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Point Park's second-half comeback can't erase halftime deficit at UNOH

Jan. 12, 2010

LIMA, Ohio - After facing a 15-point halftime deficit, the Point Park University men's basketball team had its second-half comeback fall short in a 76-68 loss at Northwestern Ohio in an American Mideast Conference game Tuesday.

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BOX SCORE AND PLAY BY PLAY

Point Park (5-7 overall, 1-2 AMC) trailed by 15, 42-27, at halftime but made it a one-possession game, 66-63, with 3:39 remaining.

But Northwestern Ohio (11-8, 3-3) got a big play from Josh Vorst, who converted a 3-point play to put the Racers ahead, 69-63, on their next possession. After Vorst's clutch conversion, DeMarcus Jackson hit a jumper, and that was followed by five free throws to seal the game.

Point Park's defense was a big part of the comeback. The Pioneers held Northwestern Ohio without a field goal for 6:51 until Vorst's late bucket snapped the drought. Point Park clamped down to hold the Racers to 8 of 24 shooting (33 percent) the second half, but the halftime deficit was too big to overcome.

The 15-point margin was the second-largest halftime deficit the Pioneers have faced this year. Point Park trailed Travecca Nazarene by 17, 40-23, earlier this year and actually took a late lead before losing.

Point Park, which was playing its first AMC game in over five weeks since a Dec. 5 loss at Houghton, had two players in double figures led by freshman point guard T.J. Heatherington (McKeesport/Serra Catholic) with 20 points and five assists.

Heatherington was 5 of 16 from the floor, but he converted 9 of 10 free throws. The Pioneers missed 11 free throws, however, and were just 14 of 25 from the foul line.

Point Park center Gerald Warrick (Penn Hills/Penn Hills) tallied 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in his second game with the Pioneers. Warrick, a 6-7 senior, transferred to Point Park at the start of the season, but had to sit out the first half of the year because he has only one semester of eligibility remaining.

In his most-recent college action before this year, Warrick averaged 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game at Edinboro in 2007-08.

Northwestern Ohio, which joined the AMC last year and beat Point Park in the only previous meeting, had five players reach double figures in scoring with Vorst and Kyle Gillette leading the way with 18 points apiece.

Gillette, a 6-8 center, scored 12 early points to help the Racers stake a 28-14 lead with 7:16 left in the first half.

Point Park had taken a 7-6 lead after four minutes on a dunk by Warrick, but that was the last time that the Pioneers had the lead. Then Northwestern Ohio's 13-2 run, which was finished off by Gillette's jumper, gave the host team an 18-9 cushion with 11:36 before the half.

Although Point Park trimmed the margin to 30-21 on Warrick's slam dunk with 6:30 left, the Racers reeled off a 12-2 spurt for their biggest lead of 19 points, 42-23, with 2:33 left in the half.

Point Park trailed 59-45 with 9:14 remaining when it started to make its move. A 9-0 Point Park run was started by a 3-pointer by Joel Cashatt (Stockton, Calif./Jim Elliott Christian), and Heatherington finished off the spurt with six straight free throws to cut it to 59-54 at the 7:37 mark.

Cashatt, a junior guard who is in his second year at Point Park, came off the bench for nine points on 3 of 5 shooting from beyond the arc.

Despite not making a field goal in nearly six minutes, Northwestern Ohio built a 66-61 lead after two free throws from Gillette. And after Point Park's Franco Sebastiani (Greensburg/Greensburg Central Catholic) hit a key jumper in transition, the Pioneers were within 66-63 with 3:39 on the clock.

Then Vorst hit his clutch jumper - which was the Racers' first field goal since Dustin Guthrie's basket gave them a 57-45 lead at the 10:30 mark - and his ensuing free throw made it 69-63.

Besides Vorst and Gillette with 18 each, the Racers got 11 points apiece from Isaac Bowers and Jackson as well as 10 points from Guthrie.

Point Park was cold shooting in the first half making just 29.7 percent (11 of 37) of its shots. The Pioneers shot 34 percent (24 of 71) for the night.

The Racers shot 44 percent (19 of 43) the first half, but their second half drought gave them 40-percent shooting for the game. Northwestern Ohio owned a 52-43 edge in rebounds with Gillette and Wes Gelhaus tying for the game-high with 10 boards each.

With Point Park struggling to 56-percent shooting from the foul line, the Racers were 19 of 23 (81-percent) from the charity stripe.

Northwestern Ohio joined the AMC last season, and this year is its final season in the league. The Racers announced recently that they have been accepted to the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference, which they will join next year. Northwestern Ohio won the only previous meeting between the schools, 92-78, last season at Point Park.

The Pioneers will try to get back on the winning track Thursday with an AMC game at Malone. Game time is 7:30 p.m., and fans can listen to the game on internet radio via the MSA Sports Network. Links to the online broadcast can be found on the men's basketball schedule at the Point Park athletic web site.