Men’s Basketball dominate the start of the winter months

Jump out to 13-4 record, 5-2 in RSC play, have won seven of their last eight

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team enjoyed a strong month of December, and early January, en route to start off the 2023 Spring semester. The Pioneers stand at 13-4 on the season, winning six of their last seven games, including three conference wins to jump to 5-2 in River State Conference (RSC) play. The record places the team in second place in the Eastern division, only two games behind the University of Rio Grande, who is still undefeated in conference play. 

“One of the biggest things for us in our success is we prioritize rebounds and defense, as we’re one of the top teams in the nation in both categories,” said sophomore forward Jo Valrie, who is second in the RSC in both points and rebounds per game. “Huge credit to our Head Coach (Kevin Reynolds) and the coaching staff, they’ve helped us understand the impact these things can have on the outcome of games, and as players, we try our best to be coachable and soak in what our coaches tell us.” 

The Pioneers were firing on all cylinders in the month of December, coming up with blowout win after win; starting off with a 102-63 victory over Penn State-Greater Allegheny at home on Wednesday, December 7. Point Park would continue to dominate on home turf, with a 30-point victory over the RSC rival Ohio Christian University Trailblazers, 88-58, on Saturday, December 10. A week later, the team would travel a short way to CCAC-Boyce, where the Pioneers would put up triple digits to help their cause in a 100-84 victory over Lawrence Technological University. The Pioneers would then head on the road with the end of the 2022 Fall semester, traveling to Rochester, New York, to take down the Bryant & Stratton-Rochester Bobcats, 85-61, in another blowout on Monday, December 19. The University of Northwestern Ohio would humble the Pioneers though, as Point Park would travel to Lima, Ohio, and fall for the first time in the month of December, 83-73, on Friday, December 30. 

Even with the turn of the new year, the Pioneers stuck to their winning ways. Starting off 2023 with a home stand against the RSC Midway University Eagles, Point Park would trample the visitors from the state of Kentucky, 78-57, on Thursday, January 5. The Pioneers would then take on the Indiana University-Southeast Grenadiers the following day, Friday, January 6, in a back and forth, down to the wire match up. After taking a large lead into the first half, the Grenadiers brought the game to a tie at the end of regulation for the first overtime for Point Park on the season. A singular overtime would not be able to cut it, with the Pioneers coming away with the razor sharp win in double overtime, 83-80. On their home court, the win now extends their RSC win streak to four.

“Towards the end of regulation and overtime, Coach (Reynolds) was just reminding us to stay focused,” said Valrie. “That we are in better shape than them, and continue giving our best effort when it comes to grabbing rebounds, playing defense, and making the most of each possession.” 

At the midway point of the season, the Pioneers now hold solidly onto second place in the Eastern division, with their only RSC losses coming to first place Rio Grande and third placed WVU Tech, with both games only being four point losses earlier this year.

“The mentality as a team is to remain focused. We plan on taking one game at a time and remaining humble,” said Valrie. “As our Coach loves to say, we are good enough to beat the best teams, but we are also capable of losing to the worse teams when we don’t focus and play at our best.” 

Point Park will continue its home stand through the rest of the week, before heading on the road to round out the month of January. The Pioneers will take on back-to-back RSC opponents, with a match up against the Oakland City University Mighty Oaks on Thursday, January 12, before the final game of the home stand against the Brescia University Bearcats on Saturday, January 14. Both games will be at 7 PM, and both will be streamable through the Point Park Athletics’ website. Future schedule updates will also be made through the site.