Men's Basketball Opens NEC Play Thursday at Home vs. LIU Brooklyn at 6PM

Men's Basketball Opens NEC Play Thursday at Home vs. LIU Brooklyn at 6PM

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Sacred Heart (4-9) vs. LIU Brooklyn (6-6)

Thursday, Jan. 3 - 6:00 PM

Coach Bike Court at the Pitt Center - Fairfield, Conn.

Setting the Scene... After concluding non-conference play, Sacred Heart University men's basketball opens its NEC schedule against LIU Brooklyn on Thursday, Jan. 3 at 6 p.m. on Coach Bike Court at the Pitt Center in Fairfield, Conn.

All-Time Vs. LIU Brooklyn... The Blackbirds lead the all-time series 25-11, with LIU Brooklyn winning the last four meetings.

Last Meeting... After falling behind early, SHU finished the half on a 12-4 run, including the last four points, to cut the halftime deficit to 42-33. The Pioneer seniors shouldered the load early in the second-half, scoring 14 of the 20-11 half opening run, that cut a nine –point deficit to one, 54-53. 

Led by baskets from Raiquain Clark and Jashaun Agosto baskets, LIU pushed the lead to 67-62. Mario Matasovic cleaned up his own miss to get SHU to within three, 67-64, but the Pioneers would get no closer as LIU scored the next seven points and finished the final 7:00 of the game on a 23-12 run.

Scouting the Blackbirds... 2018 NEC Tournament champions, LIU Brooklyn comes into the contest with a 6-6 record, having gone 3-3 in its last six contests. Raiquan Clark leads the Blackbirds and the NEC in scoring, averaging 20.1 points per game. 

Last Time Out... Sacred Heart University men's basketball closed non-conference play with a loss, as the Pioneers fell to UMass Lowell, 100-91, in overtime at home Saturday afternoon on Coach Bike Court at the Pitt Center. The loss dropped the Pioneers to 4-9 on the year, while the Riverhawks improve to 8-7.

The Pioneers had three players score in double-figures with Koreem Ozier leading the way with 20 points. Sean Hoehn added 16 points, while Zach Pffafenberger added a career-high 13 points in a losing effort.

With the score tied at 44-44 with 18:52 remaining in regulation, the Pioneers went on a 17-7 run to push the lead to 61-51 with 13:14 left in regulation. Ozier scored 11 of the 17 points on the run for the Pioneers. With SHU leading 81-71 with 4:39 remaining in the half, the Riverhawks closed regulation with an 11-1 run to tie the contest at 82-82 to force overtime.

UMass Lowell opened the extra period with a 9-0 run to push its lead to 91-82 with 2:14 remaining. E.J. Anosike snapped the run with a layup to cut the deficit to 91-84 with 1:56 to go. The Riverhawks outscored the Pioneers 9-7 the rest of the way to hold on for the 100-91 win

Oh Captain, Our Captain... The Pioneers' leading scorer from last season, Sean Hoehn, is currently second in the NEC in scoring, averaging 18.6 points per game. Hoehn is shooting 44.8% from the field and 39.5% from three so far this season. 

Swat Leader Spellman... Red-shirt junior, Jare'l Spellman is averaging 2.54 blocks per game, which ranks 13th in the nation and is tops in the NEC. Spellman has totaled 33 blocks this season, which also ranks 13th in the nation and 1st in the conference. Spellman has led SHU in blocks in 12 of the 13 contests this season and has recorded three or more blocks in six contests this season.

Passing Parker... Freshman guard Cameron Parker's 7.4 assists per game ranks fifth in the nation and is tops among all freshmen in the nation. Parker has recorded 10+ assists three times this season, including a career-high 14-assist performance against Western New England on Nov. 12

Mr. 1,000... In the December 19th loss at Seton Hall, Sean Hoehn became the 42nd player in program-history to score 1,000 career points. Hoehn achieved the feat after he made a free-throw with 13:56 remaining in the second half. Ironically, Hoehn scored the first point of his career at the free-throw line as well. Coming into the contest, Hoehn has scored 1,035 points in his career, which sits at 38th all-time in program-history.

