Point Park loses close game to NAIA DII #6 Robert Morris (IL) to start OCU tourney
Nov. 7, 2013 at 11:30 p.m. ET
Matt Noszka had a double-double of 23 points and 13 rebounds in the loss to No. 6 Robert Morris. Evan Skowvron photo.
PITTSBURGH -- The Point Park University men's basketball team almost pulled off an upset of NAIA Division II No. 6-ranked Robert Morris (Ill.) University, but it could not come up with the big basket and made some key turnovers late in an 87-84 loss in the first game of the Ohio Christian Tournament on Thursday night.
Point Park (0-2) stayed with highly ranked Robert Morris (1-0) every step of the way and also led 44-42 at half time, but it was the Eagles who made the big plays, particularly with outside shooting, late in the game to win.
Senior guard Gabe McNeal, from Richmond, Va., led Point Park with 26 points, and sophomore forward Matt Noszka, a Chartiers Valley High School product, registered 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Robert Morris got big games from Sean Montgomery, a 6-6 forward, with 33 points, and Kashaune McKinny with 19. Guard Demarko Nash added 10. The Eagles made 17 3-pointers and hit three big ones in the last few minutes for the win.
With Point Park up two at the half, the teams settled in for a tight battle the last 20 minutes. Noszka hit a jumper for a 57-55 lead, and the game was later tied at 63-63. Noszka hit again for a 68-66 lead, and although Harry Singh connected from the outside for a 74-70 edge for Robert Morris, the Pioneers nudged ahead thanks to a triple from Noszka, 75-74.
Point Park had a chance to add to their lead but made a couple of turnovers in a row. Instead, Robert Morris took control when Montgomery, McKinney and Nash all hit from 3-point range for an 83-77 lead with under two minutes to play.
Point Park still had a chance down, 83-79, and especially when it got a defensive stop with about a minute to go. But Robert Morris got the offensive rebound and took another 10 seconds off the clock before Point Park went into foul mode.
Robert Morris knocked down a couple of free throws for an 85-79 lead with 40 seconds left. The Eagles then missed two straight front ends of 1-and-1s, and the Pioneers took advantage with a put back by McNeal to get within 85-81 with 9 seconds left.
After Robert Morris made 1 of 2 free throws, McNeal hit a trey at the other end to pull the Pioneers within 86-84 with 2.4 ticks remaining. Robert Morris again made 1 of 2 foul shots, and McNeal's desperation heave at the buzzer was no good.
Besides McNeal with 26 and Noszka with 23, Point Park got scoring from Robbie Heatherington and Josh Pohlot with nine points apiece, T.J. Lanier with eight, Nick Brown with five and Alan Heter with four. Lanier and Brown did all of their scoring in the first half, and Lanier injured his ankle in the first half and did not return.
Point Park continues tournament play with two more games at the event. Next up is a date with host Ohio Christian Friday at 8 p.m. The Trailblazers are the defending National Christian Colleigate Athletic Association national champions and beat Northland International, 90-82, on Thursday.
All games at the OCU Tournament will be broadcast live on the Point Park Sports Network on iHigh.com. WATCH LIVE
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