The Pittsburg State men’s basketball team is no stranger to close games.

The Pittsburg State men’s basketball team is no stranger to close games.
Coming into Wednesday’s game at Truman State, the Gorillas had 11 games that were decided by 10 points or less.
Make it 12 as the Gorillas held an 11-point lead at halftime and held on for a 60-59 win at Pershing Arena.
It snaps a 10-game road losing streak for the Gorillas (9-10, 4-8 MIAA).
Sophomore guard Andy Smith, just making his second start for the Gorillas, led with a career-high 13 points — 11 coming in the first half and Rodney Grace had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds to pace Pitt State.
“This win means a lot because we have been battling,” Smith said. “Practices have not really been that fun lately.
“I like being where I can see the court,” Smith said. “Tonight, the floor just opened up for me.”
Late in the game, as Truman (6-13, 1-11 MIAA) took their first lead of the game after Banks Estridge connected on a fast break lay-up and was fouled to connect the traditional three-point play to give the Bulldogs a 57-54 lead with 3:51 left in the second half.
“I thought we got good looks in the second half,” said PSU head coach Gene Iba. “I think we came out a little loose because we were up by 11.”
But, Grace put the Gorillas back up with a left-handed tip in.
Just as Patrick Fandja tied the game with a free-throw, Spencer Magana hit a jumper putting the Gorillas up 60-58.
With just under a minute to play, Truman freshman Vesko Filchev was whistled for a double-dribble but Carlos Taylor could not connect with a fade-away jumper giving Truman the ball.
Henry Rogers picked up his fifth foul of the game on the ensuing play as he was whistled for a block on Estridge with 11 seconds left.
Estridge was only able to get 1 of 2 keeping the lead with Pitt State at 60-59.
Magana was fouled immediately on the in-bounds play but missed the front end of the 1-and-1.
But, Estridge was not able to connect with a jumper — as he was guarded by Taylor — that bounded off the back of the rim three times before falling out as time expired.
“I thought that Carlos did a super job,” Iba said. “Good players are going to go to the glass but, Carlos did a good job on the defensive end.”
Filchev led all scorers with 18 points.
The Gorillas had a very strong first half as they came into the shooting just 43 percent from the field.
Pitt State hit six of their first seven shots to take an early 12-9 lead in the first six minutes of the game and shot 52 percent from the field in the first half.
However, the Gorillas used a big first half — including the last five minutes where they went on an 8-3 run.
But, it was Filchev that kept Truman State in the game.
Filchev, a 6-foot-10 freshman from Plovdiv, Poland, had eight points in the first 15 minutes of the second half to bring Truman to within one, 54-53.
“We got a couple of key rebounds late in the game,” Iba said. “Early in the second half, we really missed some rebounds but, I thought we did a much better job after that.”

Matthew Clark can be reached at or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140

Pittsburg State men 60, Truman State 59
PITTSBURG STATE (60) — Andy Smith 6-12 0-3 13, Carlos Taylor 4-15 3-4 11, Rodney Grace 5-9 0-0 10, Spencer Magana 5-10 0-1 10, TJ Stukes 3-7 0-0 6, David McKinnie 1-3 2-2 4, Henry Rogers 2-5 0-0 4, Jeff Ivory 1-1 0-0 2, Chris Wilson 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 27-65 5-10 60.
TRUMAN STATE (59) — Vesko Filchev 7-10 3-5 18, Banks Estridge 5-11 3-4 13, Patrick Fandja 2-7 6-6 10, Brandon Griffin 3-6 1-3 7, Brian Nwelue 2-6 0-1 5, Ethan Freeman 1-4 1-2 3, Alex Henderson 1-5 1-2 3, Matt Taylor 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 21-50 15-23 59.
Halftime — PSU 37, Truman 26. 3-point goals — PSU 1-13 (Smith 1-4, Magana 0-4, Taylor 0-2, McKinnie 0-2, Wilson 0-1), Truman 2-7 (Nwelue 1-1, Filchev 1-1, Estridge 0-3, Henderson 0-1, Taylor 0-1). Rebounds — PSU 40 (Grace 11), Truman 33 (Freeman, Estridge, Filchev 6). Turnovers — PSU 10, Truman 15. Assists — PSU 6 (Taylor, Magana 2), Truman 11 (Estridge 6). Steals — PSU 6, Truman 3. Total fouls — PSU 20, Truman 13. Fouled out — PSU, Rogers. Technical fouls — none.