By Kyle Flynn
Not only was it their final home game of the season, but it was also Senior Night for the Sacred Heart Pioneers this past Feb. 9. The emotion and chemistry this team played with when it was their last time in a place they hold dearly to their heart, is unmatched. Sacred Heart (12-15, 7-7 NEC) defeated Central Connecticut (5-20, 3-11 NEC) by a final score of 74-57.
Three Blue Devils scored in double figures led by 14-points by Mustafa Jones. Austin Nehls and Khalen Cumberlander finished with 12 a piece. Sacred Heart also had three players finish with double figure scoring including Sean Hoehn, who led all scorers in the game with 17 points.
The Pioneers defeated the Blue Devils back on Jan. 5 in a 64-62 thriller. The first time around CCSU was looking for revenge, hoping to avoid a loss on their second game, only three short days after losing their matchup with Fairleigh Dickinson on Tuesday night.
The Blue Devils got off to a five-point lead early on in the game, including 10 points in the first six minutes of the game. But CCSU eventually went cold, scoring just eight points in a span that lasted just about 10 minutes. CCSU attempted to recover, going on a 10-4 run to close out the half. The Pioneers had built a double-digit lead, but that nice run before halftime brought Central within nine.
Central would score the first five points of the second half and it looked to be a great finish, but that is as close as they would ever get to winning the game. Neither team played any better or worse than they did in the first half, and that was bad news for the Blue Devils.
The nine-point halftime deficit quickly built to 18 and that was all she wrote. Sacred Heart only made two more shots (same number of attempts) and one more free throw overall (one more attempt), but the game came down to the three-point shot. CCSU finished the game making only three total three-point shots out of 12, a percentage of just 25, while Sacred Heart hit 13 of their 23 three-point tries. 10 more made threes ends up being a 30 point difference in scoring, and it killed CCSU’s chances of winning the game.
The Blue Devils play Saint Francis, Robert Morris and Saint Francis-Brooklyn all at home court, before finishing the regular season on the road at Bryant.
The NEC postseason tournament starts soon after that on March 3, but if the Blue Devils who drop to will likely need to win all four of their remaining games. The NEC has 10 teams and only eight make the conference tournament; CCSU is sitting alone in ninth place right now. Fans can come out and support them in their efforts to make the tournament, on Feb. 16, 18, and on senior night, Feb. 23.