Point Park men win third in a row, 69-65, over IU Kokomo in KIAC opener
Nov. 12, 2013 at 8:45 p.m. ET
Point Park in a timeout holding a 66-64 lead over IU Kokomo in the final minutes. Photo by Zac Weiss.
WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. -- Senior guard Gabe McNeal had 25 points and 13 rebounds to lead four players in double figures as the Point Park University men's basketball team won its third game in a row, 69-65, over visiting Indiana Kokomo in the KIAC opener for both teams Tuesday afternoon at CCAC-South Gym.
McNeal, a 6-2 native of Richmond, Va., had 14 points the first half, but the Pioneers (3-2, 1-0 KIAC) were down, 34-33, at the break to winless IU Kokomo (0-6, 0-1 KIAC).
But Point Park came out of the halftime locker room and gained a bit of control when McNeal put back a missed shot for a 47-40 lead with 14:31 to play. The Pioneers seemed ready to build on the lead ever more, but Point Park was never able to pull away.
Instead, KIAC newcomer KIAC newcomer IU Kokomo stayed within striking distance the rest of the way. The Cougars' Jared Lawrence scored inside for two of his 14 points to get the lead down to 49-46 with 12:52 left.
Point Park managed a 53-46 lead on McNeal's jumper at the 12:14 mark, but the seven-point edge was the biggest lead for the rest of the night as the Pioneers again failed to pull away.
Point Park made just 1 of 12 from 3-point range in the second half, leading to many empty possessions on offense. That came after a first-half shooting display of 7 for 16 from long range allowed the Pioneers to stay within one point the first 20 minutes.
The Pioneers ended up shooting 38 percent for the game and made enough key buckets down the stretch to win. Most of those were from two-point range with the outside shooting going cold. Point Park entered the game ranking among the NAIA Division II leaders with 10 made 3-pointers per game.
Dylan Mosack, who had 16 points to lead IU Kokomo, scored a second-chance layup to cut the deficit to 60-59 with 4:25 remaining. But Point Park's Nick Brown, who had a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds, hit a nice bank shot to keep the Pioneers ahead.
Then Alan Heter drove the lane for two of his 11 points, and Matt Noszka put back a missed shot with a nifty reverse layup as Point Park stayed a couple possessions ahead, 66-61, with 2:17 remaining.
Lawrence got a basket and a foul -- as he did several times in the game -- to pull the Cougars to within 66-64, with 1:10 to go, but McNeal banked in a mid-range jumper at the other end for a four-point lead for the Pioneers, 68-64.
Point Park got a big defensive stop on IU Kokomo's next possession, and the Pioneers had the ball and the lead with under a minute to go. But the Pioneers turned the ball over, leaving the door open for the Cougars with a full shot clock to go.
But the Pioneers dodged a bullet when IUK got only 1 of 2 free throws on that possession by Spence Krhin to make the score 68-65 with just 17 ticks to go. The Pioneers' Kyerell Scott then made 1 of 2 foul shots to re-gain the four-point lead with 12 seconds left, and one final drive by the Cougars came up empty as the Pioneers cleared the reboud.
Point Park made up for its 38-percent shooting by dominating the rebounds, 51-37. Noszka had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Heter had 11 points and five rebounds.
McNeal's big game, which included 10 of 21 from the field and four treys, helped to make up for the loss of startint point guard Robbie Heatherington, who is expected to miss the games this week with an ankly injury sufferred on the weekend.
Three Point Park starters played all 40 minutes -- McNeal, Brown and Noszka -- and the Pioneers brought in only three subs in the game. Kyerell Scott got the start at point guard and scored five points in 29 minutes.
Point Park gets right back into action on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at home versus Penn State-Beaver. The game will be broadcast live on the Point Park Sports Network with audio-only simulcast on MSAsports.net. WATCH LIVE