Men guaranteed post-season

Written By Robert Berger, Co-Sports Editor

Photo by Emilee Fails
Junior guard Chance Wright attempts a layup against Asbury University last month. Wright scored 13 points last week against WVU Tech.

After a busy seven days for the men’s basketball team, the Pioneers finished the week dropping two conference games and picking up a non-conference win on the road.

Last week’s conference play opened up Tuesday at home as Point Park was defeated 54-66 to the University of Rio Grande. The second loss came on the road Saturday after falling to West Virginia Tech University (WVU Tech) 87-73, and the weekend concluded with a 72-66 victory at Wilberforce University.

“We are at the point in the season where defense is going to win games. You’re not always going to have your offense,” head coach Joe Lewandowski said.

Originally, the Pioneers were scheduled to play at Wilberforce the first of the month but the game was postponed due to inclimate weather. As a result Point Park rescheduled the road matchup for last Sunday.

Successful 26 out of 59 times from the field, Point Park finished shooting 41 percent. From beyond the arc, the team connected on seven of 20 shots taken.

Senior guard Asim Pleas lead the Pioneers in points ending the day with 20. Pleas was successful on 50 percent on two-point baskets going 7-for-14. From three, he shot 3-for-6.

Sophomore guard Kyle Carrington followed in the point totals with 19. Carrington’s contributions included shooting 7-12 from the field and a perfect day at the free throw line with five shots made.

Behind Pleas and Carrington was sophomore guard Mark Shehady who finished the game with 11 points and seven assists.

Heading into the half, Point Park lead the Bulldogs 32-28 and added 40 more to the scoreboard by the final buzzer.

The day before, Point Park tipped off against the ninth ranked team in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), WVU Tech.

Point Park came out strong in the first half with senior guard Daniel King scoring 11 points in the first 20 minutes. The effort included three treys and two free throws. Pleas contributed 10 points in the half.

After the hot start, Point Park was up by 16 with 9:53 left in the first half. WVU Tech, however, began chipping away at the lead and the teams went into the halftime break tied at 39.

Coming out of the break, the Golden Bears maintained the momentum of their comeback and Point Park only took the lead once after a 3-pointer from the hands of King at the 17:40 mark making the score 44-42.

WVU Tech controlled the rest of the game after going on a 17 point run, holding the Pioneers scoreless for five minutes until King drained a 3-pointer with 12:49 remaining.

Following the run, the closest Point Park came to breaking the deficit was when trailing by eight with 3:24 left in the game.

King finished leading the team in points with 22 which included going 6-for-10 for three. Sophomore guard Chance Wright finished behind him with 13 points.

“Chance is playing with a lot of confidence right now and I think a lot of it comes from practice,” Lewandowski said. “He’s one of the guys that when he’s open, we want him to shoot. It’s plain and simple.”

The Pioneer’s week began at home Tuesday of that week taking on the University of Rio Grande.

The visitors came out strong taking the lead from the beginning of the game on a 9-2 run and only losing it one time in the contest.

Point Park struggled from the field in the first half shooting 11-for-28, but went 4-for-8 from behind the 3-point line. King lead the team after the first 20 minutes with 12 points.

While Rio Grande took the lead form the start, Point Park only trailed by six a majority of the game, and the halftime score was 30-28.

Point Park came close a number of times in the second half at making a comeback but couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities. The closest chance came after Shehady was successful on a field goal with 9:18 left. This tied the game at 46, but was the closest the team got to taking over the game.

“Rio did a great job out rebounding us. They put size on the floor and when that happens we struggle on the boards,” Lewandowski said.

Point Park’s leading scorer was King with 17 points at the conclusion. Carrington followed with 12 points coming off the bench. Wright ended the game with nine points after three successful treys.

After the week, Point Park is now 9-15 overall and 5-10 in conference play. After the loss on Tuesday, Rio Grande picked up a conference win against Carlow University improving their conference record to 6-10. After spending the past few weeks in 3rd place in the RSC, Point Park dropped to fourth in the standings.

Point Park will finish the regular season against conference opponent Ohio Christian University this Saturday.