By Shawn Sailer
The Sacred Heart University Pioneers women’s and men’s basketball teams faced off with Fairfield University in the Crosstown Classic on Nov. 11 at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn.
The women’s game got the night started as Sacred Heart redshirt sophomore forward Katherine Haines led all scorers with 18 points as the Pioneers defeated the Stags 56 – 44.
Sacred Heart was impressive on both ends of the floor in the first quarter. They shot 53.8 percent from the floor and held the Stags scoreless for the final five minutes of the quarter. After one, Sacred Heart held a 18 – 12 lead.
Both teams had trouble scoring early in the second quarter. After Haines converted a layup with 8:47 to go in the half to make it 20 – 12, neither team scored again until 6:34 before the break when Haines once again made a layup.
Fairfield got on the board for the first time in the quarter with 5:34 left in the half on a jumper by redshirt senior forward Casey Smith. Fairfield cut the deficit to three, 26 – 23 with 1:01 left in the half before Sacred Heart closed the half on a 7 – 0 run to take a 30 – 23 lead into the break.
Sacred Heart opened the second half on a 6-0 run to up their lead to 36 – 23. Following a timeout by Fairfield, the Stags outscored Sacred Heart 11 – 4 over the final 7:32 of the quarter. Neither team scored for 2:47 seconds of the period until a Stags free throw with 53 seconds left capped the third quarter scoring. After three, Sacred Heart led 40 – 34.
The Pioneers stretched their lead to 48-36 with 4:52 to play. Sacred Heart would go up by as many as 16, 56 – 40 with 1:20 left in the game. The Pioneers dominated inside, scoring 54 percent of their points from inside the lane and won the turnover battle, committing 11, while forcing 17 for Fairfield.
Sacred Heart opens the season at 1 – 0, while Fairfield starts at 0 – 1.
The Pioneers open the home slate on Monday Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. against Brown at Dave Bike Court at the William H. Pitt Center at Sacred Heart. Fairfield looks to rebound when they host Loyola of Maryland on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at George Bisacca Court at Alumni Hall on the Campus of Fairfield University.
In the nightcap, the Stags defeated the Pioneers 85 – 63. Sophomore guard Curtis Cobb has a career high 26 points for Fairfield in the victory. Sacred Heart was led by their own sophomore guard, Quincy McKnight, who had 25 points in the loss.
The game was knotted at seven, 2:44 into the game. Fairfield then went on a 9 – 0 run to open up a 16 – 7 lead and never looked back. Sacred Heart cut the deficit to 19-13 with 11:46 left in the half before Fairfield went up 12, 29 – 17 with 6:25 left in the first half. Sacred Heart then had the deficit down to five, 35 – 30 on a McKnight jump shot before the Stags fined the half on a mini 5 – 0 run to take a 40-30 lead into the locker room.
Sacred Heart continued to chip into the deficit early in the second half, getting to within six, 50 – 44 with 13:22 to play. That was as close as the Pioneers would get as the Stags went on an 11-0 run to take a 61 – 44 lead with 10:31 remaining.
Fairfield went up 22 with 4:55 left when sophomore guard Jerry Johnson hit a three-pointer to give the Stags a 77 – 55 lead. Fairfield would take their largest lead of the game on a Johnson jumper with 2:00 to go to put them up 85 – 61. Johnson had 13 points off the bench for the Stags.
The Pioneers drop to 0 – 1 while the Stags start the season with a 1 – 0 record.
Sacred Heart will be back in action when they host Hofstra on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Fairfield will return to the court on Tuesday at Dartmouth. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.