Gibson scores 31 to power SHU past Quinnipiac
Updated 12:31 am, Sunday, January 13, 2013
HAMDEN -- If the Sacred Heart Pioneers are dreaming, don't wake them up.
After a horrible postseason left them at 2-9, Dave Bike's squad has found a new life in Northeast Conference play.
Shane Gibson scored a game-high 31 points and Steve Glowiak added 21 to lead SHU over rival Quinnipiac 80-74 Saturday afternoon in front of 1,950 fans at the TD Bank Sports Center. Throw out a lackluster second half at Central Connecticut State on Thursday night and the Pioneers (5-10, 3-1 NEC) would be perfect in conference play.
Regardless, they will take the hot start, especially heading to Pennsylvania for a two-game swing next week.
More InformationGlance at the game GAME MVP: Shane Gibson scored 31 points, including going 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 46 seconds. KEYS TO VICTORY: The Pioneers went 8-for-9 in the final minute at the foul line and finished 22-for-28 overall there. SHU also was 8-for-17 from 3-point range, with Gibson and Glowiak going 7-for-12. The Pioneers also held Quinnipiac to 39.7 percent shooting with solid defense. UP NEXT: Thursday at Robert Morris, 7 p.m. -- WILLIAM S. PAXTON
"The guys in the locker room, every day we come in and say `playoffs' -- the playoffs start now," said Gibson, who went 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 45 seconds to seal the win.
SHU was 8 of 9 on free throws in the final 1:20 and 22-for-28 overall.
"Today we finished the game and closed the deal," Bike said.
QU (5-10, 1-3 NEC) was led by Dave Johnson's 17 points and double-double efforts from Ike Azotam and Jamee Jackson, who each had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the final conference meeting between the schools at TD Bank. The Bobcats are moving to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference next season.
However, for much of the game the Bobcats struggled to find any type of consistent offense and shot just 39.7 percent from the field (27-for-68). QU was also 14-for-27 at the foul line.
"The problem in the first half was we couldn't put the ball in the basket from the 3 or the foul line again," QU coach Tom Moore said. "We were in good shape at halftime (down 29-26), but eventually we succumbed in the second half to the ball not going in, I guess."
Even though Gibson struggled in the first half and finished with just seven points on 3 of 9 shooting, Glowiak was red hot with 14 points.
"At the beginning of the game he was carrrying us," Gibson said.
Glowiak was 4-for-4 from field, with three 3s and made all three foul shots.
In the second half, Gibson took over and the Pioneers led by as much as 61-41 with 7:33 left. QU whittled it down to 78-74 with 15 seconds left, but SHU's foul shooting denied a comeback.
Bike said his team's improved play can be traced back to even before SHU beat Long Island on Jan. 3 in the league opener.
"I thought we were playing decent ball prior to the two eggs we laid at LaSalle and George Washington," Bike said. "I thought we were playing decent and trying to be a little more consistent. We're pleased with the outcome today and I've been pleased with the effort."