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Notre Dame (OH) tops Point Park to stay perfect in AMC home games

Jan. 28, 2010

SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio - Notre Dame (OH) remained unbeaten in American Mideast Conference home games by defeating Point Park, 91-82, in an AMC North men's basketball game Thursday night at Murphy Gymnasium.



Notre Dame (17-6) improved its first-place AMC North Division record to 9-1 and is 6-0 in conference home games. The Falcons, who were in the 'others receiving votes' section of this week's NAIA Division II Top 25 Coaches' Poll, are 11-2 at home this season. 

The only AMC team to beat Notre Dame this season was Point Park (7-11 overall, 3-6 AMC), which defeated the Falcons, by an identical score of 91-82 on Jan. 16. But since then, Notre Dame has won its last five conference games and holds a 3.5 game lead over second-place Malone (5-4) in the AMC North standings.

Point Park, meanwhile, missed a chance to move within one game of .500 in league play and instead dropped into a tie for last place in the division with Houghton at 3-6. With seven AMC games left, the Pioneers are 1.5 games out of the final playoff spot.

Each team placed five players in double figures, but it was Notre Dame that extended its 41-36 halftime lead on the strength of its 54-percent shooting (14 of 26) the second half. Conversely, the Falcons held Point Park to 37-percent shooting (17 of 46) the final 20 minutes.

The Pioneers ended up shooting 39.5 percent (32 of 81) on the night, and that was hindered by 22.6 percent (7 of 31) from beyond the arc. Notre Dame connected on 48 percent of its shots (31 of 64) and held a 50-42 edge on the boards.

Point Park's T.J. Heatherington (McKeesport/Serra Catholic) totaled 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. The 5-10 freshman made 9 of 11 free throws, and he is leading the Pioneers with averages of 15.6 points and 5.8 assists per game. His career high of 26 was in his fourth career game versus Penn State-Fayette on Nov. 17.

Senior center Gerald Warrick (Penn Hills/Penn Hills) continued his strong play for Point Park with 18 points and 12 rebounds. The 6-7 transfer from Edinboro has four double-doubles in his last five games, and he is averaging 13.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game since gaining eligibility at the start of the second semester.

Senior guard Marcus Robinson (Pittsburgh/Allderdice) added 10 points and seven rebounds while junior guards Eric Johnson (Uniontown/Uniontown) and Joel Cashatt (Stockton, Calif./Jim Elliott Christian) chipped in 10 points apiece for the Pioneers.

Point Park jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but sparked by a 3-pointer from Al Miller, Notre Dame responded with a 10-2 run to take the lead for good. A 3-pointer by Nick McCartney put the Falcons ahead, 10-7, and they never trailed again.

Miller tied with Heatherington to lead all scorers with 24 points. Miller scored 17 points the second half and made 5 of 12 treys on the night. Besides Miller, the rest of the Falcons were 3 of 11 from 3-point range.

McCartney, a point guard, added 16 points and six assists, and it was Eric Dummermuth and Karim McFarlane who provided the muscle down low.

Dummermuth, a 6-6 sophomore forward who leads the AMC in scoring at 22.9 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, posted 22 points and 14 rebounds. Frontcourt partner McFarlane, who stands 6-8, added 11 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and two blocks.

Notre Dame opened up a 29-17 lead in the first half after an 11-2 run. Warrick's jumper with 17 seconds left in the half pulled Point Park within 41-36 at the break.

Miller opened the second half by hitting twice from long range within the first minute for a 47-36 lead. And although Point Park cut the lead to six, 57-51, on a3-pointer by Jamar Washington (Pittsburgh/Peabody) with 13:08 left, Notre Dame kept the Pioneers at bay the rest of the way.

The Notre Dame lead grew to as many as 15, 68-53, with 8:29 to, and Point Park never got the lead below eight points.

Point Park didn't help itself at the foul line with an 11-for-19 performance (58 percent). Unfortunately for the Pioneers, that is right around their season free throw percent, which was 59.6 percent entering Thursday.

Notre Dame missed 10 free throws but still held a 10-point edge at the foul line. The Falcons were 21 of 31 (68 percent) from the charity stripe.

Point Park gets right back into AMC action Saturday when its welcomes NAIA Division II No. 22 Cedarville to CCAC South Gymnasium at 4 p.m. The Yellow Jackets are 14-7 overall and in second place in the AMC South Division with a conference record of 6-2.

After Saturday's game, the Pioneers are off until visiting Mt. Vernon Nazarene next Thursday.