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Men's Basketball Recap

Point Park makes late stand to beat Cincinnati Christian, 75-71

Dec. 6, 2014

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Jerah'me Williams totaled 26 points, five assists and five 3-pointers in the win. Photo by Terence Halls.

BOX SCORE

WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. -- Point Park University men's basketball put up a defensive stand and scored the final eight points of the game to beat Cincinnati Christian, 75-71, on Saturday at CCAC-South Gym.

Point Park (8-4) held defending KIAC Tournament champion Cincinnati Christian (5-4) scoreless the final 3:37 and came up with two defensive stops in the final minute to protect on two occasions what was a one-possession lead.

It was a non-conference game between the KIAC schools, but it had the intensity of a conference clash. Since Point Park is a member of the KIAC North Division and CCU is a member of the KIAC South Division, the teams will play only one conference game this year, Jan. 20 at Point Park.

Point Park's Jerah'me Williams, a junior from Youngstown, Ohio, led all scorers with 26 points and helped the Pioneers to reverse a trend that had resulted in two losses earlier in the week.

The Pioneers entered Saturday with two straight losses -- at WVU Tech and home to Washington Adventist -- and both times, Point Park gave up a second-half lead and lost as a result of a big run by the opponent over the final 10 minutes.

Point Park was once again in the lead Saturday versus CCU with a 50-41 advantage with 16:01 remaining. The Pioneers were still up, 55-48, with 13:26 to play when an injury to the Eagles' leading scorer and rebounder Willie McKinney resulted in a 35-minute delay while the 6-7 center was tended to and eventually taken away by medical responders.

After the delay, an inspired effort by CCU resulted in a 23-12 run over the next 10 minutes as the Eagles went in front, 71-67, with 3:37 left. But CCU did not score for the rest of the game as the Point Park defense clamped down. 

Not only did the Pioneers have the key defensive stops, they also hit the critical shots in the closing minutes to win. The big shot was Williams' 3-pointer from the corner that gave Point Park the lead for good, 72-71, with 1:16 left.

On CCU's next possession, the Eagles worked the shot clock down, but Point Park's Barry Smith, one of the NAIA DII national leaders in steals per game, came up with a steal with 43 seconds left.

Williams was then sent to the free-throw line. And although he made only 1 of 2 for a 73-71 lead, Point Park had another defensive stop in the works. That came on Alan Heter's block of Mac Constable's baseline jumper with 18 seconds to go.

Williams went back to the line, and he made both foul shots to bump the Point Park lead to 75-71 with 14 seconds remaining.

Williams, the Pioneers' point guard, had his 26 points come on 8 of 12 from the field and 5 of 9 from 3-point range. He also added five assists.

Smith finished with a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. Heter had a game-high 13 rebounds to go along with nine points. T.J. Lanier got his first start for the Pioneers and scored 12 points on 5 for 9 shooting.

The Pioneers had good contributions from all seven of their players that saw action. Yandell Denis chipped in five points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Sa'iid Allen, who came off the bench for the first time in 12 games, scored all eight of his points the first half and knocked down a couple of 3-pointers to help the Pioneers to a 30-21 lead late in the first stanza.

Point Park overcame 10 turnovers the first half and still led, 38-33, at the break thanks to 57-percent field goals (16 for 28) and 5-for-13 shooting from long range the first 20 minutes.

Mitch McLeish led CCU with 15 points. Jarrell Moses added 11 points and matched McLeish with three 3-pointers. Constable added 13 points off the bench.

Point Park is off until its Jan. 3-4 trip to Asbury (Ky.) and Alice Lloyd (Ky.) to open KIAC play. The Pioneers have 14 games remaining with 13 of them as conference contests.

Follow the Pioneers on Twitter @PointParkSports