Men’s Basketball defeat Penn State-Shenango, fall to D-I Akron

Pioneers look to win upcoming games against WVU, Rio Grande

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

The men’s basketball started off their November with a win at home against Penn State-Shenango on Thursday, Nov. 4, 95-70, and a loss to the University of Akron on the road, 102-46, on Saturday, Nov. 13.

The win and loss officially placed Point Park at 2-2 in the early season, without having played a River States Conference (RSC) opponent yet this year. Point Park’s first home game was at Oakland Catholic High School, a place where both Carlow University also plays, and will be the team’s temporary home as discussions with CCAC-Allegheny continue to allow the Pioneers to play there once again.

Game one against Penn State-Shenango was a home stand for the Pioneers, defeating the Nittany Lions 95-70. The game was technically the two teams second match up, with the first being a no-fans allowed contest on Penn State-Shenango’s campus that resulted in a 93-80 victory in favor of the Pioneers. The rematch was a similar result, with Point Park giving up the starting basket, but scoring four straight buckets immediately after to take the lead, a lead they would take into the second half with the score at 39-28. The second half was a much higher scoring affair, with the Nittany Lions trying to mount a comeback early on, clawing back to make it a two basket game with 16 minutes to go. The Pioneers would deny them the chance though, torching Penn State defense and taking the lead by as much as 25 points as the game ended.

Point Park would shoot an outstanding 55 percent from the field, only being able to knock down 23 percent from three, but still shooting better than Penn State’s 37 percent from the floor, and a measly 14 percent from beyond the arc. Neither team shot better than 55 percent from the free throw line. The Pioneers were also able to snatch up 52 rebounds in comparison to Penn State’s 39. Senior guard Jesse Calloway and sophomore center Jagshaanbir Singh Jhawar led the team in points with 18 a piece, with Jhawar also coming up with 19 rebounds for a double-double. Senior forward Kyle Carrington would come off the bench and put up 16 while shooting eight for ten.

“Our goal this year is just to get better and take our experience from last year and mix it with this year’s,” senior forward Adam Scott said. “We’re trying to be complete and string good days together. We’re working on becoming a better team individually so we can compete at our best.”

Game two was a bit of a different story, with the Pioneers traveling to Akron, Ohio to play a NCAA Division I team, the University of Akron Zips. For Akron, a school who in 2017 made the NCAA NIT basketball tournament and has made the official NCAA March Madness tournament as late as 2013, this was the very first time they had ever faced off against Point Park.

This didn’t stop the Zips from coming out with a vengeance though, coming up with the first basket of the game and never turning back. Akron dropped 50 points in the first half, while simultaneously keeping Point Park to a rough 14 points, a first half where the Pioneers only made 5 of the 25 shots they took from the floor. The second half was a small improvement for the Pioneers, with Point Park scoring 32 in the second half to get them to 46 on the night, but the Zips dropped another 52 in the second to finalize the score at 102-46.

Point Park wasn’t able to put up much offense against their bigger DI foes, only hitting on 31 percent of their shots, and only hitting on 26 percent of their three’s. Akron was able to put together a 50 shooting percentage, while also making 35 of their shots from downtown. The Pioneers were only able to grab 25 boards in the contest as well, while the Zips doubled their total plus some with 56. The good sign for the Pioneers was the eight steals the team was able to put together, three less than Akron, but still a good number to put up. Senior guard Sherron Schifino led the team in points with 10, while Jhawar led the team in both rebounds and assists with five and three.

Point Park will look to start their RSC play next week with a home game against WVU Tech on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at Oakland High School. The Pioneers will then follow up with another RSC match up, this one a road game against the University of Rio Grande on Saturday, Nov. 20, in Rio Grande, Ohio.

“We’re feeling confident, we honestly are,” Scott said. “We know they’re a good team, and we feel we have the personnel to compete. We’re all hands on deck and looking to win.”

All home games are still streamable through the Point Park Athletics’ website.