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Basketball Game Recap

Point Park men pull upset at NCAA Division II Fairmont State, 107-100

Nov. 15, 2011

Devon Alexander had a career-high 30 points at Fairmont State. File Photo by Chelsey Engel.


FAIRMONT, W.Va. -- Forward Devon Alexander came off the bench for a career-high 30 points and reserve guard Robbie Heatherington put in 23 points, including key free throws late, to lead the Point Park University men's basketball team to a 107-100 upset at NCAA Division II Fairmont State University on Tuesday night.
With the win, Point Park (2-3) stopped a three-game losing streak in the early part of the season won for just the 10th time in 39 all-time meetings with Fairmont State (0-1). The Fighting Falcons still lead all-time series, 10-29.
Point guard T.J. Heatherington totaled 19 points and 14 assists for Point Park, which also got a double-double from forward Dante Anglin with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Shooting guard Jimmy Taylor chipped in 14 points and made three treys.
Alexander, a 6-5 senior forward from McKeesport, Pa., was 10 of 16 from the floor and made 10 of 12 from the free throw line. His previous career high of 27 came as a freshman. 
Robbie Heatherington, a 6-0 sophomore guard from McKeesport, Pa., and Serra Catholic High School, had an excellent shooting night by going 6 of 8 from the field, 5 of 7 from long range and 6 of 6 from the foul line.
Fairmont State, which returns three starters from last year's 17-10 season, had its all-conference backcourt of Isaac Thornton and Steve Custis score 30 and 25 points, respectively. Thornton had a double-double with 11 rebounds and also knocked down 5 of 13 3-pointers. Melvin Rhodes added 20 points on the strength of 4 of 9 from long range.
Point Park trailed by as many as eight in the first half but managed a slim, 49-48 lead at the break. Fairmont State built a 64-57 edge on Thornton's trey with 16:15 left, but Point Park knotted things up five minutes later, 72-72, on one of Robbie Heatherington's five 3-pointers.
Moments later, Alexander followed up Heatherington's long-range bomb with a layup inside as Point Park was up, 76-74, with 9:40 left. The Pioneers never trailed again, and they went on to work an 83-75 advantage at the 7:43 mark.
Point Park seemed to have the game in hand when Taylor drilled a 3-point dagger to give his team a 98-87 lead with 2:21 left. But a 3-point play by Custis and a transition layup by Thornton helped bring Fairmont State within 98-94 with 1:30 to play.
After Robbie Heatherington made a pair of free throws for a 100-94 edge, Fairmont State forced two straight turnovers and turned them into layups both times to make it 100-98 with 59 seconds to go. Fairmont State then stole the ensuing inbounds pass, but Rhodes was called for a technical foul when he called a timeout even though his team was out of them.
Robbie Heatherington made both technicals and went to make two more when Point Park got possession after the foul shots. That put the score at 104-98 with under 30 ticks to go, and the Pioneers had their upset.
Point Park shot 53 percent overall and overcame the fact that Fairmont State made 15 3-pointers by owning a 48-39 edge on the boards and making 26 of 32 free throws. Fairmont State went to the line only 15 times and made seven shots.
Tuesday's game begins a stretch of four games in five days for the Pioneers. After playing their first five games -- and seven of their first eight -- away from home, Point Park makes is home debut Wednesday night when it entertains Penn State-Fayette (7:30 p.m.). The Pioneers have also drawn Penn State-Fayette in the first round of the Allegheny College Tournament that runs Friday and Saturday.