LAS VEGAS — JaVon McGee scored 14 of his game-high 25 points as Pittsburg State rushed out to a big lead then held off a second-half charge by Arkansas-Fort Smith to claim an 84-76 victory in the Las Vegas Challenge at Orleans Arena Tuesday (Dec. 18).
The Lions (5-4) scored the game's first basket 19 seconds into the game, but UAFS never lead again. The Gorillas (8-1) scored the next nine points and eventually worked their way into a 21-point margin, 51-30, at halftime.
Pitt State stretched it leads to as many as 22 points in the second half, before the Lions made a late push in the game's final four minutes. UAFS drew as close as six points, at 74-68, on Djordje Stojanovic's layup with 1:52 to play in the game, but Pitt State converted five of six free throws and McGee added a three-point play to seal the win.
McGee coverted 10 of 14 shots from the field to help Pitt State shoot 47.1 percent (32 of 68) from the floor. Porter knocked down seven of seven free throw attempts to offset a five for 14 shooting night. As a team, the Gorillas converted 15 of 16 free throws in the game.
Marky Nolen chipped in with 11 points in a reserve role for Pitt State, while A.J. Adams reached double figures with 10 points. Rico Pierrevilus contributed a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with five points.
The Lions shot just 39.7 percent from the field (27 of 68) but UAFS benefited from 15 offensive rebounds. Jake Toupal paced the Lions with 24 points, while Stojanovic added 14 points. Corey Copeland and Xavier McClish finished with 10 apiece.
Pitt State will close out the Las Vegas Challenge action by facing Dixie State Wednesday (Dec. 19) at 8:30 p.m. (CST). The Red Storm face MIAA foe Central Missouri in Tuesday's late game.