#PPUMBB Gameday: Point Park Men vs. IU Kokomo -- Jan. 10 at 2 p.m. ET
Yandell Denis and the Pioneers are 9-6, 1-2 KIAC entering Saturday's game. Photo by Chris Squier.
GAME PREVIEW -- Point Park (9-6, 1-2 KIAC) vs. IU Kokomo (7-9, 1-0 KIAC), 2 p.m. ET
ON AIR: Point Park Sports Network (PPSN) TWITTER: @PointParkSports
Point Park returns to its home court for a KIAC game versus fellow North Division opponent Indiana Kokomo. The Pioneers are playing a home game for the first time in over a month as its last time taking the CCAC-South court was Dec. 6, a 75-71 win over Cincinnati Christian in a non-conference game. After a long layoff, Point Park resumed play Jan. 3-4 for its KIAC openers at Asbury (Ky.) and Alice Lloyd (Ky.), but it lost both games.
The Pioneers played their third conference road game in a span of five days this past Wednesday, and they came up with a 98-96 win at Rio Grande. Point Park looks to keep the momentum going today, and it is 4-2 at home this year. Point Park split two games with IUK last year with a 69-66 home win and a 116-106 road loss. The Pioneers scored an amazing 70 points in the 2nd Half of the road loss but still lost after being down 57-36 at the half.
Indiana Kokomo is in its second year in the KIAC, and last year the Cougars were 8-19 overall and 5-12 KIAC to finish in ninth place, one spot out of playoff qualification. Under fourth-year coach Jace Thompson, IUK is already just two wins shy of matching last year’s win total. The Cougars were 6-9 overall, 0-0 KIAC entering Friday night’s conference game at Carlow, which tipped off at 8 p.m.
GAME NOTES -- Download PDF Game Notes
Quick Hits: The Pioneers got a big win this past Wednesday at Rio Grande to prevent an 0-3 start to conference play. Point Park was down 19 points in the first half but came back to win, 98-96, and enters today 1-2 KIAC. The Pioneers return home, where they are 4-2 on the year, with a chance to even their conference record and notch their 10th win of the season. Point Park has two starters returning from last year’s team that was 11-17 overall and 6-11 KIAC for 8th place.
Last Game: Won, 98-96, at Rio Grande. The Pioneers turned a 51-32, first-half deficit into a KIAC road win with 28 points from T.J. Lanier and 27 points and eight assists from Jerah’me Williams. The win was versus a Rio Grande team picked as the KIAC North favorite.
Head Coach: Bob Rager, 26th season. Career Record: 357-347 (all at Point Park). Three NAIA national tournaments (1996-97, 2000-01, 2006-07). All-time winningest coach in team history.
Starting Five: Point guard Jerah’me Williams leads the team with 19.8 points (22nd in NAIA DII) and 6.8 assists per game (5th in NAIA DII). G/F Barry Smith (12.7 ppg) is 11th in the country with 9.6 rpg and seventh with 2.7 spg. F Alan Heter (12.8 ppg) is 23rd in the nation with 8.5 rpg. G/F Yandell Denis (12.7 ppg) and T.J. Lanier (11.4 ppg) are the other two starters.
Off The Bench: The Pioneers bring a pair of shooting threats off the bench with Sa’iid Allen (10.9 ppg) and Art Christian (6.1 ppg) have 37 and 17 made 3-pointers on the year, respectively.
Lanier Lately: G/F T.J. Lanier has started the last four games and is on a major term. The 6-6 junior is averaging 16.8 ppg the last five games, all of which have been double-digit scoring efforts, including a career-high 28 at Rio Grande on Wednesday.
NAIA DII Team Stats: Point Park ranks 4th in NAIA DII in steals per game (10.6), 5th in scoring offense (90.0 ppg), 9th in rebounds per game (41.7 rpg), 10th in 3-point field goals made per game (9.2), 16th in turnover margin (+3.7) and 33rd in assists per game (15.6).
Home vs. Road: Point Park is 4-2 at home this year., and the Dec. 6 win over CCU was one of the Pioneers’ best games this year, especially since CCU is now ranked No. 22 in NAIA DII with a 12-5 record. The road had not been kind for the Pioneers as they were just 2-4 on the road before Wednesday’s win. With three of their next four KIAC games at home PPU will look to make up ground in the standings.
Offensive Outburst: With the fifth-best scoring offense in the country according to points per game (90.0), the Pioneers had not been acting like it prior to the game at Rio Grande. That win ended a streak of five losses in the past seven games, only one of which included more than 80 points for the Pioneers. But the outburst of 98 points overall and 58 the second half at Rio Grande put the Pioneers back on their scoring track.
Scouting IUK: The Cougars were 6-9, 0-0 KIAC entering last night at Carlow (8 p.m.) having lost four of its last six games. IUK has one of the better defense in the conference ranking 3rd in the KIAC in scoring defense (71.0 ppg) and 4th in field goal percentage defense (.433). Junior G Nick Teeter (15.9 ppg) has a team-high 46 treys to rank 15th in NAIA DII with 3.3 made per game. He is 38 for 38 from the foul line. 6-9 center Micah Pier (11.4) and 6-4 G Jared Lawrence (11.4) also average double digits. IUK is 15th nationally at free-throw percentage at 74.5 percent.
Up Next: The Pioneers visit PSU-Fayette (10-3) on Monday at 7:30 p.m. and then does play again until hosting No. 22 CCU (12-5) on Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Follow the Pioneers Twitter @PointParkSports