PITTSBURG — It was smooth sailing for the Pittsburg State men’s basketball team on Wednesday against Haskell, as the Gorillas moved to 3-0 on the season with a 90-50 win over the Indians.
A six-point lead for the Gorillas expanded to 20 after Pitt State held the Indians scoreless for over nine minutes in the first half while posting 15 points during Haskell’s dry spell.
“Going into the game, we really wanted to pressure them defensively,” PSU head coach Kim Anderson said. “I thought we were able to force them out of their rhythm, which was our goal. We wanted to make them uncomfortable and I think we were able to do that in stretches. They were playing a lot of different guys who were different sizes, while we were playing a lot of big and tall guys. Those taller guys tend to struggle when there’s a lot of smaller guys on the floor, but I thought we did fine.”
The Indians took a two-point lead shortly after the opening tip, but a midrange jumper by Donovan Franklin sparked an 11-3 run to give Pitt State a 13-7 lead at the 15-minute mark of the first half.
PSU went on to extend the lead to 20 at 28-8 with under eight minutes remaining before halftime after scoring 15 unanswered points.
Haskell was held scoreless for over nine minutes during the 15-0 run, which was highlighted by 10 points from Jabari Antwine.
The Indians ended the scoring drought with five quick points, but fell behind 41-15 by the half, as Pitt State outscored Haskell 13-2 down the stretch of the first.
Pace picked up during the second half, but Pitt State matched Haskell’s tempo with several 3-pointers to protect the lead.
The Indians managed to cut the deficit to 29, but a trio of 3-pointers from Grant Lozoya and Brandon Clifford extended Pitt State’s lead to 79-47.
PSU went on to receive a pair of 3-pointers by Robbie Ostermann and Clifford to close out the win.
“They went to the zone exclusively halfway through the second half and we struggled to beat it,” Anderson said. “We didn’t do a good job of moving our guys around, but once we started moving, we had guys step up. Brandon and Robbie both hit a few, which was cool to see. They’ve been working hard in practice to try and earn some playing time and they certainly showed what they could do here tonight.”
Antwine led the Gorillas in scoring with 15 points to go along with three steals, two assists and a rebound.
Mar’Qywell Jackson contributed 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals, while his teammate Levarity posted 12 points, eight rebounds and an assist.
Pitt State will hit the road to take on Arkansas-Fort Smith at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.