the lead to one on a deep three from Gibson at the 18:37 mark. From there, a devastating 16-2 run from Bryant would balloon the Bulldogs' lead up to 16, with 13:28 left in the game. Starks had 8 those 16 for the Bulldogs.
Bryant's second half shooting of 77 percent (13-17) from the field helped them elevate their lead to 20, 73-53, at the 7:52 mark. Bryant's largest lead came at 7:25; with the Bulldogs taking the 76-53 lead on a Dyami Starks three. Starks was the catalyst in the Bulldogs devastating second half run, scoring 20 of his 25 in the second stanza. The Bulldogs ended the game shooting 56 percent (32-57) from the field for the game, including an impressive 61 percent (16-26) in the second half.
Sacred Heart is on the road in New York for the last two games of the regular season, starting Thursday night when they travel to take on LIU Brooklyn at 7 PM.