EMMITSBURG, MD – In front of a contingency of friends and family, Maryland-native De'Von Barnett (Waldorf, MD) scored a career-high 24 points as the Sacred Heart Pioneers defeated Mount St. Mary's, 71-65, Thursday night at Knott Arena. With the win, Sacred Heart snaps a 12 game losing streak.
Barnett was an efficient 12-of-16 from the floor to go along with seven boards. Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT) scored 14 points and also grabbed 7 rebounds, while Phil Gaetano (Wallingford, CT) chipped in with 11 points and dished out seven assists.
As a team, Sacred Heart shot 58 percent (29-of-50) from the field, and outscored the Mountaineers 52-18 in the paint.
Mount St. Mary's had four players in double digits, with Julian Norfleet leading the way with 17 points and eight assists. Rashad Whack and Gregory each chipped in with 11 points.
Who else but Barnett got SHU cooking to begin the first half. The freshman forward had a lay-in and a one-handed dunk to score SHU's first four points.
Barnett was aggressive early, but Sacred Heart struggled to handle the ball and got down 12-14 less than four minutes into the game. The Pioneers had five turnovers in their first eight possessions of the game.
The Pioneers spent much of the first half chasing the Mount. Barnett knocked down back-to-back jumpers as SHU climbed to within 21-19 with 7:36 left in the first half. Mostafa Abdel Latif (Alexandria, Egypt) swished home a jump hook to get Sacred Heart within on again with 2:48 left in the first.
The Pioneers finally took their first lead after Kelley converted a three point lead to give SHU a 26-28 lead with 1:45 left, Steve Glowiak (New Britain, CT) drilled a three-ball with 1:45 left to put SHU up 31-28.
The Pioneers led 32-28 at halftime, their third consecutive game with a lead at the break.
Sacred Heart and Mountaineers went back and forth to begin the second half, with both teams pushing the ball up the court and exchanging baskets.
Like he did in the first half, Barnett put SHU on the board first in the second, off a nice dish from Gaetano. Gaetano followed that up with a nice crossover and take to the rim to put SHU up 36-30 with 18:39 left in second.
Gaetano put in another lay-in with 14:28 left to give SHU a 42-39 lead.
Barnett started to take over late in the second half, scoring eight consecutive points for Sacred Heart to push the Pioneers out to a 61-52 lead with 3:58 remaining.
From there, SHU was able to keep its distance from the Mount, as the Mountaineers had trouble stopping SHU on defense. Kelley scored a lay-in to put SHU up 65-54 with 1:51 left.
The Pioneers were able to ice the game from the free throw line, with Glowiak making five free throws in the final 35 seconds of the game.
Sacred Heart wraps up the 2013-14 season on Saturday afternoon as the Central Connecticut Blue Devils come to town for a 3:30 tip. The Pioneers will be celebrating Senior Day and also will be honoring former head basketball coach Dave Bike at halftime. The Pitt Center basketball court will be named, "Coach Bike Court."
Notes: The Pioneers shot over 50 percent from the floor for the first time this season. Sacred Heart made just one three-pointer in the game, its lowest total of the season.