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Morning Sun
  • Pitt State men blow 22-point lead

  • There may be no tougher loss in basketball than building a huge lead at home and seeing the opponent come back, take its own lead and win the game.



    The Pittsburg State men took a 60-38 lead with 12:33 left in their contest Saturday night with Southwest Baptist at Whetzel Court/John Lance Arena.

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  • There may be no tougher loss in basketball than building a huge lead at home and seeing the opponent come back, take its own lead and win the game.
    The Pittsburg State men took a 60-38 lead with 12:33 left in their contest Saturday night with Southwest Baptist at Whetzel Court/John Lance Arena.
    At the 10:50 mark, Southwest Baptist sophomore point guard Preston Guiot hit a 3 to start a stunning 43-15 scoring run to claim a 81-75 win.
    The loss dropped Pitt State one loss closer to .500 in Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association play.
    “It’s an opportunity that we had in our hands until about the 10-minute mark when they made their run,” Pitt State head coach Kevin Muff said. “We had an opportunity to put ourselves in a position conference race-wise, overall season record-wise and didn’t capitalize on it. It’s very difficult to sit there and play well for over 30 minutes and then the last 10, when a team finds a weakness and a chink in your armor whether it’s with their press or breaking us down, putting down their heads and getting to the rim, not being able to adjust to that.”
    A number of factors impacted the game: Pitt State senior forward Rico Pierrevilus fouled out with eight points and eight rebounds at the 6:18 mark, Pitt State missed 13 free throws — seven in the second half — and Southwest Baptist made 19-21 free throws after halftime, Pitt State committed turnovers on five consecutive possessions to help Southwest Baptist gain the lead and Southwest Baptist simply heated up offensively.
    “We need Rico at the end of the game,” Muff said. “That was my fault . . . with four, probably should have got him out. He fouled out way too early in the game. That disrupted us a little bit. We needed him in late.
    “It (their press) got us a little hesitant. We turned it over a few times and they usually capitalized with a basket when we did turn it over. We lost a little bit of our aggressiveness offensively and they did a good job of packing it. We’ve struggled with pack defenses where they just back off and dare you to shoot it. We don’t have anybody right now that can make a 3 anyway. Last four or five games, we just haven’t been very good from beyond the arc.
    “That (missed free throws) was a big one. That really hurt us. They go 21-25 and we go 26-39. We only make five more free throws than them and we had 14 more opportunities. Those are some critical misses.”
    Damion Hooks led four Southwest Baptist scorers in double figures with 22 points and Guiot finished with 20 points, six assists, two rebounds and two steals — his steal of an errant Marky Nolen pass and subsequent rapid-fire score gave Southwest Baptist a 75-74 lead with 1:37 remaining.
    Page 2 of 2 - Rasha Brown-Peterson and Afamefuna Obukwelu combined for no first half points but came alive in the second half with 26 points, Brown-Peterson 15 and Obukwelu 11. Brown-Peterson made three 3s and Obukwelu made every shot he attempted — 3-3 overall, 1-1 from deep, and 4-4 free throws.
    Obukwelu entered Saturday with 16 points the entire season, averaging less than a point in 17 games. He scored 11 points in 12 minutes Saturday, all his points and 11 of his minutes in the second half.
    A.J. Adams led Pitt State (14-7, 7-6 MIAA) with 19 points, Nolen added 15 and Kaleb Porter finished with 13.
    In other MIAA games Saturday, Central Oklahoma defeated Lincoln 89-80, Northeastern State defeated Truman State 72-56, Emporia State defeated Lindenwood 61-52, Fort Hays State defeated Nebraska-Kearney 94-68, Washburn defeated Northwest Missouri 80-67 and Missouri Southern defeated Central Missouri 93-81.
    With their loss Saturday, the Gorillas dropped into eighth place in the MIAA. However, Pitt State stands two games behind Central Missouri and Fort Hays, 1.5 games behind Washburn and Northeastern State, and only a game behind Lindenwood, Northwest Missouri and Central Oklahoma, as well one game ahead of Missouri Southern and Southwest Baptist in the wild, wild MIAA.
    Fort Hays won its fifth straight game on Saturday and dropped 60 first half points on their rivals from Kearney. Freshman of the Year candidate Craig Nicholson led Fort Hays with 16 points and 11 assists, just another stellar day passing the basketball for the nation’s second-leading assists man.
    Emporia State held Lindenwood to its lowest point total in nearly three years, helped by junior big man Paul Bunch and his 10 rebounds, three blocks. Kaleb Wright led Emporia with 18 points and Bunch scored 12 for a double-double.
    Central Missouri relied on a pair of double-doubles Saturday — 25 points, 10 rebounds from Josh Gibbs and 20 points, 13 boards from Spencer Smith. Lincoln was led by 27 points from Cedric Ridle (MIAA leading scorer) and 20 from Charles Cole.
    Bryton Hobbs and Jermaine Bransford again led Northeastern State to victory — Hobbs 28 points, six rebounds and six assists and Bransford 14 points, 10 rebounds, his 12th double-double this season.
    Pitt State hosts Northeastern State next Saturday.
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