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SFU men run away in 2nd half for win

From Mirror, wire reports

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — A 19-0 second-half run allowed the Saint Francis men’s basketball team to pull away after a back-and-forth first half, as the Red Flash opened a two-game series at Sacred Heart with a 76-58 victory Thursday night.

Freshman Maxwell Land led the Red Flash with 14 points, senior Ramiir Dixon-Conover added 12, and redshirt sophomore Bryce Laskey chipped in 11 in the Northeast Conference victory. Redshirt freshman Josh Cohen contributed his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

“I thought it was a great team win,” SFU coach Rob Krimmel said. “We got contributions from a lot of guys. We got off to a good start in the first half, and how we finished that half was an important step for us. In the second half, I called a timeout, because we had just given up a four-point play and I was a little concerned with our guys’ body language … I wanted to make sure our guys understood there was a lot of basketball left.”

Shortly after Sacred Heart took its first lead of the second half at 46-45, the teams were tied at 48 before Saint Francis rattled off the next 19 points over a stretch of seven minutes. The second-half run followed a first half in which the Red Flash and Pioneers exchanged the lead 13 times.

“We ran into some foul trouble, but I thought we got some great lifts when we changed the lineup a bit in the second half. “I thought we really took a step tonight as a team,” Krimmel said.

The game was tied at 48 before Saint Francis erupted for its big run, holding Sacred Heart off the board for 7:02 of the second half.

The two teams get back at it this afternoon at 4 p.m.

ST. FRANCIS (3-7): Flagg 3-5 2-3 8, Hargis 2-5 0-0 5, Dixon-Conover 4-9 2-2 12, Laskey 3-6 2-2 11, Land 6-10 0-0 14, Giles 2-6 2-2 6, Cohen 5-8 1-3 11, Harrison 1-2 0-0 2, Stewart 1-2 0-0 2, Ruggery 1-2 0-0 3, Coleman 0-0 2-2 2, Henry 0-0 0-0 0, Seidel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-55 11-14 76.

SACRED HEART (4-5): Dutreil 2-7 0-0 4, Spokas 0-5 2-2 2, Sixsmith 3-6 0-0 7, Thomas 9-22 7-7 28, Watson 1-6 0-0 2, Johnson 3-7 1-2 7, Clarke 1-4 0-0 2, Galette 0-2 0-0 0, Harris 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 22-64 10-11 58.

Halftime–St. Francis 38-32. 3-Point Goals–St. Francis 9-20 (Laskey 3-5, Land 2-2, Dixon-Conover 2-4, Ruggery 1-2, Hargis 1-3, Harrison 0-1, Stewart 0-1, Giles 0-2), Sacred Heart 4-26 (Thomas 3-10, Sixsmith 1-4, Galette 0-2, Johnson 0-2, Watson 0-2, Clarke 0-3, Spokas 0-3). Fouled Out–Dutreil. Rebounds–St. Francis 37 (Cohen 10), Sacred Heart 31 (Dutreil, Johnson 9). Assists–St. Francis 13 (Dixon-Conover, Giles 5), Sacred Heart 9 (Johnson 3). Total Fouls–St. Francis 17, Sacred Heart 16.

Men: SFU at Sacred Heart

Tipoff: 4 p.m., Pitt Center (Fairfield, Conn.)

Records: Saint Francis (3-7, NEC 2-4) and Sacred Heart (4-5; NEC 4-4)

Watch: NEC Front Row (Freddie Coleman, Randy Brochu, Natalie Discenza)

Notables: Tonight’s match will conclude the two-game series between Saint Francis and Sacred Heart,which was won by the Red Flash Thursday night. …When SFU freshman Ronell Giles, Jr. scored 21 points against the Bryant Bulldogs last week, that was the most scored by a Saint Francis freshman since Keith Braxton scored 22 points in the 2017 NEC tournament game. …The Red Flash are ranked 10th in the nation in Division I in three-point defense. They are facing a Pioneers team that has made the second-most 3-point-shots per game in the NEC.

Mirror prediction: Saint Francis 78, Sacred Heart 60

Mirror prediction record: 5-5

— Damian Runk

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