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Basketball News

Point Park survives 32 percent shooting to beat Houghton, 83-73, in AMC game

Dec. 7, 2010

WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. – The Point Park University men’s basketball team survived 32-percent shooting from the floor and held off Houghton College for an 83-73, American Mideast Conference victory at CCAC-South Gymnasium Tuesday night.


Devon Alexander (40) goes up against at crowded Houghton defense for two of his 14 points Tuesday.
Photo by Chelsey Engel.

The Pioneers improved to 6-3 overall and evened their conference record at 1-1 despite missing 54 field goals for 32 percent (25 of 79) from the floor. Point Park entered the game ranked third in all of NAIA Division II with 91.2 points per game, but it limped to a 36-32 halftime lead thanks to 27-percent (13 of 48) shooting the first 20 minutes.

Houghton (4-3) fell to 0-3 in the conference and nearly erased all of a 13-point, second-half deficit. The Highlanders fell behind, 62-49, on a breakaway dunk by Point Park’s Kris Douse with 10:30 to play. But Houghton put together a 14-2 run to whittle the deficit down to 64-63 at the 6:15 mark.

Then, with Point Park struggling from the field, the Pioneers gave themselves some breathing room by sinking five free throws in a span of 1:29 for a 69-63 lead. Houghton turned the ball over on its next two possessions, and Joel Cashatt took advantage with a fast break layup and a 3-pointer, which put the Pioneers ahead, 74-63, with 4:00 to go.

Houghton made things interesting, 76-70, on Ryan Shay’s jumper with 1:24 to go, but Point Park made 7 of 10 free throws to ice the game. The Pioneers, who entered the game shooting 57 percent from the foul line, shot 74 percent (25 of 34) from there Tuesday.

The Pioneers were ahead by four at the break due mainly to senior Josh Trocchio, who came off the bench for 13 of his game-high 16 points in the first half. The native of North Hills, Pa., gave a stagnant Point Park offense a spark in the first half by hitting on his first four field goals and making three treys. Trocchio finished 6 of 12 from the field and 4 of 8 from long range.

Trocchio led a balanced scoring attacked that featured six players in double figures. Junior forward Devon Alexander came off the bench for 14 points and nine rebounds. Cashatt totaled 14 points and four steals while point guard T.J. Heatherington turned in 12 points, six assists and three steals. Heatherington was 8 of 8 from the foul line.

Senior guard Jimmy Sherwood chipped in 10 points, and forward Douse registered his seventh double-double in nine games with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Douse, a 6-7 transfer from Delaware State, leads the nation in rebounding at 12.0 rpg.

As a team, the Pioneers entered Tuesday’s contest averaging an NAIA Division II-best 52.1 rebounds per game, but they were outrebounded for the third time in nine games, 53-46. Houghton’s Mike Munoz, a 6-4 transfer from Chaffey (CA) College, had a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds while Shay had a team-high 14 points and five assists.

Houghton committed 18 of its 27 turnovers the first half but was able to stay within 36-32 at the break thanks to its hot shooting from long range and Point Park’s struggles from the field. The Highlanders knocked down 6 of 10 treys to keep things close in the first half, but they were 3 of 13 from the outside the final 20 minutes.

Houghton’s first four field goals were 3-pointers as it worked a 12-11 lead at the 16:01 mark of the first half. The biggest lead for either team the first half was six points by Point Park, 25-19, and there were six ties the opening 20 minutes. The game was tied at 38-38 with 17:20 to play, but Point Park got out to a 13-point lead, 57-44, thanks to a 19-6 run. The run was keyed by a pair of treys from Sherwood and eight points from Alexander.

Point Park will take its 6-3 overall record and 1-1 conference mark into the semester break. The Pioneers do not play again until they visit non-conference West Virginia Tech on Jan. 4 (2 p.m.). The Pioneers have 18 games remaining, which includes 16 AMC games.