Point Park men win at Brescia (Ky.), 99-84, advance to KIAC Tournament FinalsFeb. 28, 2015 at 9:15 p.m. ET
Point Park's starting five breaks the huddle in the KIAC semifinals at Brescia (Ky.) Saturday.
Box Score & Play by Play
OWENSBORO, Ky. -- The Point Park University men's basketball team put on an excellent display of offense to win at Brescia (Ky.), 99-84, on Saturday in the semifinals of the KIAC Tournament.
The Pioneers (16-12) now move on to the championship game March 3, where they will visit No. 21 IU East (26-7) for a chance to earn one of the conference's automatic bids to the NAIA Division II national tournament March 11-17 in Point Lookout, Mo. Tipoff time for the finals is 7 p.m. in Richmond, Ind.
Point Park shot an impressive 62 percent from the field against Brescia (Ky.) (19-10) one of the top defensive teams in the conference. The 99 points were the most given up by KIAC South Division champ Brescia to any NAIA Division II opponent this year.
Point Park's offense was coming from all angles as four starters registered 20-point games. The attack was equally strong from the inside and outside and was consistent throughout.
Senior forward Alan Heter, a 6-7 native of McKees Rocks, Pa., came up big with 24 points and nine rebounds on 10 of 12 from the floor. Fellow senior forward Barry Smith, a 6-6 native of Penn Hills, Pa., put up 23 points on 9 of 13 field goals and knocked down 2 of 3 treys.
Point Park made 9 of 19 3-pointers on the night for a neat, 42-percent effort from outside the arc. The Pioneers had the long-distance touch working the first half with 6 of 10 makes from deep. Even Heter stepped out to make a trey just before the half -- just his third of the year -- for a 43-34 lead at the break.
Guard Yandell Denis, from Brooklyn, N.Y., added 22 points, six rebounds and four assists. He knocked down three 3-pointers, including one for a 74-59 lead that silenced the crowd with 9:00 left. Point guard Jerah'me Williams, from Youngstown, Ohio, tallied 21 points, nine asissts and six steals. Moments earlier, he picked off a Brescia outlet pass and immediately knocked down a trey on the wing.
Brescia made one final push to cut the lead to 82-74 with five minutes left on a 3-pointer from Jordan Cooper-Livers, but Point Park quickly put the game away.
Williams knocked down two technical foul free throws and then drove to the rim on the related possession, and the Pioneers were quickly back up by 12, 86-74.
Brescia continued to fire shots from the perimeter against Point Park's 2-3 zone and came up empty on its attempts to cut into the lead. Point Park grabbed a couple of long rebounds, which led to consecutive, two-hand dunks by Smith and T.J. Lanier on the fast break. That put the game out of reach, 93-76, with under three minutes to go.
Lanier, the final starter, was quiet in the first half but finished with nine points and seven rebounds. He had all nine of his points the second half and pulled down six big rebounds on the defensive end.
Brescia won the rebounding battle, 29-26, but Point Park controlled its own defensive glass with 20 boards on the defensive end. With Point Park in the 2-3 zone for the duration, Brescia attempted 34 treys. The Bearcats did make 12 treys for 35 percent, but their main shooters were held in check.
Also an important factor for the Pioneers was holding 6-7 forward Austin Morris to just four field goal attempts, one of which was from 15 feet and two of which came on offensive rebounds. Morris entered the game as a top candidate for KIAC Player of the Year as the only player in the conference averaging a double-double at 16.4 ppg and 10.3 rpg.
Morris ended up with 12 points and 14 rebounds. But it was aided by 4 for 4 from the foul line and seven offensive rebounds. Brescia guard Decarlos Collier had a team-high 18 points on 6 of 16 shooting. The starting backcourt also had Jermain Langeley with 14 points (6 of 14 FG) and Trey Howard with 12 points (4 of 15 FG).
Point Park is playing in a conference championship game for the first time in eight years. The Pioneers last played for a conference title in 2006-07, when they won at home over Cedarville to win the AMC championship and improve to 29-1. That was also the last time Point Park reached the NAIA Division II national tournament.
Point Park, the No. 2 seed out of the KIAC North will meet IU East, the No. 1 seed out of the KIAC North for a championship game made up of two teams from the same division. The Pioneers lost both meetings to the Red Wolves this year and surrendered double digit leads in the second half of both meetings. The first was an 84-81, overtime loss Feb. 8, and the other was an 80-68 home loss Feb. 21.
IU East already has an automatic bid to the national tournament guaranteed. The Red Wolves won the KIAC regular season championship to claim the first of two automatic bids from the conference. The other will be given to the KIAC Tournament champ. If IU East beats Point Park in the finals, the Brescia would get the conference's second automatic bid as the KIAC South champ rather than Point Park as the tournament runner-up.
Point Park has appeared in five NAIA Division II national tournaments with three of those coming under current head coach Bob Rager. The Pioneers reached the national tournament in 1978-79, 1982-83, 1996-97, 2000-01 and 2006-07.
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