by Dan Gardella


Fairfield – For a mid-major program, every game counts. Especially when it comes to conference play. Sacred Heart prepared a difficult non-conference schedule in hopes of it strengthening the team as Northeast Conference play approached.


However, the first conference battle of the year did not go the Pioneers’ way as they fell to the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers 73-68 Friday afternoon.


The Pioneers shot themselves in the foot on numerous occasions, turning the ball over 16 times and connecting on only 6 of their 25 three point attempts.


“Overall, we just have to play more efficiently, more intelligently, and we have to make a few more plays” said Sacred Heart head coach Anthony Latina


Sacred Heart came out of the gates quickly, taking a 14-8 lead five minutes into the game. The Terriers responded with a 15-6 run over the next five minutes and took a 23-20 lead on a Glenn Sanabria three. The Pioneers would trail for the rest of the game.


Without preseason All-NEC First team selection Joseph Lopez, Sacred Heart got help in the form of sophomore Zach Radz and freshman Alex Watson. Radz had 11 points and 6 rebounds and Watson scored 8 points, all in the first half.


“I think those guys can even play better. But they are coming. So, they are starting to give us good contributions.” said Latina praising his underclassmen.


Rasheem Dunn scored 16 points to lead St. Francis Brooklyn (4-9) (1-0 NEC), who were picked to finish 10th in the NEC preseason poll.


Sacred Heart (5-9) (0-1 NEC), has a quick turnaround as they welcome Fairleigh Dickinson to Fairfield on Sunday.