No. 8 Point Park men at No. 1 Indiana Southeast for KIAC Tournament 1st Rd
Feb. 25, 2014
NEW ALBANY, Ind. -- The Point Park University men's basketball team will be looking for an upset in the first round of the KIAC Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 25. The No. 8 seed Pioneers (11-16, 6-11 KIAC) visit No. 1 seed Indiana Southeast (23-3, 17-0 KIAC) for a first-round matchup tonight at 8 p.m. ET
Indiana Southeast is ranked No. 2 in NAIA Division II and has not lost to an NAIA Division II or KIAC team all year. Point Park, which was one of only two KIAC teams to get within 10 points of the Grenadiers on the final scoreboard this year, will need to pull the upset if its season is to continue.
The Point Park-Indiana Southeast winner will advance to the KIAC Tournament Final Four Feb. 28-March 1 at predeteRmined host site Alice Lloyd (Ky.) with a spot in the semifinals Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. The winner of the KIAC championship game March 1 at 3 p.m. will receive an automatic bid to the NAIA Division II national tournament March 12-16 in Point Lookout, Mo.
Indiana Southeast is very familiar with the NAIA DII national tournament as the Grenadiers made it all the way to the national semifinals a year ago. With four starters returning from that team, Indiana Southeast ran through its KIAC schedule and is looking for a national-title run.
But Point Park nearly pulled one of the bigger upsets in NAIA DII men's basketball this year when it lost to the Grenadiers, 95-89, at home on Feb. 8. The Pioneers held a lead late in that game, but the Grenadiers used superior execution in the last few minutes to come away with the win.
An Indiana Southeast team that ranks No. 1 in the nation in scoring margin at +18.5 ppg has not played very many close games, but the Pioneers gave them a test Feb. 8. In the Jan. 4 meeting at Indiana Southeast, Point Park led in the first half before the Grenadiers pulled away on their way to a 110-95 victory.
Indiana Southeast ranks first in the country in scoring at 97.4 ppg and in 3-point field-goal percentage at .430. The Grenadiers have a strong perimeter attack led by brothers G Cameron Mitchell (15.4 ppg, 41% 3pt FGs) and G Kevin Mitchell (14.7 ppg, 43% 3pt FGs) and G Jake Simpson (14.3 ppg, 49% 3pt FGs).
The Grenadiers have six double-digit scorers, which includes post players F Kegan Clark (11.2 ppg) and F Vernon Payne (11.8 ppg) as well as sixth man G Aishon White (12.1 ppg).
Point Park counters with four double-digit scorers in the starting lineup led by G Gabe McNeal (22.5 ppg) and F Nick Brown (19.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg), who rank second and fourth in the KIAC in scoring. McNeal has 18 games of 20 or more points, and Brown is tied for the KIAC lead with 12 double-doubles.
Other cogs in the Pioneers' attack are point guard Robbie Heatherington (11.4 ppg), who leads the NAIA DII in assists per game with 7.88 apg. Sophomore F Matt Noszka (14.2 ppg, 8.7 rpg) is second in the KIAC with 11 double-doubles, and senior F Josh Pohlot (8.0 ppg) has been productive of late, including 20 points and 11 rebounds verus IU East on Saturday.
In a matchup that will require a lot of points for the winner, Point Park will look to have its offensive attack matchup with that of the Grenadiers and the top-ranked offense in the country. In its 23 victories, Indiana Southeast has scored less than 90 points just three times.
The Point Park offense averages 85.4 ppg of its own, but its defense that gives up 86.9 ppg will have to slow down the Grenadiers. Indiana Southeast's defense gives up 78.8 ppg, and the Grenadiers clear the boards well ranking fourth in the country in rebounds per game at 43.3 rpg.
Watch Live -- No. 8 Point Park men at No. 1 Indiana Southeast, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. on the Grenadiers Sports Network courtesy of Indiana Southeast. Later rounds of the KIAC Tournament will be broadcast on the KIAC Digital Network.