Pioneers Begin Four Game West Coast Road Trip at Santa Clara Wednesday Night
Sacred Heart (2-8, 0-0 Northeast) at Santa Clara (5-5, 0-0 West Coast)
December 18th, 2013 - 8:00 pm - Leavey Center (4,700)
Continental Tires Las Vegas Classic - Santa Clara, California
Setting the Scene... Reeling after two consecutive home losses, the Sacred Heart Pioneers take on the Santa Clara Broncos as part of the Continental Tires Las Vegas Classic in Santa Clara, Ca. Sacred Heart comes into this game following a 84-72 loss to the Hartford Hawks on Sunday afternoon. Santa Clara was victorious in its last game, defeating the Radford Highlanders, 75-62, Monday night at the Leavey Center. Santa Clara has won three of its last four games, while SHU has dropped four of its last five.The Continental Tires Las Vegas Classic field includes Santa Clara of the West Coast Conference, Mississippi State of the Southeastern Conference, South Florida of the American Athletic Conference, Florida A&M University (Tallahassee, FL), Radford University (VA), UNLV of the Mountain West Conference, and Florida Gulf Coast University.
Last Time Out... The Sacred Heart Pioneers fell to the Hartford Hawks, 84-72 Sunday afternoon in the William H. Pitt Center. Louis Montes and Chris Evans both led the team with 16 points each, while Evan Kelley (15) and De'Von Barnett (10) also scored in double figures. The Hawks used a 20-7 second half run to seize control from the Pioneers. Hartford salted the game away, knocking down 9-of-10 free throws in the final two minutes and 45 seconds of the game. The Pioneers are still looking for their first victory at home, and have now lost four of their last five games.
Santa Clara vs SHU Series Notes... Tonight will be First-ever meeting between the Broncos and Pioneers. Sacred Heart has never played an opponent from the West Coast Conference.
Scouting the Broncos... Picked to finish eighth in the West Coast Conference, the Broncos come in with a record of 5-5. Santa Clara has won three of its last four games, including defeating the Radford Highlanders 75-62 on Monday evening. Like the Pioneers, Santa Clara has four players averaging in double digits in scoring. Jared Brownridge (15.7), Brandon Clark (15.0), Even Roquemore (11.3), and Jerry Brown (10.0), lead the Broncos in scoring. Brownridge led the way in the Broncos' win over Radford, finishing with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Last season, Santa Clara completed the greatest turnaround in the country, finishing with a program-record 26 wins, following a 8-22 record in 2011-12.
Balanced Scoring... Sacred Heart has four players averaging double figures in scoring through nine games this season. Evan Kelley leads the Pioneers with 14.8 points per game. Chris Evans is scoring 14.2 points per game, having scored in double figures in eight of the last nine games games. Louis Montes is putting up 11.7 points per game while Steve Glowiak is averaging 11.2 points a contest off the bench. All four Pioneers rank in the top 20 in Northeast Conference scoring.
Downright Offensive... Sacred Heart currently leads the Northeast Conference in scoring offense, scoring an average of 75.0 points per game. The Pioneers are also second in the NEC in field goal percentage (44.3), and third in three-point field goal percentage (35.7). On the other side of the ball, the Pioneers allow teams to shoot 49.2% from the field, which ranks 329th in the country. A shooting percentage of 49.2% is good for 30th in the country.
Barnett Burstin' Thru... Freshman De'Von Barnett was named NEC Rookie of the Week two weeks ago after playing his first two games in a SHU uniform. In Barnett's debut game, a 73-59 win over Hofstra on December 4th, the 6'4'' wing put in 8 points on 4-6 shooting. Barnett followed that up last Saturday afternoon with 8 more points in Sacred Heart's 86-79 setback to Lafayette. On Sunday, he scored a career-high ten points and snagged a career-high five rebounds. Barnett missed the Pioneers' first seven games with a leg injury.
That Gaetano is Scoring... Junior guard Phil Gaetano is averaging a career- high 8.3 points per game this season, to go along with his usual output of assists (5.4/gm). He set a new career-high in scoring at Boston College, putting in 16 points as he made four three-pointers. In his first two seasons at Sacred Heart, Gaetano averaged 4.5 points per game.
Montes 100 & 1,000.... Senior Louis Montes is just six points shy of 1,000 points for his career. The forward also has played exactly 100 games in a Pioneer uniform, averaging 9.9 points per contest. Montes will be the 37th Pioneer to eclipse 1,000 career points.
Evans Coming on Strong... Redshirt Junior Chris Evans has scored in double digits in five consective games, and eight of his last nine. The Connecticut native scored a season high 23 points (Career-high - 24 pts) against Brown on November 16th. Evans is currently second on the team, averaging 14.2 points per game. Kelley and Evans have both scored in double digits a team-high eight times.
Kelley Back on Track... Following a 2 for 12 shooting performance in the Pioneers' overtime loss to Boston College, Evan Kelley has put in double digit points in the past four games games. Most recently, the Connecticut native poured in 15 points against Hartford on Sunday afternoon. Kelley is the Pioneers' top scorer, averaging 14.8 points per game. He is seventh in the NEC in scoring and 8th in field goal percentage. Kelley scored a career-high 32 points in Sacred Heart's 122-118 double-overtime loss at Holy Cross on Nov. 13. shooting 21.9 percent from three. Kelley initiates most of his offense at the rim, shooting just 21.9% from three-point land.
Assisting & Forcing Turnovers... The Pioneers are forcing an average of 14.5 turnovers a game this season, leading to a turnover margin of +1.30 (2nd in the NEC). The Pioneers are second the NEC in averaging 14.5 assists per game in eight games this season. Sacred Heart racked up 23 assists to just three turnovers in its 73-59 win over Hofstra. The 23:3 turnover/assist ratio is the single best in the country this season.
Up Next... Sacred Heart travels to Las Vegas to finish the Continental Tires Las Vegas Classic in the City of Sin. The Pioneer take on the UNLV Running Rebels Friday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.