MARYVILLE, Mo. — Pittsburg State fell behind 10-0 early against the veteran Northwest Missouri Bearcats and could quite never get on track during a 75-59 loss to the Bearcats in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association opener Thursday night at Bearcat Arena. "They're well-coached. They're disciplined," Pitt State head coach Kevin Muff told Eddie Lomshek of KKOW. "They execute at a high level. I think we were down 11-2 and I don't know if we ever recovered. We cut it to eight maybe and then I thought coming out of halftime, we might make a little bit of a run, get the ball to start with and still didn't do anything we tried to make adjustments on." The usual suspects for Northwest did their part — Dillon Starzl 15 points and eight rebounds, Grant Cozad 12 points and DeShaun Cooper nine points and three assists — and Conner Crooker enjoyed a career night with a game-high 27 points, including six 3-pointers, three rebounds and four assists. Crooker and Cooper found success against the Pitt State zone and the Gorillas found it difficult handling the inside-outside balance of the Bearcats. "They really keep you honest," Muff said. "You can't take away one without giving up the other. We were (wanting to double down). We went zone that first half and it was like boom, boom, boom and they hit three straight 3s. That's what you're going to give up in zone. They were hot and they shot it extremely well but I think they were better prepared to play than us and they made better adjustments than us." The assist-turnover ratios were nearly inverted as Northwest was 18 assists, 11 turnovers and Pitt State nine assists, 17 turnovers. "We don't handle adversity very well," Muff said. "West Texas, here, teams that really pressure us and get us out of our system and having to improvise as the game goes on or as teams make adjustments. . . . I thought we were really tentative tonight. I don't think we were aggressive offensively or defensively. We kind of let them set the tone. You're not going to come in here and beat them, you're going to have to come in here and take one." Freshman wing Josiah Gustafson, however, led the way for the Gorillas with 16 points on 7-11 shooting and five rebounds. "His ability to drive it and to shoot it," Muff said. "You can still see him make some freshman mistakes. When he does get in the paint, he does hesitate and moves it around a little bit. The reason he played so many minutes tonight is because he plays aggressive and Sam's (Pugh) got to pick up on that, even tonight Devon had to pick up on that, Jake (Bullard) wasn't as aggressive as he needs to be." In four career games with the Gorillas, Branch was held to a season-low 11 points and never really became the factor he was in previous games. "Devon was just negated tonight by their defense and trapping him," Muff said. "He wasn't able to get going offensively like he had in the past." On his postgame radio interview, Muff also mentioned he thought freshman Trevor Gregory (eight points, five rebounds) and Terrell Eaddy (four points, three boards) played well for the Gorillas. Pitt State dropped to 3-4 and the Gorillas do not play again until Dec. 18, a home game against West Texas A&M. In other MIAA opening games Thursday night, Central Missouri defeated Fort Hays State 93-85 in overtime. Daylen Robinson produced 20 points and 10 rebounds, Dillon Deck 19 points and nine rebounds, and Kyle Wolf 17 points and nine rebounds for the victorious Mules. Washburn defeated Southwest Baptist 89-87, as Korey Fisher made a decisive layup with 12 seconds remaining in the contest. Alex North led the Ichabods with 25 points, while Kyle Wiggins had 15, Jeff Reid 14 and Fisher 13. Rashaad Brown-Peterson led Baptist with 23 points, five rebounds and five assists, while in the points column, Derrick Steward had 17, Desi Barmore 14 and Menas Stephens 11. Missouri Southern defeated Nebraska-Kearney 99-79 as the Lions continued their high-scoring ways. The appropriately named Slim Magee posted a double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds, and Marquis Addison pushed across 21 points, Cameron Cornelius 16 and Jordan Talbert 12. Connor Baranek paced the Lopers with 26 points and seven rebounds. Northeastern State defeated Lincoln 87-72 behind 21 points from Bryton Hobbs, 19 from Dalen Qualls, 12 from Jeremy McDonald and 10 from Curtis Evans; Evans added 13 rebounds to collect his double-double. Clay Crouch led the Blue Tigers with 21 points, two assists and two steals. Lindenwood beat Central Oklahoma 88-77, as the Lions shot 51.8 percent overall from the field and 45.0 percent from deep in the 11-point victory. Tyler Ressel had a game-high 19 points and Brandon Marquardt added 14, Garrett Reeg 12, Sam Mader 12 and Daris Smith 12. Reigning conference player of the week Josh Gibbs had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Bronchos, as several MIAA players were seeing double-doubles Thursday. BEARCATS 75, GORILLAS 59 PITTSBURG STATE (3-4) — Josiah Gustafson 7-11 0-0 16, Devon Branch 4-13 2-3 11, Jake Bullard 3-9 1-2 8, Trevor Gregory 4-5 0-0 8, Alex Williams 3-8 0-0 6, Terrell Eaddy 1-3 2-3 4, Connor Kjer 1-3 0-0 3, Sam Pugh 1-1 0-0 3, Ethan Cordray 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 24-55 5-8 59. NORTHWEST MISSOURI (5-4) — Conner Crooker 8-14 5-6 27, Dillon Starzl 6-9 3-4 15, Grant Cozad 4-6 4-5 12, DeShaun Cooper 3-11 0-0 9, Matt Wallace 1-3 4-4 6, Kyle Schlake 1-1 0-0 2, Tyler Funk 1-1 0-0 2, Bryston Williams 0-5 2-2 2, Zach Schneider 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 24-52 18-21 75. Halftime — NWMSU 38, PSU 30. 3-point goals — PSU 6-19 (Gustafson 2-4, Pugh 1-1, Bullard 1-2, Kjer 1-3, Branch 1-5, Cordray 0-2, Eaddy 0-1, Williams 0-1), NWMSU 9-22 (Crooker 6-9, Cooper 3-6, Williams 0-3, Wallace 0-2, Schneider 0-2). Rebounds — PSU 28 (Gregory, Gustafson 5), NWMSU 31 (Starzl 8). Assists — PSU 9 (Branch 3), NWMSU 18 (Crooker, Williams, Wallace 4). Turnovers — PSU 17, NWMSU 11. Steals — PSU 6 (Eaddy 2), NWMSU 11 (Crooker 3). Blocked shots — PSU 2 (Branch, Bullard), NWMSU 1 (Cozad). Personal fouls — PSU 18, NWMSU 16. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. A — 789.