Pioneers and Bobcats Square Off to Open NEC Play




Game 08 * December 1, 2011 * TD Bank Sports Center

Hamden, CT * 7:00 pm

The Storyline...  The Sacred Heart Pioneers and Quinnipiac Bobcats renew their Northeast Conference rivalry for the 2011-12 season Thursday night at the TD Bank Sports Center.  The Pioneers come in 4-3 and fresh off a 77-64 win over Brown on Sunday afternoon.  The Bobcats are coming off back-to-back losses to Patriot League teams in American and Lehigh.  This is the NEC opener for both teams.

All-Time Series vs. Quinnipiac... This is the 60th meeting between the Pioneers and Bobcats in a series that dates back to the Division II era for both teams.  Since joining the NEC in 1999-00, Quinnipiac holds a 14-11 edge in the series and has won five-straight after a NEC Rivalry Week sweep last year.  The two teams have met just once in the NEC Tournament, an 83-69 semifinal win at home in 2006-07.  Sacred Heart holds the all-time edge, 37-22.  The first meeting between the teams was in 1965, a 100-83 Quinnipiac win.

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 510-464, 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.  Tom Moore (Boston University '87) begins his fifth season as the head coach at Quinnipiac University.  Moore owns a 77-54 record in his time at Quinnipiac.  He led the Bobcats to a share of the 2009-10 NEC regular season title and was named the NEC's Coach of the Year that season.  Prior to becoming the Bobcat's head coach, he was an assistant coach at UConn from 1994 through 2007.  He was the head coach at Worcester State College for five seasons where he compiled a 76-59 mark.

Up Next...  Sacred Heart turns around and faces Central Connecticut State on Saturday and is back at home on Monday night to host Yale.

Quick Hits...

- The Pioneers are 2-0 at home this season thanks to a 77-64 win over Brown on Sunday.  SHU plays just twice at home in the month of December, hosting Yale on Monday night and Lafayette on Sunday the 11th

- The next three games on the slate feature match-ups against schools from the Connecticut 6 Classic.  SHU beat Hartford in this year's event and take on QU, CCSU and Yale over the next five days.  The only team SHU will not face from the tournament field is Fairfield.

- SHU can match their best Division I start (5-3) with a win at Quinnipiac.  The Pioneers opened the 2009-10 season 5-3.

- Balance - All 10 of the Pioneers in uniform average at least 10 minutes per night for head coach Dave Bike with seven averaging 5.0 ppg or better.

- The Pioneers are the NEC's top-free throw shooting team, making 74.8% at the charity stripe.  SHU has gone to the line more than their opponent in four of their seven games and have made more free throws than their opponents in five of the first seven.

- Shane Gibson scored all 16 of his points in the second half in the win over Brown.  He scored a season-high 26 points at Richmond, taking a career-high 21 shots.  He has a pair of 20-point games in the first seven outings this year and 14 for his career.  He has found double digits in every game this year.

- Sophomore Luis Montes scored a season-high 13 points and grabbed a season-high nine rebounds, all in the second half, to help SHU beat Brown.

- The Pioneers turned it over a season-low seven times vs. Brown.  The are averaging 15.9 turnovers per game.

- Offensively, the Pioneers have shot over 50.0% twice this season (51.1% at Rutgers; 54.5% vs. Lipscomb) but have lost both games.  SHU has had four or more players score in double figures in four games this season and have been held to under 70 points just once.

- Center Justin Swidowski is averaging 12.1 ppg and 5.4 rpg through the first seven games of his SHU career.  Swidowski ranks third among NEC players making 57.9% (33-57) of his shots.

- Senior forward Stan Dulaire recorded his first career double double and matched his career high for points in the win over Stony Brook. Dulaire scored 14 points (14 vs. LIU 2/11/10) and pulled down 10 rebounds.

- SHU finished 1-3 in the 2011 Cancun Challenge with juniors Shane Gibson and Justin Swidowski being named to the Mayan Division All-Tournament team.  Gibson scored 13 points with three rebounds in the win over Hampton and 21 points, five rebounds and three assists in the loss to Lipscomb.  Swidowski netted 10 points with six rebounds and a pair of blocks against the Pirates and 16 points with three boards and a steal against the Bison.  He made 11-of-16 shots (.688) in the two games in Mexico.

NEC Openers...  The Sacred Heart Pioneers are 7-5 in Northeast Conference openers since joining the league in 1999-2000.  SHU saw a streak of five-straight NEC opener wins halted last season against Mount St. Mary's at home.  The Pioneers are 4-3 in league openers at home in the Pitt Center and 3-2 on the road. 

Pioneers in the NEC...  Sacred Heart begins its 13th season of play in the Northeast Conference in 2011-12.  The Pioneers are 90-130 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.

Last Season Against Quinnipiac...  Quinnipiac swept the season series in 2010-11 during NEC Rivalry Week.  The Bobcats won at home, 59-54, behind double doubles from Dave Johnson (16 pts/13 rb) and Lance Brown (13 pts/13 rb).  SHU squandered a 10-point lead in the second half, suffering an over eight minute stretch without a field goal.  The Pioneers were 0-for-9 in the second half from behind the arc and were outrebounded 44-25 in the loss.  The Pioneers got 21 points from guard Shane Gibson who finished eight-of-17 on the night and led the team with six rebounds as well.  In the re-match just five days later, QU posted a 55-48 win in Fairfield to complete the season sweep for the second-straight year.  SHU turned it over a season-high 24 times in the loss.  QU's James Johnson scored all 12 of his points on four second half three's, none more important than his final two in the closing minutes to break a 48-48 tie and help deliver the win.  SHU's Louis Montes scored 12 points and pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds for his first career double double.  Shane Gibson was held to just three points, matching his season-low, making just one-of-11.

Scouting the Bobcats...  Quinnipiac is off to a 2-3 start to their season, winning twice at home over Yale, 68-62, and Navy, 78-54.  The Bobcats are the top-rebounding team in the NEC, pulling down 44.6 rebounds a night and outrebounding teams by a margin of +10.8.  Sophomore Ike Azotam leads all NEC players hauling in 11.6 caroms per game.  He averages a double double with 13.8 ppg, shooting 56.8% (25-44) from the field.  Preseason All-NEC pick senior James Johnson leads the team in scoring and is fifth in the league at 19.0 points per game.  He is shooting 41.4% from behind the three-point arc, hitting 12-of-29.  The Bobcats were picked fifth in the NEC Preseason Coach's Poll.


All-Time Series: SHU, 37-22 / Last Meeting: QU, 55-48 - 2/14/11

Full Set of Game Notes