Point Park Globe

King dethrones Wilberforce University on last-second layup

Men’s basketball bookends win with pair of conference losses, falls to 1-3 in RSC

Senior+forward+Fousseini+Konate+shoots+for+a+layup+against+Washington+Adventist+in+Point+Park%E2%80%99s+home+opener+Nov.+22.+Konate+scored+the+team-high+of+22+points+for+the+Pioneers.
Senior forward Fousseini Konate shoots for a layup against Washington Adventist in Point Park’s home opener Nov. 22. Konate scored the team-high of 22 points for the Pioneers.

Senior forward Fousseini Konate shoots for a layup against Washington Adventist in Point Park’s home opener Nov. 22. Konate scored the team-high of 22 points for the Pioneers.

Photo by Robert Berger | Point Park Athletics

Photo by Robert Berger | Point Park Athletics

Senior forward Fousseini Konate shoots for a layup against Washington Adventist in Point Park’s home opener Nov. 22. Konate scored the team-high of 22 points for the Pioneers.

Written By Derek Malush

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The men’s basketball team put together another heroic finish as the Pioneers overcame Wilberforce University on Thursday night, beating the Bulldogs 73-72 on a last-second layup to give them their fourth win of the season.

With the absence of senior guard Gavin Rajahpillay due to an ongoing hip injury, the Pioneers were searching for a leader in sophomore Daniel King.

Point Park was down by two points with less than ten seconds to go as King sped up the floor and drove to the bucket, relentlessly finishing a layup while drawing a foul.

“Coach drew up a pick-and-roll and when I saw the open lane I took advantage,” King said.

King converted his ensuing free-throw with 0.8 seconds left in the game to give the Pioneers the lead.

On the final play of regulation, the Bulldogs inbound pass was stolen by senior Fousseini Konate, which sealed the win for Point Park.

“A win is a win,” head coach Gabe Bubon said. “For as many things as he (King) did good we still did a lot of bad things.”

The Pioneers turned the ball over 24 times and had only ten team assists on the night.

However, Point Park out-rebounded the Bulldogs 36-29 and recorded nine team steals on the defensive end.

Junior guard Asim Pleas scored 16 points and had eight rebounds on the night.

“Gavin’s absence has a lot to do our assist totals because we rely on him heavily to handle the ball and control the tempo of the game,” Pleas said. “Guys like me, King, and Mark (Shehady) must do a better job controlling the pace of the game.”

The Pioneers shot 50 percent from the field as King led the offensive charge with a game-high 26 points along with a pair of steals.

“To win a game with 24 turnovers, we just need to accept that outcome and work on the little things,” Bubon said.

Despite their victory against Wilberforce University, Point Park lost two River State Conference (RSC) games last week that shifted their record on the season to 4-8 and 1-3 in RSC play.

The Pioneers fell to the Carlow University Celtics 85-74 at home on Tuesday and dropped Saturday’s game at Indiana University Kokomo, 96-82.

“This Carlow game was a tough loss but we’ll bounce back,” Bubon said.

The turnover miseries began against the Celtics as the Pioneers lost the ball 22 times throughout the game and finished with 21 team fouls on the evening.

“They (Carlow) wanted it more and we took them for granted,” Bubon said.

Carlow was 0-7 on the season before entering Tuesday’s matchup versus Point Park.

The Pioneers shot just 36 percent for the game and 27 percent from long range.

The team was led by King who dropped 33 points along with Konate’s game-high 16 rebounds and 3 steals.

Rajahpillay put his injury to the test after sitting out the last two games as he came off the bench against Indiana University Kokomo. He put up seven points and five assists in his 28 minutes of floor time.

“Gavin is at about 80 percent right now,” Bubon said.

Rajahpillay is listed as day-to-day and every game, “is his call,” Bubon said.

Point Park’s 50-point second half was not enough to complete the comeback as it shot 46 percent from the field but limited their turnovers to just 7 for the game.

“To win games on the road you have to want it more,” Bubon said. “Like every game, you need to have that winning mentality.”

King put up a game-high 31 points, his second 30-plus-point game in the last three games as Konate tallied a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

The Pioneers return to action on Dec. 16 for the final game of 2017 when they travel to NCAA Division II Malone University in Canton, Ohio, looking to improve their record to 5-8 on the season.

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