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Croup’s Corner – A weird weekend

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Croup’s Corner – A weird weekend

Written By Josh Croup, Sports Columnist

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I’m in my third season covering Point Park basketball and have seen some great moments on the court.

There have been overtime thrillers, incredible comebacks and stellar performances. When both the men’s and women’s teams play doubleheaders at CCAC South, they rarely fail to disappoint.

When the teams played Midway University Friday night in a River States Conference (RSC) doubleheader, they did nothing but disappoint.

To be frank, it was one of the worst nights of basketball I have seen so far during my time at Point Park. It was ugly.

WOMEN

The women have established themselves as one of the top defenses in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) this season.

The team has battled through injuries and has overcome a lot of hardships this year. It was a really fun team to watch during the first semester.

I thought for sure the women would manage Midway, which entered the game 2-2 in RSC play. The Eagles finished 0-30 last year.

Point Park was lucky to have a 12-11 lead at the end of the first period. The Pioneers’ luck ran out after a sloppy second period, where they were outscored 24-15. They were outscored 25-13 in the third.

Point Park fell 76-53, ending its 9-game home winning streak that dated back to last year. The 23-point loss was by far the worst of the season.

The Pioneers had to play a game against the RSC West division-leading IU Kokomo the next day at noon. I thought they were doomed.

But man, sports are weird.

Hours later, it was literally a night-and-day performance for the Pioneers.

Tyra James lit up the scoreboard with a season-high 31 points. She hit seven three-pointers against the Cougars, who were 5-0 in RSC play entering Saturday.

Point Park combined for just five treys the previous night.

How does a team follow a 23-point loss to a decent Midway team, with a 27-point victory hours later against an undefeated IU Kokomo team? Maybe it was the metaphorical kick in the butt the Pioneers needed.

MEN

While I was surprised that the women fell to Midway Friday night, watching the men struggle against the Eagles and get outplayed on both sides of the ball was probably more surprising.

Maybe it was my fault.

I guaranteed a win on the car ride from Butler to CCAC South.

Could you blame me? Midway is in its first season of men’s basketball. The Eagles had just one win on the season in 13 previous games, and it was against Brescia, which currently sits at 0-6 in RSC play and 2-12 overall.

The Eagles were without their leading scorer, but so were the Pioneers. Point Park was without three of its top four leading scorers, but still had a solid starting five that should have been able to manage Midway.

Never make guarantees in life. Especially in sports.

It was one run after another. One minute, Midway had a double-digit lead. The next, the game was tied. It was back and forth like that almost all night, but Midway shot 51.7 percent from the field on the night en route to an 82-80 victory.

Midway played a solid game and made shots when it mattered. It just wasn’t meant to be for the Pioneers.

The men’s loss ended what was just a sour night in West Mifflin, with another conference game on the horizon.

IU Kokomo entered Saturday 4-1 in conference play, but again, sports are weird.

This game was a lot closer compared to Friday, especially early on in the contest. Point Park took a two-point lead into halftime and controlled a double-digit lead midway through the second half. IU Kokomo caught up to take a 68-66 lead with less than one minute remaining.

Enter Art Christian.

He hit both free throws with 40 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, then went on to score 10 of his 14 points in overtime to lift Point Park to a quality 84-73 win in overtime against the visiting Cougars.

This weekend proved why we play the games. It was a weird weekend that began with frustration and ended with a pair of solid victories.

It would have been really nice to pick up two W’s on the weekend. The women would stand at 6-0, alone in first place in the RSC. The men would stand at 5-1 in the RSC, good enough for a three-way tie in the RSC East with WVU Tech and IU East.

Now’s not the time to think, “What could have been?”

It’s time to buckle down as we’re knee-deep in conference play now, and forget about this awkward weekend. Both teams play ranked IU East teams Friday, followed by a date with Ohio Christian the following afternoon.

Here we go.

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