Mountain Cats Fall, 81-80, at Wheeling Jesuit
Novak Becomes Mountaln Cat All-Time Assists Leader
02/16/13... (Box Score) Joe Prati's 3-pointer with just over two minutes to play gave the lead to Wheeling Jesuit (WV) University for good, and the Cardinals were able to hold off the Mountain Cats, 81-80, Saturday afternoon in Wheeling, W.Va.. Jordan Miller (Vinco, Pa.) scored 20 points and Nick Novak (Murrysville, Pa.) added 19 points and nine assists to become Pitt-Johnstown's all-time assists leader. With the loss, the Mountain Cats dropped to 14-10 overall and 10-10 in the WVIAC.
Novak, who needed two assists to tie William Sharpe's (2005-09) previous school record of 520, finished with nine to climb into the top-spot. Novak now has 527 career assists.
After falling behind by three early, the Mountain Cats used a 28-13 run over a 10-minute span to build a 12-point advantage. Ten points from Miller put Pitt-Johnstown up by eight midway through the first half, before a pair of Nick Novak (Murrysville, Pa.) baskets, sandwiched around Matt Palo's (Huntingdon, Pa.) free-throw made it 32-20 lead at the 7:24 mark.
Four straight points by Wheeling Jesuit fot the deficit back down to eight, but Pitt-Johnstown got 3-pointers from Paul Weatherly (Johnstown, Pa.) and Andrew Cressler (Pittsburgh, Pa.) to rebuild it to a dozen at 38-26 two minutes later.
The Cardinals responded with a 10-2 run over the final 3:46, capped by two Recardo Gaddy 3-pointers and a bucket from Ben Siefert, to cut it to 40-36 at the half.
Wheeling Jesuit kept the momentum to start the second half and increased the run to 24-8 to retake the lead by four. Miller's bucket to open the half pushed the Mountain Cat lead back to six, but three straight 3-pointers and another basket from Siefert made it 50-48 at 16:30.
It see-sawed back-and-forth the rest of the way with neither team able to go up by more than four.
However, with the game tied at 76, Prati knocked down his fifth 3-pointer of the game with 2:02 on the clock that put Wheeling Jesuit into the lead for good.
Miller finished with 20 points and six rebounds, and Novak added 19 points and a game-high nine assists. Cressler rounded out the Mountain Cat double-figure scorers with 15 points and seven rebounds. Bill Luther (Gibsonia, Pa.) had eight points and six rebounds, Noah Hartung (Butler, Pa.) chipped in seven points and six rebounds, and Ian Vescovi (Patton, Pa.) tallied six points and six boards.
Pitt-Johnstown shot 50.8% (33-65) from the floor, 8-21 from 3-point range and a perfect 6-6 from the free-throw line. After struggling in the first half, Wheeling Jesuit ended the day shooting 46.2% (30-65), including 11-29 from behind the 3-point line. The cardinals were also 10-14 from the charity stripe.
Novak stands in second-place on the Mountain Cat All-Time Scoring List (1,926 pts.) and is the all-time leader in assists (527 assts.). Miller is Pitt-Johnstown's all-time leader in 3-point field goals with 287 and is also 11th on the scoring list (1,337 pts.) and 10th on the assists list (315 assts.), while Luther is fifth on the career 3-point field goals list with 172.
Prati had a game-high 23 points and Justin Fritts and Siefert each added 14 points to pace five Wheeling Jesuit players who scored in double figures. The Cardinals made it six straight wins and improved to 15-8 overall and 12-7 in the WVIAC.
The Mountain Cats close out the regular season with home conference games against West Liberty (WV) University on Thursday and Seton Hill University for Senior Day on Saturday, before opening the 2013 WVIAC Tournament on February 26.