Sophomore shines in clutch situations

Sophomore shines in clutch situations

Asha Njeri

6’7” sophomore A.J. Leahey on the court during a break in the action against Gannon on January 14.

Emily Moore, Sports Editor

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown men’s basketball team has a conference record of 5-5 so far this season.

Although he is only the second highest scorer on the men’s basketball team, sophomore forward A.J. Leahey seems to have a knock for putting up points when it matters most.

His clutch scoring was important in wins against Bloomsburg (Pa.) University and Cheyney (Pa.) University. Leahey had 21 points aginst Bloomsburg, and 26 points against Cheyney.

“In those games, I was shooting pretty well, and my teammates did a great job finding me, so a lot of credit goes to them as well,” said Leahey.

In both games, Leahey scored the highest on the team. For the 5-5 season so far, he is the second highest scorer for the team, averaging 12.9 points per game.

Coach Rukavina said that Leahey is a tough match up for opponents.

“A.J. was very efficient offensively in both of those games, shooting the ball at a very high percentage. He is a tough match up defensively for our opponents because of his size and his ability to shoot three point shots.”

“At 6’7”, he can score inside and is one of the best three point shooters in the conference, shooting 50 percent from the three point line. He has rebounded the ball well and continues to improve defensively,” said Rukavina.

Leahey said offseason work has helped him perform this season.

“I prepared all offseason and, now that we are in the middle of the season, I just try to get better at every practice, and I shoot on my own. I am hoping we can make it to the conference tournament and make a run for the championship,” said Leahey.

“Hopefully we can win more coming this half of the season. I think we have done a good job of scoring so far this season, and, to me, it does not really matter who leads in scoring as long as we’re playing as a team and winning games,” said Leahey.

Leahey said his goal is to score more than 1,000 points in his Mountain Cat career, just as he did in his Penn Cambria High School career.

Coach Rukavina said he also expects Leahey to do well throughout his career at Pitt-Johnstown.

“I expect A.J. to continue improving his overall game each day at practice. He is a skilled player. I feel that if he keeps working hard on all phases of his game, he will have a tremendous career at UPJ,” said Rukavina.