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Point Park men face setback at NDC, but still alive for AMC playoffs

Feb. 17, 2011

Dousefreethrows
Kris Douse had 23 points for Point Park Thursday. Photo by Chelsey Engel.

BOXSCORE

SOUTH EULID, Ohio – The Point Park University men’s basketball was dealt a 95-88 setback at Notre Dame (OH) College Thursday night, but the Pioneers are still alive in the American Mideast Conference playoff race entering Saturday’s regular season-finale versus Daemen College.

The Pioneers (14-11, 8-9 AMC) host Daemen for a 4 p.m. tipoff at CCAC-South Gymnasium in what is a playoff game of sorts for both teams Saturday. For Point Park, it needs to beat Daemen and have a couple of other AMC results go its way to make the playoffs. For Daemen (14-14, 9-8 AMC), which holds a one game lead over Point Park for the final postseason spot, a victory would put the Wildcats in the five-team AMC tournament.

A victory over Notre Dame (11-18, 6-11 AMC) Thursday night would have allowed Point Park to have complete control over its playoff destiny, assuming it beat Daemen Saturday. But as it is, the Pioneers need to finish at 9-9 AMC and also hope for either a Malone win at Mt. Vernon Nazarene or a Cedarville victory over Notre Dame. A Point Park victory coupled with either of those results Saturday would put the Pioneers in the playoffs.

On Thursday night, Point Park led Notre Dame by as many as 11 points in the first half, 32-21, but the Falcons chipped away to get things even at halftime, 44-44.

In the end, Notre Dame’s backcourt got a season-high 31 points from Curtis McClure and a season-high 30 points from Rodney Mickens, in what proved too much for Point Park. Taylor Rieger, another guard in the Falcons’ three-guard lineup, chipped in 16 points as the only other Notre Dame player in double figures.

The backcourt uprising came at just the right time for Notre Dame, which had its leading scorer, forward Eric Dummermuth, held to a season-low four points on 1 of 4 shooting. The 6-6 junior leads the AMC at 21.8 points per game and had 29 points and 13 rebounds in an 88-78 win at Point Park Jan. 29.

Point Park placed four players in double digits led by senior forward Kris Douse, who had 23 points and nine rebounds. Douse, a 6-7 native of Toronto, Ont., had 17 points the final 20 minutes. Junior forward Devon Alexander, a native of McKeesport, Pa., scored 20 points off the bench for Point Park. The 6-5 Alexander had 15 points after halftime.

Senior guard Jimmy Sherwood, from Sharon, Mass., added 18 points for the Pioneers. Teammate Josh Trocchio, a senior guard from North Hills, Pa., had all 12 of his points the first 20 minutes.

Trocchio had the Pioneers off to the early lead thanks to his four treys the first 10 minutes of the game. Trocchio nailed a couple of long-range jumpers in a row, and Alexander followed with a 3-point play the old-fashioned way for a 32-21 Point Park lead with 8:54 left in the first half.

But Notre Dame knotted things up at intermission thanks to ending the first half on a 23-12 run. By halftime, McClure, a slashing swing player, had 15 points on 7 of 9 from the field, and Mickens, a 5-10 point guard, had 13 points and a trio of 3-pointers. Rieger added 11 points at the break highlighted by three treys.

Neither team led by more than a couple of points in the early part of the second half, and the score was tied at 59-59 with 13:26 to go. Then Notre Dame’s Phil Biggs hit from downtown to ignite a 13-3 run that gave the Falcons a 72-64 lead with 7:04 left.

The key spurt also included a tip-in by McClure, another trey by Biggs and a basket plus a free throw by McClure as Notre Dame assumed control. Notre Dame pushed the lead to 10 points, 83-73, with 3:16 to go on a 3-pointer by Rieger. Point Park was able to make things interesting as Sherwood’s 3-point play and jump shot cut the lead to 83-79 a minute later.

But unable to get a key stop, Point Park could only trade baskets with the Falcons over the next few possessions as Notre Dame’s lead remained at 87-83 with 1:04 left. Point Park came up empty on its next two trips, and Mickens took advantage at the other end by making four free throws for a 91-83 edge with 49 seconds to go.

Point Park shot 48 percent from the field and was 8 of 25 (32%) from long range. The Pioneers were 1 of 8 from downtown the second half after going 7 of 17 from there the first 20 minutes. Notre Dame shot 49 percent for the night and seven of their 11 made 3-pointers came in the first half. Rebounds were even at 37 all, and Point Park’s 13 turnovers were just one more than Notre Dame.

THE PLAYOFF PICTURE:
Entering Saturday’s regular season finales, Point Park needs to beat Daemen to have any hope at all of making the playoffs. In addition, Point Park needs one or both of these results to play out – a Malone win at Mt. Vernon Nazarene and/or a Cedarville home win over Notre Dame. 

The scenario in which Point Park beats Daemen to improve to 9-9 AMC and does not make the playoffs would come into being if Roberts Wesleyan ends up as the second-place team in the league standings. But a win by Malone and/or Cedarville would prevent that from happening.

Cedarville won at Malone Thursday to improve to 12-5 AMC and drop Malone to 11-6 AMC. Roberts Wesleyan, winners of nine of 10 games including an upset of previously unbeaten and first-place Walsh, won at Houghton, 75-63, Thursday to improve to 11-6 AMC. Walsh (16-1 AMC), the NAIA DII #2 team, wrapped up the AMC regular season title a week ago.