Women’s Basketball Outlasts Robert Morris, 59-52
“[This part of the season] is the most fun. [When] these games are like this. Night in and night out there are games like this. You can beat anybody, you can lose to anybody. We’ve proven that.” Sacred Heart University women’s head basketball coach Ed Swanson
Robert Morris University came into the William H. Pitt Center on Saturday hot.
The Colonials had won 3 of their last 4, while holding those opponents to just over 44 points per game.
That defensive intensity was on display in the first half, as Robert Morris limited the Sacred Heart offense to 23 points on 30% shooting (9-30).
But, the Pioneers are even hotter.
Coming off the heels of head coach Ed Swanson’s 400th victory on Tuesday, Sacred Heart was riding a 7-game win streak – not willing to let it die in the second half.
In a game that saw 8 ties and 8 lead changes, the Pioneers overcame an early 5-point second half deficit to take the lead for good midway through the final frame when freshman forward Alissa Tarsi connected on 2 free throws.
Free throws were key for Sacred Heart, particularly down the stretch, as they shot 89% (16-18) on the afternoon.
Sophomore guard Gabrielle Washington, who leads the nation in free throw percentage (95%), was 9-10 from the charity stripe en route to a team-high 19 points.
Colonial junior forward Artemis Spanou, the country’s leading rebounder, led the game with 20 points and 13 rebounds, but turned the ball over 9 times. The 29 Robert Morris turnovers resulted in 25 Pioneer points.
“In the first half, we were really struggling offensively, none of our shots were falling. But in the second half, Ericka Norman, our point guard, was really pressuring the other point guard, which allowed Gabby Washington and Blair [Koniszewski] and myself to get up in the passing lanes, make our press a little bit of a factor.” Senior guard and 1,000 point scorer, Kiley Evans.
Sacred Heart (17-7, 9-3 NEC) remains 2nd in the Northeast Conference standings, while Robert Morris (7-17, 6-7) falls to 7th. The top 8 teams make the conference tournament slated to begin on March 10.
The Pioneers 5-game homestand continues on Monday when Saint Francis U (13-11, 8-5) visits for a 7pm tip.
Men’s Basketball: Robert Morris Survives Rally
“It’s hard to win at 37% [field goal percentage]. How are you going to win shooting 37%? We put ourselves in an opportunity to win with 37% if we made 75% of the foul shots.” Legendary Sacred Heart head coach and perpetual numbers guy, Dave Bike
With just 6:06 remaining in Sacred Heart’s 68-63 loss to Robert Morris on Saturday, Colonial sophomore forward Lucky Jones connected on 2 free throws to give his squad a 16-point lead.
If the game was over at that point, someone failed to inform the Pioneers.
Someone failed to inform Shane Gibson.
Gibson, the r-senior guard from Killingly, Conn., scored 13 of his game-high 17 points in the final 6 minutes, even sinking 4 buckets in a row, including 3 from beyond the arc.
After Gibson’s final 3-pointer, with 37 seconds left in the game, Sacred Heart r-junior forward Mostafa Abdel Latif grabbed a defensive rebound and the Pioneers pushed the ball up court.
With 15 seconds now remaining, the ball found the steady hands of r-sophomore guard Steve Glowiak.
Down by 2, Glowiak stroked a jumper from the elbow that missed, hitting only rim.
Junior forward Louis Montes fought hard for the board, but turned it over amid the struggle.
“I had to [take the game over]. We had to do what we had to do. I was missing all throughout the game and, obviously, they had great defense on me. It came to a point where I knew I had to make plays and I just stepped up and my teammates found me.” Gibson, the country’s 12th leading scorer
Robert Morris would then convert 3 free throws to end the game and secure the win.
From the line, the Colonials shot 85% (23-27); this was in haunting contrast to the 59% (24-41) of Sacred Heart.
Robert Morris also got 24 points from their bench, seeing two reserves – junior guard Karvel Anderson (13 points) and junior center Mike McFadden (10) – in double digits.
Freshman forward Tevin Falzon had 11 points off the bench for Sacred Heart, with 9 coming from the foul line.
The Colonials led wire-to-wire on the pleasant afternoon, opening up double-digit leads in both halves, only to see the Pioneers come firing back to bridge the gaps.
Despite their resolve, Sacred Heart was never able to tie the game, however.
Pioneer sophomore point guard Phil Gaetano returned from illness to lead the game with 5 assists, but the Robert Morris defense proved too much as they took the season series.
The win moves Robert Morris (18-9, 10-4 NEC) into a tie for first in the NEC and drops Sacred Heart (9-15, 7-6) to 6th.
The Pioneers are back in action Thursday when in-state rival Quinnipiac (12-13, 8-5) comes to Fairfield.