Houghton tops Point Park behind huge game from Yannick Anzuluni
Dec. 5, 2009
HOUGHTON, N.Y. - Yannick Anzulini put up 31 points and 21 rebounds to help Houghton earn a narrow victory over visiting Point Park, 77-73, in an American Mideast Conference men's basketball game Saturday.
Anzulini, a 6-9 swing player who played his first game of the season after missing Houghton's first seven games, scored 21 points in the second half to help the Highlanders (6-2 overall, 1-0 AMC) hang on for the four-point win.
Point Park (5-5, 1-1) trailed by seven, 75-68, with 57 seconds to go, but junior guard Joel Cashatt (Stockton, Calif./Jim Elliott Christian) nailed one of his four 3-pointers to bring the Pioneers within four, 75-71. Cashatt is pictured left.
With a chance to put the game away at the foul line, Houghton missed four consecutive free throws. Point Park trailed 75-73 and had possession with 27 seconds left, but Anzuluni picked up one his four blocks by rejecting a layup attempt. Although the Pioneers got the offensive rebound, they quickly turned it over.
On the other end, Houghton missed two more free throws, but on the second miss, Anzuluni grabbed his eighth offensive rebound of the afternoon with eight seconds left. He was fouled, and he made both free throws to make it a four-point game.
Point Park had its three-game winning streak snapped and lost to Houghton for the second consecutive time. The Pioneers lost to the Highlanders, 65-62, in overtime late last year. Prior to that game, Point Park had beaten Houghton 14 straight times. After Saturday's game, Point Park owns a 32-4 record versus Houghton all time.
Anzuluni has been tough for Point Park to handle the last two years. The 6-9 native of Canada who led the AMC in scoring and rebounding last season, is averaging 23 points and 15 rebounds in three games versus Point Park the past two seasons. In each of those games, Anzuluni has recorded a double-double.
Cashatt led Point Park with 16 points and tied a career high with four 3-pointers. He teamed with junior guard Eric Johnson (Uniontown/Uniontown) in providing production off the bench. Johnson didn't start, but he totaled 14 points and nine rebounds in 32 minutes.
Point guard T.J. Heatherington (McKeesport/Serra Catholic) had 12 points, eight assists and four steals for the Pioneers, who had 14 steals as a team.
Sophomore forward Devon Alexander (McKeesport/McKeesport) chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds in giving Point Park four players in double figures.
Point Park was held to 36-percent shooting (28 of 78) from the floor. The Pioneers shot only 33 percent (13 of 40) the first half and fell behind, 41-36, at the break.
Point Park's leading scorer, Josh Trocchio (North Hills/North Hills), was held to six points on 2 of 8 shooting and fouled out with 36 seconds left. Starting guard Marcus Robinson (Pittsburgh/Allderdice) was 2 of 9 from the field and had six points.
Anzuluni was 10 of 24 from the floor and 9 of 13 from the foul line. As a team, Houghton shot 39 percent, but got a big boost by making 10 3-pointers. The Highlanders shot 36 percent (10 of 28) from long range.
Houghton jumped out a 13-5 lead the first five minutes and regained its eight-point lead, 30-22, with 5:20 left in the first half.
Then Cashatt, who was two points shy of tying a career high, started an 11-3 run by connecting on a 3-pointer. The spurt tied the score at 33-33 at the 2:37 mark, and it included inside baskets by Johnson and Alexander.
Although Trocchio hit a trey to forge the second tie of the game, 36-36, Andrew Ratchford answered at the other end to put the Highlanders ahead by three in the final minute of the first half.
Houghton built a 10-point lead, 53-43, in the first five minutes of the second half. But Point Park responded with a 16-2 run that allowed them to take their biggest lead, 59-55, with 9:55 to play.
Heatherington's steal and layup cut the lead to 55-53 and on the next possession, Robinson grabbed a steal that led to a basket by Alexander. After Cashatt set up Alexander for a jumper to give the Pioneers their first lead of the game, Heatherington got a steal and a layup to make it 59-55, Point Park.
With Houghton trailing 61-59, Anzuluni scored Houghton's next nine points. He started the string of scoring with a jumper to tie it at 61-61 with 7:14 left. The next time someone other than Anzuluni scored for Houghton, it was Devin Paige, who nailed a key 3-pointer to give the Highlanders a 71-66 lead with 2:12 remaining.
Paige and Ratchford were the the only players besides Anzuluni to reach double figures for Houghton. Paige had 11 points on 3 of 12 shooting, and Ratchford had 12 points on 4 of 7 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.
Point Park will look to get back on track in a non-conference game at Buffalo State Wednesday (6 p.m.) before returning home to play Roberts Wesleyan in an AMC game next Saturday at 4 p.m.