Point Park men notch Top 25 victory over No. 17 Cincinnati Christian, 78-76
Jan. 21, 2015 at 6:30 a.m. ET
Jerah'me Williams had a team-high 20 points and five assists in the win. Photo by Chris Squier.
WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. -- Point Park University men's basketball notched its first win over a ranked opponent in four years with Tuesday night's KIAC victory over NAIA Division II No. 17 Cincinnati Christian, 78-76, at CCAC-South Gym.
The Pioneers (11-7, 3-2 KIAC) have now won three conference games in a row after an 0-2 start. They earned their first victory over a Top 25 team since beating No. 22 Malone (Ohio) in an AMC game, 76-75, on Feb. 12, 2011.
Tuesday was a very tight game with Cincinnati Christian (14-6, 2-1 KIAC), which had its nine-game win streak stopped by Point Park. In fact, the Pioneers have dealt the Eagles their last two defeats. CCU had won nine in a row since losing at Point Park, 75-71, on Dec. 6.
The outcome was in doubt until the final seconds Tuesday as the KIAC battle went back and forth. Point Park's Jerah'me Williams made a trey for three of his team-high 20 points to tie the score at 68-68 with 3:43 remaining.
T.J. Lanier, who finished with 15 points, put back a missed jumper and also made a pair of free throws to edge Point Park ahead, 72-70 with 1:32 left.
Point Park then came up with a couple of defense stops, and when CCU fouled, Yandell Denis made 3 of 4 free throws to bump the Pioneers lead to 75-70 with 33 seconds left.
But CCU would not go quietly as sharp shooter Mitch McLeish, the leading 3-point shooter in the KIAC, hit twice from long range to make things interesting. McLeish had a game-high 25 points on 9 of 14 from the field and 7 of 10 from beyond the arc.
McLeish first hit a trey to cut the lead to 75-73 with 19 seconds to go. After Williams canned a couple of free throws for a 77-73, Point Park lead with 17 ticks left, the Eagles hustled the ball to the other end, where McLeish drilled a 3 from the top of the key to make it 77-76 with 13 seconds.
Point Park got the ball into Lanier, who made 1 of 2 free throws for a two-point lead. With eight seconds and no timeouts, CCU took possession. McLeish drove to the basket but lost the ball out of bounds amid a double team. That led to a baseline inbounds play with 0.6 seconds left. CCU's D.J. McCommons had a look at a baseline jumper, but Denis blocked the shot to seal the win.
In addition to Williams finishing with a team-high 20 points and five assists, Point Park senior forward Alan Heter totaled 17 points and nine rebounds on 6 of 8 field goals.
The Pioneers, who made 9 of 25 3-pointers, had all five starters in double figures. Denis finished with 13 points and seven rebounds while Barry Smith had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Point Park had a big advantage at the foul line making 19 of 26 shots (73 percent). CCU did not miss a free throw but had only eight attempts for an 8-for-8 clip.
Point Park is now 6-2 at home but will take its 3-5 road record to Brescia (Ky.) for a KIAC game this Friday at 7 p.m. CT. The Pioneers are 2-0 on neutral courts.
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