FAIRFIELD, CT (November 15, 2011) – Senior captain Stan Dulaire (Bloomfield, CT) tied his career high with 14 points and recorded his first career double double with 10 rebounds to lead the Sacred Heart Pioneers to a 74-63 win over visiting Stony Brook and a 2-0 start to the season. Dulaire led five Pioneers in double figures as the team shot 49.1% (26-53) in the win.
"We think we have nice balance and the better everyone performs the better we'll be," stated head coach Dave Bike. R-Junior Justin Swidowski (Cinnaminson, NJ) matched Dulaire's 14 points while r-junior Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) and sophomores Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT) and Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) all finished with 11 points apiece.
The first half was a back and forth game for the first 13 and a half minutes, featuring six ties before the Pioneers put together a late run to lead by nine at the break. With the score knotted at 20-20 with 6:28 on the clock, SHU closed out the first half on a 14-5 run and never again trailed Tuesday night. Consecutive three's by Kelley and Evans put SHU up 28-21and Swidowski hit on a lay-in and a tip-in before the halftime horn for a 34-25 lead.
Swidowski opened the second half with a baseline jumper from the left corner and the Pioneers had a chance to open a 12-point lead bon their next possession but Kelley missed on an ally-oop attempts. The Seawolves whittled the lead down to a bucket just under the 14 minute mark, but SHU answered with an 11-3 rally to push the lead back to double digits. SBU's Al Rapier pulled his team within 38-34 with a thunderous dunk at 15:58 and a Dallis Joyner dunk and one at 13:46 put the Seawolves within two, 44-42.
Dulaire helped fuel the ensuing run with a dunk and a put back while freshman Phil Gaetano (Wallingford, CT) buried a three and Evans converted on the break off a steal for a 55-45 lead. Stony Brook twice cut to within seven before the 3:30 mark but SHU went to work and a Dulaire three-point play and dunk off a pretty pass from Gaetano put the Pioneers back in front by 12, 64-52.
Down the stretch, SHU did the job at the charity stripe making eight-of-11 to put the game safely away in the win column. The Pioneers made 16-of-20 at the free throw line on the night and outscored SBU 16-4 in transition. SHU did turn the ball over 19 times in the win.
The Seawolves (1-2) got 11 points and five rebounds from Joyner while Tommy Brenton chipped in with 10 points and seven boards.
"This win means a lot but it is just game two on the schedule," stated Dulaire. "We are going in the right direction, put two halves together, made a free throws at the end and got the win."
The Pioneers (2-0) get off to their second 2-0 start in the last three seasons and just the second time since joining the Northeast Conference in 1999-2000. SHU will have a chance for their first 3-0 start since the 1994-95 season when they travel to Rutgers on Thursday night for the first of four games in the 2011 Cancun Challenge.
SHU will play the Scarlet Knights and the University of Richmond stateside before heading to Cancun, Mexico for a pair of games next week against Hampton and either Lipscomb or Southern Illinois Edwardsville.