Sacred Heart University

Sacred Heart head coach Dave Bike officially passes torch to Anthony Latina

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In 35 seasons as head coach at Sacred Heart University, Dave Bike racked up a list of accomplishments that any coach would be proud to claim. More than 500 victories, a Division II national title in 1986 and a transition to the Division I level that was completed in 1999.

The Pioneers may not have been able to get over the NCAA tournament hump under Bike’s watch at the Division I level, leading the Pioneers to two NEC tournament title game appearances, but that will not overshadow Bike’s overall body of work.

At the end of the 2012-13 season Bike decided that it was time to hang up his whistle, and on Thursday afternoon Sacred Heart officially announced Bike’s retirement and the hiring of Anthony Latina as his replacement.

To follow along with the 2013 Coaching Carousel, click here.

While this was an emotional day for all involved with Sacred Heart athletics, it was also one in which many gave thanks to Bike for his impact on the school.

“No one would debate that Dave Bike is the face of the institution in the athletic sense,” said Sacred Heart Executive Director of Athletics C. Donald Cook. “He’s been the pillar and standard for the intercollegiate athletics program since 1978 when he assumed the role of men’s basketball coach.

“While he’s accomplished much on the basketball court, and has garnered more honors and awards than he can count, his legacy is not just about sport. It’s been about the impact he has had on the lives of hundreds of young men who had the privilege of playing for him. Dave’s unconditional love for his players, and commitment to helping them become responsible adults, is his real legacy.”

With Bike moving into a part-time role in the school’s finance department, the question now is how quickly Latina can get the Pioneers headed in the right direction. Sacred Heart finished the 2012-13 season on a seven-game losing streak, missing out on postseason play for the third time in the last four seasons.

And with leading scorer Shane Gibson (21.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg) out of eligibility, Latina will need to rely on Luis Montes (14.4, 6.2) and Steve Glowiak (10.4, 3.0) in his first season as a head coach after stints as an assistant at Central Connecticut State and UMass-Lowell.

“I am very excited and appreciative for this opportunity. I know what a special place Sacred Heart University is and I hope that our program will represent this great university in the manner in which it deserves,” Latina said during the press conference.

“We will do everything possible to ensure our student-athletes have a first-class experience and reach their potential both on and off the court.”

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

No. 10 Gonzaga outlasts No. 18 UConn despite late offensive struggles

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No. 10 Gonzaga survived a furious rally from No. 18 UConn to win the third place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis, 73-70.

The Zags were up by as much as 21 points early in the second half, leading 48-27, but UConn slowly chipped away at the lead. Kyle Wiltjer led four players in double-figures with 17 points while Eric McClellan added 15 points, making a number of key plays in the second half when it looked like the Zags were in danger of giving away the lead.

As good as Gonzaga looked in the first 22 minutes of this game — and they looked really, really good — the second half exposed the concerns that many had with this group entering the season. Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., who both shot around 40 percent from beyond the arc and started for four years, graduated, meaning that Gonzaga’s point guard situation is, more or less, Josh Perkins.

Perkins was terrific in the second half of a loss to Texas A&M on Thursday. He played 17 foul-plagued minutes against UConn. When UConn’s defense ratcheted up during the second half, Gonzaga struggled finding a way to consistently get good shots on the offensive end. Part of that was due to ineffective point guard play and part of it was a result of not really having anyone on the offensive end that can create a look on their own. As skilled as Wiltjer is, his impact can be limited when pick-and-pop actions aren’t working and he’s getting doubled in the post.

Perkins is talented, but this is essentially his first season of college basketball; he was a medical redshirt last season after breaking his jaw last November. There are going to be ups-and-downs, and that’s problematic on a team where he is essentially the only point guard on the roster.

The good news?

Gonzaga beat a good UConn team on a day when their best players struggled in crunch-time. It was McClellan and Kyle Dranginis that made the big plays down the stretch, not the big names on the Gonzaga roster.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady ‘awake, alert’ after getting stretchered off court

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Wichita State big man Anton Grady was stretchered off of the floor in the second half of a loss to Alabama after a nasty collision with Dazon Ingram.

The video can be seen above. There was nothing malicious about the way that Grady was injured. When he turned to run up the floor after missing a shot in the lane, he went face first into Ingram’s shoulder. He neck bent in an awkward directions and, after stumbling a few steps, he laid motionless on the floor.

It took 10 minutes for the training staff to strap Grady to a backboard and wheel him out of the arena.

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A Wichita State spokesman told that Grady was taken to a local trauma center for evaluation and that he is “awake, alert and is answering questions appropriately”.

We will have more updates as they come available.

From a basketball perspective, the No. 20 Shockers lost their second game in a row and are now 2-3 on the season.

While for some the Shockers’ résumé is up for questioning following losses to USC and Alabama, two teams projected to finish in the bottom half of their respective leagues, the team’s health is the biggest concern.

Fred VanVleet has been dealing with a hamstring issue since the season began, and an ankle injury limited him in a loss at Tulsa earlier this month. He won’t play again until at least Dec. 5th. and who knows when he’ll be back to full strength. The same can be said for back up point guard and freshman Landry Shamet, who underwent surgery to address a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Their injuries have led to even more being asked of senior guard Ron Baker, and the loss of Grady for any significant amount of time certainly isn’t going to help matters..

These early-season losses won’t help Wichita State when it comes to the NCAA tournament, but it’s important to make note of the circumstances surrounding those defeats. To be shorthanded, with one of the absent players ranking among the nation’s best point guards, has an impact that has to be accounted for when evaluating Wichita State. The Shockers will add Conner Frankamp in mid-December, which will help them on the perimeter.

But with their rotation currently being in flux, it’s tough to make any definitive statements on what Wichita State will have to do in order to make another trip to the NCAA tournament. At this point Gregg Marshall and his staff will look for other contributors, one of whom being Markis McDuffie (14 points, seven rebounds vs. Alabama), to emerge and show themselves capable of picking up the slack.