PITTSBURG — It was a tale of two teams on Saturday inside John Lance Arena, as the Pittsburg State women’s basketball team coasted to a 78-53 win over Northwest Missouri while the men’s team struggled to gain momentum in the 84-58 loss.
PITT STATE WOMEN OVERCOME SLOW START
A solid start to the day saw the Pitt State women earn a commanding 78-53 win in game one.
The Gorillas found themselves trailing by seven at the end of the first quarter, but came alive in the second, out scoring the Bearcats 22-6 to take a nine-point advantage at half and never looking back.
“I just thought offensively, we just forced shots and rushed possessions early,” PSU head coach Lane Lord said. “Defensively, we gave up 19 points and weren’t playing in alignment with our scouting report. In the second quarter, however, we played exactly how we wanted to. The defense picked up and we started making shots on the offensive end. We followed it up with one of the best quarters we played offensively and defensively in the third.”
The Gorillas hit the ground running with a 3-pointer by Mikaela Burgess and a layup by Brenlee McPherson to jump out to a quick five-point lead, but a 14-4 run by the Bearcats gave them a 19-12 advantage at the end of the first half.
Northwest held the seven-point lead until the eight-minute mark of the second quarter, when a 3-pointer by Burgess swung the momentum in favor of Pitt State.
PSU went on to out score the Bearcats 18-2 to end the second quarter, giving the Gorillas a 34-25 advantage at the half.
The run was highlighted by five points apiece from Madison Northcutt and Burgess.
Pitt State kept the momentum going in the second half, starting the third quarter with a 17-2 run — which included four points by Burgess — to push the lead to 51-27.
The Gorillas went on to take a 60-33 advantage into the fourth quarter and coasted to the win in the final eight minutes.
Burgess finished with a double-double and was the leading scorer for PSU in the win with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Northcutt also recorded a double-double in the win, collecting 13 points and 11 rebounds.
BEARCATS GET HOT IN SECOND HALF
It was a different story Pittsburg State in game two, as they men’s team dropped to 9-6 on the season after an 84-58 loss.
Both teams were matching each other point for point throughout the first half, but the Gorillas couldn’t keep the pace in the second when they were outscored 50-23.
“They did a great job of cutting us off on our way to the basket,” PSU head coach Kim Anderson said. “We weren’t able to get to the basket, and when we kicked it out, we weren’t able to make the shots. Credit to them because their defense was really strong in the second half and that put us out of the game.”
A back-and-forth first half saw the Gorillas take a slim 35-34 advantage into the locker room at halftime following six lead changes in the final five minutes of the first half.
Pitt State drew first blood on a layup by Xavier Adams, but an 8-2 run put the Bearcats on top six minutes into the game.
Northwest Missouri held the lead until the nine-minute mark when the Gorillas went on an 8-2 run of their own to take a 21-18 advantage.
The run included two points apiece from Deitrich Cole, Jabari Antwine, Grant Lozoya and Donovan Franklin.
Northwest Missouri regained the lead with four consecutive points before a 3-pointer by Dakota Jones which put PSU in front 24-22 with five minutes remaining in the first half.
The lead changed hands five more times before the end of the first half, with the Gorillas scoring the final points on a corner 3-pointer by Demetrius Levarity to go into the break holding a 35-34 advantage.
Northwest Missouri took control in the second half, outscoring the Gorillas 50-23 to earn the win.
The Bearcats began the second half by outscoring PSU 8-4 before expanding the lead to 64-45 on the strength of a 22-4 run.
A 3-pointer by Levarity ended the scoring drought for Pitt State, but Northwest Missouri put the game on ice with a 10-2 run to end the contest.
Adams led the Gorillas in scoring with 15 points to go along with eight rebounds and two assists, while his teammate Levarity posted 12 points, four rebounds and one assist.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.