Point Park men come up short in loss to Indiana East, will take No. 8 seed in KIAC
Feb. 22, 2014 at 10:30 p.m. ET
Matt Noszka scored 21 points and made 5 of 8 3-pointers versus Indiana East. Photo by Sam Robinson.
WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. -- The Point Park University men's basketball team couldn't come up with the tying or game-winning points on the last possesion and lost its regular-season finale to Indiana East, 96-94, in a KIAC game on Saturday at CCAC-South Gym.
Point Park (11-16, 6-11 KIAC) tralied by 13 points midway through the second half but put together a furious rally down the stretch. Indiana East (11-19, 7-10 KIAC) came up with a defensive stand in the final 10 seconds and because of that will take the No. 7 seed in the upcoming KIAC Tournament finishing 1.0 game ahead of No. 8 seed Point Park.
The Pioneers will meet No. 1 seed and NAIA Division II No. 2-ranked Indiana Southeast (23-3, 17-0 KIAC) in the KIAC Tournament First Round Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. in New Albany, Ind. The winner will move on to the KIAC Tournament Final Four at pre-determined host Alice Lloyd (Ky.) Feb. 28-March 1.
Point Park sophomore forward Matt Noszka caught fire the last couple of minutes and hit a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to pull Point Park within 96-94 with 10 seconds left. The Pioneers then caught a break when the Red Wolves' Vasha Davis missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw.
Noszka rebounded Davis' miss, and with no timeouts, Point Park rushed the ball up court. The Red Wolves defense was waiting and forced the Pioneers to dribble through traffic as the clock wore down. The only look Point Park got was a hurried shot by Gabe McNeal from just inside the 3-point line, and it was off the mark.
Point Park had four starters score 20 ore more points, and the only one who didn't was senior point guard Robbie Heatherington with 14 assists. It was Senior Day for the Pioneers, and four of the five seniors are starters.
Forward Josh Pohlot led the senior charge with 20 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Senior guard Gabe McNeal led all scorers with 26 points and made four 3-pointers. Senior forward Nick Brown also knocked down four treys on his way to 21 points.
Point Park sophomore Matt Noszka finished with 21 points and seven rebounds. He was 5 for 8 from 3-point range, and heated up to bring the Pioneers back from the 71-58 deficit with 10 minutes left. Noszka made five 3-pointers the second half with four of them coming the final three and a half minutes.
After Noszka and Brown hit from downtown, Noszka scored a transition layup to cut the Indiana East lead to 78-74 with 6:53 to go. Indiana East then hit a couple of treys of its own to crank the lead back up to 86-77 less than two minutes later.
But Point Park would not go quietly, and a 9-2 run featuring two treys by Noszka got Point Park within 89-86 at the 2:41 mark. Not even Vasha Davis' 3-pointer, which gave Indiana East a 94-88 lead at 1:18, could fully put away the Pioneers as Noszka hit two more times from the outside, the first to make it 94-91 and the second to make it 96-94.
By that time, there was just 10 seconds left, and Indiana East left the door open with Davis' late free-throw miss. But the Pioneers could not come up with tying or go-ahead points to lose a second game to the Red Wolves this season, both of which were high-scoring affairs decided by a possession or two. Point Park lost at Indiana East, 93-88, on Feb. 1.
In a matchup that has come down to scoring -- and specifically shooting -- Indiana East made 11 3-pointers and Point Park made 13. Point Park shot 49 percent for the game, which got a boost from making 9 of 19 treys the second half. Indiana East shot 54 percent overall and also put on a shooting display the second half making 7 of 14 fron the outside.
Indiana East forward Josh Cook scored 20 points on an amazing 6-for-7 from 3-point land. Fellow senior Cody Banet scored a team-high 21 points and made a couple of treys.
Point guard Vasha Davis came in with 19 points, and the production of Cook, Banet and Davis helped to make up for KIAC scoring leader Tyler Fangman (23.6 ppg) being held to 4 for 16 shooting overall and 0 for 7 from long range. Fangman ended up with 15 points after making 7 of 8 free throws.
The game was played on even terms the first 14 minutes as the 30-30 deadlock was already the fourth tie of the game. But Indiana East got the first separation for either team with an 8-0 run and a 39-32 lead late in the half. No matter, Point Park closed the gap to 39-37 with 3:05 left in the half.
But Point Park turned it over, took a bad shot and committed a technical foul in succession as Indiana East sprinted to a 47-37 lead with 31 seconds before the half. Point Park went into the half down 47-40 after McNeal hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
By drawing top-seed Indiana Southeast in the KIAC Tournament, the Pioneers will have to pull an upset of the No. 2 team in NAIA Division II if its season is to continue beyond Tuesday. Point Park lost both meetings to the Grenadiers this year, although Point Park is one of only two teams in the KIAC to get within 10 points of Indiana Southeast on the final scoreboard.
Point Park nearly upset Indiana Southeast at home Feb. 8 but lost, 95-89. It was one of the few times that the Grenadiers didn't win big in KIAC play, but they pulled it out late and ended up 17-0 in the KIAC. Point Park lost at Indiana Southeast, 110-95, Jan. 4 but held a lead late in the first half.
Check back for updates on game coverage from the KIAC Tournament First Round game at Indiana Southeast Feb. 25 at 8 p.m.