Point Park comes up short to host team in Ohio Christian Tournament finale
Nov. 8, 2014
CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio -- A big disadvantage in rebounds, a relatively cold shooting performance and falling behind in each half spelled defeat for the Point Park University men's basketball team in an 82-76 loss to the host team at the Ohio Christian Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
The Pioneers (2-1) failed to finish off the weekend and instead lost to the host Trailblazers (3-1) in the tournament finale, which pitted teams that had been 2-0 in the tournament.
Ohio Christian, the two-time, defending national champions in the National Christian College Athletic Association, controlled the rebounds, 42-24, and held Point Park to 41-percent shooting. Point Park did make 11 3-pointers, but it was on 31 attempts for 36 percent.
Ohio Christian held a modest lead of 44-40 at halftime but since it built a 24-14 advantage midway through the opening half, the Pioneers were forced to play catch up.
Although Point Park clawed within two possessions at the break, Ohio Christian once again opened up a double-digit lead of 56-44 by scoring 12 of the first 16 points of the second half.
Point Park, which got 23 points off the bench from Jerah'me Williams and 21 from starting guard Sa'iid Allen, got within 67-63 on Williams' jumper with 6:19 to play.
The Pioneers pulled even at 70-70 on Matthew Noszka's free throws with 3:07 to play, but Ohio Christian inched ahead with a couple of key baskets for a 75-71 lead with 30 seconds left.
Although Allen hit one of his seven 3-pointers to pull the Pioneers within 75-74 with 19 seconds left, Point Park was forced to foul, and Ohio Christian put the game away on its next couple of trips to the free-throw line.
Like the rebounds, free throws played a key role with Ohio Christian making 86 percent (18 of 21) from the charity stripe to preserve the game. Point Park shot only 65 percent from the foul line with seven misses in 20 attempts.
Ohio Christian got away with 19 turnovers compared to just 10 for Point Park. The Trailblazers shot 49 percent from the field, and had three players in double figures led by 6-4 guard Wesley Russell with 26 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists and five steals.
Donovyn Benson, a 6-7 center, chipped in 16 points and 10 rebounds off the OCU bench. Starting forward Evan Mills, who is 6-5, had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Allen's 21 points for Point Park came on 7 of 16 from 3-point range. The freshman from Baton Rouge, La., is shooting 20 for 34 (58 percent) from outside the arc the first three games.
Alan Heter totaled 10 points and six rebounds as Point Park had three double-digit scorers.
Point Park returns to action on Monday night with a non-conference home game versus Penn State-Beaver with a 7 p.m. tipoff at CCAC-South Gym.
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