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Point ends losing streak with 87-80 win at Berry College

MOUNT BERRY, Ga. — Point University (4-12) ended its 11-game losing streak and outscored Berry College (3-4), 87-80, in non-conference intercollegiate men’s basketball action, Wednesday, Dec. 13, in the Steven J. Cage Center in Mt. Berry, Ga.  Point trailed the Vikings at halftime, 42-34, but outscored the hosts in the second half, 53-38, and led by 13 points twice in the last six minutes of the contest.

Point now is 2-7 in games decided by nine or fewer points this season and has already exceeded its victory total of last season by two wins in its 16th regular-season game and still has 14 more to play.

Berry reached its first double-digit lead of the first half with 2:14 left, 40-30, and led by as many as 11 points with 1:41 left, 42-31.  The Vikings took a 42-34 advantage into the halftime locker room.  However, it was Point that came out of the intermission on fire.  The Skyhawks scored the first nine points of the second half and took its first lead in the game since scoring the first basket 24 seconds into the contest, leading 43-42 at the 17:48 mark.  After Berry cut Point’s lead to 53-51 with 12:10 remaining, the Skyhawks outscored the Vikings, 25-14, over the next 6:39 and gained its biggest lead of the contest with 6:07 to play, 78-65.  Point also led 80-67 with 5:26 remaining and maintained a least a six-point lead for the rest of the game.

The Skyhawks outscored the Vikings in the second half, 53-38, and made a season-high 19 of its 29 field goal attempts (.655) and 5 of its 11 three-point attempts (.455) in the second half and out-rebounded Berry in the game, 45-31, and in the second half, 26-13.

Freshman guard Tyonn Stuckey (Columbia, S.C.), Point’s leading scorer (15.2 ppg), missed the contest due to an injury suffered against Georgia State on Dec. 12, but four other Skyhawks scored 11 or more points and six gathered at least five rebounds.  Junior forward Taboris Griggs (Decatur, GA) hit 10 of his 16 shots and 4 of his 8 three-point field goal attempts and both of his free throws and led all scorers in the game with 26 points, 17 in the second half.  He also grabbed seven rebounds, passed off two assists and had three steals.  Junior guard B.J. Brown (Powder Springs, GA), Point’s second-leading scorer (12.8 ppg), finished with 16 points, 10 in the second half, on 7-of-14 shots and 2 three-pointers and also gathered six rebounds, passed five assists and had three steals.

Junior guard Xavier Johnson (Buford, GA) contributed 12 points, eight in the second half, five rebounds, five assists and three steals, and 6-8 junior center Lawrence Castor (Powder Springs, GA), Point’s third-leading scorer (12.4 ppg) and leading rebounder (8.4 rpg), finished with 11 points on 5-of-8 shots and nine rebounds.  Starting forward Hakeem Winters (Cartersville, GA) gave Point seven points, eight rebounds, one assist and one steal, and freshman forward Jamvis Ponder (College Park, GA) added nine points, seven in the first half, 2 three-pointers, and five rebounds.

Five Berry players scored in double figures, led by 6-8 junior forward Elijah Hirsh, the Vikings’ second-leading scorer and rebounder, who scored 16 points, 11 in the first half, with one three-pointer, five rebounds, two assists, one blocked shot and three steals in a reserve role.  Berry’s leading scorer and rebounder, 6-3 senior forward Caleb Johnson, who averages 17.3 points and 7.2 rebounds, finished with 14 points, nine in the second half, one three-pointer, five rebounds and three assists, and senior guard McCarty Forte added 12 points and 4 three-pointers.  Reserve guard Quinn Atkinson, who averages 11.6 points and 4.0 rebounds, contributed 11 points, seven in the second half, one three-pointer, a team-high six rebounds and one steal, and senior forward Alton McCloud chipped in with 10 points, 2 three-pointers, three rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal

The Skyhawks made 32-of-58 field goals (.552), 8-of-20 three-pointers (.400) and 15-of-26 free throws (.577), out-rebounded Berry, 45-31, committed 21 turnovers, 12 in the second half, and stole the ball from the Vikings 10 times.  Berry made 28-of-68 shots (.412), 14-of-36 three-pointers (.389) and 10-of-13 free throws (.769), committed 17 turnovers, 10 in the second half, and stole the ball from Point 11 times.

NEXT GAMES:  The Skyhawks, coached by Darryl Slack (second season) travel for two more games prior to the Christmas holiday.  Point plays another exhibition game at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, in Charleston, S.C., Saturday, Dec. 16, at 1 p.m., in McAlister Fieldhouse, and travels to Brunswick, Georgia for a Tuesday, Dec. 19 game at College of Coastal Georgia, at 7 p.m.