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Sacred Heart vs. UAlbany (Preview)

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Preview of Sacred Heart University's Men's B-Ball Team, per the NEC webpage:


Sacred Heart

There is a buzz building on the Sacred Heart campus, one that hasn’t been felt since the university elevated its athletic program to Division I status in 1999. It started back in March when the Pioneers wrapped up their best-ever regular season showing in the NEC with a second place finish and then went on to win the first two tournament games in school history. A spine-tingling 74-70 setback to CCSU before a national television audience in the conference title game proved to be the crowning moment for a program that just two years earlier finished with a 4-23 record and was picked to finish ninth in the conference in the 2006-07 NEC preseason coaches poll.


Following the school-record 18-win season, Sacred Heart followers have every reason to be optimistic this year with the return of one of the most accomplished outfits in the conference. It will now fall on to 30th year head coach Dave Bike to balance the expectations that will likely follow his team.


One aspect of the game Bike can surely rely on is his team’s ability to shoot the basketball as Sacred Heart returns four players who hit 39 or more three-pointers a year ago when the Pioneers led the NEC and ranked 17th nationally in scoring with 78.5 ppg. The veteran of the group is senior guard Drew Shubik, a terrific all-around player who drilled 40 trifectas and averaged 9.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg and a team-leading 4.0 apg. The reigning NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in men’s basketball also ranked second in the conference with 2.0 spg and a 1.83:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. If the 6’4” Shubik causes matchup problems with his size, junior Luke Granato is even a bigger headache for opposing coaches. At 6’6”, Granato (8.8 ppg) finished fifth in the league with 71 shots from outside the arc, including a career-high eight in Sacred Heart’s competitive showing against North Carolina last November.


Sophomore guards Chauncey Hardy and Ryan Litke will look to build on their impressive freshman campaigns. Hardy, a terrific athlete and adept distributor who was named to the all-NEC rookie squad, finished third on the team in scoring with 10.6 ppg, sank 39 treys and shot 43.8 percent from downtown to rank second on the circuit. A fearless shooter, Litke came off the bench to average 8.4 ppg, sank 62 three-point shots and finished third in the conference with a 43.1 percent success rate from long range. He was especially productive in the NEC Tournament, hitting for 13.3 ppg in three contests, including 12 points on 4-8 shooting from three-point range against CCSU in the title game. Adding to the long distance barrage this season will be 6’4” sophomore guard Corey Hassan, a 2005-06 America East all-Rookie selection who hit 67 trifectas for Boston University as a freshman.


Up front, senior power forward Joey Henley will likely miss the season with a knee injury sustained while playing receiver on the Pioneer football squad. Henley, who also missed the 2005-06 season with a football inury, came up big in the 2007 postseason, scoring 20 in the team’s quarterfinal win over Wagner before adding 22 points and seven boards in a dominating performance versus CCSU in the league championship game. A second team all-NEC pick as a sophomore, Henley (11.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg) has few peers in the conference as an athlete, displays a soft touch around the hoop - he finished third in the NEC with a .568 field goal percentage - and is nearly impossible to contain when he puts the ball on the floor. Fellow senior Brice Brooks had a breakout season in 2006-07, averaging 9.9 ppg and a team-high 6.0 rpg. A valuable performer off the bench early in the year, the 6’7” forward with a reliable mid-range shot was inserted into the starting lineup down the stretch as Sacred Heart closed out the year with seven wins in its last ten outings. Junior forward Ryon Howard began last season as a starter but went down early on with a knee injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Howard, if recovered, is a perfect fit in the Pioneers’ up-tempo style of play with his ability to finish on the break and his attacking style on offense. Junior Liam Potter, a 7’0” center, began to make strides last season when he started 19 games, averaged 4.7 ppg and shot 65.9 percent from the floor.


In the offseason, Bike added highly regarded 6’9” Turkish center Mehmet Sahan to the mix, as well as Jerell Thompson, a 5’10” point guard out of Plainfield, NJ. Joshua Marshall, a 2006-07 recruit who sat out last year, is a 6’5” forward who could see time as well in a deep Sacred Heart lineup.


