Offensive drought hurts men on road

Pioneers outscored 230-151 in weekend conference games

Written By Derek Malush

The men’s basketball team continued River State Conference (RSC) play over the weekend as it clashed with Indiana University (IU) East on the night of Friday the 13th.

The Pioneers were still without star guard Sa’iid Allen last weekend due to academic concerns and were further plagued by team misconduct.

Junior guard T.J. Bates, who was averaging 7.2 points per game, did not play in either contest last weekend due to a technical foul he picked up last Saturday against IU Kokomo.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) deemed his actions as fighting, and Bates served a two game suspension.

Point Park jumped out of the gate slowly to begin the road weekend against IU East, the NAIA’s no. 10 ranked team, as they managed to only tally 30 points in the first half. Half of those points came from the hot hand of senior guard Art Christian.

The Pioneers shot 27 percent from the field in the first half, trailed 49-30 going into the locker room and were out-rebounded by IU East 31-21.

Defense was absent from start to finish as the Pioneers let up 15 3-pointers on 28 attempts, as IU East finished shooting 50 percent from the field.

As the Pioneers scrounged up six points in the final four minutes of regulation, they finished shooting 32 percent from the field and committed 19 turnovers as they were routed 102-79, dropping their last three out of four RSC games and falling to 6-10 on the season.

The team was led by Christian, who finished with a game-high 21 points in 21 minutes, with other contributions from forward Fousseini Konate and guard Gavin Rajahpillay, who both showered in 17 points and were responsible for seven of the team’s 16 assists.

The Pioneers sought some road heroics Saturday, without a road win since November 2016, when they took on Ohio Christian (OCU) in their fifth straight RSC game.

Without Bates and Allen, the first half looked familiar to the night before.

The Pioneers fared only 22 points and trailed by 43 at halftime, 65-22.

Point Park finished with only 72 points. The Pioneers lost to OCU, 128-72. Point Park trailed by 77 points at one point in the second half.

The Pioneers finished with only 29 rebounds and totaled nine assists for the game, as they were outrebounded by OCU, 52-29.

OCU also let the three ball fly as the Trailblazers buried 23 3-pointers, shooting 50 percent from behind the arc.

The team was led by sophomore guard Asim Pleas, who scored a team-high 15 points and grabbed four boards. Senior forward Lassana Konate put up 14 points and added a team-high of six rebounds.

The Pioneers have lost seven of their last ten games. The team will travel to Brescia (Ky.) and IU Southeast this weekend for a pair of conference games. Point Park returns home Jan. 25 to face Villa Maria.