Point Park snaps four-game skid, hands Notre Dame (OH) first AMC loss
Jan. 16, 2010
WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. - The Point Park University men's basketball team fell behind Notre Dame (OH) early, but used a big run at the end of the first half to take control on its way to a 91-82 victory in an American Mideast Conference game Saturday at CCAC South Gymnasium.
Point Park (6-8 overall, 2-3 AMC) ended the first half on a 19-6 run to erase a 13-point first half deficit. And after taking a 46-41 lead at halftime, the Pioneers never trailed the final 20 minutes and fended off several rallies by Notre Dame.
With the win, Point Park snapped a four-game losing streak and handed Notre Dame (12-6, 4-1) its first loss in conference play. The Falcons had been the only unbeaten team in the AMC North Division at 4-0.
Eric Johnson (Uniontown/Uniontown) hit several key baskets, and posted his first double-double of his Point Park career with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The 6-2 guard (pictured) who transferred to Point Park last year from Westmoreland County CC, scored eight of the Pioneers' final 10 points and was also instrumental in erasing the early deficit.
Freshman point guard T.J. Heatherington (McKeesport/Serra Catholic) totaled 21 points, four assists and four steals for the Pioneers, and teammate Gerald Warrick (Penn Hills/Penn Hills), a 6-7 center, recorded his first double-double at Point Park with 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Before Saturday, Point Park had lost its last three conference games. The last victory of any kind for the Pioneers came Dec. 1 in their AMC opener versus Wilberforce.
Point Park improved to 3-0 at home, a place where it had not played since beating Wilberforce more than six weeks ago.
The Pioneers were coming off a disappointing, 95-73, loss at Malone Thursday. In the second half of that game, Point Park was outscored 54-26.
When Notre Dame built a 26-13 lead after 8:07 Saturday, Point Park was in the midst of being outscored 80-39 over its last 28 minutes of basketball.
But Point Park turned things around by using a 12-2 run to get within 29-25 with 9:03 left in the first half. The spurt was finished off by 3-pointers from Josh Trocchio (North Hills/North Hills) and Joel Cashatt (Stockton, Calif./Jim Elliott Christian).
Along with Johnson's 20-point effort, Trocchio's 13 points helped Point Park hold a 46-10 advantage in bench points. Trocchio, who is tied with Johnson for second on the team at 12.4 points per game, reached double figures for the first time in five games to snap an offensive slump.
Notre Dame's Eric Dummermuth, a 6-6 forward who leads the AMC in scoring and is second in rebounding, supplied most of the offense for the Falcons with 28 points and 12 rebounds. The sophomore forward scored two inside baskets to give his team a 35-27 lead with 6:25 to go in the first half.
But then Point Park scored the next 16 points to take a 43-35 lead with 3:09 before the half. Heatherington and Johnson combined to score the last 12 points of the 16-0 run, the Pioneers went on to lead, 46-41, at the half.
Dummermuth scored 18 points in the first half, and he owned season averages of 23.7 points and 10.5 rebounds entering Saturday. His layup got Notre Dame within 51-48 with 15:48 to play, but quick 3-pointers by Trocchio and Heatherington bumped Point Park's lead to 57-48.
Over the next five minutes, Notre Dame's Nick McCartney twice hit a 3-pointer that cut the Point Park lead to three points, but each time, the Pioneers extended the lead. McCartney, a point guard, ended up with 19 points and was 9 of 10 from the foul line.
After McCartney's second trey, Point Park quickly rattled of seven straight points to lead 69-59 with 8:40 left. Two minutes later, Alexander found Warrick for a layup and a nine-point edge, 73-64.
And although Point Park would make only three more field goals, 12 of its final 18 points came from the free throw line. The Pioneers were 12 of 16 from the line the last 4:24 and hit 20 of 29 foul shots overall.
Johnson nailed six free throws in the final minute to help seal the victory. In all, he made 10 of 14 free throws and was 5 of 11 from the field.
Both teams shot 44 percent for the game. After shooting 52 percent the first half, Notre Dame dipped to 38 percent the rest of the way. Point Park held a 46-41 edge in rebounds, and 20 of its boards came on the offensive end.
Saturday's game was the start of a busy week of AMC home games for the Pioneers. Point Park welcomes Roberts Wesleyan on Monday (7:30 p.m.), Walsh on Thursday (7:30 p.m.) and Daemen (4 p.m.) on Saturday. Walsh is ranked No. 2 in NAIA Division II.