Point Park men open season with 65-54 loss at home to Lourdes (Ohio)
Nov. 6, 2013 at 9:45 p.m. ET
WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. -- The Point Park University men's basketball team ran into a tough defense with a grind-it-out offense in its season opener Wednesday at CCAC-South Gym, and the Pioneers were never able to get their offense going in a 65-54, non-conference loss to fellow NAIA team Lourdes (Ohio).
Nick Brown had 21 points and six rebounds on 5 of 9 from 3-point range, and Gabe McNeal added 12 points, but those were the only double-digit scorers for the Pioneers (0-1), who were down, 35-24, at the half.
Lourdes (3-1), which already had three games under its belt coming in, used a tough defense and patient, efficient offense to keep Point Park at bay all night. Lourdes led the country in scoring defense and opponent field-goal percentage last year and ranks 12th in the nation in scoring defense early this season.
The Gray Wolves shot 56 percent the first half to get out to the 11-point lead after 20 minutes. Lourdes extended the lead to 42-27 early in the second on Eric Worthey's 3-pointer. Worthey, a 6-5 swing man, was 3 for 3 from long range.
Multiple times in the second half, Point Park got the lead down to seven or eight points, only to have the Gray Wolves bump things back up to double-digits. Brown hit a trey and Robbie Heatherington made a transition jumper to get Point Park within 42-35 with 12:46, but that was answered with a 7-0 spurt by Lourdes.
Trying to get back into the game, Point Park managed to get within 10 at 49-39, at the 8:32 mark, but Lourdes responded with a 9-0 run made up of three layups and a big 3-pointer from Elvin Butler, who had 13 points and was 3 of 8 from downtown. Th 9-0 spurt gave Lourdes its biggest lead of the night of 19 points, 58-39.
Point Park made things interesting the final two minutes as McNeal's unconventional 3-point play gave the Pioneers a fighting chance down 58-48 with 1:39 left. Things looked even better when Brown knocked down his fifth 3-pointer of the game to cut the margin to 58-51 with a little over 1:00 to play.
Point Park missed an opportunity to get even closer with a missed layup and a missed 3-pointer in its next two trips, and Lourdes was able to put the game away at the foul line. Lourdes left the door open by shooting only 13 of 22 from the foul line on the night, but it made them in the final minute.
Forward Zach Steinmetz had 10 points to give Lourdes three players in double figures. The Gray Wolves have been to the NAIA Division II national tournament two straight years every though this is only their fourth year of basketball.
Point Park shot only 39 percent, but it did shoot 5 of 13 from downtown the second half to get back into it. The Pioneers were 8 of 21 (38 percent) from long range on the night. Point Park led in rebounds, 32-30, but lost the turnover battle, 20-15.
Point Park gets right back into action the next three days with three games at the Ohio Christian Tournament Thursday through Saturday. First up is another strong, NAIA DII team with preseason No. 6 Robert Morris (ill.) Thursday at 6 p.m. The Pioneers also see host Ohio Christian Friday at 8 p.m. and play Trinity International (Ill.) Saturday at 2 p.m.
All three games of the OCU Tournament will be broadcast live on the Point Park Sports Network. WATCH LIVE