Men’s Basketball jumps to 6-2 record, start River State Conference play with 1-1 record after road trip split

Team looks forward to home stand against RSC rival Rio Grande, cross town rivalry match against Carlow University as December closes in

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team split their four games played since Thursday, November 17, including a 1-1 record against River State Conference (RSC) opponents to start the season. The Pioneers would defeat Alice Lloyd College and fall to WVU Tech in conference play, while taking down Bryant & Stratton- Syracuse before coming up short against Kent State-Tuscarawas; a game which was moved from February due to scheduling issues. Point Park now sits in third in the RSC East division, even with their 6-2 record. 

The Pioneers first RSC game of the season saw them make the trip to Pippa Passes, Kentucky, to take on the Alice Llyod Eagles on November 17. Point Park would score the opening bucket of the match, and hold onto that lead for the first five minutes of the contest before Alice Llyod would come back and battle for the lead for the lead. Both teams would continue to fight for the advantage, with neither team being able to jump out to any further than a five point lead, and eight different lead changes. The Pioneers would claim the lead in the first half with three minutes to go, and entered the second half with a 34-29 lead. 

Alice Llyod fought to stay in the game during the final 20 minutes of play, and took the lead with 12 minutes to go in the game, before the Pioneers would go on a nine-point run that saw them stretch their lead to eight. The Eagles continued to fight into the later part of the game, but defense and shots from sophomore forward Jo Valrie helped keep the Pioneers in front for the win, 69-62. 

Valrie led Point Park in the scoring department, putting up 21 points alongside eight rebounds and a steal to his name. Junior guard Jalen Stamps put up a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds to pair with two assists in the all around effort for the transfer from Quincy University. Although the shooting splits were not in favor of the Pioneers, with the downtown team shooting only 33 percent from the field and a harsh 26 percent from three, the team stepped up with 49 boards compared to the Eagles’ 39, and swiped seven steals and caused 11 turnovers on the side of the home squad from Kentucky. 

Game two was the toughest contest of the season for Point Park, with a trip to Appalachian Bible College in West Virginia to take on the WVU Tech Golden Bears on Saturday, November 19; a team voted as the number one seed in the RSC this season. The Golden Bears controlled much of the first half on the scoreboard, holding a lead for much of the first half, before the Pioneers exploded for a 14 point run in the back end of the first half, and allowed Point Park to go into the second half with a 29-24 lead in what started as a low scoring affair. 

The Golden Bears stood their ground on their home court, getting their offense finally rolling after a slow start, while also keeping the Pioneers three-point shooting down by keeping them at 1-11 from beyond the arc in the second half. WVU Tech took the lead in the 18 minute mark, with the Pioneers finally tying and taking back the lead with less than eight minutes remaining. Unfortunately, the Golden Bears jumped ahead again with three minutes remaining, and held their lead until the final buzzer at 57-61. 

Stamps led the team in scoring for the Pioneers, playing the full 40 minutes while putting up 16 points and a team high three assists. Valrie put up another double-double on the season, picking up 11 points and pulling down 11 rebounds in the loss. The Pioneers hit on only 35 percent of their shots, while shooting an abysmal 10 percent from downtown, compared to Golden Bears’ 42 percent and 35 percent. The Pioneers were able to out rebound their opponents again, pulling down 46 rebounds, including 17 offensive boards, compared to 35 on the side of WVU Tech. 

Game three was a return to the 412 on Tuesday, November 22, with a non-conference matchup against the Bryant & Stratton-Syracuse Bobcats at CCAC-Allegheny. The Bobcats jumped to an early lead in the contest, holding said lead for the first five minutes of the game and keeping pace with Point Park until the six minute mark, where the Pioneers turned the corner. Going on an 11 point run that spurred a 10 point lead, and led to a 37-27 lead at the end of the first half. The second half saw domination for the green and gold, with the Pioneers jumping out eventually to a 35 point lead in the final five minutes of play in an offensive onslaught in the second half. Putting up 51 points alone in the second half, Point Park walked away victorious, 88-65. 

Valrie put up his second double-double in back-to-back games, dropping 25 points and 10 rebounds to go with two steals in the victory. Senior guards Sherron Schifino and Cyrie Coates would score 15 and 14 points respectively, with both shooting 100 percent from the free throw line. On a much better shooting night, Point Park shot 46 percent from the field, while knocking down 33 percent of their three’s. The team heavily outrebounded their opponents once again, with 49 rebounds to the Bobcats’ 34, including 21 offensive rebounds. 

In a rescheduled match up, Point Park took on Kent State-Tuscarawas at home on Sunday, November 27; a game that was set for mid-February but was rescheduled a week in advance to the date. The Golden Flashes would score first, and hold their lead for the first 14 minutes of the first half before Point Park clawed their back from a slow start in the first half. Tying and taking a small lead in the back end of the first half, Kent State tied the game before the end of the first half at 28 a piece. The start of the second half started as a back and forth affair, before the Golden Flashes were able to find their way into a larger and larger lead. Jumping to a 10 point lead, the Pioneers were not able to find their footing offensively in the second half, leading to a 13 point deficit that would end the game at 66-53 in defeat. 

Former forward Kameron Shockley would lead the Golden Flashes against his former team, leading Kent State with 17 points and 13 rebounds with a double-double. Stamps led the team in scoring once again, playing another full 40 minutes while putting up 22 points and a game high three steals. Coates put up 14 on his own, as well as six rebounds and a block. The Pioneers would shoot only 30 percent from the field, and knocked down a rough 27 percent of their shots from beyond the arc, in comparison to the Golden Flashes’ 46 percent and 33 percent from deep. 

The team will be staying in the Pittsburgh area for the rest of the week, staying at CCAC-Allegheny against the University of Rio Grande Red Storm on Tuesday, November 29, in the team’s RSC home opener. The Pioneers will then have a road matchup against cross town rival Carlow University on Saturday, December 3. Both matchups are RSC games, and will be streamable through the Point Park Athletics website, as well as any other schedule changes on the season.