Nov. 30, 2009
FAIRFIELD, CT - The final score will show that the Sacred Heart men's basketball team defeated Columbia 60-55 in the Pitt Center Monday night. What the score won't show is the swings that saw both teams lose large leads and the way they scratched and clawed their way back into it.
Columbia led Sacred Heart by nine in the first half and watched that lead disintegrate into a seven-point SHU lead at half time. After the Pioneers opened up a 37-25 lead in the first two minutes of the second half, it looked like the Lions were on the run. Someone forgot to tell Columbia.
The Lions used a 15-0 run over a four-minute stretch to take a 40-37 lead. Junior guard Jerrell Thompson broke the Columbia string with a trey to tie the score, but the Lions used another 8-0 spurt to open up a 48-40 lead with 8:52 to play.
Sacred Heart, 3-3, played this game without starting guard Chauncey Hardy who was suspended for missing a practice over the weekend. Inserted into the starting lineup, senior Ryan Litke responded. He canned three long-range three's in a three-minute stretch that helped his team take the lead back.
Litke's first with 6:31 to play tied the score at 51-51. His second gave the Pioneers a 54-53 lead with 3:49 left, and the third came with 3:07 to go that put his team up 57-53. The senior finished the Lions off with a pair of free throws with :15 to play that put the Pioneers ahead by four. He finished the game with 19 points.
Corey Hassan came into the game having scored over 20 points in the first five Pioneer games. He finished this one with 19, but had a double double with a game-high 11 rebounds.
SHU held the Lions to just 37 percent shooting, dropping them to 2-3. Sophomore guard Noruwa Agho led his team with 16 points.
"I think we played with a defensive sensitivity in the game that I appreciated," said Pioneer head coach Dave Bike. "I think it's good to be able to win game in the 50's and 60's, instead of just trying to beat everyone in high-scoring games."