Croup’s Corner – Moving out: Time to hit the road

Written By Josh Croup, Sports Columnist

It’s time to move out, but maybe we’ll be back.

Saturday was the final home game of the regular season for the women’s basketball team, which still has an outside chance of hosting a first-round game. The Pioneers have to win out and get some help from teams about them in the standings to climb to the No. 2 seed, which would earn them a home game in round one.

For the seven seniors recognized Saturday and head coach Tony Grenek, playing at home is nice, but it’s not necessarily a must-have for this team.

Point Park continues a stretch of its schedule that ends with seven of eight contests on the road. The lone home game in that string of games to end the season resulted in a 78-47 win Saturday against Ohio Christian.

The Pioneers won the first two games of the road stretch, but fell last Tuesday to Indiana University (IU) East 98-94 after leading in the final minute.

Sam Weir led the way with 27 points against the Red Wolves, who currently occupy the No. 2 spot in the River States Conference (RSC) East.

“I hate playing at home,” Weir said. “I play way better on the road.”

Point Park embarks on a quest for redemption now with rematches at Rio Grande and West Virginia Tech ahead on the rest of its schedule. Both teams beat Point Park in the first two conference games of the year. They’re also both ahead of Point Park in the standings.

The Pioneers have gone 9-2 in RSC games since dropping their opening conference games against the RedStorm and Golden Bears. Their only other losses came against IU East.

Point Park will first travel to Rio Grande Feb. 13 to face a RedStorm team that just ended a 22-game winning streak.

They lost to West Virginia Tech at home 76-58 for their first conference loss of the season and just their second loss overall this year.

Rio Grande, opposite of Point Park, is in the midst of a long stretch of home games. Including its game against Point Park, Rio Grande will have played eight of its final 10 games at home.

West Virginia Tech is in the middle of a stretch that includes six of its final eight games at home.

The Pioneers will need to take care of business on the road, but Weir is looking forward to the challenge.

“Since we’ve lost to those teams, we want that revenge,” Weir said. “We have to play our game. We have to get after the ball, force turnovers and knock down the shots we get off turnovers.”

Point Park’s defense has been and will continue to be one of the bigger factors into getting wins against teams in the coming weeks.

Its defense allowed a talented IU East team to score 96 and 98 points in the two meetings with the Red Wolves this year.

As of now, the Red Wolves aren’t on Point Park’s schedule the rest of this season. The two could meet in the RSC Tournament if the stars align, giving Point Park another chance at knocking off the defending conference champions.

“Maybe we’ll see them again,” Grenek said. “Who knows.”

If Point Park does meet again with the Red Wolves, it will be on the road. It’s likely that every game from here on out, including in the playoffs, will be on the road.

The Pioneers had a successful first year at CCAC Allegheny, but it’s time to shift the focus to where Sam Weir and company have enjoyed even greater success this season.

Maybe we’ll see IU East again, maybe we’ll see CCAC Allegheny again this year. Who knows.

We do know that it’s time to move out and get things done on the road.