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Basketball Game Recap

Point Park men come up short versus Walsh despite Heatherington's 37 points

Jan. 3, 2012

T.J. Heatherington had a career-high 37 points vs. Walsh on Tuesday. File Photo.



WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. -- T.J. Heatherington poured in a career-high 37 points for Point Park University, but the Pioneers still came up short in a 90-87 loss to Walsh University in American Mideast Conference men's basketball action at CCAC-South Gymnasium on Tuesday.
Heatherington, a 5-10 point guard from McKeesport, Pa., is the NAIA Division II scoring leader. The junior from Serra Catholic High School added to his scoring lead, which is now at 26.0 ppg after the career-high 37. His previous high was 34, and he has seven 30-point outputs in 13 games.
Point Park (7-6, 1-1 AMC) was down, 50-41, at the half and still trailed Walsh (12-2, 3-0 AMC) by eight points, 86-78, with 2:28 remaining.
But the Pioneers made a game of it in the closing minutes. Heatherington nailed a trey and scored on one of his many driving layups before finding Devon Alexander for another score to claw the Pioneers within 86-85 with 57 seconds left.
Alexander, a 6-5 forward from McKeesport, finished with 21 points on 9 of 12 field goals to go along with seven rebounds.
Then Heatherington answered a pair of L.J. Sutton free throws from Walsh with a clutch jumper to pull Point Park to within 88-87 with 28 seconds to go.
Sutton then hit two more free throws for a 90-87 lead with 15.6 seconds left. That set up Point Park's bid to tie it. Jimmy Taylor misfired on a 3-point attempt and so did Heatherington after getting the long rebound. Point Park then won a jump ball with 0.7 seconds left, and Heatherington missed a desperation trey on the ensuing inbounds play.
Point Park was playing for the first time since Dec. 4. The Pioneers were then off for final exams and the holidays.
Robbie Heatherington, a sophomore guard, added 13 points and eight rebounds for Point Park. Dante Anglin, a senior forward from North Hills, had 15 rebounds and five points.
Walsh, which has made the NAIA Division II national tournament the last seven years, had freshman guard Rian Burrell put up 31 points on 10 of 20 from the floor and 5 of 11 from long range.
Forward Ron Kinney had 22 points, and forward Sutton totaled 11 points and 10 rebounds. Point guard Brad DuPont, a newcomer who had been at Wheeling Jesuit, had a triple-double of 11 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists.
Walsh shot 51 percent and made 12 of its 37 3-point attempts. Point Park shot 41 percent overall but struggled to 27-percent shooting from deep (6 of 22).
Walsh hit some early 3-pointers to get out to a quick, 9-4 lead. Robbie Heatherington later nailed a trey to cut the Walsh lead to 12-11. The game stayed tight until Walsh stretched things out to 36-24 the last five minutes of the first half.
After being down, 50-41, at the break, Point Park made a move early in the second frame to get within 57-54 on  a layup by Alexander with 15:15 to play.
Walsh knocked down some perimeter jumpers to regain its 12-point lead, 77-65, with 9:37 left, but Point Park had an answer. The Pioneers fought back the next five minutes and trailed, 82-78, with 4:07 remaining. T.J. Heatherington scored 10 points during that 13-5 run for Point Park.
Walsh is in year two of its NCAA Division II candidacy. The Cavs are ineligible for the AMC or NAIA DII postseason, but they can compete for the conference's regular-season title. Results versus Walsh will be taken out of consideration for playoff qualification and seeding.
Point Park has little time before its next game. The Pioneers visit Salem International for a 3 p.m. game on Wednesday (Jan. 4). Point Park beat the Tigers, 101-98, in a previous game on Nov. 22, 2011.
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