Pioneers Look to End Slide at FDU on Saturday


Game 25 * February 4, 2012 * Rothman Center/Stratis Arena * Hackensack, NJ * 2:00 pm

Full Set of Game Notes

The Storyline... The Sacred Heart Pioneers have lost three-straight, matching their longest slide of the season, as they travel to Fairleigh Dickenson on Saturday.  SHU saw an eight-point lead with 2:31 left wiped out by Monmouth on the way to a 63-56 loss to the Hawks on Thursday night.  The Hawks used a 13-0 run to outscore the Pioneers 17-2 over the last two and half minutes dropping SHU to 4-7 in the NEC and tied for eighth place.  FDU fell at home to Quinnipiac on Thursday, 65-48, and are 1-9 in league play.

All-Time Series vs. Fairleigh Dickinson...  Saturday's match-up marks the 21st meeting between the two schools with the series tied 10-10. Both teams won on the other team's floor last season with SHU posting a 67-50 win in Teaneck and FDU answering with an 85-74 win in Fairfield, knocking the Pioneers from postseason contention.   All 20 meeting have taken place since the Pioneers joined the NEC in 1999-00.

The Coaches...  Dave Bike (Sacred Heart '69) is in his 34th year as the head coach of Sacred Heart. He has a career record of 516-474, ranking him 20th among active coaches. Only Jim Boheim of Syracuse has spent more time coaching at one institution. He led the Pioneers to eight NCAA Division II tournaments and his 1985-86 team won the national championship while finishing 30-4. Bike was named the national Coach of the Year by the NABC following the title game.  Greg Vetrone (C.W. Post '86) begins his third season on the bench at Fairleigh Dickinson.  Vetrone was named the sixth head coach at FDU after serving as the interim coach in 2009-10 and guided the Knights to a 10-8 NEC mark and fifth seed in the league tournament. 

Up Next...  The Pioneers move on to NEC "Rivalry Week" and take on Bryant in back-to-back match-ups.  SHU hosts the Bulldogs on Wednesday night and then travel to Bryant next Saturday.

Quick Hits...

- The Pioneers close out a four-game stretch against NEC teams they will face just once this season.  SHU has lost to Wagner, Mount St. Mary's and Monmouth heading into their tilt with FDU.

- The Pioneers saw an eight-point lead (54-46) with 2:31 left erased in a 63-56 loss at Monmouth Thursday night.  It was the first time this season SHU lost when leading with 10 minutes to play and the second time they've lost when leading with five minutes to play.  The other being the 82-80 overtime loss at CCSU.

- Junior Shane Gibson rebounded from a six point first half and finished with 22 in the loss at Monmouth.  He has scored 20 or more points in seven straight and 12 of his last 13 games, averaging 24.7 ppg in that span.

- Gibson continues to lead in the NEC scoring race, averaging 21.6 ppg.  That figure also ranks him sixth in the nation. 

- In 11 NEC games, Gibson is averaging 25.7 ppg, nearly six points more than second-ranked Jamal Olasewere (19.6 ppg) of LIU Brooklyn.

- He also ranks third in the NEC in three-point shooting (.438) and second in three-point makes per game (2.7).

- Sophomore Louis Montes notched his second double double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds at Monmouth

- Junior Justin Swidowski failed to score for the first time this year in the loss at Monmouth.  Swidowski did match his season-high with 11 rebounds and set a new high of four blocks.

- Swidowski (11) and Montes (10) where the first teammates to pull down double digit rebounds in a game since Corey Hassan (12) and Liam Potter (10) accomplished it against CCSU in the 2009-10 season.

- Sophomore Evan Kelley returned to the starting line-up for the first time since the LIU Brooklyn game on January 5th (7-game stretch).  Evans did miss three games with an ankle injury.

- Gibson made it three-straight weeks a Pioneer has earned the Choice Hotels NEC Player of the Week Award.  Gibson picked-up his second award this season this week and took home the honor after the Western PA road trip.  Sophomore Luis Montes won the award last week after averaging 24.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in leading the Pioneers to wins over rivals Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut.
- Injury Bug - Sophomore Chris Evans has missed the last two games with a knee injury and is considered questionable.  SHU continues to be without the services of senior guard Steve Zazuri

Last Meeting with FDU...  The Sacred Heart Pioneers got 22 points from Shane Gibson but allowed Fairleigh Dickinson to shoot 53.3% (32-60) from the field and score 24 points in transition en route to an 85-74 loss at the hands of the Knights on February 24, 2011 at home.  The loss eliminated the Pioneers from Northeast Conference postseason contention.  The Knights snapped a 14-game NEC losing streak with the win.  FDU got a game-high 34 points from senior Terence Grier who made 14-of-22 shots and four-of-five from behind the arch.  The Knights outscored the Pioneers 46-32 in the paint led by a double double from John Galvin who scored 14 points with 12 rebounds.  Senior Mike Scott flirted with a triple-double scoring 12 points with eight rebounds, eight assists and five steals.  The two teams played a nip and tuck first half with six lead changes and 10 ties over the first 20 minutes.  The Pioneers took their largest lead of the night with 2:29 left in the first half, pushing the advantage to 37-31 on an Evan Kelley fast break lay-up.  The Knights closed the final two minutes on a 12-1 run to take control of the game heading into the locker room up, 43-38.  Fairleigh Dickinson pushed their lead to 10 in the opening minutes of the second half would build their lead to as much as 18-points en route to the win.  The Pioneers shot 42.4% (28-66) but made just six-of-24 from three (.250).  Femi Akinpetide came off the bench for 12 points and four rebounds while Chris Evans chipped in with 10 points.  SHU outrebounded FDU 40-36 in the loss.

