FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) -- Ryan Litke and Drew Shubik scored 16 points each as Sacred Heart defeated Quinnipiac, 83-69, in the semifinals of the Northeast Conference Tournament on Sunday.
The victory put Sacred Heart (18-13) in the NEC championship game for the first time in its eight seasons of Division I competition.The second-seeded Pioneers will play at top-seeded Central Connecticut in the conference title game Wednesday. The winner will receive an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.Tavio Hobson added 12 points for Sacred Heart and Chauncey Hardy had 10.Adam Gonzalez, who had been hospitalized since Tuesday with a skin abscess, returned to the lineup and led the Bobcats (14-15) with 20 points. DeMario Anderson had 14 points and Chris Wehye had 10 for the Bobcats, who shot 37.9 percent (25 of 66).The Pioneers broke the game open with a 9-2 run that lifted them to a 60-50 lead with 7:53 left on two free throws by Hardy. As Sacred Heart held the Bobcats without a basket for eight minutes, the Pioneers raced to a 73-56 lead on a layup by Joey Henley with 3:20 remaining.Quinnipiac opened the game with seven unanswered points, but Sacred Heart responded with a 10-0 run to take a 10-7 lead. The Pioneers led 35-33 at the end of a first half that featured five ties and five lead changes.