Point Park men rout Carlow, clinch home game for first round of playoffs Feb. 24Feb. 18, 2015
Point Park forward Alan Heter goes up for two of his 23 points versus the Carlow defense. Photo by Sam Robinson.
PITTSBURGH -- Point Park University men's basketball will be playing at home for the first round of the KIAC Tournament Feb. 24, and that could be a bad thing for an out-of-town conference opponent. On Wednesday night at CCAC-South, even a in-town KIAC opponent got a taste of the Pioneers' home court.
Point Park (14-11, 6-6 KIAC) routed cross-town foe Carlow University, 83-61, and was never seriously challenged in doing so. With the win, the Pioneers locked up a first-round home playoff game Feb. 24, which will tipoff at 7:30 p.m. versus an opponent TBA in the quarterfinal round of the KIAC Tournament.
The Pioneers raced out to a 9-0 lead after less than two minutes on three layups and a 3-pointer. Senior forward Alan Heter had two of the layups in the early flurry on his way to 23 points and eight rebounds.
Jerah'me Williams fed Heter on the opening bucket for one of his nine assists, and he also knocked down a trey and put in a breakaway basket that followed a steal as the Pioneers were on their way, 9-0. Williams finished with 14 points.
Carlow (2-21, 0-12 KIAC) got within 14-10 on a trey by Zack Taylor early on in the first half, but that was as close as the Celtics got the rest of the way.
Barry Smith scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Pioneers, and his alley-oop dunk from T.J. Lanier put Point Park ahead, 25-14, midway through the first half.
Point Park was ahead, 46-28, at halftime and it maintained a near-20 point lead for the duration of the second half. After taking a 57-35 lead on Yandell Denis' layup with 15:00 left, Point Park was stuck on 57 points for about four minutes.
But Carlow scored only four points in that time period as the Pioneers' defense kept the Celtics from gaining any ground. They got only as close as 57-39 with 12:42 to go.
When Heter scored inside for a 71-47 lead with 4:46 left, the Pioneers had their biggest lead of the night. But that was the end of the night for Heter and the starters. Heter ended up two points from tying his career-high of 25 set at Washington Adventist earlier this year.
Heter led an inside charge that included 54 of the Pioneers' 83 points coming from inside the paint. Point Park utilized its size advantage against the first-year program Celtics. Point Park is usually a perimeter oriented team as it ranks 10th in the country with 8.9 made 3-pointers per game.
The Pioneers converted 18 Carlow turnovers into a 25-7 edge in points off turnovers. Their 15 steals were a season high and led and a defense that set a season-low for points allowed at 61. Point Park held Carlow to 35 percent field goals.
Taylor led Carlow with 17 points, and point guard Jordan Pratt had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Austin Matta added 11 for the Celtics.
Point Park finishes the regular season on Saturday at home versus No. 21 IU East (22-7, 10-2 KIAC). The Senior Day game tipsoff at 12 p.m. and is followed by the women's game at 2 p.m. Point Park seniors Corey Henning, Heter and Smith will be recognized before the game.
IU East may need to win on Saturday to claim the KIAC regular season championship and the NAIA Division II national tournament automatic bid that comes with it. The Red Wolves are 1.5 games ahead of Brescia (Ky.) for the outright KIAC lead.
Point Park is now 8-3 at home and 4-1 in KIAC home games. The Pioneers will be playing their first home playoff game in eight years. The last time Point Park played a postseason game at home, it won the AMC championship game in the 2006-07 season as the No. 3-ranked team in the country to improve to 29-1.
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