Men’s basketball beats Ohio Christian, host River States Conference quarterfinal playoff match next week

Pioneers will host Midway University to start RSC playoff run

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team (22-6, 13-4 RSC) came away with a win in their final regular season game on February 18 after they defeated the Ohio Christian University Trailblazers (11-15, 7-10 RSC) 91-74. The road victory helped  solidify the Pioneers home court advantage for their  RSC quarterfinal games againstMidway University (16-7, 11-7 RSC) on February 22. 

“Right now, we’re even hungrier than ever,” said sophomore forward Jo Valrie. “We know the odds are against us, and we know every game is also detrimental, and are must win games, and we will treat it as such.” 

The final game of the regular season for the Pioneers started off with a bang as junior guard Jalen Stampsnailed a triple to  start off the contest. The Trailblazers kept pace with the Pioneers throughout the first six minutes of the half, storming back and then took the lead with 14 minutes remaining. Point Park tied and then took the lead with four-and-a-half minutes left in the first half before the Trailblazers tied the contest with three minutes remaining and regained the lead with two to go. OCU held the advantage  till the first half buzzer sounded and clutched a 44-41 lead. 

After going cold in the back end of the first half the Pioneers offense came out firing in the second. Point Park retookthe lead less than a minute into the second half andOCU nipped at the heels of the Pioneers before they tied the game once again with 12 minutes remaining. 

The two teams stayed neck-and-neck with one another until the Pioneers offense broke out in the final five minutes of the game. Point Park kept the Trailblazers to only eight points in the final five minutes and went on a 23-8 run that propelled them ahead in the final moments to come away with a 91-74 victory.

“We came out at the start of the game not playing at the speed of our game,” said Valrie. “We had to lock in and refocus on the things we practice and emphasize on it.” 

Valrie put on a show for the Pioneers and netted 28 points as well as 16 rebounds for yet another double-double in his first year at Point Park. The Houston native finished his season averaging 19.5 points and 10.2 rebounds while shooting 43 percent from downtown. He placed second in the conference for each category. Junior guard Jalen Stamps scored 25 points in the contest and collected a steal and a block. Stamps ended his season averaging 18.8 points and shot 42 percent from behind the arc, good for third and fifth, respectively, in the RSC. Senior guard Cyrie Coates also finished with a double-double as he scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. 

Point Park hit a solid 32-of-69 (46 percent) of their shots and nailed 7-of-21 (33 percent) of their threes. Ohio Christian was not able to keep up with the Pioneers offense overall as they were held to 30-of-76 (39 percent) from the field and 6-of-17 (35 percent) of their shots from beyond the arc. The rebounds were heavily in favor of the Pioneers, as they snatched 50 boards over the Trailblazers 29. The Pioneers end the season as the number one ranked team in rebounds in the NAIA as they averaged 48.9 a night. 

With the regular season officially wrapped up, the Pioneers now face the RSC playoffs. Point Park will host Midway University for their quarterfinal match up. If the Pioneers win, the team will then play on February 25 for their semifinals match up, with team and location to be announced. The quarterfinals match up will be streamable through the Point Park Athletics website, as well as information on the future postseason matchups.