Men head away, women take home court

Nathan Bottiger, Sports Editor

Last Thursday Pitt-Johnstown’s men’s and women’s basketball players both lost to West Liberty at Pitt-Johnstown’s the Sports Center.

The men’s team lost its game 83-98. The women lost 90-98 in overtime.

The men’s team lead West Liberty, No. 3 in the nation, for most of the first half but began struggling midway through the half, and ended the period down by four points.

Senior Nick Novak said the team had a lot of energy heading into the first half, but did not play as strongly in the second.

Novak said the team had a specific game plan heading into the game that contributed to their first-half success.

“We wanted to slow the game down as much as possible to counter their pressure, but also look to attack and get an easy basket when we had an opportunity.”

He said West Liberty adjusted to the Mountain Cats’ game plan and capitalized on their mistakes.

“On any single play, when you made a wrong choice of the two, you either miss an opportunity or make a mistake, and they make you pay for it.”

Novak said the loss was unsettling, but it does not affect their placement in a conference tournament.

West Liberty has already clinched the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s regular-season title.

Novak said Saturday’s game determines whether the team plays at home or away for the conference tournament’s first round.

Against the Lady Cats, it took more effort from West Liberty’s women’s team to secure the win.

Pitt-Johnstown’s women’s team lead almost the entire game, but West Liberty came back from a 13-point deficit to tie the game 81-81, sending the game into overtime.

Hillary Southworth carried her team, making 11 of 17 field goal attempts. Pitt-Johnstown was far more distributive in scoring.

West Liberty entered the game with a better record than Pitt-Johnstown, but the Lady Cats seemed to carry the momentum of their hot-streak into the game.

Pitt-Johnstown’s men’s and women’s teams are to play Seton Hill University at the Sports Center on Saturday, which is also their last regular-season games and senior nights.

The Men’s team lost their game Saturday against Seton Hill, despite Novak putting up career numbers. Novak put up a career high of 35 points in the game.

With the loss, the Mountain Cats have a 14-12 regular-season record and a 10-12 conference record. The team finished ninth in the conference.

The team is to travel to eighth-seeded Concord (W.Va.) University today for the conference tournament’s first round.

The Lady Cats also lost their game against Seton Hill 55-64, making them 14-11 for the season and 12-10 in the conference, but maintained the eighth seed in  the conference tournament’s.

The women’s team hosted the ninth-seeded University of Charleston (W.Va.) Monday at 7 p.m. in the Sports Center, opening the 2013 conference tournament.