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Men's Basketball

Point Park men fall at No. 19 IU East in KIAC Tournament Finals, 84-67

March 3, 2015 at 11:30 p.m. ET

FB for KIAC Finals
IU East's Dominique Williams knifes through the Point Park defense in the KIAC Tournament finals. Photo by Karina Graziani.

STATS

RICHMOND, Ind. -- No. 19 IU East put together a very strong second half to beat visiting Point Park, 84-67, in the KIAC Tournament finals on Tuesday night.

Point Park (16-13) managed a 32-29 lead at the half despite shooting just 31 percent the first 20 minutes. That's because IU East didn't fare much better at 32 percent overall and 3 for 16 from long range.

But the Red Wolves (26-7) won the KIAC championship with an excellent second half that included 59 percent field goals, 5 of 12 from the 3-point arc and 16 of 19 from the foul line (84 percent). The second half also included strong defense from IU East, which outscored the Pioneers, 55-35, after halftime.

Against the top defensive team in the KIAC, Point Park was held under 70 points for just the fourth time in 29 games. IU East leads the conference in field-goal defense, and it was just the sixth time all year the Pioneers shot less than 40 percent. The Red Wolves are also second in the conference in scoring defense at 73.6 ppg, and it showed.

And when the IU East defense dug in the second half, the Red Wolves' offense settled in as well. The shots that weren't falling early on started to go down once IU East had the comfort of the lead.

"IU East was not hitting early," said Point Park coach Bob Rager. "They got the lead in the second half and then started hitting. When they got the lead, they started playing loose, and that's when the shots start falling for you. We weren't able to make enough shots. And we also had a few too many turnovers."

Despite the loss, there were still many positives. Most notably a run to the conference finals and a tournament runner-up finish in a 10-team league. It was the first time the Pioneers reached the championship game in eight years, and the final victory total of 16 is the most for the program in seven years.

The Pioneers registered four starters in double figures but couldn't keep up with the Red Wolves' pace the second half. Alan Heter and Barry Smith, a pair of senior starters, posted double-doubles in their final collegiate games. Heter had team-highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Smith had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Junior point guard Jerah'me Williams put up 17 points and seven assists. T.J. Lanier finished with 13 points.

The Pioneers' game plan was working great the first half as they packed into their 2-3 zone. IU East chucked 16 3-point attempts and made only three. Also, star forward Huston Clark had just two points and two field goal attempts the first 20 minutes as Point Park keyed in on him.

Things loosened up the second half, however, with IU East's Tyler Fangman having 12 of his 17 points and Clark having 11 of his 13 points after halftime. Fangman knocked down a couple of treys, and Clark broke free for a breakaway dunk as IU East built a, 55-47, with 10:15 left.

And as IU East began to hit some perimeter shots, more opening were created from in close. The Red Wolves shared the ball well and passed their way to 20 assists on 29 field goals. The strong passing resulted in the 59-percent shooting (17 for 29) the second half.

Point Park committed 16 turnovers, which is four above its season average. That negated the Pioneers' edge in rebounds, 50-42. Point Park totaled 20 offensive rebounds but could not take advantage of the extra opportunities.

A big advantage for IU East was depth. The Red Wolves had a 34-3 advantage in bench points and had 10 players see action when the game was still in doubt. IU East had contributions from many playes, including 13 points off the bench from Dominique Williams, nine points each from Jason Ray and Lucas Huffman and eight points from Vasha Davis.

IU East led by as many as 17 points, 75-58, with just under 3:00 to go. Point Park had one last chance when Smith and Williams hit consecutive treys to cut the lead to 75-64 with 1:51 left. But IU East put the game away at the foul line, where they were 18 for 24 for the game (75 percent).

IU East already had an automatic bid to the NAIA DII national tournament before Tuesday's win since it won the KIAC regular season title. And since IU East won both titles, the KIAC's second bid to nationals goes to Brescia by virtue of its KIAC South Division championship.

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