Sacred Heart Comeback Falls Short at Robert Morris, 70-67

MOON TOWNSHIP, PA (January 14, 2012) – The Sacred Heart Pioneers used some hot shooting from behind the arc to erase a 10-point second half deficit but fell short of completing the comeback, losing at Robert Morris 70-67 Saturday night.  Junior Shane Gibson (Killingly, CT) hit for 29 points and freshman Steve Glowiak (New Britain, CT) tied his career-high with 16 to lead the Pioneers (8-11, 2-4 NEC) on the night.

Gibson, who turned in his tenth 20-point game of the season, hit a career-best seven three's in the loss, finishing seven-of-11 from downtown.  He was three-of-five in the first half and four-of-six in the second half; three on a 17-7 run that tied the score at 67-67 late.  Glowiak buried four-of-nine from three coming off the bench in the loss. 

Turnovers where the story in the first half, as both teams were sloppy with the basketball at times with the Colonials turning it over 11 times and the Pioneers 10.  Some sharp shooting from Robert Morris proved the difference as the Colonials shot 51.9% and made six-of-12 from three on their way to a 37-30 halftime lead.  Coron Williams and Velton Jones each had a pair of triples in the first half, finishing with 10 apiece. 

Robert Morris (13-6, 4-2 NEC) started to catch fire opening the second half, grabbing a 46-35 lead three minutes in on Williams third triple.  Gibson drilled his fourth three of the night next time down but Williams would answer with his fourth just seconds later for a 49-38 advantage.  The next four minutes saw not a point from either team before Mike McFadden converted back-to-back lay-ups to give the Colonials their biggest lead of the night at 53-38 with 11:31 left.

After a Jones three at 6:52 gave RMU a 60-50 lead, the Pioneers began their late push at the free throw line.  Sophomore Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) hit a pair and Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) went one-of-two to start the Pioneers off on what would be a 17-7 run over the four minutes.  Gibson's fifth three pulled SHU within 60-53 at 5:46.  Montes converted on an acrobatic lay-in, plus one opportunity to cut within 62-61 and Gibson's sixth trey pulled SHU within 65-64 with 3:28 left.

RMU went to Jones and the junior delivered with a runner to push the lead back to three, 67-64.  After a missed Glowiak three, Montes chased down the rebound and Gibson delivered, burying his career-best seventh three ball of the game to knot it up at 67-67 with 2:37 to go.  The Pioneers would have a shot at the lead, but misses by Montes and Glowiak put the ball back in the Colonials hands.

Robert Morris, who had 14 offensive rebounds, came up with their biggest of the night off a Jones missed jumper as Bridges collected the loose ball and drew a foul on the put-back attempt.  He buried both for a 69-67 lead with 51 ticks left.  The Pioneers got a look at a three by Montes but missed the mark with Bridges collecting the rebound and getting fouled.  He would hit one-of-two and a last second shot by Gibson missed the mark sending the Pioneers to a 70-67 loss.

The Pioneers came in to the game a short-handed, missing sophomore guard Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT) for the third-straight game and junior center Justin Swidowski (Cinnaminson, NJ) who was held out after injuring his shoulder in Thursday's win at Saint Francis (PA).  Junior Nick Greenbacker (Coventry, CT) earned his first start of the season and came up with seven points and five rebounds. 

The Pioneers will head home to open their longest homestand of the season on Thursday night.  NEC rival Quinnipiac comes to town to open four-straight in the William H. Pitt Center.