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Gorillas to Close Out Exhibition Season Against K-State Friday - KOAM TV 7

Gorillas to Close Out Exhibition Season Against K-State Friday

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Press Release PSU: 

The Pittsburg State University men's basketball team will wrap up the exhibition portion of its preseason by traveling to Manhattan, Kan., to face NCAA Division I Kansas State University Friday (Nov. 1).

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (CST) at Bramlage Coliseum.

The Records
Pitt State is coming off an 18-10 campaign during the 2012-13 season. The Gorillas reached the second round of the MIAA Postseason Tournament a year ago, falling 69-63 to second seeded Central Missouri at Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium.

The Gorillas return two players who started 10 or more games a year ago in junior guard Sam Pugh and sophomore guard Jake Bullard.
Pitt State dropped a 97-57 exhibition decision to the University of Kansas Tuesday (Oct. 29) at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas State is coming off a 27-8 record which saw the Wildcats claim a share of the Big 12 Regular Season Championship.  KSU was eliminated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament after falling 63-61 to La Salle.

The Wildcats return two starters from their 2012-13 team.

The Coaches
Pittsburg State's Kevin Muff begins his fourth season leading the Gorillas. Muff (Kansas State, '86) became the Gorillas' 14th all-time head coach on Apr. 5, 2010, after spending 12 seasons at Cloud County Community College, where he helped the Thunderbirds to an average of 21 wins in each of the last five seasons.

He has a 48-37 (.565) record in his short tenure with the Gorillas.  This will be his first meeting against his alma mater.

Bruce Weber enters his second year as head coach at Kansas State and his 16th season as a collegiate coach. Weber (Wisconsin-Milwaukee, '78) became the third first-year coach ever to win the Big 12 title since the league formed in 1997.He has a 340-163 (.676) career mark.

Series History
This will be the third time that the Gorillas and the Wildcats meet in an exhibition game. Kansas State posted an 89-53 victory over Pitt State in an exhibition game the last time the squads met during the 2009-10 season.

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State returns two players with starting experience from the 2012-13 campaign:  junior guard Sam Pugh and sophomore guard Jake Bullard.
Pugh started 10 of 28 games a year ago, ranking fourth on the team in assists and steals. The Branson, Mo., native also contributed 3.8 and 1.5 rebounds per contest.

Bullard, a Cleora, Okla. native, started 15 of 23 games played in his first season for the Gorillas.  Bullard contributed seven points and 2.7 rebounds per game. He tallied five points and two assists against the Jayhawks.

As a team, Pitt State shot 44.4 percent from the field in 2012-13 while its opponents converted 41.7 percent of their shots.  The Gorillas averaged 75.7 points per game and Pitt State was  +5.5 in the rebounding department.  The Gorillas averaged 13.4 offensive rebounds per game and recorded 7.4 steals per game, forcing the opposition into 15.3 turnovers per outing.

Pitt State's 2013-14 recruiting class includes four transfers and four incoming first-year collegiate athletes.  Several of the players are expected to play significant  roles for the Gorillas this winter.

Junior forward Cody Gafford joins the squad after not playing collegiate sports for two seasons. The Olathe, Kan., helped Olathe East High School claim a Class 6A sub-state championship in 2009 – the last time he was on the court.

Junior guard/forward Connor Kjer joined the Gorillas from St. Edward's University, where he averaged nine points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals per game last season.

Junior forward Lamine Dieng comes to Pitt State from Vincennes University. Dieng averaged four points and four rebounds per game while helping Vincennes to a 33-4 record and fourth-place finish in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament last year.

Junior guard Devon Branch joined the Gorillas after two seasons at Cloud County Community College. The Aberdeen, Md., native averaged 22 points per game, earning first-team All-Jayhawk Conference honors a season ago.

Branch recorded a game-high 27 in PSU's season opener against Kansas on Tuesday (Oct. 29), making nine of 22 shots from the field and going 9-for-12 from the foul line.

After redshirting last season, junior forward Alex Williams tallied 15 points in his Pitt State debut against Kansas, making six of 15 shots from the floor.

Branch and Williams combined to go 15 for 32 (.469) from the field against the Jayhawks, while the remainder of the squad converted just 2 of 22 (.091) shots from the floor against KU.

Junior guard Jerrod Gaston joined the Gorillas after two seasons at Vincennes University. Gaston averaged five points, 2.4 assists and 2.3 rebounds per contest for the Trailblazers.

Pitt State's freshman class includes forwards Trevor Gregory, Hunter Leahy and guard/forward Josiah Gustafson.

Gregory averaged eight points and eight rebounds per game at Lee's Summit West High School, earning All-Districts and All-Conference honors as a senior.

Leahy was a three-year letterman at Kingwood High School. He averaged 11.2 points, six rebounds and 1.2 assists during his senior campaign.

Gustafson was named the Gatorade Nebraska Player of the Year last season, averaging 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists per game for Omaha's Millard North High School. He tallied seven points and three rebounds in his first collegiate action on Tuesday (Oct. 29) vs. KU.

Scouting the Wildcats
Kansas State holds a 62-30 (.674) record in the last three seasons and have made it to at least the second round of the NCAA Tournament in five of the last six seasons.

KSU lost first-team All-Big 12 performers Rodney McGruder (15.6 ppg) and Angel Rodriguez (11.3 ppg, 5.2 apg) from last season's Co-Big XII Championship squad in 2012-13. The Wildcats do return 45.2 percent scoring, 50.4 percent rebounding and 38.6 percent assists from last year's production. The Wildcats also return six letterman from last year's team.

Shane Southwell, a returning All-Big 12 performer, returns for his senior season after averaging 8.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest during his junior campaign. The Harlem, N.Y. native was selected by the league's coaches to the honorable mention Preseason All-Big 12 Team. Senior guard Will Spradling is the only other returning player who started over 15 games last season. The Overland  Park, Kan., native averaged 7.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game last season.

Thomas Gipson will be asked to play a bigger role during his junior season. The Cedar Hills, Texas, native averaged 7.9 points and five rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game for the Wildcats last season. Nino Williams also returns after averaging 4.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 34 games.

Pitt State Probable Starters
    F    24    Terrell Eaddy, 6-5, 205, Sr., Bronx, N.Y.
    F    32    Trevor Gregory, 6-7, 235, Fr., Lee's Summit, Mo.
    G    1    Jake Bullard, 6-5, 190, So., Cleora, Okla.
    G    4    Josiah Gustafson, 6-6, 190, Fr., Omaha, Neb.
    G    5    Devon Branch, 6-6, 180, Jr., Aberdeen, Md.

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