Morning Sun
  • PSU men collapse under defensive pressure

  • The book against the Pittsburg State men has been the Gorillas do not handle zone defenses as well as they do man-to-man.

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  • The book against the Pittsburg State men has been the Gorillas do not handle zone defenses as well as they do man-to-man.
    Against the Northwest Missouri Bearcats and their basic man-to-man defense, as well as any other defense, Pitt State struggled offensively with 12 turnovers and seven made field goals leading to a 28-22 halftime deficit and 62-51 loss Saturday afternoon at Whetzel Court/John Lance Arena.
    Pitt State especially struggled when Northwest trapped on the pick-and-roll.
    “We haven’t had anybody trap us and give Ben (Northwest Missouri head coach Ben McCollum) and his staff credit,” Pitt State head coach Kevin Muff said. “I thought they played a very solid game. Not only did they trap out of it, they rotated very well and we didn’t do a very good job. We want to take on hedges and traps both but we really don’t want to get lateral with them. They kind of strung us out. . . . We’d leave our feet to make passes and we got away from being fundamentally solid. A lot of what our inefficiencies were offensively were credit to their defense.”
    The Gorillas also struggled with making entry passes to big men inside like JaVon McGee and Rico Pierrevilus.
    “Give their defense credit for rotating to help side and not letting us have easy post entries,” Muff said. “Their posts did a very good job of not letting the ball go inside. When we did get it in there, JaVon was fairly effective, A.J. got to the line a little bit but this is a game I thought Rico would flourish in. Any time a team traps and you’ve got a pick-and-pop guy like him, he made one late there but early on I don’t think he was into it, as focused and as aggressive as he needs to be.”
    Northwest starting big men Dillon Starzl and Kyle Schlake continued the recent trend of opposing bigs shooting a high percentage on the Pitt State defense — Starzl finished 6-8 for a game-high 16 points and Schlake added seven points on 3-4 shooting. Nebraska-Kearney big men Kendal Glidden and Mike Dentlinger shot a combined 12-16 on Thursday. Those four interior players combined to shoot 21-28 or 75 percent against Pitt State.
    Senior guard Courtney Ingram kept Pitt State within range, at least with his shooting touch, in the first half.
    Ingram made his first four shots, including two 3-pointers, and his 10 points at halftime accounted for nearly half of the Pitt State offense. Conversely, Ingram committed five turnovers but without his shot production, Pitt State would have finished 3-12, 25 percent rather than 41.2. That shooting percentage would soon plummet for the Gorillas.
    With 9:17 remaining, Muff admonished his team during a timeout, greeting his players with "Get involved" as they headed toward a team huddle. At that point, Northwest had taken a 51-32 lead.
    Page 2 of 2 - Pitt State lost its first game since a Nov. 20 loss to Newman, ending its winning streak at seven.
    “They’re probably the best team we’ve seen on both ends,” Muff said of Northwest Missouri. “As far as a team that plays as solid defense as they do and executes as well offensively as they do. We’ve probably played some better offensive teams but as far as on both ends and a full complement team wise, they’re the best we’ve played yet.”
    Northwest controlled the pace of the game and Pitt State led all of 18 seconds in the contest.
    Saturday marked the first time this season an opponent both attempted more free throws and outrebounded Pitt State.
    The Bearcats were led by Starzl (16 points), DeAngelo Hailey (15) and Alex Sullivan (10). Tyler Funk may have scored only two points but he went above and beyond to epitomize the Northwest effort Saturday by losing a tooth.
    Ingram led Pitt State with 14 points. McGee added 11 points and eight rebounds. Nolen had 11 points and three steals, providing a spark from the bench that proved too little, too late for the Gorillas.
    Pitt State (10-2) dropped its first conference game and Northwest Missouri improved to 11-2, 4-0 in the MIAA.
    NORTHWEST MISSOURI (62) — Dillon Starzl 6-8 4-6 16, DeAngelo Hailey 7-13 0-1 15, Alex Sullivan 4-10 4-4 13, Kyle Schlake 3-4 1-1 7, Grant Cozad 1-3 2-2 4, Bryston Williams 0-4 4-4 4, Tyler Funk 1-1 0-0 2, Matt Wallace 0-5 1-4 1, Conner Crooker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-48 16-22 62.
    PITTSBURG STATE (51) — Courtney Ingram 6-9 0-0 14, JaVon McGee 3-5 5-6 11, Marky Nolen 4-9 3-5 11, Rico Pierrevilus 1-6 1-2 4, Sam Pugh 1-6 2-2 4, A.J. Adams 0-1 3-4 3, Kaleb Porter 0-4 2-2 2, Terrell Eaddy 1-1 0-0 2, Jake Bullard 0-2 0-0 0, Denton Hays 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-43 16-21 51.
    Halftime — NW 28, PSU 22. 3-point goals — NW 2-10 (Hailey 1-3, Sullivan 1-4, Williams 0-2, Wallace 0-1), PSU 3-18 (Ingram 2-4, Pierrevilus 1-4, Porter 0-4, Pugh 0-3, Nolen 0-2, Bullard 0-1). Rebounds — NW 31 (Sullivan 5), PSU 29 (McGee 8). Assists — NW 8 (Wallace 4), PSU 7 (Ingram 2). Turnovers — NW 14, PSU 19. Steals — NW 8 (Hailey 5), PSU 6 (Nolen 3). Blocked shots — NW 0, PSU 2. Personal fouls — NW 18, PSU 20. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — Ingram, PSU. A — 2,677.
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