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Men's Basketball

Game Notes: Point Park Men at Asbury (Ky.) & Alice Lloyd (Ky.) Jan. 3-4

Jan. 2, 2015 at 11:30 p.m. ET

Pictured: Forward T.J. Lanier in a game last year versus Saturday's opponent, Asbury (Ky.). Photo by Sam Robinson.

Jan. 3, 2015 at 4 p.m. ET

Point Park (8-4, 0-0 KIAC) at Asbury (Ky.) (10-3, 1-0 KIAC)   Live Video / Live Stats
Jan. 4, 2015 at 3 p.m. ET
Point Park (8-4, 0-0 KIAC) at Alice Lloyd (Ky.) (4-9, 1-0 KIAC)  Live Video

Point Park University men's basketball (8-4, 0-0 KIAC) opens Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play this weekend with a two-game road trip to Asbury (Ky.) (10-3, 1-0 KIAC) and Alice Lloyd (Ky.) (4-9, 1-0 KIAC) on Jan. 3-4, 2015. This weekend will be the only set of back-to-back, KIAC road games for the Pioneers, who are embarking on a key road trip to start the second semester.

Point Park has not been in action since a home win over Cincinnati Christian on Dec. 6. That victory, which was a non-conference game versus the KIAC opponent CCU, was a key win for the Pioneers, who had lost three of their previous four games. Point Park will look to keep that winning momentum going after a month-long layoff of games.

Point Park returns to action with fresh legs and its full roster as all players are rested and ready to go after taking care of business the first semester both on the court and in the classroom. Last year, the Pioneers lost a couple of key players for the second semester due to academic issues. That resulted in Point Park finishing the year 11-17 overall and 6-11 KIAC. With no such concerns this year, the Pioneers will try to build on their 8-4 record. Of their 14 remaining games, 13 will come in KIAC play.

The Pioneers are second in NAIA Division II in scoring offense with a KIAC-best 93.2 points per game. Through 12 games, the Pioneers have put up 1,118 points, and their current scoring average is tied with the 2012-13 Point Park team for highest single-season scoring average in school history. Defensively, Point Park gives up 80.5 points per game, which ranks near the bottom of the KIAC at seventh of 10 teams in the conference. With five starters averaging double figures, Point Park relies on its offense to carry it to victory. Under head coach Bob Rager, the Pioneers have led the country in scoring four times the past decade.

Bob Rager is in his 26th year as head coach at his alma mater. Rager has a record of 356-345 in his career, all at Point Park. He has led the Pioneers to the NAIA national tournament three times including the NAIA Division I Final Four in 1996-97.

Point guard Jerah'me Williams leads the team with 20.3 ppg (20th in NAIA DII) and 7.3 apg (2nd in NAIA DII). Senior forward Barry Smith (13.1 ppg) is ninth in the nation with 9.8 rpg and fifth with 2.9 spg. Senior forward Alan Heter (13.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg) has three double-doubles on the year. Guards Yandell Denis (13.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Sa'iid Allen (12.5 ppg, 34 3pt FGs) also average double digits.

Junior guard/forward T.J. Lanier (8.4 ppg) and sophomore guard/forward Art Christian (7.0 ppg) have made up the Pioneers bench this year although Lanier started the last game. Lanier has scored in double figures in three of the last four games. Christian brings 15 made 3-pointers in 12 games off the bench.

The Pioneers lost twice to Asbury last year, 82-65 at home and 86-68 on the road. Point Park split two games versus Alice Lloyd last year with a 106-84 home win and a 71-68 road loss. The win over Alice Lloyd was a part of Point Park starting out 3-1 KIAC in the first semester. But after academic casulaties and key injuries caught up with the Pioneers after the new year, they were just 4-11 overall and 3-10 KIAC the rest of the season. That limited roster was swept by Asbury and lost on the road to Alice Lloyd last season.

Point Park was picked third of five teams in the KIAC Preseason Poll this year with two of five starters returning. Asbury, a yearly contiender in the KIAC, was picked third of five teams in the KIAC South Division coming off last year's 17-11 record. Alice Lloyd, picked last in the KIAC South Division, was 15-15 overall last year.

The Eagles are 10-3 overall and 1-0 KIAC after Friday night's, 98-75 win over a Carlow (1-9, 0-2 KIAC) team that is in its first year of basketball. It was the first game for Asbury since a win over Tennessee Temple on Dec. 6. Like Point Park, they had a layoff of nearly a month on the holiday. But they are back in the winning form and improved to 6-0 at home with Friday's victory.

The Eagles returned two starters from last year with KIAC Player of the Year, C.J. Penny, a 6-5 forward, as the only double-digit scorer returning. Penny is averaging 12.3 ppg and shooting 55 percent from the field as the inside presence. With expanded roles this year, each of the other four starters average in double figures this year after all being under 10.0 ppg last year -- guard Kyle Lambe (14.9 ppg), guard Tyler Smith (13.4 ppg), guard Kristian Morgan (10.3 ppg) and guard Jordan Gilbert (10.0). The five starters log a majority of the minutes for a team that generally goes seven deep.

The Eagles are 4-9 overall and 1-0 KIAC entering their Saturday home game versus Carlow (1-9, 0-2 KIAC). Alice Lloyd has two starters remaining from last year's team that was 15-15 overall, 8-9 KIAC. Those are 6-7 forward Tyler Rogers (14.0 ppg) and 6-5 forward Cody Malicoat (10.7 ppg). Newcomer Trevor Tiller is a 6-3 guard averaging 11.9 ppg to give the Eagles three double-digit scorers.

Alice Lloyd ranks eighth of 10 teams in the KIAC in both scoring offense (72.46 ppg) and scoring defense (82.42 ppg). Although the Eagles have lost eight of their last 10 entering the weekend, they own a big win in the KIAC this year with a 63-53 win over KIAC power IU Southeast on Dec. 6.

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