Point Park Globe

Men’s basketball starts season with winning record

Senior+guard+Asim+Pleas+drives+toward+a+defender+in+a+game+last+year.+The+team+got+its+first+win+of+the+season+against+Penn+State-+Shenango+Saturday.
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Men’s basketball starts season with winning record

Senior guard Asim Pleas drives toward a defender in a game last year. The team got its first win of the season against Penn State- Shenango Saturday.

Senior guard Asim Pleas drives toward a defender in a game last year. The team got its first win of the season against Penn State- Shenango Saturday.

Photo by Megan Bixler

Senior guard Asim Pleas drives toward a defender in a game last year. The team got its first win of the season against Penn State- Shenango Saturday.

Photo by Megan Bixler

Photo by Megan Bixler

Senior guard Asim Pleas drives toward a defender in a game last year. The team got its first win of the season against Penn State- Shenango Saturday.

Written By Derek Malush, For The Globe

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The men’s basketball team tallied their first win of the season on Tuesday night with an 87-55 win over PSU-Shenango at their home court of CCAC-Allegheny.

“It was awesome for me and the guys to celebrate in the locker room after a win like that,” head coach Joe Lewandowski said. “We understand the process of winning and know that the highs are just as important as the lows in a game.”

Starting guards Kyle Carrington and Asim Pleas were not in the starting lineup as Carrington is dealing with a leg injury and Pleas is battling sickness.

The Pioneer lineup looked a bit different as Lewandowski started senior transfer guard Justice Cuthbertson and senior guard Tramell Perry in place of Carrington and Pleas, who combined for 39 points in the last game.

“It’s a next guy up mentality for us and these guys know this,” Lewandowski said. “So everyone is ready for a game time decision.”

Midway through the first half, the Pioneers saw their biggest deficit of the night as they trailed the Nittany Lions 17-11 on the scoreboard.

From there, Point Park never looked back as they hit a 25-8 run to end the first half, leading PSU-Shenango 36-25.

The depth of the Pioneer bench played a major role in the win as they dropped 25 bench points.

Point Park’s defense was relentless as they forced 24 Nittany Lion turnovers, 12 off of steals and allowed them to drop just a total of four team assists.

“I feel as if we did a much better job locking in defensively,” sophomore guard Mark Shehady said. “We tightened up on our rotations and feel. Our togetherness was great.”

It was smooth sailing for the Pioneers coming out of the half as they stretched their halftime lead from 11 to 26 in just six minutes of play.

Led by sophomore sharpshooter Chance Wright, the Pioneers buried 16 3-pointers in the game on 35 percent shooting from the arc.

Wright’s five 3-pointers were accompanied by senior guard Daniel King who sunk four 3-pointers of his own in the winning effort.

“I try to lead by example and be a player who can make plays when they need to be made,” King said. “We focused on lowering our turnovers so that our offense could be simple.”

The Pioneers outscored PSU-Shenango in the second half by 21 points on 47 percent shooting from the floor.

Point Park finished with five players in double figures led by King who dropped 18 points.

Wright and Cuthbertson added 15 points of their own as Shehady finished 13 points and senior guard T.J Bates dropped 14 on 63 percent shooting.

The Pioneers squared off against PSU-Shenango again on Saturday afternoon in Sharon, Pa., where they notched their second win of the season, squeaking out a 68-63 victory over the Nittany Lions.

“Everybody is new so [they’re] trying to change things like attitude and culture in order to win,” Lewandowski said.

The Pioneers were off to a rough start on Saturday as they shot just 32 percent from the floor and committed seven fouls in the first half of play.

King led the team in scoring in the first half as he dropped all 12 of his points on 50 percent shooting through the first 20 minutes.

With five minutes left in the half, the Pioneers scored just five points which led PSU-Shenango to finish the half leading on the scoreboard, 29-27. 

“We are taking this day-by-day,” Wright said. “We’re just trying to improve as a team and get better then everything else will take care of itself.”

The Pioneers jumped back into the driver’s seat midway through the second half, taking just their second lead of the game at 47-45 on a Pleas 3-pointer.

It was turnovers and free throws late in the game that gave Point Park their chance at victory.

Forcing a whopping 13 turnovers in just the second half, the Pioneers were able to make the most of their opportunities as they scored 16 points off of 20 Nittany Lion turnovers.

Point Park also shot a pleasing 73 percent from the charity stripe in the second half which eventually sealed the victory for the Pioneers.

Bates and Cuthbertson were consistent at the free throw line late in the game as Bates went 4-6 and Cuthbertson made 4 of 5 to solidify the win. 

“Playing with a new team does not rattle me at all,” Cuthbertson said. “I’m just being myself and focusing on being a leader, teammate and an extension of my coaches on and off the floor.”

The Pioneers shot 41 percent from the floor and assisted on 14 of their 23 field goals.

Point Park (2-1) will hit the road again on Tuesday as they face off against Washington Adventist on Nov. 13 for an NAIA non-conference game. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. in Takoma Park, Md.

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