PITTSBURGH -- Point Park University men's basketball had a tough result Tuesday night at Carlow, a 75-74 loss in overtime. It was a key game in River States Conference play for the Pioneers, who may need to win their final two league games to make the playoffs.
Carlow (4-22, 3-11 RSC) got the winning points when Miles Sunder put back a missed shot with just a few seconds left in overtime. The Celtics sealed the victory with a steal of the ensuing inbounds pass.
Jaylen Mann, who totaled 22 points and 19 rebounds for Point Park (8-17, 5-10 RSC), forced overtime when he put back a missed shot at the regulation buzzer. That made the score 68-68 after 40 minutes.
Neither team led by more than two points in the extra period, although a big play was Jacob St. George's 3-pointer that gave Carlow a 73-72 lead with 2:53 left. Point Park's T.J. Bates made a couple of free throws for a 74-73 edge at 1:42, and those were the last points for either team until Sunder's winning basket.
Gavin Rajahpillay scored a team-high 26 points for the Pioneers. He had 13 in each half, and Point Park led, 40-33, at the break. The Pioneers were ahead by as many as 10 late in the first half, 39-29.
Forward Charlie Scharbo had a huge game for Carlow. He finished with 32 points and 20 rebounds. He made 12 of 20 from the field. It was Scharbo who took the shot in the final seconds of overtime that Sunder rebounded on the backside for the win.
Carlow also had center P.J. McLaughlin with 18 points and nine rebounds and St. George with 16 points from the guard position. Sunder, a starter, was 1 for 6 from the field in 25 minutes.
The Celtics built a lead of 58-52 with 10:50 left only to have Point Park turn things around for a 64-60 lead at the under-6:00 media timeout. The Pioneers were still up 66-60 with 3:39 after a basket by Mann but could not hold on.
Point Park plays its next game at non-conference Villa Maria (N.Y.) on Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. The Pioneers have two more RSC games left and may need to win both to make the playoffs. They trail Rio Grande (6-8 RSC) by 1.5 games for the final playoff spot. Already with a win over Rio Grande this year, Point Park plays at Rio Grande Feb. 17 and at No. 11 WVU Tech Feb. 18 for its final two conference games.
A loss to Rio Grande would eliminate the Pioneers from playoff contention. Point Park may need to also beat WVU Tech in the regular-season finale in order to make the postseason. That is if Rio Grande wins one of its other remaining games of at Ohio Christian (Feb. 11) or home to Carlow (Feb. 18).