Point Park Globe

Undefeated in RSC play after buzzer beater

Men already match win mark from last season

Senior+guard+Justice+Cuthbertson+finished+Saturday%E2%80%99s+game+against+IU+Kokomo+with+19+points+and+a+game+winning+layup+with+two+seconds+left.+17+of+his+points+were+scored+in+the+second+half.+
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Undefeated in RSC play after buzzer beater

Senior guard Justice Cuthbertson finished Saturday’s game against IU Kokomo with 19 points and a game winning layup with two seconds left. 17 of his points were scored in the second half.

Senior guard Justice Cuthbertson finished Saturday’s game against IU Kokomo with 19 points and a game winning layup with two seconds left. 17 of his points were scored in the second half.

Photo by Point Park Athletics

Senior guard Justice Cuthbertson finished Saturday’s game against IU Kokomo with 19 points and a game winning layup with two seconds left. 17 of his points were scored in the second half.

Photo by Point Park Athletics

Photo by Point Park Athletics

Senior guard Justice Cuthbertson finished Saturday’s game against IU Kokomo with 19 points and a game winning layup with two seconds left. 17 of his points were scored in the second half.

Written By Derek Malush, For The Globe

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The men’s basketball team opened up River State Conference (RSC) play last week with back-to-back RSC victories, first defeating Carlow University 79-69 on Tuesday night and then edging Indiana University (IU) Kokomo 67-66 on Saturday.

“We don’t worry about win streaks or winning the game,” head coach Joe Lewandowski said. “We worry about making winning plays consistently and that’s what we did this week.”

The Pioneers were off to a slow start when they went up against the fifth-ranked scoring offense in the country in IU Kokomo (averaging 95.8 point per game), as Point Park never led the Cougars once throughout the first half.

It was a defensive battle as the score at the end of the first 20 minutes stood at just 30-23 in favor of IU Kokomo.

The Pioneers held the offense to just 38 percent shooting in the first half and a season-low 34 percent for the game.

Five minutes into the second half, Point Park stole the lead for the first time on senior guard Asim Pleas’ 3-pointer that put the Pioneers ahead at 33-32.

“We realized that [IU Kokomo] was playing at our tempo,” Lewandowski said. “That allowed us to hang around and give us a chance down the stretch.”

With less than three minutes remaining in the game, the Pioneers had lost their lead and saw themselves down by 10 points at 61-51.

Point Park then dug deep and shot seven for 10 from the field in the last two minutes. Sophomore guard Mark Shehady buried a 3-pointer with 35 seconds to go that dwindled the Cougar lead down to just two points at 64-62.

The Pioneers intentionally fouled on the ensuing possession. IU Kokomo made just one of the two free throws, keeping Point Park’s chances of victory alive with 28 seconds remaining.

Senior guard Daniel King grabbed the missing rebound and quickly ran it up the floor where he dished it to senior guard Justice Cuthbertson, who then sunk a 3-pointer with 20 seconds to go to tie the game at 65.

“We trust each other and we keep playing no matter what,” Cuthbertson said after the game.

A Pioneer shooting foul then sent IU Kokomo to the free throw line with 10 seconds remaining for two shots.

The Cougars went 20-37 at the charity stripe for the game, only able to bury one of the two free throws late, giving them the lead at 66-65.

Coming out of the timeout with 10 seconds to go, the Pioneers passed the ball around the arc looking for the open man in Cuthbertson, who then drove the lane with two seconds remaining for the game-winning layup.

“My team had trust in me,”Cuthbertson said. “It’s all about resilience and playing the whole 40 minutes.”

IU Kokomo inbounded the ball with two seconds left and missed the full court heave for the win.

Point Park held IU Kokomo to just 29 percent shooting the second half as the Cougars made just nine of 31 from the floor the last 20 minutes.

The team was led by Cuthbertson, who scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half while also adding five steals, five rebounds and three assists to his credit.

Pleas also aided the Pioneer victory by scoring 14 points, grabbing five rebounds and securing two steals.

In their first RSC game of the season four days prior, Carlow jumped out to an early lead in the first half on Tuesday as they led the Pioneers 14-8 in the first six minutes of competition.

Point Park shot just 33 percent from the floor in the first half and went a dull 1-17 from behind the arc. Poor shooting for the Pioneers kept them from taking a lead into halftime as they trailed the Celtics 34-30 after the first 20 minutes.

The Pioneers started connecting from downtown coming out of the half, burying three of their seven 3-point attempts to take a commanding eight-point lead midway through the second half. It was sophomore guard Chance Wrights 3-pointer that gave them the eight-point lead and the Pioneers never looked back.

“We know we can compete and beat any team,” Shehady said. “These last two games have really proven that.”

Senior guard T.J. Bates drove to the hoop and was fouled for an and-1 late in the game to put the Pioneers up by 10 points with under two minutes to play.

Bates then made the ensuing free-throw to put Point Park up by their biggest lead of the night at 11.

The Pioneers improved their field goal percentage with their second half shooting that jolted them to 44-percent shooting for the game.

Point Park held strong on defense, forcing 19 Celtic turnovers and finished with nine team steals to help propel them to their third win of the season.

The team was led by Bates who scored 18 points on 58-percent shooting as he also added six rebounds to his credit.

Sophomore guard Kyle Carrington added 17 points of his own on 66 percent shooting from the floor. He also grabbed five boards and dropped three of the teams nine assists on the night.

Point Park (4-4) (2-0 RSC) continues RSC play as they take on No.11-ranked WVU Tech on Saturday with tip-off at 3 p.m.

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