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Point Park picked fifth in KIAC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll

Oct. 23, 2013 at 11:45 p.m. ET

McNeal IU East
Gabe McNeal is the top returning scorer for the Pioneers, picked 5th in the KIAC preseason poll. Photo by Evan Skowvron.

 

PITTSBURGH -- Point Park University was predicted to finish fifth of 10 teams in the KIAC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll released by the conference office on Wednesday (Oct. 23).

The Pioneers, 14-11 overall and 8-7 KIAC last year in their first year in the conference, received 62 points in the voting, which was conducted by KIAC head coaches. In fifth place in the poll, Point Park finds itself in the same spot in finished last year in the final 2012-13 conference standings.

Indiana Southeast (30-5, 14-1 KIAC) was the clear pick as the KIAC preseason favorite garnering all 10 first-place votes and a perfect 100 points. The Grenadiers made it to the final four of the NAIA Division II national tournament and won the KIAC Tournament last year.

Last year's KIAC Tournament runner-up Asbury (Ky.) University (20-13, 9-6 KIAC) placed second in the poll with 80 points followed by 2012-13 KIAC Tournament semifinalists Cincinnati Christian (16-17, 9-6 KIAC) in third with 72 points and Indiana East (21-11, 10-5 KIAC) in fourth with 71 points.

Point Park's 62 points were good for fifth place in the poll, and the teams become spread out after that. Berea (Ky.) is next with 52 points followed by Brescia (Ky.) (40), Alice Lloyd (Ky.) (32), KIAC newcomer Indiana Kokomo (30) and St. Louis College of Pharmacy (11).

Point Park made the playoffs for the third year in a row last year but lost at Cincinnati Christian in the first round of the KIAC Tournament. The Pioneers have two of five starters returning this year with senior guard Gabe McNeal (16.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and sophomore guard/forward Matt Noszka (12.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg). Point Park also returns four of its top eight players overall from last year including senior guard Robbie Heatherington (6.2 ppg) and senior forward Josh Pohlot (6.3 ppg).

The Pioneers have led the NAIA Division II in scoring the last two years, including a school-record 93.2 ppg last season. Head coach Bob Rager is in his 25th season at his alma mater, and he will once again employ the high-scoring style of play that has had the Pioneers leading the nation in scoring four of the last eight years.

Point Park must replace starting guards T.J. Heatherington (17.8 ppg) and Jimmy Taylor (10.4 ppg), starting center Babatunde Somoye (9.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg) and top sub Asa Braxton (9.7 ppg), but they have plenty of incoming potential with the addition of transfers who will help out right away.

The Pioneers' top newcomers this year are transfers Nick Brown (F, 6-7, Sr., West Liberty University), T.J. Lanier (G/F, 6-6, So., Seton Hill University), Alan Heter (F, 6-6, Jr., Edinboro University), Kyerell Scott (G, 5-10, Jr., Globe Tech CC) and Yandell Denis (G/F, 6-5, Jr., Erie CC).

2013-14 KIAC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll (Oct. 23)

School

Points

1) Indiana University Southeast (10)

100

2) Asbury University

80

3) Cincinnati Christian University

72

4) Indiana University East

71

5) Point Park University

62

6) Berea College

52

7) Brescia University

40

8) Alice Lloyd College

32

9) Indiana University Kokomo

30

10) St. Louis College of Pharmacy

11

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