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LaRose's Sharp Shooting Outing Aids SHU Victory

The Sacred Heart University men's basketball team clinched a winning season, with an 83-76 win over Northeast Conference host, Bryant University Sunday afternoon in Smithfield, R.I. The Pioneers improve to 17-12 overall and 10-6 in league play, while the Bulldogs fall to 14-15 on the year and 6-10 in NEC action.

The Pioneers had five players score in double-figures, led by the 18 points of E.J. Anosike. SHU shot 49.2 percent from the field and assisted on 18 of its 30 made field goals. Ogdensburg's Kinnon LaRose turned in a sharp-shooting outing going 5-6 from the floor and 3-4 from 3-point range in scoring 13 points.

The SHU victory earns the first winning season for the program since the 2009-10 team posted a 15-14 record. The Pioneers can finish between second and fourth in the NEC tournament seedings.

The Pioneers return home on Thursday, February 27 to take on St. Francis Brooklyn. The 7:00 pm game will air on SNY and NEC Front Row.

Turning Point

Juan Cardenas scored in the paint, with 3:22 to play, to bring the Bulldogs within five points, 74-69Aaron Clarke drained a three-pointer 29 seconds later and after a stop Kinnon LaRose hit a three in transition with 1:53 to play to balloon the lead back to 11 pointsClarke wrapped up the 8-0 SHU run with a driving layup with 71 seconds left, to make the lead an insurmountable 82-69

Pioneer Points

Anosike shot 7-9 from the field on his way to his 18 points, while collecting nine reboundsAaron Clarke tallied a dozen points and handed out six assistsKoreem Ozier finished with 14 points and four assists Tyler Thomas knocked down 4-8 from behind the arc as he tallied 16 and Kinnon LaRose was good on 3-4 from downtown, and finished with 13 points. Jare'l Spellman blocked three shots, to go with six boards and four points

By the Numbers

SHU committed just one first-half turnover and finished with just nine in the game, the sixth single-digit turnover game of the seasonThe Pioneers shot 49.2 percent on the day, with a 54.5 percent clip in the first-halfAdam Grant scored a game-high 24 points to lead four Bryant players in double figuresThe Bulldogs finished with a 41-36 advantage in rebounds, and a 17-12 offensive rebound edge

First Half

Anosike opened the scoring at the 18:22 mark with a jumper in the paint, that Hall Elisias answered 16 seconds laterAnosike muscled his way along the baseline to put the Pioneers back on top, 8-7, at the 15:30 markBryant scored four unanswered to build its largest lead of the game 13-9 on a driving layup from Grant with 13:01 to play in in the halfA Thomas three on the other end was followed at 12:02 by a pair of Clarke free throws, to give the Pioneers a 14-13 advantage, that SHU relinquishedThose points jump started a 10-0 SHU run, that Thomas capped at 10:53 with the 19-13 advantageThe lead fluctuated between five and 13, the Pioneers reaching that margin on a Kinnon LaRose transition three with 2:56 to play in the half, 42-29Bryant would score the next eight points, closing within 42-37, when Green converted a traditional three-point play with 1:35 to playOzier drained a three and after a Clarke fast break basket, scored his own transition basket with 34 seconds to play, as the Pioneers closed the half on a 7-0 run, and took a 49-37 lead to the break

Second Half

Ozier hit a pair of free throws 22 seconds into the second-half, giving SHU a 51-37 advantage, its largest lead of the gameThe Pioneers equaled that margin when LaRose scored on a break at 18:12 for a 53-39 leadCardenas scored in the paint at 17:55 to open a 6-0 Bulldog run, that closed the deficit to 53-45LaRose laid in the ball at the 16:20 to end the run and put the Pioneers lead back into double-digitsCardenas drained a three for the Bulldogs at 15:38 and began a 10-3 run that Grant capped with a triple of his own (12:52) to bring Bryant within three, 58-55Zach Pfaffenberger ended a 3:58 SHU scoring drought with 12:28 to play and pushed the lead back to two possessions, 60-55A Thomas three with 10:33 to play gae SHU a 64-56 advantage, the only field goal for either team in a 5:00 stretch, that saw Bryant hit 5-6 from the line to close within four, 64-60 with 8:42 remainingBryant was able to close within three twice, 66-63 with 7:17 top lay and 68-65 with 6:33 to play, but each time the Pioneers respondedSpellman sank a hook shot with 6:10 to play to fend off the last Bryant run and LaRose hit from the wing with 4:25 to play, giving the Pioneers a 73-65 advantageBryant made one last push, closing within five points on Cardenas' layup with 3:22 to playAnosike assisted on back-to-back possessions, feeding Clarke (2:53) and LaRose (1:53) for three-pointers to push the lead back to double digits, 80-69Clarke capped the 8-0 run with 1:11 to play, on a driving layup

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