Men's Basketball Falls 84-72 To SFU In NEC Semifinal

Koreem Ozier led the Pioneers with 20 points on Saturday in the NEC semifinal. (Credit: Steve McLaughlin)
Koreem Ozier led the Pioneers with 20 points on Saturday in the NEC semifinal. (Credit: Steve McLaughlin)

The Sacred Heart University men's basketball team saw its Northeast Conference tournament run end, Saturday afternoon, with an 84-72 loss to second-seeded Saint Francis U. The pioneers fall to 20-13 on the year, while the Red Flash improve to 22-9.

All five Pioneer starters scored in double digits on Saturday, led by the 20-point effort of sophomore guard, Koreem Ozier.

The 20 wins are the most in SHU's Division I program history and the first in program history since 1988-89.

Turning Point 

  • Aaron Clarke made a free throw with 6:12 to play in the first-half to bring the Pioneers within 24-23
  • SFU scored the next six points, and ended the half with a 19-7 run
  • SHU would close within 10 points, twice, in the final minutes, but never get back to single-digits

Pioneer Points

  • Ozier hit four triples on the afternoon, and added six boards and our assists, as he had his sixth 20-point game of the year
  • Clarke tallied 14 points as well as a game-best five assists
  • Kinnon LaRose knocked down 4-7 from behind the arc, do finish with 12 points
  • Jare'l Spellman also scored a dozen, to go along with a game-high equaling eight rebounds
  • E.J. Anosike scored 10 and had eight rebounds
  • SHU finished with a 39-33 advantage on the boards, including a 15-8 edge in offensive rebounds

By the Numbers

  • Saint Francis shot 53.2 percent from the field as a team for the game, hitting 6-16 from behind the arc
  • Isaiah Blackmon led the effort, with 24 points and eight rebounds
  • Keith Braxton scored 18, while Randall Caskins shot 7-8 to tally 14
  • Myles Thompson finished with 12 points

First-Half

  • The Red Flash opened the game with the first four points in the first 1:39 of play
  • Ozier put the Pioneers on the board with a driving layup at 18:02
  • After a Randall Gaskins basket, Ozier knocked down a three-pointer to get SHU within a point, 2:28 into the game
  • Myles Thompson knocked down a three at 16:54, and Blackmon scored a driving layup at 16:27, to push the Red Flash lead to 11-5
  • LaRose hit for the first time at the 15:02 mark, ending the SFU run and making the deficit 11-8
  • Zach Pfaffenberger scored off an inbound pass to get SHU within a point, 11-10
  • The Red Flash ended a scoring 4:05 scoring drought at 12:22 on a basket by Ramiir Dixon-Conover
  • That basket started a 6-0 SFU run, forcing a Pioneer timeout with 11:16 to play and the Red Flash in front, 17-10
  • Clarke hit a three from the win at 10:42, ending the SFU run and a 2:05 Pioneer scoring drought
  • Blackmon took a pass Braxton at the basket, for a 19-13 lead and Flagg made a free throw to make it 20-13
  • Anosike dunked a pass from LaRose at 8:23 to make the score 20-15, which Braxton answered with a pair of free throws 20 seconds later
  • Clarke started a 5-0 run with a layup, that Ozier followed with a three at the 7:20 mark to bring SHU within 22-20
  • Braxton responded at 7:11 and then Ozier knocked down a spinning jumper from 15-feet to bring SHU back within two, 24-22 at the 6:47 mark
  • Clarke made the deficit one, with a free throw at 6:12, 24-23
  • SFU scored the next six points, in a 72 second span, to push the lead to 30-23
  • A pair of free throws from Ozier with 4:31 to play in the half, temporarily stymied the run, but the Red Flash used a 13-5 run over the closing minutes of the half, to take a 43-30 edge into the locker room0

Second-Half

  • Blackmon started the scoring with a basket on the first possession of the second-half, pushing the lead to 46-30
  • The Red Flash took its largest lead, 19, with 6:43 to play when Gaskins scored in the paint
  • Anosike started a 9-2 that brought the Pioneers within 10, 78-68 with 2:45 to play, when Ozier hit his final three of the game
  • The Pioneers got within 10 two other times in the final moments, but were never able to get into single-digits