Pioneers finish road trip with victory over Penn State-Fayette
Nov. 17, 2009
UNIONTOWN, Pa. - Playing its fifth road game in as many days, the Point Park University men's basketball team didn't put away Penn State-Fayette until the final two minutes of an 82-69 non-conference victory Tuesday.
Point Park (2-3) led by as many as 19 in the second but had its lead cut to 73-69 with 1:45 to play. But then the Pioneers finished off their season-opening road trip by scoring the final nine points of the game to secure the victory.
The Pioneers started their road swing Friday and Saturday by splitting two games at the Notre Dame (OH) Tournament. Point Park went 0-2 at the Lake Erie Tournament Sunday and Monday before routing Penn State-Fayette Tuesday.
T.J. Heatherington (McKeesport/Serra Catholic) was back in the Point Park lineup Tuesday after missing Monday's game due to an ankle injury he suffered early in Sunday's game. The freshman point guard scored a career-high 26 points to lead all scorers. His previous career high of 20 points came in his collegiate debut Friday.
Heatherington's layup gave Pont Park a 35-18 lead with 3:54 left in the first half. One play later, his steal led to a layup by Dante Anglin (North Hills/North Hills) that built the largest lead of the first half, 19 points.
Point Park shot 50 percent (34 of 68) from the floor, including 54 percent in the second half. The Pioneers were cold, however, from 3-point range and the free throw line. Point Park made 5 of 18 treys (28 percent) and 9 of 23 foul shots (39 percent)
For the season, Point Park is shooting 56 percent from the free-throw line and 33 percent from long range.
Point Park held Penn State-Fayette to 33-percent shooting as the Lions made 22 of 66 field goals. But Penn State-Fayette stayed in the game by shooting 53 percent (11 of 21) from 3-point range.
Joshua Tomson, who scored 15 points on five 3-pointers, cut the Point Park lead to 73-69 with a trey at 1:45 mark of the second half.
Point Park's Eric Johnson (Uniontown/Uniontown), pictured left, registered career highs of 18 points and nine rebounds off the bench. Johnson, a junior guard who transferred from Westmoreland Co. CC last year, scored in double figures for the fourth straight night and made 7 of 13 field goals.
After Penn State-Fayette trimmed Point Park's lead to 71-66 with 3:01 to go, it was Johnson who gave the Pioneers a boost. The 6-2 guard scored Point Park's next six points on two inside baskets and a jumper to give the Pioneers breathing room at 77-69 with under a minute to play.
Point Park established its largest lead of the second half, 59-40, when Heatherington nailed a 3-pointer at the 16:46 mark. On the play, Marcus Robinson (Pittsburgh/Allderdice) rebounded a missed free throw and found Heatherington.
Devon Alexander (McKeesport/McKeesport) and Josh Trocchio (North Hills/North Hills) chipped in 13 points apiece for Point Park.
Alexander, a 6-5 sophomore forward, was 5 of 6 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds. The McKeesport, Pa., native is shooting 69 percent from the field in the first five games.
Trocchio was 5-for-10 shooting and connected on three 3-pointers. He also added five rebounds.
Point Park will play in its third pre-conference tournament when it travels to the Cedarville Tournament Friday and Saturday. The Pioneers face a tough NAIA opponent in Trevecca Nazarene (Tenn.) in the opening round Friday at 6 p.m.
The Pioneers welcome Penn State-Fayette to CCAC-South Gymnasium next Tuesday for their home opener.
Both games of the Cedarville Tournament will be broadcast live on internet radio by WPPJ-AM 670 and the MSA Sports Network. Join Josh Frketic and Aaron Cooney for the call beginning Friday at 5:45 p.m. for the pre-game show featuring the Coaches Corner segment.