Men’s Basketball remains undefeated in January

Pioneers now 16-4, 7-2 in RSC; on 5 game win streak ahead of road trip

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team saw their success continue in the month of January, with the Pioneers winning all three of their home games this week. The Pioneers came away with blowout wins against all three teams; defeating Penn State-New Kensington 87-57 on Monday, January 9, Oakland City University 84-65 on Thursday, January 12, and Brescia University 102-73 Saturday, January 14. The victories helps push the team to 16-4 now on the season, with a 7-2 record in the River State Conference (RSC) to place them in second in the Eastern Division. 

Game one against Penn-State New Kensington was a dominant showing for the Pioneers on home court. With Point Park putting up a three to start off the contest, it was off to the races for the downtown team. The Pioneers would go on a 7-31 run in the first ten minutes of the first half, dominating offensively and defensively as they jumped to a 26 point lead at a point in the first half before going into halftime with a 47-25 point lead. With many of the starters able to get a little more rest in this game, the Pioneers still continued to hold down the lead and keep the Nittany Lions from attempting any sort of comeback. Putting up 40 in the second half, the Pioneers would step away with the 30 point victory at 87-57. 

Five different players would put up double digit points in the contest, with sophomore forward Jo Valrie leading the way with a 19 point, 10 rebound double-double. Senior guard Sherron Schifino would put up 13 points and team high two assists in the win, with sophomore guard Nate Van putting up 11 points on five-for-eight from the field off the bench. Only one Nittany Lions player would score double digit points in the contest, while only allowing New Kensington to hit on 33 percent of their shots. Point Park would shoot a solid 50 percent from the field, including 43 from the three point line. 

Game two saw another home matchup for the Pioneers, with a RSC matchup against the Oakland City University Mighty Oaks. The Pioneers once again came out firing on all cylinders, hitting the first bucket of the game and never looking back. Going on a 9-20 run in the first seven minutes of the first half, the Pioneers manhandled the Mighty Oaks throughout the first half, leading by double digits for much of it and entering the second half with a 19 point lead at 48-29. The second half would be a similar line for both sides, with both sides putting up 36 in the second half, but allowed the Pioneers to hold onto the lead for the rest of the match up, coming away with a 84-65 victory. 

Senior guard Cyrie Coates would put up a season high 31 points, 12 rebounds, and three steals in a career game for the Philadelphia native. Junior guard Jalen Stamps scored 20 of his own, Schifino and Valrie scored 15 and 14 respectively. The Pioneers would once again play hard nosed defense in the face of the opposition, keeping the Mighty Oaks at only 38 percent from the field, and a measly 28 percent from beyond the arc. On the opposite side, Point Park shot at 47 percent from the floor, while knocking down 38 percent of their shots from downtown. 

Game three was the biggest offensive night for the Pioneers, in yet another home RSC matchup, this time against the Brescia University Bearcats. This time it would be the opposition coming out scoring the first bucket of the game, but that didn’t stop the Pioneers. In only two minutes of time, Point Park would snatch the lead right back, and fly out of the gym to end the final nine minutes of the first half, finishing on a 22-8 run and leading 54-30. The second verse would be the same as the first, or the second half per say, as the Point Park offense continued to roll. Leading by as much as 33, the Bearcats were swallowed up by the high octane offense and defense the Pioneers played, finishing out the game at 102-73 to end the home stand. 

Valrie would once again lead the Pioneers in scoring, putting up 29 points, nine rebounds, two blocks, and two steals in an all around dominant effort by the Houston native. Coates continued to score the basketball as well, putting up 20 points and a game high seven assists in the win. Sophomore center Jags Jhawar also put up a double-double, scoring 11 while pulling down 10 rebounds. Brescia would shoot a respectable 45 percent from the field, but hit a miserable 20 percent from three. Point Park, on the other hand, would nail 52 percent of their shots, while knocking down 47 percent of their threes in an offensive showcase. The Pioneers would also almost double the Bearcats rebounds, pulling down 46 boards in comparison to the visitors’ 24. 

The Pioneers head out on the road for the rest of January, starting with a visit to Richmond, Indiana, where the Indiana University-East Red Wolves await them on Saturday, January 21. Point Park will then travel back to Indiana on Thursday, January 26, where the team will take on the St-Mary-of-the-Woods College Pomeroys. Later that week, the Pioneers will visit Indiana University-Kokomo to take on the Cougars on Saturday, January 28. The Pioneers still stand in second place in the East with the second best conference record in the RSC, only a game behind the University of Rio Grande Red Storm. All schedule updates can be found on the Point Park Athletics website, as well as ways to stream the games.