July 23, 2009
FAIRFIELD, CT - The 2009-10 Sacred Heart University men's basketball schedule was released today and features games against Xavier University and Penn State, as well as in-state rivals Hartford, Fairfield and Yale. Head Coach Dave Bike will be entering his 32nd year on the SHU bench and ushering in the 45th season of Pioneer basketball.
The schedule features two games apiece with teams from the Atlantic 10 (Fordham, Xavier), the Patriot League (Holy Cross, Lafayette), and America East (Stony Brook, Hartford), and three games against teams from the Ivy League (Yale, Columbia, Brown).
The season starts with the Connecticut Six Tournament at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport on November 13. The Pioneers will kick off the inaugural event by playing Yale at 5:30. Two days later, SHU will host Lafayette on the 15th in the first game ever between the two schools in men's basketball.
The Pioneers will travel to Fordham for a game on November 18. In the only other meeting between the schools in 2006, Fordham squeaked out a 70-68 decision. The Pioneers will face Xavier for the first time in school history on November 21 in Cincinnati. The Muskateers went the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 last season, falling to Richmond, 80-75, and finishing their season at 27-8.
SHU will get a rematch with the Penn State Nittany Lions on November 25. The Pioneers lost a 73-65 decision in State College last season. Penn State went on to finish 27-11 and defeated Baylor, 69-63, in the NIT Championship game.
Columbia comes to the Pitt Center on November 30, hoping to turn around an 84-79 overtime-loss from last year.
The Pioneers will play their lone Northeast Conference game of the first semester on December 5 with a home game against Monmouth University. The following week, SHU travels to Hartford (Dec. 11) and then back to Harbor Yard for a game with Fairfield (Dec. 13).
The semester ends with a home game with Stony Brook on Dec. 20, a road game at Holy Cross on the 22nd, and a date in the Pitt Center with Brown on the 30th. It will be the first time the Pioneers have played Stony Brook since the 2002-03 season, when they lost at Stony Brook 75-64 in overtime. It will be the first-ever meeting against Brown.
The Northeast Conference schedule begins in earnest on January 2 with a home game at FDU. The NEC schedule this year features a pair of games against Bryant University, that will become a full-fledged member of the conference in 2012. The Bulldogs will play a full conference schedule, but will be ineligible for the conference tournament until 2012.
One scheduling quirk has the Pioneers and Quinnipiac Bobcats playing back-to-back, home-and-home games just two days apart - February 4 in Fairfield and the 6th in Hamden.
SHU finished last season 17-14 overall and in third place in the NEC at 12-6. The Pioneers will be looking for their fourth straight winning season that has seen them reach the NEC Championship game twice, and last year the semi-finals. During his tenure, Coach Bike has amassed a 481-429 record, just 19 wins short of 500 and the highest total of any coach in the Northeast Conference.