Cohen, Red Flash Men’s Basketball Stun Sacred Heart


It was looking to be a grim night in Loretto, with the Red Flash trailing Sacred Heart by 17 with just 11 minutes to go.

Then the Northeast Conference’s leading scorer took over.

SFU’s Josh Cohen poured in 22 of his game-high 27 points in the final 11 minutes of regulation and overtime, including the game-winning basket on a pump-fake drive to the rim from the high post that resulted in an acrobatic layup with 3.6 seconds remaining in OT.

It was a dagger to Sacred Heart’s chances and the bucket that completed the Red Flash comeback.

“It was just kind of a bang-bang play,” said Cohen. “I was going to shoot it and he flew at me, so I pulled it back and tried to make a play.”

It wasn’t a great start to the night for the center from Lincroft, New Jersey. Cohen made just two of his eight shots from the floor in the first half and had two turnovers.

Sacred Heart’s defense contained Cohen nicely in the first 20 minutes, constantly doubling him in the paint.

After a missed layup from Cohen, Red Flash head coach Rob Krimmel had seen enough.

“I just told him, straight-up, he wasn’t playing well,” said Krimmel. “You’ve got to hold everyone to the same standard.

“If my other players see he can get away with not giving his best effort, then it trickles down.”

Cohen also grabbed 11 boards in the win and now sits 26 points away from joining the 1,000-point club at SFU entering Saturday’s home game against Merrimack.

It wasn’t just Cohen making big plays down the stretch for the Red Flash. Freshman Wisler Sanon had several key defensive plays late in the second half, including a game-saving stop at the end of regulation.

Sanon contested a shot from the Pioneers’ Nico Galette, who led SHU with 18 points and eight rebounds.

Sanon finished the game with zero shot attempts, but the fans in attendance at the Stokes Center and those viewing the nationally televised game could clearly see that his defense was the best on the floor for either team.

Maxwell Land added 14 points for the Flash on a six-for-10 shooting night, including two threes.

Brad McCabe chipped in 12 points on three-of-six shooting (three three-pointers). He made one of two free throws with 17 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 70 and force overtime.

This was truly a game of runs: Saint Francis opened the game on an 11-0 outburst. Sacred Heart then closed the first half on a 14-1 run and SFU mounted a 20-6 rally in the second half.

After relinquishing the lead with 2:08 left in the first half, Saint Francis didn’t regain it until a Cohen free throw with 3:04 left in overtime.

When asked where this ranks as far as comebacks during his time as head coach at Saint Francis, Krimmel said it would probably be second. SFU erased a 20-point second-half deficit against Central Connecticut at home in 2020.

The loss snapped a four-game losing streak for the Flash.

Galette (18 points), Joey Reilly (17) and Raheem Solomon (13) all scored in double figures for Sacred Heart.

Both teams shot the ball well from three-point range: Saint Francis (10-18); Sacred Heart (9-22).

Another noteworthy stat from the game was the low number of fouls. The officials called just five fouls in the first half and 24 for the 45-minute game, letting the two teams play a physical style throughout the night.

The game was nationally televised on ESPNU.

Saint Francis (9-15, 6-5 NEC) hosts Merrimack on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Pioneers (13-14, 6-6) are off until Feb. 16 when they host Fairleigh Dickinson.