Men welcome new head coach, open season with non-RSC loss

Men’s basketball begins 2018 season with fresh team, interim head coach

Written By Derek Malush, For The Globe

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Point Park men’s basketball is back for the 2018-19 season as the Pioneers were unable to finish off Wilberforce University (Ohio) at home on Friday night, falling to the Bulldogs 93-89 in their first game of the season. 

The Pioneers were up on the scoreboard 23-14 early in the game, but then found themselves on the wrong end of a 15-0 run that put them behind 50-44 as the first half concluded. 

“A lot of guys are still new, so [they] were trying to get a feel of how real games are going to go from here on out,” senior guard Asim Pleas said. 

Point Park roared out of the second half on a 23-8 run which put them out in front 67-58 midway through the final 20 minutes. With a game-high 25 turnovers for the Pioneers, the Bulldogs were able to climb back into it late in the game as they knotted up the score at 76-76 with five minutes left. 

“We have to get back into the gym and practice tightening things up on offense,” Pleas said. 

With just under one minute to play, Point Park’s window was closing quickly as the score stood at 90-85. 

After a steal on the defensive end, sophomore guard Chance Wright’s corner three-pointer pulled Point Park within two points at 90-88 with just 40 seconds to go. 

On the ensuing play, the Pioneers came up with a huge defensive stop and ran it up the floor, where sophomore guard Kyle Carrington, a transfer from Westmoreland County Community College, dished it to Pleas for the game-tying bucket.

 A foul was called on the floor which resulted in Carrington going to the line for two free throws. Carrington missed the first one off the front of the rim but buried the second, pulling Point Park within one point at 90-89 with just 19 seconds remaining.

The Pioneers shot 46 percent (13 – 28) from the line for the game. 

“Scoring doesn’t come first for me,” Carrington said. “I just try and make the right play then score second.”

As Point Park’s only hope was to foul Wilberforce in hopes for missed free throws, the Bulldogs were clutch down the stretch and sunk three of their four free throws in the final 15 seconds to seal the win over the Pioneers. 

Point Park was led by Carrington, who put up 25 points on 64 percent shooting in his Pioneer debut. He also added nine boards and four steals to his stat line. 

Senior guard Daniel King also helped the Pioneer effort with 20 points while netting three shots from beyond the arc.

The Pioneers out-rebounded Wilberforce 47-34 on the glass and shot 53 percent from the field in the loss.  

Interim head coach Joe Lewandowski expects more from his players, rather than just how they play night in and night out. 

“What winning is, is five years from now these guys look back and say I got a great degree and I was able to make a difference in my community because of my experiences at Point Park University,” Lewandowski said.

Point Park, now 0-1, takes on PSU-Shenango on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Tipoff is 7 p.m. at CCAC-Allegheny.

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