Point Guard Parker... Cameron Parker is 11th in the nation in total assists (89) and is fifth in the nation in assists per game (7.4) 

Sicko Mode... E.J. Anosike recorded his second double-double of the season after tallying 13 points and 12 rebounds in a loss at Seton Hall. The double-double brought Anosike's season-total to two and career-total to four. Anosike is averaging a career-best 12.8 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game.

Busy Beaver... Beaverton, Ore. product Cameron Parker has lived up to his billing as a gifted passer so far during his first-year campaign. Parker recorded his first collegiate double-double with 12 points and 10 assists in a win over Hartford. Parker is the first Pioneer with a points-assists double-double since Phil Gaetano recorded 15 points and 10 assists on Feb. 28, 2015

Off to the Races... Racine, Wisconsin-product, Koreem Ozier is averaging 21 points per game, on 51.7% shooting from the field and 42.9% shooting from beyond the arc in four games played this season. Ozier has scored 20+ points in three of the four contests he's appeared in, with his lowest scoring output being a 15-point performance at St. Johns (12/22)

Not in His House... Jare'l Spellman tallied a career-high five blocks in the Pioneers' win over Lafayette. Spellman's five blocks marked the first time a Pioneer player recorded five or more blocks in a game since Tevin Falzon recorded five blocks against Bryant on Jan. 24, 2015. 

Everybody Eats... E.J. Anosike tallied 13 points and 12 rebounds against Seton Hall for the fourth double-double of his career. It was the fourth time a Pioneers' player recorded a double-double with points and rebounds this season as Anosike has done so twice this season and  Kinnon LaRose  and Jare'l Spellman each did so once earlier this season.

Big on the Boards... E.J. Anosike and Jare'l Spellman have been big contributers for the Pioneers on the boards. Spellman is second in the NEC, averaging 8.1 boards per game, while Anosike's 7.8 rebounds per game ranks third. Anosike's 4.0 offensive rebounds per game is tops in the NEC and fourth in the nation.

Protecting the Ball... The Pioneers are averaging 15.69 assists per game and have a 1.07 assist-to-turnover ratio, which both rank first in the NEC. Both Cameron Parker and Sean Hoehn rank in the top-15 in the conference in both assists per game and assist-to-turnover ration. Parker's 7.4 assists a game ranks first, while Hoehn's three assists a game ranks ninth. Parker's 1.93 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks third in the NEC, while Hoehn's 0.97 ranks 11th.

Efficiency is Everything... The Pioneers have three players ranked in the top-15 in the NEC in field goal percentage. Jare'l Spellman ranks third in the NEC, shooting 52.7% from the field. E.J. Anosike's 47.2% ranks 11th in the conference, while Kinnon LaRose's 46.4% is 13th in the NEC. 

Another One... Freshman guard Cameron Parker was named the Northeast Conference Men's Basketball Rookie of the Week, as announced by the league office Monday, Dec. 17, making it the second time this season Parker earned the honor. 

Parker came off the bench to dish for a team-best seven assists, to go along with six points, three rebounds and a pair of steals in a setback at Dartmouth last Monday. Parker, who hit 3-5 from the floor, sparked SHU's second half comeback, assisting on four buckets in a 3:30 span that help the Pioneers slice a 14-point deficit to six with 3:31 to play.m the line.

Sean the Scoring Machine... Sean Hoehn has scored in double-figures in 12 of the Pioneers' 13 games, leading the team in scoring in seven games and dropping at least 20 points in five of the 13 contests. Hoehn topped his previous career-high of 31 points, by dropping 35 points against Binghamton on Nov. 24, including a career-high seven made three-pointers.

Kinnon the Conqueror... Red-shirt junior Kinnon LaRose has recorded two double-figure rebound games in his career. Ironically, both performances resulted in double-doubles for LaRose, most recently at Binghamton (11/24) where he tallied 12 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in the loss.

Heating Up... Kinnon LaRose has scored in double-figures in five of the last nine contests, including a season-high 20-point performance against UMass Lowell. LaRose most recent double-figure output was a 15-point performance in a 64-62 win at Lafayette (12/2).

Have a Day Jare'l... Jare'l Spellman had a career day in SHU's 64-62 win over Lafayette. Along with scoring the game-winner, Spellman tallied 18 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks, which were all career-highs for the big man at the time.

