Pioneers pull away from Western Ontario in 2nd half of 89-72 victory
Nov. 2, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Jimmy Taylor had 19 points on 5 of 5 from long range in Friday's win. Photo by Lyddia Ankrom.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS (Video by Matt Desmond)
AMHERST, N.Y. -- After a first half in which both teams put up a lot of points, Point Park University's offense stayed in high gear, while Western Ontario's sputtered in an 89-72 victory for the Pioneers on Friday afternoon on Day 1 of the Daemen (N.Y.) College men's basketball tournament.
Jimmy Taylor scored 19 points, and Gabe McNeal had 18 to lead five players in double figures for Point Park (1-0), which held a slim, 52-51 halftime lead over Western Ontario (0-6).
But the Pioneers came out of the second half with not only an offense that was hot from the perimeter, but also a defensive adjustment that stifled the Mustangs' Princeton-style offense. Point Park outscored Western Ontario, 30-10, the first 13:42 of the second half and by that time was ahead, 82-61, with 6:18 to play.
Neither team had much defense the first half as both teams shot over 50 percent from the floor, but Point Park's switch to a zone the final 20 minutes forced the Mustangs into 19-percent (7 for 37) shooting the second half. Meanwhile, Point Park shot over 50 percent each half and ended up at 51 percent for the game.
Taylor came off the bench to score his 19 points in just 18 minutes. The senior from Keystone Oaks High School was 5 for 5 from 3-point range. McNeal, a transfer from NCAA Division II Shaw (N.C.), was 4 for 7 from 3-point range on his way to 18 points. Those two provided a majority of the perimeter offense for a Point Park team that was 11 for 26 (42 percent) from long distance.
The Pioneers had four starters in double figures as senior point guard T.J. Heatherington totaled 15 points on 6 of 8 shooting and also added six assists. The starting frontcourt of Babatunde Somoye, a 6-9 center from England, and Matt Noszka, a 6-4 forward from Chartiers Valley HS, had 11 and 10 points respectively.
Point Park controlled the rebounds, 48-38, with the freshman Noszka leading the way with nine boards. Point Park had 21 turnovers compared to 16 for Western Ontario, but its offense was overwhelming for the Mustangs, particularly in the second half. The Pioneers had 25 assists on 35 baskets, and Robbie Heatherington led the way with eight.
Point Park opened the second half on a 15-4 run capped by a 3-pointer from McNeal for a 67-55 lead with 11:46 to go. Somoye's inside bucket put the Pioneers up 21 points, 82-61, with 6:18 to go. That was the biggest lead other than 89-67 with under a minute to go.
Forward Greg Morrow led four Western Ontario players in double figures with 19 points, although 15 of them came in the first half. The Mustangs shot 36 percent for the game and only 22 percent (8 for 36) from long range.
Point Park drew a 17-11 lead in the early going on a trey by T.J. Heatherington. Taylor hit from long range for a 34-28 edge, and the Pioneers were up 42-35 with 5:35 left in the first half. Then Morrow scored six of the points during a quick, 7-0 run by the Mustangs that pulled things even at 42-42 one minute later. Things stayed even the rest of the first half before Point Park pulled away after the break.
Play continues at the Daemen Tournament with Point Park playing the University of Toronto on Saturday at 2 p.m. Toronto is scheduled to play host Daemen Friday night at 8 p.m.