Men’s Basketball fall in quadruple overtime heartbreaker

Come up short against IU-East, continue Indiana road trip this week

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

The Men’s basketball team suffered a heartbreaking defeat on Saturday, January 21, against  River State Conference (RSC) rival Indiana University-East. The team fell 108-103 on the road, dropping to 16-5 overall, and 7-3 in conference. The Pioneers still hold a comfortable lead on second place in the east division with seven games remaining on the season. 

“As a team we were trying to be as crisp and efficient as possible with the ball,” said Valrie. “Offensively we wanted to get the highest percentage shots at the rim, and try our best to keep them from scoring on the defensive end. Plus, keep rebounding at the rate we usually do. We approach each game with the same mindset: attack the glass.” 

The first half against the Red Wolves was a closely contested affair between the two sides, with the Pioneers scoring the first bucket of the match up. The Red Wolves responded with their own bucket, before Point Park took a hold of the lead for a majority of the first half. Jumping out to a lead as far as seven, but never further, the two sides battled throughout the first 16 minutes of the game. The Red Wolves took their first multi-point lead with three and a half minutes remaining in the first half, and would go on a 9-4 run in those final minutes to give IU-East a 37-30 lead. 

The second half continued to be a blow-for-blow battle between RSC foes. The Pioneers kept at the Red Wolves heels, but the home-standing IU-East team jumped out to take a 10-point advantage twice. In the final two and a half minutes of play, the Pioneers trailed 67-59. Down by eight, the Pioneers achieved an 11-3 run in the final minutes of play to bring the game to overtime. Thanks to the hands of junior guard Jalen Stamps, who went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe and sophomore forward Jo Valrie, who sparked the run and capped it with an-and-one layup to send the game into overtime at 70 points apiece. 

The first overtime  started with Point Park domination, as the green and gold scored the first five points in the first two and a half minutes of play. In the NAIA, each overtime quarter is only five minutes. The Red Wolves cut the deficit to three, before a layup by senior guard Cyrie Coates allowed the Pioneers to hold a five-point advantage. 

A three by IU-East followed by another layup from Coates sliced the deficit to four with 45 seconds remaining. The Red Wolves made a lay up, and with no time remaining, and a scramble for both teams, the home squad scored another layup to tie it at the buzzer, sending the game into double overtime. 

The second overtime was much like the first, with the Pioneers scoring first and holding onto the lead for the entirety of the  period. IU East tied the game up once again with eight seconds remaining, courtesy of a pair of free throws. 

Point Park missed the game-winning three with no time remaining. The two teams would trade leads in the third overtime, with neither being able to break away past three points. With seven seconds remaining and down by one, sophomore center Jags Jhwar would make a free throw to tie the game up once again, this time at 99 a piece. This time, the Red Wolves missed what would have been the game winning shot with no time remaining.

The fourth overtime belonged to the Red Wolves, as the Pioneers were only able to hit on two of their nine shots in the overtime period. Both buckets were scored by Coates. The Red Wolves would score first, allowing Coates to tie, and then recapture and hold the lead until the final buzzer,  ending the marathon game at 108-103. Coates led the team with 25 points and  swiped five steals in the contest. Valrie also picked up 23 points, as well as 15 rebounds for the double-double. Stamps racked up 22 points of his own, and a team high 3 assists.

The Pioneers shot 40 percent from the field overall, but shot one of their worst percentages from three on the season, going 1-of-16 and hitting on only six percent from beyond the arc. IU-East only shot 41 percent from the field, but hit on 36 percent of their threes. Point Park once again led in the rebounding department, racking up 68 boards compared to the Red Wolves 53, including 25 offensive rebounds to 13. 

The Pioneers will look to bounce back on the road once again, traveling back to Indiana on Thursday, January 26 to take on RSC rival, the St. Mary-of-the-Woods College Pomeroys. The team will finish its road trip in Indiana with a visit to Kokomo, Indiana, taking on the IU-Kokomo Cougars on Saturday, January 28. Games are available to stream through the Point Park athletics website, as well as any future schedule changes.