Scouting the Knights...  The Fairleigh Dickinson Knights come in tied with Bryant at the bottom the NEC standings at 1-10.  FDU beat the Bulldogs on the road two weeks ago, 66-63.  The Knights feature three double digit scorers led by junior Melquan Bolding at 13.8 ppg.  Bolding ranks 13th among NEC scorers on the year.  Junior guard Lonnie Hayes averages 13.0 points and leads the team with 45 assists.  Grad student George Goode leads FDU's front court, scoring 12.4 ppg while ranking fifth in the NEC pulling down 7.7 rebounds per game. 

Facing the Hawks - Last 10 Meetings (Tied, 5-5)...

2/26/11     FDU 85            SHU 74                  at Pitt Center

1/6/10       SHU 67            FDU 50                  at FDU 

2/24/10     FDU 64            SHU 59 (ot)            at Pitt Center

1/2/10       FDU 88            SHU 85                  at FDU

12/6/08     SHU 96            FDU 86                  at Pitt Center

1/31/08     SHU  92           FDU 81                  at FDU

1/17/08     SHU 87            FDU 82                  at Pitt Center

2/20/07     SHU 86            FDU 82                  at FDU

2/23/07     FDU 91            SHU 88                  at Pitt Center

2/16/06     FDU 85            SHU 76                  at Pitt Center

Pioneers in the NEC...  Sacred Heart is in its 13th season of play in the Northeast Conference in 2011-12.  The Pioneers are 94-137 in conference play since joining the league in 1999-2000.  SHU has qualified for the Northeast Conference Tournament five times but saw a streak of four-straight seasons making the postseason snapped in 2009-10.  The Pioneers best finish in the league was second, a feat they accomplished twice, in 2006-07 and 2008-09.  SHU has made two NEC Championship game appearances, falling to Central Connecticut State in 2007 and losing to Mount St. Mary's at home in 2008.

Closing in on SHU History...  Shane Gibson is closing in on the SHU Division I record for points scored in a season.  He currently sits at 518, surpassing his 2010-11 season total.  Maurice Bailey holds the record at 542 and Kibwe Trim and Corey Hassan are second with 537 points.

1. Maurice Bailey (27 gms) 542 - '03-'04

2. Kibwe Trim (28 gms) 537 - '05-'06

    Corey Hassan (28 gms) 537 - '09-'10

4. Shane Gibson (24 gms) 518 - '11-'12

5. Shane Gibson (29 gms) 498 - '10-'11

Gibson's 41-point Night...  Shane Gibson has been on a scoring tear all season, culminating with the first 40-point performance by a Pioneers since 1993 last Saturday.  Gibson dropped an NEC single-game season-high 41 points, a figure that also ties him for fourth in the nation this season, in a double overtime loss at home to the Mount.  He hit 16-28 from the field and finished 6-13 from three-point range.  The 41 points established a school Division I school record and were the most in an NEC game since Bryant's Alex Francis scored 43 against LIU Brooklyn on February 24, 2011.  In fact, it was just the 12th time an NEC player has reached the 40-point mark since the year 2000.  It was the first 40-point game by a Sacred Heart player since Darren Robinson tallied 47 against New Haven on February 17, 1993.

NEC 40+ Point Performances Since 2000
Shane Gibson (SHU) vs. MSM              41     1/28/12
Alex Francis (BRY) vs. LIU                   43     2/24/11
Tristan Blackwood (CCSU) vs. RMU     40     2/22/07
Rob Monroe (QU) vs. SHU                  40     2/3/05
Rob Monroe (QU) vs. Longwood         41     1/2/05
Antawn Dobie (LIU) vs. SFNY             53     2/22/03
Maurice Carter (RMU) vs. E. Michigan   42     11/26/02
James Felton (FDU) vs. LIU                 43     2/23/02
Rahsaan Johnson (MU) vs. Princeton    40     12/8/01
Rahsaan Johnson (MU) vs. SFNY         43     2/4/01
Rahsaan Johnson (MU) vs. SFNY         40     3/3/00
Steven Howard (SFNY) vs. UMBC        40     2/12/00

Gibson Among the NCAA Leaders...  Just as Shane Gibson has climbed the to the top of the NEC scoring list, he is making his way up the NCAA's scoring charts as well.  Gibson ranks sixth among the nation's leaders at 21.6 ppg.  He ranks 18th in 3pt% (.438), 41st in 3pt makes per game (2.7), 53rd in FT% (.848) and 72nd in FG% (.505).   

NCAA Scoring Leaders:  1. Damian Lillard, Weber State  25.1 ppg, 2. Reggie Hamilton, Oakland  23.7 ppg, 3. Doug McDermott, Creighton  23.6 ppg,  4. Terrell Stoglin, Maryland 21.8,  5. Kevin Murphy, Tennessee Tech  21.8,  6. Shane Gibson, SHU, 21.6 ppg