Point Park men fight hard but come up short in KIAC road loss at Indiana East, 93-88
Feb. 1, 2014
Gabe McNeal scored a team-high 24 points in the loss at Indiana East on Saturday. Photo by Lyddia Ankrom.
RICHMOND, Ind. -- The Point Park University men's basketball team put up a hard-fought effort on the road, but came up short in a KIAC road loss at Indiana East, 93-88, on Saturday afternoon.
Playing their second road game in less than 24 hours, the Pioneers (9-13, 4-8 KIAC) battled long odds to the end, but came up a couple of possessions short to Indiana East (9-17, 5-8 KIAC) in what was a battle for playoff positioning.
Point Park, which now has a season-long losing streak of four games, has dropped down to the eighth and final playoff spot in the KIAC while Indiana East, winners of three straight conference games following a seven-game losing streak, has taken over the seventh spot in the standings.
Continuing to play with a very short bench, as it has since the start of the new semester, Point Park had three starters play all 40 minutes for the second time in as many days at Indiana East. And if it weren't for the Red Wolves and KIAC leading scorer Tyler Fangman hitting some clutch baskets late, the Pioneers may have reversed their conference road struggles this year.
With the loss, Point Park is now 1-6 in KIAC road games and its KIAC record has dipped to 4-8. All of Point Park's KIAC road games have involved games on back-to-back days. The Pioneers are now 0-4 on the second day of KIAC back-to-back games, although Saturday was their best showing so far in those contests.
Indiana East's Fangman leads the KIAC in scoring at 23.7 points per game, and he got his average when he hit a 3-pointer with 1:19 left to give his team a 90-84 lead. That essentially sealed the game, which was played within a possession or two almost from start to finish.
Point Park's Gabe McNeal, the second-leading scorer in the KIAC at 22.2 ppg, made two free throws to cut the lead to 90-86 and finish with 24 points. But Indiana East put the game away at the foul line to pick up the key, KIAC win.
KIAC assists leader, point guard Robbie Heatherington, had 18 points and 11 assists for Point Park. He nailed a 3-pointer to bring the Pioneers within 84-79 in the closing minutes after Indiana East appeared to be in control with an eight-point lead.
And although Josh Cook answered for Indiana East with a trey of his own for an 87-81 lead, Matt Noszka went to the line for Point Park and made three free throws to cut the lead to 87-84 with 1:59 to go.
But Fangman hit his big 3-pointer on the Red Wolves' next possession for the key cushion, 90-84. It was the continuation of a big couple of minutes for Fangman, a 6-3 guard.
With Indiana East holding on to a 75-74 lead with six minutes to go, Fangman battled for a 3-point play the old-fashion way. He followed that with a jumper then a basket in the paint for a six-point lead. Point Park made a turnover on its next possession, and the Red Wolves' Vasha Davis raced in for a transition layup and an 84-76 lead with 3:54 to go.
Point Park was hurt by its 15 turnovers, which Indiana East turned into 18 points. Conversely, the Red Wolves took care of the ball well with only eight turnovers.
Davis got his average of 17 points for Indiana East, which had balanced scoring with six players in double figures. The Red Wolves shot 49 percent from the field and 33 percent (9 for 27) from long range.
Point Park shot 46 percent overall and had one of its best shooting days in quite a while hitting 11 of 25 treys for 44 percent. The Pioneers also helped themselves from the foul line going 17 for 17 from there.
The Pioneers hit three of their first four treys to open up leads of 11-7 and 16-9 within the first five minutes. The teams stayed within a possession or two the rest of the first half aside from Indiana East's brief lead of nine points, 42-33, their biggest of the game.
McNeal, who was 4 of 6 from the perimeter, hit from downtown to get the Pioneers within 43-41 late in the half, but Fangman closed the first half with a long bomb of his own as the Red Wolves were up, 46-41, at the break.
There were three ties and three lead changes in the second half, and Point Park held a lead for a short time, 66-64, on Noszka's trey at the 10:55 mark. Noszka notched 17 points and 10 rebounds for his 10th double-double in 22 games.
Point Park forward Nick Brown put up 15 points and nine rebounds in what was his seventh straight game playing all 40 minutes. In those seven games, McNeal has played all but one minute, and Heatherington has played all but three minutes.
Point Park's weekend road trip, which includes three games in three different cities in 42 hours, concludes on Sunday with a neutral court game versus KIAC opponent St. Louis College of Pharmacy played at Midway (Ky.) College.
On Saturday, Brown, McNeal and Noszka played all 40 minutes, and Heatherington played all but four seconds. Final starter Josh Pohlot had six points in 16 minutes, and T.J. Lanier was the only player to come off the bench. He had eight points in 24 minutes.
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