KIAC Tournament Finals Preview: Point Park (16-12) at #19 IU East (25-7), 7 p.m.
March 3, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. ET
Point Park forward Alan Heter goes up against IU East's Huston Clark Feb. 21 at home. Photo by Sam Robinson.
Point Park (16-12) at IU East (25-7) -- KIAC Tournament Finals -- March 3, 2015 at 7 p.m. (Richmond, Ind.)
Watch Live (PPSN) / Watch Live (IU East) / Live Stats / Bracket / Team Matchup
RICHMOND, Ind. -- Point Park University men's basketball is in the KIAC Tournament Finals Tuesday at No. 19 IU East. Tipoff is 7 p.m. in Richmond, Ind. (Earlham College) for an automatic bid to the NAIA Division II national tournament March 11-17 in Point Lookout, Mo.
The Pioneers (16-12) need to beat IU East (25-7) to get an invitation to the national tourney. IU East already has secured an NAIA bid by virture of its KIAC regular season championship. But the Red Wolves can add their first-ever KIAC Tournament title with a win tonight.
Point Park, the No. 2 seed out of the KIAC North Division, will be at KIAC North champion IU East in all-divisional affair for the finals. Point Park lost both regular-season meetings with the Red Wolves, 84-81 (OT) on the road Feb. 8, and 80-68 at home Feb. 21.
Both matchups with IU East this year featured a double-digit lead for Point Park in the second half. The Pioneers were up 65-53 with 8:30 to go Feb. 8 on the road and ahead, 57-46, with 11:30 left on Feb. 21. IU East stormed back both times, first with a 20-8 run to end regulation in the OT win and then with an impressive 32-5 run over an eight-minute span after trailing by 11 on Feb. 21.
Point Park is in a conference championship game after beating 20-game winner Cincinnati Christian, 86-84, in the quarterfinal round at home Feb. 25. The Pioneers then pulled an upset at KIAC South champ Brescia (Ky.), 99-84, Feb. 28.
The Pioneers are in the conference finals for the first time in eight years when they beat Cedarville (Ohio) in the AMC championship game in 2006-07 to improve to 29-1.
Point Park is looking for its sixth appearance in the NAIA national tournament and the fourth under 26th-year head coach Bob Rager. The Pioneers have been to the NAIA Division I national tournament in 1978-79, 1982-83 and 1996-97 (Final Four) and the NAIA Division II tournament in 2000-01 and 2006-07 (No. 3 overall seed).
Point Park is seventh in the country in scoring 87.1 ppg and has all five starters scoring in double digits. The Pioneers are 11th in the country with 8.9 made 3-point field goals per game but also have an inside presence with 6-7 senior forward Alan Heter (14.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and 6-6 senior forward Barry Smith (12.3 ppg, 8.6 rpg).
Point guard Jerah'me Williams leads the perimeter attack with 19.2 ppg and a KIAC-leading 6.9 apg. He shoots 51 percent from the field and a conference-best 44.9 percent from long range. Yandell Denis (12.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and T.J. Lanier (12.6 ppg) are the other starters.
IU East has two All-KIAC performers in senior guard Tyler Fangman (14.5 ppg) and senior guard/forward Huston Clark (13.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg). Fangman has 66 treys on the year and shoots 44.6 percent from deep. Clark is a 6-6 swing player who averaged 26.0 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 4.0 apg and 3.0 bpg in the two earlier matchups with Point Park.
With Point Park leading the KIAC in made 3-pointers and placing second in the conference in scoring offense, IU East counters with a defense ranking first in the league in field-goal defense (.409) and second in scoring defense (73.6 ppg).
The Red Wolves on strong on the boards ranking third in the nation with 43.4 rpg and eighth with a plus-7.3 rebounding margin. Point Park is 11th nationally with 9.2 steals per game.
With a victory at IU East in the finals, Point Park would qualify for the 32-team NAIA Division II national tournament. Pairings for bracket will be released March 4 by the NAIA office.
Follow the Game:
Point Park Sports Network -- Watch Live
IU East Red Wolves Network -- Watch Live
Live Stats (Dakstats) -- Live Stats
Twitter -- @PointParkSports @iueredwolves