By Dan Gardella
Fairfield – As 2017 winds down, Sacred Heart University looked to carry any kind of momentum into the new year. After a disappointing loss to St. Francis Brooklyn Friday afternoon, the Pioneers welcomed in Fairleigh Dickinson. The Knights were winners of the conference in 2016 and picked to finish second in the conference this season.
Following Friday’s loss, Sacred Heart head coach Anthony Latina was looking for someone to step up and lead his squad to a win.
Enter Kinnon LaRose. LaRose, a transfer from Siena scored a career-high 24 points, including 16 in the second half, along with grabbing nine rebounds to lead Sacred Heart to a thrilling 66-65 win over Fairleigh Dickinson Sunday afternoon at the William H. Pitt Center.
“He’s trying to find his way on the court and get comfortable so he doesn’t hunt down shots enough. We are begging him to hunt down some more threes.” said Latina
Sacred Heart went toe-to-toe with the Knights throughout the game and went into the halftime break tied at 30. From there, Fairleigh Dickinson began to build momentum and maintained a two-possession lead over the Pioneers for most of the second half.
With Sacred Heart trailing by three with 11 minutes to play, Fairleigh Dickinson went on a 12-4 run to open the lead to 13, the largest of the game with about 8 minutes to play. In the Pioneer huddle during a timeout, Latina broke his clipboard in frustration with his team down double digits with little time to play.
“I felt we were getting outworked and out toughed during that 4 minute stretch, and that’s unacceptable.” said Latina.
Following the Knight’s run and a broken clipboard, Sacred Heart began to mount the comeback, powered by LaRose scoring 8 points in the team’s 10-0 run to bring them within two.
“I got lucky, I got open a few times, I knocked down a few shots. But great passing by Sean (Hoehn), Cha-Cha (Tucker).” said LaRose on his career night.
Fairleigh Dickinson (4-9) (1-1 NEC) was led by senior guard Darian Anderson who scored 19 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.
The Pioneers (6-9) (1-1 NEC) travel to Wagner to take on the Seahawks Thursday, January 4th.