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Morning Sun
  • PSU basketball set for three-game road stretch

  • After playing three of their first four conference games at home sweet home Whetzel Court/John Lance Arena, the Pittsburg State basketball teams venture into a stretch of three straight and six of the next seven games played on the road in one of the toughest conferences in Division II, the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.

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  • After playing three of their first four conference games at home sweet home Whetzel Court/John Lance Arena, the Pittsburg State basketball teams venture into a stretch of three straight and six of the next seven games played on the road in one of the toughest conferences in Division II, the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.
    The Gorillas start their road stand tonight against Lincoln.
    The Pitt State women (9-3, 3-1 MIAA) enter on a three-game winning streak, fresh off their best conference game of the year — a 76-47 win over Northwest Missouri on Saturday.
    Two days before that win, Pitt State defeated Nebraska-Kearney 62-43. The wins last week count for the best PSU defensive performances of the season.
    Pitt State ranks in the top 5 of the MIAA in scoring offense (72.7 points per game, fourth) and scoring defense (56.4 ppg, fifth), while Lincoln ranks in the bottom 5 in scoring offense (67.3, 11th) and scoring defense (65.4, 13th).
    Sophomore forward Lizzy Jeronimus leads the Gorillas and the MIAA with a 18.9 scoring average. Her average places Jeronimus in a tie for 22nd in Division II, tied with Ginny Mills of Glenville State. No. 42 averages 6.6 rebounds, second on the Gorillas. She leads Pitt State with 35 assists and ranks second with 14 steals.
    Senior center Lauren Brown had a sensational two-game stretch last week: six points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots against Nebraska-Kearney and eight points, 22 rebounds and one block against Northwest Missouri. Her 22 rebounds Saturday established a new Pitt State single-game record. Nationally, Brown ranks tied for 68th in rebounding average (8.8) and tied for 49th in blocked shots (1.58). Head coach Lane Lord said Brown plays a central role in the defensive success of the Gorillas.
    Junior guard Alexa Bordewick scored a career-high 20 points Saturday against Northwest Missouri and had her two best shooting games of the season last week, raising her overall shooting percentage to near 30.
    Pitt State played in front of a rowdy crowd of 2,652 fans Saturday. Meanwhile, on the same day, Lincoln hosted Southwest Baptist and 208 fans showed up to Jason Gym.
    Lincoln owns a 2-0 conference record in games at home, 0-2 on the road.
    The Blue Tigers played the Gorillas tough in three contests last year: Pitt State won the first two (81-73 in Jefferson City, 78-73 in Pittsburg) and Lincoln upended Pitt State 83-77 in the first game of the MIAA Tournament behind the efforts of Arriana Walker — 39 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, six steals, 12-18 shooting, 5-7 3-pointers and 10-10 free throws.
    Walker leads the Blue Tigers so far this season with averages of 14.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.6 steals.
    Backing her up offensively are Freddie Sims and Dahlia Booker, Sims averaging 14.0 points and Booker 10.9. Alicia Johnson, meanwhile, averages 6.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.58 blocks, tied for 49th (NCAA-II) with Brown.
    Page 2 of 3 - First-year Lincoln head coach Nicole Collier will be no stranger to Pitt State, having assisted at Lincoln for the three previous seasons, at Central Missouri from 2004-2009 and having played at Missouri Western for two seasons right before her coaching career. At that point (2001-2003), Missouri Western had one of the best NCAA-II women’s basketball teams.
    Pitt State owns a 25-1 record against Lincoln.
    Pitt State men
    The Gorillas lost their first game since November on Saturday against now 24th-ranked Northwest Missouri, costing Pitt State first place in the MIAA, a distinction that now belongs with the Bearcats.
    Pitt State rests in a tie for second place and the Gorillas have the experience of playing the Blue Tigers earlier this season, a nonconference tournament game Pitt State won 86-78 at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center in Joplin.
    During that game, freshman point guard Kaleb Porter exploded for a PSU freshman record 34 points, propelled by five 3-point shots and seven free throws into a career night. JaVon McGee had a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds and Marky Nolen added 12 points.
    Cedric Ridle and Charles Cole paced Lincoln with 18 points apiece, Montez Fifer had 15 and Sean Harris added 11 points and eight rebounds.
    Pitt State trailed 45-41 at halftime and used a 45-33 second half advantage to claim its eight-point win.
    Porter leads Pitt State with a 15.8 scoring average, despite miserable shooting performances last week against Nebraska-Kearney and Northwest Missouri. He shot a combined 4-16 overall and 2-13 from 3-point range for 12 points against the Lopers and the Bearcats. Porter dropped to eighth in the MIAA after his subpar offensive performances last week.
    Senior guard Courtney Ingram and senior forward McGee have been the most consistent Gorilla players of late. Ingram averages 11.8 points and 4.3 rebounds, McGee 11.0 points and 7.8 rebounds. McGee, hampered early in the season by a wrist injury, has played his best offensively in recent games.
    Pitt State ranks first in the MIAA in rebounding, free throws made and free throws attempted. Lincoln opponents have gone to the foul line 389 times this season and the Blue Tigers’ propensity to foul might just play into the shooting hands of the Gorillas (274-376 free throws in 12 games).
    Porter ranks second in free throw percentage (58-65, .892) and McGee ranks fourth in rebounding with teammate A.J. Adams tied for 17th with 5.9 boards per game. Nolen ranks second in steals with three per contest.
    The Blue Tigers (2-12, 1-3 MIAA) are led by Ridle, one of the premier players in the MIAA. Ridle averages 18.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He poured in a season-high 33 points Saturday against Southwest Baptist, a 81-74 loss at home for Lincoln.
    Cole averages 13.9 points and 6.3 rebounds for a Lincoln team fresh with four first-year starters around Ridle.
    Page 3 of 3 - Lincoln ranks 13th in the MIAA in scoring offense (69.1) and 12th in scoring defense (76.6). Pitt State averages 77.4 points offensively (fourth) and 70.8 points allowed per game (11th).
    Pitt State (10-2, 3-1 MIAA) lost both of its games against teams currently ranked in the top 25 of NCAA-II, Newman and Northwest Missouri.
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