Croup’s Corner – Thankful for Fous

Written By Josh Croup, Sports Columnist

Fousseini Konate had a career night on Thanksgiving Eve, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

The men’s basketball team was riding a five-game losing streak entering its home opener. The game also marked the last non-conference game before Point Park enters River States Conference (RSC) play.

The Pioneers hosted a highly talented Washington Adventist University team that won each of the previous six meetings between the two squads, including the most recent game at the beginning of the season.

The Shock handed Point Park its first loss of the season to kick off its November schedule and start the team’s five-game losing streak.

The Pioneers were outscored 45-25 in the first half of that contest and eventually
dropped the game 86-72.

Aaron Barlow led the way on the glass for Point Park with 14 rebounds and 14 points. The 6-foot-6 forward was out Wednesday with an injury, leaving Point Park with one down low presence in the lineup.

They call him “Fous.”

He knew he was going to have to step up and had every intention on making a big contribution on the night before Thanksgiving.

Konate put up 22 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to help Point Park to a 92-79 win over Washington Adventist. It was the only the third time he scored 20 points in his Point Park career and the first time since his first year as a Pioneer during the 2015-16 season.

Konate’s efficiency in the paint made up for Point Park’s poor outside performance, going just 4-18 outside the arc. Still, the Pioneers shot 53 percent from the field, their second-best shooting performance of the season behind their lone win prior to last week.

His 15 rebounds were the most by a Point Park player since Jaylen Mann grabbed 19 in a February loss against Carlow.

Konate wanted more.

He said after the game that head coach Gabe Bubon told him to grab 20 rebounds.

“I came five short,” Konate said.

At least we know where the bar is set for the next game.

Konate also wasn’t 100 percent Wednesday. He was recovering from a lower back injury suffered the previous Saturday after he fell on it against Buffalo State.

Even though he was slowed down a little but, he knew he couldn’t let the injury impact his mental preparation.

“I was just into it, honestly,” Konate said. “We lost five games straight, and I came into today with a different mindset…I was all in.”

Conference play is next for the Pioneers, starting Wednesday at home against a Rio Grande team that split decisions with Point Park each of the last two years.

A win heading into the Thanksgiving holiday was just what Point Park needed.

“This is a good way to end the losing streak,” Konate said. “As a basketball player, if you keep losing, you feel different. If you win, that brings out a different mindset to the game. Then you play so you can win.”