PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State basketball teams picked up a pair of wins at home against Missouri Western on Wednesday, as the women took the first game 79-56 followed by an 82-77 win by the men.
GORILLAS FEELING IT IN WIN OVER GRIFFONS
Hot shooting led to a 79-56 win for the Gorilla women in game one of the night, going 8-18 from deep and making just under half their shots from the field in the win.
“Our attention to detail was just outstanding on the defensive end,” PSU head coach Lane Lord said. “We played about as well as we ever have this season in the first half and that all starts on the defensive end and on the glass. The past couple games we’ve been beaten pretty bad in the rebounding category, so our kids just did a great job. They’ve worked really hard the past three games and played a great game tonight.
The Gorillas (10-4) jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead with help from an early 3-pointer by Mikaela Burgess, who increased PSU’s lead to 12-4 halfway through the first quarter after converting her second shot from behind the arc.
Shelby Lopez and Meghan Maher followed up Burgess’ second 3-pointer with a pair of their own which sparked a 10-2 run to give Pitt State a 22-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The Griffons opened the second quarter with a quick bucket, but the Gorillas answered with seven consecutive points to push the lead to 29-10 with seven minutes remaining before the end of the first half.
The 7-0 run was highlighted by a 3-pointer from Burgess and included back-to-back layups by Brenlee McPherson.
MWSU narrowed the gap to 29-16 two minutes later before being outscored 13-6 in the final five minutes of the second quarter to take a 42-20 deficit into the locker room at halftime.
The Gorillas began the second half with a 6-2 run en route to outscoring the Griffons 24-20 in the third quarter and coasted to the win in the fourth.
Burgess had the hot hand for the Gorillas in the win, scoring all 18 of her points in the first half.
Lopez followed close behind with 16 points to go along with five rebounds and one assist.
GORILLA MEN HOLD OFF LATE RALLY
A wild finish to the night saw the Gorilla men earn an 82-77 win in comeback fashion to complete the sweep.
After leading by as many as 14 in the first half of the contest, the Gorillas (9-5) found themselves trailing by four with less than nine minutes remaining in the contest, but regained the lead with a 13-2 run and held on to earn the win.
“One thing we wanted to do is get the ball to the basket,” PSU head coach Kim Anderson said. “We did a really good job defensively in the first half, but they made some great shots in the second. The most important thing for us was that we figured out a way to win after falling behind. That says something about our team. We’re a little banged up with two starters out sick and a couple other guys don’t feel well, so to put that win together was great.”
The Gorillas held a 32-19 lead over MWSU, but the Griffons narrowed the deficit to 39-32 at the half by out scoring PSU 13-6 in the final four minutes of the first half.
Pitt State extended the lead back to double digits with help from five points from Donovan Franklin before Missouri Western scored eight unanswered points to push the score to 56-50.
The Griffons’ eight unanswered was the start of a 21-3 run, which gave them a 63-59 advantage at the nine-minute mark of the second half.
PSU fell behind by five with just under six minutes remaining in the contest, but got back on track thanks to four consecutive points by Xavier Adams.
Adams’ four points put the Gorillas to within one point of tying the game and a layup by Grant Lozoya gave them the lead at 71-70 with four minutes remaining in regulation.
The Griffons regained the lead after knocking down a pair of free throws, but the Gorillas took it right back on a 3-pointer by Franklin and stayed in control the rest of the way to hang on for the win.
Adams was the leading scorer for the Gorillas in the win with 11 points, four rebounds and one assist.
Pitt State will host Northwest Missouri 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.