FAIRFIELD, Conn – The Sacred Heart men's basketball team dropped its fifth consecutive game Wednesday night, falling to the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers, 83-78, at the William H. Pitt Center. The Pioneers fall to 1-6 in the Northeast Conference, while Saint Francis Brooklyn improves to 4-3.
Sacred Heart had five players in double figures, including Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT) who led the way with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Freshman De'Von Barnett (Waldorf, MD) scored 12 points, while Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) and Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) each chipped in with 11.
Off the bench, center Cole Walton (Bellevue, WA) scored a career-high ten points.
For Saint Francis Brooklyn, Brent Jones had a dazzling night with 28 points, 8 assists, and just one turnover. The trio of Jones, Jalen Cannon and Ben Mockford combined for 59 of SFBK's 83 points.
Saint Francis Brooklyn was hot out the gate, connecting on eight of its first twelve shots from the field to jump out to an early 19-7 lead. The Pioneers were forced to call a timeout with 14:03 left.
SHU finally started to get into an offensive groove towards the middle of the first half. Montes found Walton for a wide open dunk to halt a 9-1 Terrier run and cut the lead to ten with 12:15 left.
It seemed as whenever SHU started to get some momentum, Saint Francis Brooklyn squashed it with a bucket on the other side. The Pioneers and Terriers spent much of the first half exchanging baskets.
Kelley finished off a beautiful three-point play to cut the SFBK lead to six with 6:17 left, but Cannon responded with a three-pointer.
Back-to-back jumpers from Barnett got SHU within five at 30-25 with 5:22 remaining in the first. Jones answered with a couple of free throws.
Evan Kelley drilled a jump-back three-pointer to pull the Pioneers within four, 36-32 with 2:12 left. After an Amdy Fall free throw, Jones got into the lane for a lay-up to put SFBK up 39-32. Jones had 15 points at the half as the Terriers took a 39-33 lead into the break.
It was much of the same for Sacred Heart in the second half, scoring the basketball at a high-rate but unable to string together stops on defense.
Barnett got things started with a steal on one end, followed by an offensive rebound and lay-up on the other to cut the lead to four.
With Saint Francis up 40-35, Sacred Heart gave up an offensive rebound followed by a Mockford long ball to inch the lead back up to eight. The Pioneers once again cut it to five after another offensive rebound and put-back from Barnett, but SFBK answered with five consecutive points to balloon the lead back to double digits. 65-55.
The Pioneers were finally able to cut it to one possession at 68-65 for the first time since SFBK led 5-4 with a 7-0 run with 2:32 left. Montes and Kelley both converted lay-ups, followed by a quick Kelley steal and a pass to Montes for a lay-up plus the foul. Montes would complete the three-point play.
As they did all game, Saint Francis Brooklyn responded with a basket on the other end. Cannon knocked down a jumper to put them back up five, 70-65.
The Pioneers kept scoring as the game winded down but the Terriers made 12 consecutive free throws in the final 1:08 of the game to salt the win.
The Pioneers had 16 offensive rebounds for the second consecutive game, but shot 3-of-14 from three-point range. Sacred Heart is shooting 30.1 percent (28-for-91) from behind the arc in its last five games.
Sacred Heart looks to bounce back when it returns home on Sunday afternoon for a date with the Bryant Bulldogs at 2:00 pm.
Notes: Sacred Heart outscored SFBK 48-32 in the paint. Phil Gaetano has made a three-pointer in 11 straight games. The 2013 SHU Football NEC Award winners were honored at halftime of tonight's game.