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Men’s basketball nets win in home opener

Senior+guard+Gavin+Rajahpillay+prepares+to+shoot+a+free+throw+against+Washington+Adventist+last+Wednesday.+The+Pioneers+won+92+to+79.
Senior guard Gavin Rajahpillay prepares to shoot a free throw against Washington Adventist last Wednesday. The Pioneers won 92 to 79.

Senior guard Gavin Rajahpillay prepares to shoot a free throw against Washington Adventist last Wednesday. The Pioneers won 92 to 79.

Photo by Robert Berger | Point Park Athletics

Photo by Robert Berger | Point Park Athletics

Senior guard Gavin Rajahpillay prepares to shoot a free throw against Washington Adventist last Wednesday. The Pioneers won 92 to 79.

Written By Derek Malush

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The Point Park men’s basketball team snapped its five-game losing streak last week by beating the Washington Adventist Shock 92-79 at their new home, CCAC-Allegheny.

“It feels unreal right now, I feel like I still want to play,” said senior guard Rushan Roberts. “I’m so excited.”

After being away from home for the first six games, the Pioneers found their groove by playing arguably the best basketball they’ve played all season in their home opener.

Point Park’s win was fueled by senior forward Fousseini Konate who pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds and added a game-high 22 points along with three blocks.

The win was Point Park’s second of the season.

“We needed this one so bad and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome,” head coach Gabe Bubon said.

It was a tied game late in the first half at 38-38, until the Shock hit a go-ahead three pointer to make it 41-38 at the end of the first 20 minutes.

“We needed to stop being cute and play some defense,” Bubon said.

Photo by Robert Berger | Point Park Athletics
Senior forward Fousseini Konate shoots for a layup against Washington Adventist in Point Park’s home opener last Wednesday. Konate scored the team-high of 22 points for the Pioneers.

That is exactly what the Pioneers did, as they forced 20 turnovers for the game on 14 steals and racked up ten Shock turnovers in each half.

Point Park’s defense spilled into the second half as it held the opposition to just 34 percent shooting from the floor and 18 percent from beyond the arc.

All five Pioneer starters finished in double-digits as they outscored the Shock 54-38 on 55 percent shooting in the second half.

Senior guard Gavin Rajahpillay put in 21 points of his own along with five steals. Junior guard Asim Pleas did it all with ten points, five assists and six boards. He also added a pair of steals to his credit.

The team improved its recent free-throw woes as Point Park buried 20 out of 27 shots from the charity stripe.

“Guys stepped up and that’s exactly what we needed to start the half,” Bubon said.

Two new transfers, Michael Connor and Daniel King, who combined for 29 points in the second half, helped seal the Pioneer win.

“We all came together as a family and wanted to get this home win,” said King.

The Pioneers’ largest lead swelled to 18 points in the second half as they were able to hang on for the13-point win.

“We’re having trouble finishing games but tonight our guys really wanted it,” Bubon said. “I went a little nuts at halftime during the Buffalo State game because they gave up.”

The Pioneers traveled to Buffalo, N.Y. prior to their home-opener where they dropped both of their games in the Buffalo State Coles Classic Tournament.

They lost in the first round to the University of Maine at Fort Kent on a buzzer-beater three-pointer that sent the Pioneers packing to the consolation round where they were routed by Buffalo State College 114-87.

Notching the win in the Pioneers home opener, Point Park now stands at 2-5 on the season and kicks off River State Conference (RSC) Wednesday at CCAC-Allegheny at 7:30 p.m. where they host the University of Rio Grande.

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