ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- The Pitt State men's basketball team (4-1, 0-1 MIAA) lost its first game of the season, 94-79, falling to Missouri Western (3-3, 1-0 MIAA) in the league opener Wednesday (Dec. 1) night.
Pitt State shot .444 from the floor, but only made four threes, while the Griffons shot a blistering .587 and knocked down 10 threes. While rebounding was even, MWSU outscored the Gorillas in the paint, 46-36. Pitt State's bench was responsible for 41 of its 79 points on the night.
Chris Ware and Jordan Embers led four Gorillas in double figures, as each scored 13. Eric Ray and Drake Green each added 12. Green scored half of his points from the charity stripe in the late minutes of the game. Andra Bailey was the leading rebounder with six.
P'Allen Stinnett and Jonathan Phelps led all players and five Griffons in double figures with 22 a piece. T.J. Johnson and James Harvey each contributed 15, while Jeffrey West added 14. Johnson led all players with eight rebounds.
Pitt State trailed early in the first half, but took the lead for the first time on a Ware jumper with 11:53 to go in the half. They continued to build the lead, leading 16-11 before Western was able to score again. The Gorillas maintained the lead and lead 23-17 before a nearly four minute scoring drought allowed Missouri Western to tie the game and then take a 27-23 lead with 4:07 to go. Pitt State scored only nine more points in the last four minutes of the half, while Western put up 14 to take a 41-32 lead into the lockerroom at the half.
The Gorillas were able to close the gap to just one, 53-52 on an Embers three with 12:50 to go in the game. A 10-0 Griffon run, with all points scored by Jonathan Phelps, gave the home team an 11-point lead once again. From there, MWSU continued to extend their lead, leading by as much as 15 in the waning minutes of the game.
Pitt State returns to John Lance Arena for a three-game home stand. The home stand begins on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against Truman.