by Dan Gardella
Fairfield – On the first day of December, snow was not the only thing falling on Sacred Heart’s campus. The Pioneers assisted on 33 of the team’s 42 field goals on their way to a 101-57 victory over Division III Pine Manor.
The biggest story of the afternoon was sophomore Cameron Parker. The guard broke an NCAA record with 24 assists in the game. The historic day broke the previous record of 22 assists in a game, which was set four previous times, the latest being Trae Young in 2017.
“I remember that we got the stat sheet, and at the under-eight timeout he had 11 or 12 assists. I was like ‘Cam’s got 12 assists already?’. He does it so often that you don’t even realize it,” said head coach Anthony Latina.
Parker finished the first half with a staggering 15 assists and just two turnovers. In the second half, Parker tied the school record of 19 assists five minutes into the second half. With 12:25 left in the game, Parker would find senior Kinnon LaRose on the fast break for the basket and the record.
Parker, who was coming off of a 16-assist outing in the Pioneers’ last game against Quinnipiac on Nov. 24, was in a giving mood with the holiday season right around the corner.
“Putting myself in the record book in just my sophomore season is crazy,” said Parker. “It’s such a huge credit to my teammates. Like I said last game, they have to make the shot for me to get the assist.”
Since Parker’s arrival to Sacred Heart last season, it has been no secret that Parker has a gift of finding open teammates. Last season, Parker shattered the Sacred Heart and Northeast Conference records for assists in a season by a freshman.
“It’s definitely exciting coming here wanting to make history. We are on the verge of doing that,” said Parker.
In under two seasons of coaching him, Latina has said that he is one of the most skilled passers that he has ever coached. With 40 assists in his last two games, Latina says that Parker is beginning to find consistency delivering the ball to his teammates.
“He’s playing at a high level right now,” said Latina. “We certainly need him to play at a high level. When he is playing well, it makes the game easier for everyone else.”
With his historic performance on Sunday, Parker now leads all of college basketball in total assists (72), and is second in the country in assists per game (9).
Sacred Heart takes on UMass Lowell on Dec. 4, looking to climb above .500 for the first time this season.