PITTSBURG — Eric Ray scored a career-high 28 points to spark Pittsburg State to a 97-87 victory over No. 6 Missouri Southern Friday (Dec. 30) before a packed house of 3,377 fans at John Lance Arena.
Ray made nine of 12 shots from the field, including a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range, to lead five Pitt State players in double figures in the game.
Pitt State (7-5, 3-3 MIAA) shot 56.1 percent from the field (32-57) and the Gorillas converted 10 of 17 3-pointers (.588) in the contest.
The Gorillas broke open a 9-9 game early in the first half with a 13-2 run, taking a 22-11 lead at the 12:18 mark of the opening period. Southern (11-2, 4-2 MIAA) scored the next basket to trim the margin to nine, but Pitt State closed out the first half with a 51-37 margin.
Pitt State twice stretched its lead to 17 points in the second half, but the Lions continued to try and battle back.
Southern shot 60.0 percent from the field in the game (33-55), getting 22 points from Christian Salecich and 18 apiece from Jason Adams and Keane Thomann.
Pitt State outscored the Lions 23-16 at the free throw line as the Gorillas made 23 of 36 charity shots in the game. Pitt State also owned a 13-3 edge on the offensive glass and forced Southern in 18 turnovers.
Andra Bailey logged a double-double for the Gorillas with 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, while JaVon McGee and Marky Nolen added 13 points apiece. Courtney Ingram also finished in double figures with 11 points.
The Gorillas will return to action Jan. 4 when they travel to Jefferson City, Mo., to face Lincoln. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. (CST) at Jason Gym.