Point Park men dig deep for 85-75, KIAC road victory at Berea (Ky.)
Jan. 10, 2014 at 11:30 p.m. ET
Matt Noszka had 19 points and 15 rebounds in the victory at Berea (Ky.). Photo by Lyddia Ankrom.
BEREA, Ky. -- The Point Park University men's basketball team dug deep for an important, KIAC road win at Berea (Ky.), 85-75, on Friday night thanks to a nice mix of tough defense and offensive production.
The victory snapped a five-game road losing streak for the Pioneers (8-8, 4-3 KIAC) and got them back to .500 overall and one game over .500 in conference play. Point Park is now 2-5 in road games and 1-3 in KIAC road games after getting strong performances from all five starters at Berea (9-6, 2-3 KIAC).
The Pioneers played one of their best games defensively and also put up plenty of stats on offense. Point Park held Berea to 34-percent shooting, the lowest by the Pioneers' defense this year. The Pioneers limited Berea to 30-percent field goals the first half (4 of 22 3-point FGs) to build a 44-35 lead at the break.
“We really came together and played a lot of defense," said sophomore forward Matt Noszka, who had 19 points and 15 rebounds. "We have a great team. I know I’ve been implementing communication with the defense. What’s going to win us games is defense and teamwork, and if we don’t have that, we’re not going to win.”
It was more of the same after halftime as the Pioneers' took their nine-point lead and built on it. The defense never faltered until Berea made a 15-point game a 10-point final margin during the last minute. And the offense pulled away to get that 15-point advantage.
Point Park senior forward Nick Brown hit a 3-pointer for three of his game-high 23 points put the Pioneers ahead, 82-67, with 3:00 to play. Brown also added eight rebounds and three blocks.
Senior guard Gabe McNeal got another 20 points -- his 11th 20-point game in 16 games this year -- and made three 3-pointers. His last trey had the Pioneers comfortably ahead, 79-64, with 6:00 to go to end Berea's last charge.
Noska, from Chartiers Valley High School, notched his seventh double-double of the year. With Berea trying to get back into it, Noszka scored off an offensive rebound and then nailed a 3-pointer on the Pioneers' next trip for a 76-64 edge.
Pioneers senior guard Robbie Heatherington ran the team well and was just shy of a triple-double with 13 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds. It was the second time this year the McKeesport, Pa., native flirted with a triple-double as he had 13 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds in a home win over Alice Lloyd.
Final starter Josh Pohlot came up with a big game of 10 points and 11 rebounds in what was his second start of the year. He entered the starting lineup because academic issues left the Pioneers with just five players who average more than 7 minutes per game.
Point Park's starters all played nearly the entire game, and Brown, Noska and Heatherington played all 40 minutes. Freshman Brandon Camic was the only sub to get in the game, and he played 3:34.
Point Park made 11 3-pointers on the night with McNeal, Noszka and Heatherington nailing three a piece to lead the perimeter charge. Brown made the other two treys.
The Pioneers led in rebounding, 52-47, and although Berea made 10 treys of its own, the Mountaineers converted only 24 percent of their long-range jumpers.
Daishon Robinson was the top performer for Berea with 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Anthony Myrks added 14 points and six assists as a second starter in double figures.
Point Park will try to keep the road momentum going with a KIAC game at Alice Lloyd (Ky.) on Saturday at 4 pm ET. The Pioneers beat Alice Lloyd at home, 106-84, on Dec. 7.
Point Park at Alice Lloyd will be broadcast with audio-only on the MSA Sports Network at www.MSAsports.net.