FAIRFIELD -- For about 32 minutes, Shane Gibson could not miss.
The Sacred Heart guard was pouring in points from all over the floor at the Pitt Center, and Quinnipiac was scrambling to just keep up with him.
Then coach Tom Moore put Shaq Shannon on Gibson, who would miss his final eight shots and not score in the final 8:58 in an 81-74 loss to the Bobcats in front of 803 fans. Gibson finished with 36 points -- five shy of his career high.
"I think the kid is an incredible offensive player and it's hard to be talking about defense when he had 36 points," Moore said. "We tried Zaid Hearst on him, then we tried Garvey Young, and Evan Conti was on him for a little because of foul trouble. Then we tried Shaq on him.
"I don't know if Shaq did a really good job -- he was really attentive to him -- or Shane wore down a little bit, but I thought our depth in the last seven or so minutes (was the key)."
The loss was SHU's third straight and dropped the Pioneers (9-16, 7-7 Northeast Conference) to seventh place in the league. Quinnipiac (13-13, 9-5) won its fifth straight and was led by 14 points from Ike Azotam and 13 from Ousmane Drame.
"They came out with better defense and were more aggressive than we were," said Gibson, who banged his left knee in the second half and admitted it might have slowed him down. "They started getting easy baskets around the rim and the big men were picking up ticky-tack fouls. ¦ That's where we messed up, giving them easy and-1s."
In addition to shutting down Gibson, the Bobcats were excellent at the foul line, making 25-of-29 attempts, including 22-for-25 in the second half. They also turned 19 offensive rebounds into 23 second-chance points.
The combination helped negate a hot first half from SHU, which shot 64.3 percent (18-for-28) and got 20 points from Gibson to take a 42-38 lead. Louis Montes added 14 in the half but would finish with 17 as the Pioneers shot just 12-for-35 after the break (34.3 percent).
SHU went to the line just eight times for the game and hit five.
"I thought we outplayed them in the first half and they outplayed us in the second half," SHU coach Dave Bike said. "That's one of the pet peeves, the foul line, and to get beat by 20 points at the foul line and by 17 (free throws) in the second half, it's a tough way to go."
The Pioneers led by as many as six points twice in the second half, but the Bobcats kept hanging around. And once they stopped Gibson, SHU struggled with just nine points in the final 8:58.
"I thought defensively they just outplayed us a little," said SHU guard Phil Gaetano, who had 10 assists. "We didn't get some stops we needed ¦ and we didn't convert as many plays as they did."