Two years, 1,000 points – Croup’s Corner

Written By Josh Croup, Sports Columnist

photo courtesy of Liz Berie, Point Park Athletics

After 13 ties and 11 lead changes, Point Park edged out conference rival Rio Grande (Oh.) Saturday 92-89.

Point Park improved to 13-10 and 6-7 in conference play with its win and moved to 1.5 games out of second place in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) Colonial Division.

The game meant more to Pioneers point guard Jerah’me Williams.

In just his second year at Point Park, Williams became the 20th player in Point Park history to score 1,000 career points. He is the fourth to accomplish the feat in two years.

“It meant a lot,” Williams said in a phone interview Monday. “It felt good. It felt really good. It makes me think that hard work really does pay off. I was very appreciative of my coaches and my teammates.”

The senior scored 24 points in the victory and played a big role down the stretch. With the Pioneers down six with three minutes left, Williams connected on a clutch 3-pointer to cut the deficit to three.

One minute later and with 999 career points, he hit another trey to give Point Park an 81-80 lead. The Pioneers did not trail the rest of the game.

It wasn’t until the final whistle blew that Williams learned of his accomplishment.

“During the game, there was so much going and all I was focused on was getting the win,” Williams said. “I was very surprised. I was happy. I’m glad we got the win.”

Men’s basketball at Point Park has a 49-year history. Williams is 19th on the all-time scoring list at Point Park after Saturday’s game and is within reach of passing his head coach on the list.

27th-year head coach Bob Rager’s 1071 points from 1970-74 is good for 15th on the all-time list.

Williams transferred from Lourdes University in Ohio after his sophomore season. The Youngstown, Ohio native knew Rager and assistant coach Gabe Bubon in high school, where he was a three-time All-Ohio selection at Campbell Memorial High School.

He transferred to Point Park to get more playing time on the court and to play closer to home.

Williams has averaged 19.3 points per game during his Point Park career and rarely sees time on the bench.

The last Pioneer to score 1,000 points was Gabe McNeal from 2012-14. McNeal was the third player in Point Park history to score 1,000 points in two seasons and finished with 1,056 in his career.

It only took Williams 52 games to rack up 1,000 points with still three games left in the regular season before the KIAC Tournament.

The team has more chemistry on the court now than it did early in the season. The point guard said he appreciates his group coming together and playing as a team as the season winds down.

“It means so much,” Williams said. “I wish we would have gotten it together at the beginning of the season. We’re doing so many things in practice like sharing the ball and playing so good as a team. At the beginning of the season, if we had done that, we would have more wins than we do now. I’m glad we’re playing together now…it means a lot.”

Point Park is entering its final stretch of games in the regular season. For Williams and the other seniors, that means their time at Point Park is coming to a close.

The newest member of the 1000-point club said the top priority for the team is winning the conference tournament and enjoying their final games together.

“The main goal is to win the conference and go to the national championship,” Williams said. “The main thing, though, is just to have fun.”