Point Park men win Allegheny Tournament Title, Rager passes Davies' win total
Nov. 19, 2011
T.J. Heatherington scored 32 points for the Pioneers Friday. File Photo by Jack Megaw
MEADVILLE, Pa. -- Behind 32 points from tournament MVP T.J. Heatherington, the Point Park University men's basketball team erased an early deficit and beat host Allegheny College, 91-89, Friday night in the finals of the Allegheny Invitational.
Heatherington, a junior point guard, was named to the All-Tournament Team along with teammate Jimmy Taylor, a junior shooting guard who had 19 points and made 5 of 9 3-pointers. Robbie Heatherington added 21 points and was 5 of 8 from long range.
Devon Alexander had 17 points and eight rebounds, and the 6-5 forward scored a couple of key baskets in crunch time to keep Point Park (5-3) in front.
With the win, Point Park head coach Bob Rager picked up career victory No. 315 to pass former Duquesne coach Chick Davies for the second-most victories among men's basketball coaches at four-year schools in the City of Pittsburgh. Rager is in his 23rd year as head coach at his alma mater. Pitt's Doc Carlson is first in that category with 367, and Point Park's Jerry Conboy is fourth at 305.
Saturday's victory completed a stretch of four games in five days for the Pioneers, and Point Park came away with wins in all four contests. The week started with Tuesday's 107-100 upset at NCAA Division II Fairmont State and also includes routs of PSU-Fayette on Wednesday and Friday
Only a 3-pointer in the closing seconds got Allegheny within a basket at the final buzzer. Point Park was up five with under 20 seconds to go, but the Pioneers had to work to get to that point.
The Pioneers trailed Allegheny (1-2), 11-0, and the Gators took their biggest lead of 31-15 midway through the first half.
But Heatherington, with 18 of his 32 points coming in the first half, fueled a 30-8 run to end the first half as Point Park took a 45-39 lead at halftime.
But Point Park's work was hardly done at that stage. Allegheny went in front, 61-58, with 12:33 remaining, only to have Point Park score 10 quick points for a 68-65 edge moments later.
From there, Allegheny cut the deficit to a single possession on a few occasions with Point Park pulling away each time. The Gators nailed a trey to get within 73-70 at the eight minute mark, but Taylor drilled a trey on the Pioneers' next possession.
Point Park's 80-72 lead was quickly turned into 80-78 on a couple of 3-pointers from Allegheny's Ryan Stanko, who had 27 points and was 7 of 15 from outside the arc.
Then T.J. Heatherington hit a couple of big jumpers, and in between, Alexander scored inside as the Pioneers gave themselves an 86-78 cushion with 3:40 left.
With 1:25 remaining Stanko made three free throws to trim the lead down to 86-85. But Alexander came up big on Point Park's next possession with an offensive rebound and a layup for an 88-85 lead with 59 seconds left.
After Allegheny's next two possessions ended on a missed shot and an offensive foul, Point Park went up, 90-85, on T.J. Heatherington's free throws with 19 seconds left. Stanko's late 3-pointer came two possessions later.
Both teams shot 44 percent from the field, and Point Park held a 44-41 lead in rebounding. Point Park was 12 of 25 (48%) from long range, and Allegheny was 13 of 31 (42%).
Point Park's talented guards were on display this weekend. T.J. Heatherington averages 24.8 ppg, 8.4 apg and 5.0 rpg and has four 30-point games in the eight game thus far. Taylor averages 19.4 ppg and is shooting 45 percent (35 of 78) from 3-point range. Robbie Heatherington averages 16.3 ppg and is shooting 44 percent (26 of 58) from long range.
Inside, Alexander has reached double figures in three of the past four games and is averaging 12.0 ppg and 6.4 rpg. Leading rebounder Dante Anglin picked up seven boards on Saturday and owns averages of 6.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.
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