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Morning Sun
  • PSU men claim No. 7 seed on Senior Day

  • The Pittsburg State Gorillas took care of business on Senior Day with a 82-55 win Saturday over Emporia State.

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  • The Pittsburg State Gorillas took care of business on Senior Day with a 82-55 win Saturday over Emporia State.
    Pitt State claimed the No. 7 seed in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association postseason tournament and will host Truman State at 7 p.m. Monday. The Gorillas defeated the Bulldogs at Whetzel Court/John Lance Arena during their only regular season meeting.
    The long ball was a good friend of the Gorillas on Saturday, as 33 of their 82 points came via 11 trifectas. Pitt State shot 11-18 (61.1 percent) from 3-point range, highlighted by 5-8 from freshman point guard Kaleb Porter.
    “Kaleb started us off well,” Pitt State head coach Kevin Muff said. “If he doesn’t come to play early in the game, I think the complexion of that game really changes because he’s the offense we had early. I thought we were out-of-sync, we didn’t play with a lot of energy and offensively, I didn’t think we were very good early.
    “Give them (Emporia State) credit. They ran a 1-3 with a single on Kaleb and trying to guard him and get him out of it. We didn’t handle that very well. Our guards were a little tentative and lacked a little of the aggression we wanted. We found a way to right the ship.”
    Porter scored 15 of his game-high 20 points in the first half and the Gorillas picked up more offensive contributions after halftime.
    The Gorillas went on a 17-4 run — highlighted by 13 unanswered — the first 6:57 after halftime to build on a 37-29 halftime advantage. Emporia State finished with 33 less points Saturday than their 88 in the first meeting.
    “Some of that had to do with us the first three or four minutes, they scored six really quick ones,” Muff said. “Going into halftime, I thought we did a good job responding. I can’t say we made any adjustments per se other than to just focus and play a little bit harder. For us, when we lost our focus defensively in that (first Emporia State) game and Central Oklahoma, it started with our on-ball defense and how we guarded on-ball action. Tonight, we did a good job of hedging, we rotated, got where we needed to be for helpside and it really lends itself to success.”
    Pitt State allowed 55 points after a three-game stretch of 88 (Emporia State), 92 (Central Oklahoma) and 91 (Missouri Southern).
    Senior forward JaVon McGee finished with nine points and two rebounds. McGee was honored before the game for scoring over 1,000 points and with his first rebound Saturday, McGee entered the 700-club of PSU rebounders. No. 44 joins Calvin Kinzer (768) and Jim Chroust (1,036).
    Senior guard Courtney Ingram picked up 10 points, three rebounds and three assists.
    Senior guard Marky Nolen had eight points and finished with a team-high eight rebounds, plus two assists and two steals. Nolen made both of his 3-point attempts.
    Page 2 of 2 - Senior forward Rico Pierrevilus finished with nine points, four rebounds, one blocked shot and one steal.
    The four seniors combined for 36 points and 17 rebounds.
    Jake Bullard gave Pitt State three scorers in double figures with 10 points and Denton Hays and Ethan Cordray each picked up six.
    Pitt State closed out its regular season 17-9 overall, 10-8 MIAA. Unofficially, the Gorillas finished eighth in the MIAA but Lindenwood, 12-6 in conference, is not eligible for the postseason tournament and that moved Pitt State up into the No. 7 position.
    Kaleb Wright led Emporia State with 16 points but he scored only four after halftime. Terrence Moore and Tre Boutilier each picked up 10.
    In other MIAA games Saturday, Truman State defeated Northwest Missouri 63-56, Missouri Western defeated Southwest Baptist 72-58, Central Oklahoma defeated Missouri Southern 76-65 and Washburn defeated Central Missouri 95-78.
    Fort Hays State (No. 1), Central Missouri (No. 2), Washburn (No. 3) and Northeastern State (No. 4) earned first-round byes and wait for their play-in winners Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.
     
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