The Friars are playing their second game of the week, fresh off a victory over Dartmouth on Tuesday night. Sacred Heart comes to town for a Thursday night game at THE DUNK at 7PM.
Coach: Dave Bike (31st season)
Record Last Season: 18-14 (13-5, 3rd in NEC)
Away Record: 9-8
Sacred Heart is coming off another solid season in the NEC, finishing 3rd in the standings, and reaching the Conference Championship game for the second straight year (they lost both years).
They lost 4 seniors (including 2 starters) from last year’s team, but much like the Friars, got back an important player who missed all of last season. Senior team captain Joey Henley got injured during football season last year. However, he was granted a 6th year of eligibility from the NCAA (he also missed the 05-06 season). Coach Bike has also started two freshman in the back-court for their first two games.
Sacred Heart was picked to finish second in the Northeast Conference preseason coach’s poll. Mount St. Mary’s, the defending NEC champs, was selected first with nine first-place votes from NEC head coaches. Joey Henley was also picked for the preseason All-NEC Team.
Sacred Heart has gotten off to a rough start this year, losing their first two games to Holy Cross (67-58) and Fairfield (70-54). The young back-court is clearly going through some growing pains, as Freshman starters Shane Gibson and Steve Zazuri have combined for 16 turnovers. Overall the team has turned over the ball 20 times each game, for 30% TO%.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Joey Henley, Senior Forward
In between plays, Joey Henley and Geoff McDermott might have something else to talk about other than battling for rebounds. Henley, a 6-5 Forward from Kent, WA, is a multi-sport star at Sacred Heart. Aside from being on the outdoor track team, Henley was also an All-Conference wide receiver on the football team. However, his play on the football field resulted in two separate injuries (ankle and knee) that caused him to miss two full seasons of basketball. The NCAA granted him his 6th year of eligibility so he can play as a senior for the 2008-09 season.
Henley has been the lone bright spot on offense in Sacred Heart’s first two games, scoring 18 in both. He is also averaging 8 rebounds per game.
Sacred Heart also came to the DUNK last year and played the Friars extremely tough, losing 94-89. The Pioneers hung around the game thanks to 12 three-pointers. Good news for the Friars however, as 8 of the threes were by seniors who are no longer on the team.
Weyimni Efejuku and Geoff McDermott both had great games for Providence. Efejuku scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while McDermott had 21 and 10.
It will be interesting to see how McDermott looks one year later against the same team he dominated. So far he has struggled in Keno Davis’ new system, and the addition of a great athlete in Joey Henley should give him some trouble on defense.
Look for Keno to bring the press out a lot more, since Sacred Heart has a very inexperienced back court who have had many turnovers so far in the season.