For the third time in four seasons the Sacred Heart University men's basketball team opened the season with a victory in the Connecticut 6, defeating the University of Hartford 71-53 at TD Bank Center in Hamden, Conn. The Pioneers shot 58.8 percent from the field in the win and out rebounded the Hawks 35-23.
Cane Broome opened the scoring on the first possession of the second-half, pushing the Pioneer lead to 30-21. Over the next 3:21 seconds, Hartford outscored the Pioneers 11-3 and closed within a point, 33-32. The Hawks had the ball with a chance to take the lead, but the Pioneers held and then went on a run of their own. Steve Glowiak knocked down the squads only three-pointer of the night at the 14:41 mark to jumpstart a 9-0 Pioneer run over 2:04, that saw the Pioneers hit 4-7 from the field and extend the lead back to double-digits, 42-32.
Hartford sandwiched two hoops around a Cane Broome jumper to get within seven, 44-37, but the Pioneers answered once again, this time with a 5-0 run, in a 71 second span. Jordan Allen made a free throw at the 9:33 mark and followed a possession later with a layup on a pass from Evan Kelley. Kelley finished the run at the 8:25 mark with a fast break jumper to make the lead a dozen, 51-39 with 7:52 to play.
A Corban Wroe three pointer brought the Hawks back within single-digits, 51-42. Kelley scored on the next possession to push the lead back to 11, 53-42, and the Pioneer lead would remain in double digits the remainder of the contest.
De'von Barnett led three Pioneers in double figures, with 18 points on 8-11 shooting. He also finished with a game-high seven rebounds, as Sacred Heart compiled a 35-23 rebounding advantage in the contest. Kelley was 6-12 form the field for 13 points, while also handing out five assists and recording four rebounds. Allen rounded out the double-digit scores with 13 points in his Pioneer debut, as he was a perfect 5-5 from the floor. Phil Gaetano handed out seven assists for SHU, while scoring four points.
The Pioneers dished out 18 assists as a team, on 30 made baskets. SHU recorded nine steals and blocked three shots in the victory.
Yolonzo Moore II scored a game-high 22 points, shooting 8-13, for Hartford, and was joined in double-figures by Mark Nwakamma who scored 15 before fouling out of the game. Hartford committed 19 turnovers and handed out 13 assists in the game.
Hartford opened with a basket three second into the game and led 4-2 after 1:04 of action in the season opener for both squads. Back-to-back layups from Barnett at 16:38 and 16:19 put the Pioneers in front 6-4, but Corban Wroe knocked down a three-pointer 4:01 into the half to give Hartford the one-point edge, 7-6.
The SHU defense held Hartford scoreless over the next 5:00, holding the Hawks 0-6 from the field and forcing two turnovers during the stretch. SHU was perfect on the other end of the floor, going 4-4 from the floor and 2-2 from the line to build a 16-7 leads on an Evan Kelley layup with 12:07 to play in the first-half. The Pioneers built the advantage to 10, 24-14, with 6:44 to play, before the Hawks made a run of their own.
The Pioneers went scoreless for a 4:25 stretch as the Hawks rattled off seven unanswered points to get within three points, 24-21 on a Moore three-pointer with 3:41 remaining in the half. A pair of Barnett free throws with 1:53 to play in the half ended the Pioneer drought as SHU scored the final four points of the half to take a 28-21 lead into the break.
Story courtesy of Chris O'Connor, SHU Athletic Communications