Men’s basketball fall to 9-14, heads into last week of play

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team went 0-3 this week in their three matchups, falling to 9-14 on the season and 4-11 in River State Conference play. The Pioneers fell on the road to the West Virginia Tech Golden Bears (WVU Tech), 70-100, and the Bryant & Stratton-Buffalo Bobcats, 75-108. The team would also lose their second-to-last home game to Rio Grande, 69-73. The Pioneers will have to wait until Tuesday, Feb. 15, to find out if they will still have a chance at the playoffs, when Ohio Christian University (OCU) takes on WVU Tech. If OCU wins, Point Park is eliminated from playoff contention.

The first game of the week was a road match up on Tuesday, Feb. 8, against the number one seeded WVU Tech Golden bears. The Pioneers would come out starting well, making the first bucket of the contest and taking a three point lead five minutes in. However, the Golden Bears had a massive 12-0 run, and with Point Park hitting only 29% of their shots in the first half, WVU Tech jumped out quickly to a commanding 47-26 lead by the end of the first half. The Golden Bears kept the Pioneers out of contention after that, only allowing the Pioneers to get within 16 in the second half before pushing their lead out again. Even after a stronger second half of offense for Point Park, WVU Tech would simply out perform them, dropping 53 in the second half to put the final score at 70-100, the first time the team has given up 100 points since facing NCAA Division I Kent State.

Sophomore guard Nate Van was the bright spot on the scorecard in the match, dropping a career high 32 points and knocking down 14 of 16 free throws, while going 8-14 from the field. Freshman guard Mihali Sfanos was the only other Pioneer with double digit points, putting up 12 points and bringing down a team high four rebounds off the bench. Point Park as a team would end up shooting a solid 44% from the field, and knock down 32% of their threes. WVU Tech would hit on an incredible 63% of their shots, while also putting in 53% of their shots from downtown in comparison.

Game two of the week was a much closer contest, with Point Park returning to home at CCAC-Allegheny once again on Saturday, Feb. 12, to face off against the Rio Grande Red Storm. After a closely knit first half that included very minimal scoring, Rio Grande would finally string some buckets together with 15 minutes remaining in the first half to help give them a seven point lead over Point Park. The Pioneers would keep in contention, but would not be able to retake the lead, and would go into halftime down 39-33. Rio Grande came out flying the second half, firing away and putting up a 19 point lead with 11 minutes to go in the game. Point Park mounted a furious comeback though, going on an 11-0 run, keeping pace with the Red Storm with five minutes remaining. Point Park was not able to retake the lead and ended the game at 73-69.

Junior forward Jordan Stowe came out with a vengeance against the Red Storm, putting up a 22 point, 11 rebound double-double in the contest while also collecting two steals. Van was right behind him, coming off the bench and putting up 16 points. Point Park converted on 45% of their shots, while also hitting on 35% of their treys. Rio Grande would just out shoot the Pioneers, knocking down 49% of their shots from the floor and nailing 36 of their shots from beyond the arc.

The team’s final matchup of the week was a non-conference road trip on Sunday, Feb. 13, where the Pioneers traveled to Bryant & Stratton-Buffalo. Yet another cold start to the first half for Point Park, and a hot offense by the Bobcats, were the downfall for the Pioneers, with Point Park falling behind early and going down by as much as 21 before the first half ended at 49-30 in favor of BSB. Another bounce back second half wouldn’t be enough to stop the hot handed Bobcats, with the Pioneers going down by as much as 33 late in the second half, before the final score hitting at 75-108.

Senior guard Sherron Schifino led the way in scoring for the Pioneers, putting up 22 points and four assists in the loss. Junior guard Eddie Flohr also put up 18 points to help, followed with Stowe racking up 12 of his own. Point Park would make 43% of their shots and 35% of their threes, but were out shot with 52% and 35% splits by the Bobcats. The big number that stood out was the rebounds, with Point Park only bringing in a measly 24 in comparison to the 49 boards that BSB brought down, making for 30 second-chance points.

MPoint Park will have a chance to end the losing streak with a big road match up on Thursday, Feb. 17, against RSC and intercity rival Carlow University. If the Pioneers win and OCU loses, they will still have a chance to make the playoffs if they defeat Indiana University East at home on Saturday, Feb. 19, for Point Park’s senior day. Both games will be streamable through the Point Park athletics website, and the final home game location will be updated on the website as well.