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  • Pittsburg State men finish sweep of Truman State

  • The Pittsburg State men scored 50 second-half points and made enough big plays down the stretch to hang on for a 79-75 win Thursday night over Truman State.

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  • The Pittsburg State men scored 50 second-half points and made enough big plays down the stretch to hang on for a 79-75 win Thursday night over Truman State.
    With seniors JaVon McGee and Courtney Ingram out of the lineup, four Gorillas stepped up with double-digit point totals and six players reached at least seven points.
    “I thought our kids took a step forward tonight,” Pitt State head coach Kevin Muff said. “For some reason, the two guys who woke up at halftime and asserted themselves, A.J. and Rico, weren’t there in the first half and just to see them say ‘You know what, I’m just going to attack the basket and find a way to get that ball in there and be aggressive.’ I think that was the turning point in the game and Marky had a little run there too where he attacked the basket and was aggressive. We got back to what we do.”
    Truman State scored the first five points of the second half — Seth Jackson made two free throws and Tom Norton spotted up for a transition 3 taking advantage of a Pitt State turnover. The Bulldogs trailed 29-28 at halftime.
    Pitt State senior guard Marky Nolen broke the drought with a running mid-range jumper banked home to get the Gorillas to 33-31 and consecutive baskets from Rico Pierrevilus gave Pitt State a 38-37 edge at the first media timeout of the second half.
    The teams exchanged the lead after the media timeout until Pitt State made back-to-back turnovers and Mike Carlson of Truman State made back-to-back 3s for a 45-41 Bulldog advantage. By the second media timeout, Truman State led 52-47; Norton made three straight free throws after being fouled by Kaleb Porter on a close out and Truman led 52-45 before Nolen put back his own miss.
    Consecutive inside baskets from Pierrevilus and Jake Bullard made it 55-53 and the teams exchanged free throw splits before Nolen tied it up on a steal and score and gave Pitt State a 57-56 lead on a free throw. The lead did not last very long as Jackson rose above his defender for a short jumper and 58-57 Truman lead with 6:35 remaining.
    Junior college transfers A.J. Adams and Terrell Eaddy made five straight free throws and the Gorillas led 62-58 just under 5 minutes.
    Adams continued his strong play when he made a basket over Carlson, drew the fifth personal on Carlson and when Truman State head coach Matt Woodley expressed his disgust over the call, he was dialed up with a technical. When the smoke cleared, Pitt State led 67-60 at the 4-minute mark.
    At the 2:03 mark, Adams fouled out Jackson and split his free throws for a 72-66 lead.
    Porter made a jumper with the shot clock bearing down on him and his free throw split gave Pitt State a four-point lead. On the next Truman possession, Porter fouled out but Cory Myers could only split at the line and the PSU lead was 76-73 with 26.7 ticks on the clock.
    Page 2 of 2 - Another free throw split for Pitt State left the door open for Truman and Cole Myers hit a jumper to get it to 77-75 with 6.2 remaining.
    Sophomore point guard Sam Pugh finally gave Pitt State the back-to-back late free throws it needed with 4.8 ticks left, providing the final score.
    “We beat a really good team tonight,” Muff said. “I just think the stuff they run, the way they run it, the different ways they can score the ball, they’re a very difficult matchup, tough team to guard. They proved it down the stretch. They shoot the ball extremely well. They’re always a threat to beat you.”
    Pierrevilus led Pitt State (14-6, 7-5 MIAA) with a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds. Adams finished with 17 points and five rebounds — he scored nine points on 15 free throw attempts. Porter and Nolen finished with 12 points apiece. Bullard and Pugh added nine and seven, respectively.
    “We always talk about, ‘Did we get better tonight?” Muff said. “I thought we got better from Western and Washburn both. We played better tonight. There were some things in the second half I saw I haven’t seen out of this team in about three or four games. That’s a positive.”
    Jackson led four Truman players in double figures with 20 points, Carlson added 13, Norton 11 and Marek Bush 10. Five Truman players drew at least four personal fouls and three — Jackson, Carlson and Cole Myers — fouled out. Somehow, starting guard Norton finished with none.
    Pitt State stands in the middle of the top eight MIAA teams — leader Central Missouri has three conference losses, Lindenwood, Northwest Missouri, Fort Hays State and Washburn all have four and Northeastern State, Pitt State and Central Oklahoma each have five.
    In other games Thursday night, Emporia State defeated Lincoln 71-64, Lindenwood defeated Northeastern State 78-66, Central Oklahoma defeated Central Missouri 69-67 and Missouri Southern defeated Southwest Baptist 100-91 in a barnburner at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

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