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Basketball Game Recap

Point Park beats Roberts at the foul line, from the perimeter

Feb. 11, 2012

T.J. Heatherington (center) had 36 points and is flanked by Jimmy Taylor (22) and Dante Anglin (30). Photo by Lyddia Ankrom.



WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. -- Point Park University made 37 free throws and shot 53 percent from long range in a 94-85 victory over Roberts Wesleyan College in an American Mideast Conference men's basketball at CCAC-South Gym Saturday night.
The much-needed home win brings Point Park's record to 12-10 overall and an even 5-5 in the AMC. The Pioneers, who have already clinched a conference playoff spot, are within a half game of second place and the first-round home game that goes with it. Also, Point Park is now 1.5 games ahead of fourth-place Roberts Wesleyan (8-17, 4-6 AMC).
The four-team AMC Tournament starts Feb. 21 with the top two seeds getting first-round home games.
Point Park entered Saturday with a 1-3 AMC home record, and it was looking like it might turn into 1-4 when Roberts extended its 45-39, halftime lead to 50-31 early in the second half.
But T.J. Heatherington had 31 of his game-high 36 points in the second half, and Asa Braxton continued his strong play with 20 points on the night to get the Pioneers in the win column.
Heatherington was just 7 of 23 from the field, but he added to his NAIA Division II scoring lead of 25.2 ppg by going 21 of 21 from the foul line. Heatherington bumped his season free-throw percentage up to 84.5 percent (191 of 226) by going 18 of 18 from the charity stripe the second half.
As a team, Point Park was 37 of 45 from the foul line for 82 percent. The Pioneers were 27 of 31 (87 percent) the final 20 minutes. By contrast, Roberts made only 15 trips to the foul line with eight makes.
From the perimeter, Point Park made 9 of 17 3-pointers, and it was Braxton who led the way by going 4 of 6 from deep. The 6-2 guard/forward from Pittsburgh, Pa., and Hampton High School, was 6 of 8 from the floor, 4 of 5 from the line and grabbed eight rebounds.  In his last four games, he has totaled 23, 15, 19 and 20 points.
Robbie Heatherington added 15 points and six rebounds on 6 of 8 shooting. He had 12 points by halftime. Braxton had 11 points at the break, and those two were mainly responsible for keeping the Pioneers within six points at halftime.
Jimmy Taylor totaled nine points and four assists. He hit two big 3-pointers and also made all three free throws during his lone trip to the line.
Roberts Wesleyan had plenty of production as guard/foward Patrick Downer led five players in double figures with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Alif Bland, a 6-7 forward, controlled the inside with 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and five blocks.
Herbert Alexander had 15 points off the bench and was 3 of 5 from the perimeter. Point Park looked like it had the game wrapped up in the final minute, but Alexander's 3-pointer cut it to 87-82 with 41 seconds left.
Things got really interesting when the Raiders' Larry Ritter stole the ensuing inbounds pass and dunked it home to cut it to 87-84 with 35 ticks to go. The teams traded free throws, and Point Park had the ball with an 89-85 lead with 19 seconds left.
On the next play, Roberts was whistled for a personal foul, and the Roberts bench got a technical foul on top of that. T.J. Heatherington made all four free throws to ice the game, 93-85.
Down 50-41, Point Park put together a 14-4 run to take its first lead of the game, 55-54, with 15:11 left. Over the next 10 minutes, neither team led by more than three points, and the score was tied eight times.
The Pioneers finally got some seperation when Heatherington made a conventional 3-point play, and Taylor hit from long range to turn at 75-74 deficit into 80-75 lead with 4:43 left. From there, Point Park was able to stay in front with its free-throw shooting.
Point Park has its final regular season home game vs. Fisher (MA) College on Sunday. Tipoff is 4 p.m. at CCAC-South Gym.
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