November 15, 2009

Pioneers Run Past Lafayette in Second Half, 81-70

Nov. 15, 2009

Final Stats

FAIRFIELD, CT - Trailing 20-8 to the Lafayette Leopards seven minutes into the game on Sunday after, the Sacred Heart men's basketball team didn't panic. What they did was turn up the heat and step on the gas. The Pioneers used their running attack to deadly effect, wearing out the Leopards enroute to an 81-70 win Sunday afternoon in the Pitt Center.

The Pioneers used a 12-2 run on offense and forced the Leopards to miss nine of their next ten shots to close the gap to 22-20 with 7:30 to go in the first half. Included in that run was a steal by SHU guard Jerrell Thompson who hit a sprinting Liam Potter at the three point line. The seven-footer put it to the floor twice and slammed the ball home with two hands. The British native had his second strong game after a year off, finishing with ten points, six rebounds and a pair of blocked shots in 28 minutes.

Even after scoring 19 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in his first two games, head coach Dave Bike still expects more. "This is his first opportunity to play fulltime," said Bike. "I thought it would take him a little time to get going. So let's call this a starting point."

Another thing missing from the Pioneer attack in the first half was Corey Hassan. After scoring 30 points against Yale on Friday night, the senior forward didn't score for the first ten minutes. He canned his first trey with 9:42 left in the half, finished the period with ten points and the game with 21.

"Corey is in great condition and he's going to fight you all the way," Bike said.

The Leopards, 1-1, still held a slim 36-34 edge at the intermission, led by Darion Benbow's seven points. SHU's Chauncey Hardy erased that with a three just over a minute into the second half to give the Pioneers their first lead.

The two teams went back and forth a few possessions before Bike and his boys stepped on the accelerator. Bike substituted Stan Dulaire, Ryan Litke and freshman Nick Greenbacker, replacing the Pioneer frontcourt. While those three were on the floor the Pioneers outraced the Leopard 33-17 and opened up a 77-62 lead.

"Stan and Nick made it hard them out, which is just what any player coming off the bench should do," Bike said. "Nick grabbed a few rebounds for us and what was even more important, I don't think he let anyone get a rebound over him."

SHU finished the night 11-17 (61.3%) from three-point range, four of them from Litke who finished with 14 points.

The win gives the Pioneers their first 2-0 start since turning Division I in 1999. Next up is Fordham from the Atlantic 10 on Wednesday night.