Sacred Heart By The Numbers


Quick Facts

2006-07 Overall Record: 18-14

2006-07 NEC Record/Finish: 12-6/2nd

NEC Tournament Finish: Lost in Title Game

Starters Returning/Lost: 3/2

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 9/2

2006-07 Final RPI: 150

Games Decided By 5 Points or Less: 5-7


NEC Record

Last Two Years: 20-16 (.556)

Last Three Years 23-31 (.426)

Last Four Years: 31-41 (.431)

Last Five Years: 37-53 (.411)


Overall Record

Last Two Years: 29-31 (.483)

Last Three Years 33-54 (.379)

Last Four Years: 45-69 (.395)

Last Five Years: 53-90 (.371)


Leading Returning Scorers

Joey Henley: 11.1 ppg

Chauncey Hardy: 10.6 ppg

Brice Brooks: 9.9 ppg


Leading Returning Rebounders

Brice Brooks: 6.0 rpg

Joey Henley: 4.5 rpg

Drew Shubik: 3.9 rpg


Leading Returning Assists

Drew Shubik: 4.0 apg

Chauncey Hardy: 2.8 apg

Luke Granato: 0.8 apg





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Sacred Heart Chosen As Northeast Conference 2007-08 Men’s Basketball Preseason Favorite

Pioneers Aiming For First NEC Crown; Preseason All-Conference Team Announced



Somerset, NJ -- On the heels of a thrilling run to the NEC title game a year ago, Sacred Heart has been selected as the 2007-08 NEC men’s basketball preseason favorite, according to a vote of the league’s head coaches. The preseason rankings, along with the league’s preseason all-conference team, were announced during a media teleconference with coaches this afternoon as a prelude to the NEC’s 27th season.


Sacred Heart received eight first place votes from NEC head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own team. The Pioneers beat out Robert Morris, which received the remaining three first place votes. Wagner was chosen third, followed by Mount St. Mary’s in fourth and Quinnipiac in fifth. Defending NEC champion Central Connecticut State was picked sixth, along with Saint Francis (PA). St. Francis (NY) was tabbed eighth, followed by Fairleigh Dickinson in ninth, Monmouth in tenth and Long Island in eleventh.


Despite losing a number of key players to graduation - including 2006-07 NEC Player of the Year Javier Mojica - Central Connecticut State will attempt to become the first team since Rider in 1993 and 1994 to repeat as NEC champions.


This year marks the first time that Sacred Heart has been selected the NEC’s preseason favorite by head coaches. In their previous eight years in the conference, the Pioneers had never been picked higher than seventh in the poll (2002-03).


Now in his 30th year as head coach at Sacred Heart, Dave Bike is the winningest active coach in the NEC with 446 career victories. After a slow build, Bike and the Pioneers established a school Division I record with 18 victories and reached the NEC championship game for the first time last season before losing to Central Connecticut State, 74-70, in one of the most exciting NEC title contests in recent years. Sacred Heart also finished a best-ever 12-6 in NEC play in 2006-07. Despite losing first team all-NEC honoree Jarrid Frye, the Pioneers are still loaded, especially in the backcourt where they return a bevy of sharpshooters. Senior Drew Shubik (Stoystown, PA/North Star), along with sophomores Chauncey Hardy (Middletown, CT/Xavier) and Ryan Litke (Windsor, CT/Windsor), combined with senior forward Luke Granato (Rocky Hill, CT/Northwest Catholic) to sink 212 three-pointers at a 40.9 percent clip last season. The Pioneers will add yet another three-point marksman to the mix this season in sophomore guard Corey Hassan (Merrimack, NH/Merrimack (Boston U.)), who was an America East all-Rookie selection in 2005-06 after drilling 67 shots from long range as a freshman at Boston University. Though the Sacred Heart frontcourt was weakened by the loss of former NEC all-star Joey Henley (Kent, WA/Kentride) to a knee injury, the Pioneers bring back battle-tested senior forward Brice Brooks (Silverdale, WA/Central Kitsap), along with junior forward Ryon Howard (Bronx, NY/Holderness School), who is back after missing nearly the entire 2006-07 campaign with a knee injury of his own.


. . . .



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Northeast Conference

2007-08 Men’s Basketball

Preseason Coaches Poll


1. Sacred Heart (8)

2. Robert Morris (3)

3. Wagner

4. Mount St. Mary’s

5. Quinnipiac


Saint Francis (PA)

8. St. Francis (NY)

9. Fairleigh Dickinson

10. Monmouth

11. Long Island


First place votes in parentheses



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It'll be interesting to see if it's used again today. I have no idea if it's effective or not but I like it. I have to think it makes it hard to scout for. You prepare your team for their starting five and two minutes into the game you have the second starting five - it's got to cause some confusing for the other team.

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Great win today. It wasn't pretty, especially the first half but a win is a win. Congrats guys.


Thank goodness I got my Dane Zone going this afternoon.

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Great win today. It wasn't pretty, especially the first half but a win is a win. Congrats guys.


Thank goodness I got my Dane Zone going this afternoon.


Yes, the Dane Zone is such a much nicer way to keep track of UA hoops when you can't be at SEFCU. I have a new laptop, but it was easier to see the game on an older machine. I used the new laptop for the sound, but the time discrepancy was 5-10 seconds. Anyone else experience the same kind of broadcast?


It was pretty ugly in the beginning, but the Danes showed more of their potential in the last 10 minutes. And, thank goodness, we didn't lose to SHU again.

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