Swiper, No Swiping... Sean Hoehn is averaging 1.62 steals a game which is ranks sixth in the conference. Hoehn has recorded multiple steals in five of the Pioneers' 13 games and has recorded at least three steals in a game three times.

Second-Half Team... Through 13 games, the Pioneers are being outscored by 4.2 points per game in the first half, but are outscoring opponents by 2.2 points on average in the second-half.

Protect the Pitt... In its three games played at home, the Pioneers are 2-1 and are outscoring opponents on average by 14 points per game.

Radical Radz... In his season-debut, junior Zach Radz scored 12 points, all in the second-half to aid Sacred Heart to a 79-78 win over Army West Point to open the Brown Bears Classic.

Hold The Lead... In its sixgames where the Pioneers have the lead at halftime, they are 4-2.

Shooters Shoot... Sean Hoehn, Kinnon LaRose, Koreem Ozier and Aaron Clarke are among the top three-point marksmen in the NEC. Hoehn is averaging 2.62 made three-pointers a game which ranks fourth in the conference. LaRose is knocking down 1.4 threes per game, while Clarke is knocking down 1.2 three-pointers a game. Ozier rounds out the squad with 3.0 three-point makes per game in four games played.

Let it Fly... Through 13 games, the Pioneers lead the conference in scoring with 82.4 points per game. SHU is shooting 47.1% from the field, which is tops in the NEC and 35.7% from beyond the arc, which ranks fourth in the conference.

Scoring is a Habit... Freshman guard Aaron Clarke is averaging 10.2 points per game and has been able to do it from multiple levels. Clarke is shooting 45% from the field and 78.3% from the free-throw line. Clarke has scored in double-figures in seven of the Pioneers' 13 games, leading the Pioneers' in scoring with 17 points in a loss at Seton Hall and dropping a career-high 24 points against Army West Point on 9-for-12 shooting and 4-for-6 from three.

Familiar Faces... SHU returns seven letter-winners from last season's team, including team captain Sean Hoehn. The Pioneers also return Kinnon LaRose, E.J. Anosike, Anthony Boateng, Alex Watson, Zach Radz and Jare'l Spellman.

The Young and the Restless... The Pioneers also added seven new players to the roster, all being freshmen.

Welcome to College... The Pioneers had four players make their collegiate debuts against Holy Cross on 11/6. Koreem Ozier and Cameron Parker started in the backcourt, while Aaron Clarke and Zach Pfaffenberger contributed minutes off the bench for the Pioneers

NEC Rookie of the Week... Freshman guard Koreem Ozier was named the Northeast Conference Men's Basketball Rookie of the Week on Monday, Nov. 12.

Ozier came off a stellar collegiate debut for the Pioneers with a 23-point effort at Holy Cross to open the season on Tuesday, Nov. 6. It was the highest scoring game by an NEC freshman in his first outing since Robert Morris' Marcquise Reed went for 24 against North Carolina on November 16, 2014. Ozier also became the first SHU freshman to score at least 20 in a game since Cane Broome dropped 23 against Bryant on March 4, 2015.

Preseason Prognostication... SHU men's basketball team was picked to finish ninth in the Northeast Conference. Saint Francis U is this season's preseason favorite, garnering eight first-place votes. Fairleigh Dickinson was second choice and received a first place vote, followed by reigning NEC champions LIU Brooklyn in third with the final first-place vote. Wagner and Robert Morris rounded out the top-five, with Central Connecticut State and St. Francis Brooklyn in sixth and seventh. Bryant, the Pioneers and Mount St. Mary's rounded out the remaining NEC teams.

NEC Preseason Poll: 

1. Saint Francis U (8 first-place votes)

2. Fairleigh Dickinson (1 first-place vote)

3. LIU Brooklyn (1 first-place vote)

4. Wagner

5. Robert Morris

6. Central Connecticut

7. St. Francis Brooklyn

8. Bryant

9. Sacred Heart

10. Mount St. Mary's

NEC Men's Basketball Preseason All-NEC Team

G – Jamaal King, St. Francis

G – Keith Braxton, St. Francis 

G/F – Tyler Kohl, CCSU 

G/F – Raiquan Clark, LIU Brooklyn 

F – Mike Holloway, FDU