PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State basketball teams split a pair home games against Lindenwood on Thursday, with the women’s team winning 87-75 and the men’s team losing 90-85.
GORILLA WOMEN RALLY TO BEAT LIONS
The Pittsburg State women’s team has been through some hard times — both on and off the court — in the early going of the season, but the Gorillas prevailed 87-75 over Lindenwood in their home opener.
After trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half, Pitt State came alive in the second half and outscored the Lions 55-35 in the second half to get the win.
“We’ve got a great group of kids,” PSU head coach Lane Lord said. “It was a tough week, but our kids really came together tonight, especially in the second half. They just had to lean on each other, and they did that. We’re just really proud of them.”
Pitt State jumped out to an early 6-2 lead on the strength of a trio of layups from Paige Imhoff, Madison Northcutt and Brenlee McPherson.
The Lions responded with a 13-1 run, which gave them a 15-10 advantage with under three minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
A pair of 3-pointers by McPherson and Mikaela Burgess cut the Gorillas’ deficit to four, but a 3-pointer by Lindenwood at the end of the first quarter pushed the score to 20-13.
Six consecutive points for Lindenwood to begin the second quarter increased the lead to 31-18.
Pitt State went on to bring it to within single digits at 40-32 by the end of the first half on the strength of five points by Burgess and four points by McPherson.
A quick two points for the Lions increased their lead 10, but a 3-pointer by Imhoff marked the beginning of a 7-2 run for the Gorillas to bring them to within 44-39.
Northcutt kept the momentum rolling for PSU by scoring five consecutive points, sparking an 11-4 run which tied the game at 50-50 with three minutes left in the game.
The Gorillas went on take the lead at 59-56 following a pair of 3-pointers by Meghan Maher.
Pitt State went on to increase the lead to 74-67 with the help of an 8-3 run and sealed the win by outscoring the Lions 13-3 in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter.
Burgess and McPherson were the offensive catalysts with 17 points apiece.
Imhoff also had a big hand in the win, contributing 16 points, seven assists, five steals and four rebounds.
LIONS TAKE DOWN GORILLA MEN
A wild finish in the second game of the night saw the Pitt State men’s team fall 90-85, following three technical fouls on the Gorillas in the final two minutes of regulation.
PSU was one the brink of overcoming an 11-point deficit — trailing by one with two minutes left in the second half — but emotions ran high for the Gorillas, leading to three technical fouls and a series of free throws for the Lions to help them hang on for the win.
“I think we’re terrible defensively,” PSU head coach Kim Anderson said. “I don’t think it matters what type of defense we run. The only thing I think we do run well is the press. We’re pretty good at speeding the game up and that keeps the other team from handling the ball a lot. Because they were handling the ball for forever and we would break down right at the end, we decided to play a fast game. We gave ourselves a chance, but we couldn’t make shots when we needed to and just did some dumb things down the stretch.”
Pitt State trailed 42-37 at halftime in a fast-paced game and fell behind 56-45 after being outscored 14-8 in the first four minutes of the second half.
The Gorillas continued to battle and went on to tie the game at 69-69 with seven minutes remaining in game on the strength of an 8-3 run.
Lindenwood inched the margin back out to four, but PSU pulled back to within one at 77-76 at the three-minute mark following a pair of layups from Donovan Franklin and Xavier Adams.
The wheels for the Gorillas began to fall off from there, as the Lions scored 10 consecutive points via 12 free throws in the next two minutes.
Jaxon Holden buried a 3-pointer to bring the Gorillas back to within seven points of the lead, but it was too late, as Lindenwood held on in the final 30 seconds to get the win.
Franklin led Pitt State in scoring with 24 to go along with two assists and three rebounds.
Adams recorded a double-double, scoring 19 points with 10 rebounds.
The Gorillas will host Lincoln at 1:30 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.