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Gorillas Ready for Homestand Against Buffs, Bearcats - KOAM TV 7

Gorillas Ready for Homestand Against Buffs, Bearcats

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Press Release PSU: 

After sitting idle for nearly two weeks, the Pittsburg State University men's basketball team will play host to a pair of squads beginning Wednesday (Dec. 18) with a non-conference match-up against West Texas A&M University. The Gorillas then will step back into MIAA play Saturday (Dec. 21) by hosting Southwest Baptist University.

Wednesday's tipoff against the Buffs is set for for 4:30 p.m. (CST) at John Lance Arena, while Saturday's action will start at 3:30 p.m.

The Records
Pitt State brings a 3-4 overall record into this week's action.  The Gorillas have dropped their last two games after previously going on a three-game winning streak.  Pitt State fell, 75-59, against Northwest Missouri State atMaryville on Dec. 5 in the team's last action.

WTAMU is 6-3 on the season entering Wednesday night's contest. The Buffs have won three straight games after defeating Panhandle State, 72-62, last Saturday (Dec. 14). WTAMU has won five of its last six contests.

SBU is 8-3 on the season heading into a Wednesday match-up with Emporia State.  The Bearcats have won seven of their last eight contests, with their lone loss being an 89-87 defeat at the hands of No. 22 Washburn. SBU defeated William Jewell, 90-86, in its last game Saturday (Dec. 14) at Bolivar, Mo.

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 51-41 (.554) record in his short tenure with the Gorillas.  This will be his second meeting with the Buffs. His first came on Nov. 30 at the WTAMU Shootout. He is 0-1. This will be Muff's sixth meeting against SBU. He is 1-4 vs the Bearcats.

Rick Cooper is in his 21st year as head coach of the Buffs. Cooper (Waylan Baptist, '81) has notched a 541-238 (.694)  career record leading WTAMU.

Jeff Guiot is in his 10th year as head coach of SBU. Guiot (Pittsburg State, '85) has amassed 174-104 (.626) mark leading the Bearcats.

Series History
PSU and the Buffs will meet for the sixth time in histor y Wednesday. The series dates back to the 1941 campaign.

The Buffs hold a slight 3-2 advantage in the series against the Gorillas. WTAMU notched a 70-58 victory the last time the two squads met on Nov. 30 at Canyon, Texas.  

Saturday will mark the 59th all-time meeting between Pitt State and Southwest Baptist in a series that dates back to the 1965 season. The Bearcats hold a slight 31-27 advantage in the overall series, but Pitt State is 16-14 against SBU in games played in Pittsburg.

However, the Gorillas have dropped the last eight games against SBU in Pittsburg.

PSU At Home
The Gorillas have posted a 375-178 (.678) all-time record at John Lance Arena since the facility opened in 1972. The Gorillas have compiled a 188-61 (.755) record at home during the last 19 seasons.

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State enters this week's action with three players averaging in double figures on the season: junior guard Devon Branch (20.5 ppg), sophomore guard Jake Bullard (16.0 ppg) and senior guard Sam Pugh (11.0 ppg).

Branch scored 20 points in the Gorillas season opener against Newman on Nov. 13 before exiting the game with a knee injury. He missed three games, before returning to the Pitt State lineup Nov. 22.

The Aberdeen, Md., native tallied 27 points against Eastern New Mexico and 24 vs. West Texas A&M in the WTAMU Thanksgiving Shootout.
On the season, Branch is shooting 52.9 (27-for-51) from the field while also averaging a team-high 5.0 rebounds per contest.

Branch transferred to Pitt State last January from the University of Oregon. He did not play for the Ducks, but he averaged 22 points per game as a sophomore at Cloud County Community College in 2011, leading the Jayhawk Conference in scoring.

Branch posted 30 points and 16 rebounds in the Gorillas' exhibition loss to Kansas State on Nov. 1. He also scored a game-high 27 points on Oct. 29 in an exhibition loss ot the University of Kansas.

Bullard (6-5, 180) recorded a double-double against Eastern New Mexico, recording 15 points and a career-high 10 assists. He notched a 21-point performance in Pitt State's victory over Avila on Nov. 23. The Cleora, Okla., native also scored 27 points against Bethany on Nov. 22.

Bullard is shooting 56.5 percent from the floor (35-for-62) and also averaging 5.0 rebounds and a team-high 4.9 assists per game in the early goings this year.

Pugh (6-0, 180) is averaging 11.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and a team-leading 1.7 steals per game. The Branson, Mo., native tallied 22 points against Eastern New Mexico and 12 points with a career-best 10 dimes against Bethany, recording his first career double-double.

Freshman guard Josiah Gustafson is averaging just below double digits with 9.3 points per game. The Omaha, Neb., native tallied a team-high 16 points and five rebounds against NW Missouri State on Dec. 5.

Junior forward Alex Williams, freshman forward Trevor Gregory and senior guard Ethan Cordray all chip in with over 6.1 points apiece. Williams is also averaging 4.0 rebounds per contest. Gregory is shooting a team-high 72.0 percent from the floor (18-for-25). Cordray has converted 11 of 27 3-point field goals (.407).

As a team, the Gorillas are shooting 51.0 percent from the field (200-392)and 38.5 percent from 3-point range (52-135). Pitt State also is shooting 70.7 percent from the free throw line (111-157).

PSU has averaged 17.2 turnovers per game.

The Gorillas opponents have converted 43.5 percent of their shots from the floor (189-434), including 34.3 percent (59-172) from beyond the arc. PSU's opponents are shooting 70.5 percent from the charity stripe (124-176).

Scouting the Buffs
WTAMU currently has three players averaging in double figures. Senior guard Dimir Ferguson leads the Buffs averaging 14.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest. The Bronx, N.Y., native also paces the team with 5.3 assists per game. Junior guard Tez Dumars averages 13.0 points through nine games. Dumars has converted 43.6 percent (24-for-55) from beyond the arc. Junior forward Antijuan Ball is averaging a double-double with 10.9 points and a team-high 10.6 rebounds per game.

David Duncan and P.J. Lockridge chip in with 9.7 and 8.0 points per game, respectively. Duncan also adds 6.1 rebounds per game.
As a team, the Buffs have averaged 69.9 points, while surrendering 66.8 points per game. West Texas A&M is shooting .476 (237-498) from the field, including .346 (56-162) from beyond the arc. WTAMU is shooting .566 (99-179) from the free throw line.

Scouting the Bearcats
Rashaad Brown-Peterson leads four Bearcats averaging over double figures. Peterson is currently averaging 19.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest. The Milwaukee, Wis., native is shooting 61.5 percent (72-for-117) from the field, including 46.3 percent (19-for-41) from beyond the arc.

Junior forward Desi Barmore adds 17.2 points per game and leads the team with a 6.8 rebound per game average. The Fresno, Calif., native is shooting 68.3 percent (71-104) from the floor. Junior guards Derrick Stewart (13.0 ppg) and Preston Guiot (12.8 ppg) round out the Bearcat top scorers. Guiot leads the team with 7.0 assists per contest. However, he has not appeared in the team's last five games.

Collectively, SBU has averaged 92.1 points, while giving up 83.1 points per game. SBU is shooting .519 (348-671) from the field, including .393 (112-285) from three-point territory. The Bearcats shoot .647 (205-317) from the charity stripe.

Pitt State Probable Starters
    F    23    Alex Williams, 6-7, 225, Jr., Salina, Kan.
    F    32    Trevor Gregory, 6-7, 235, Fr., Lee's Summit, Mo.
    G    1    Jake Bullard, 6-5, 190, So., Cleora, Okla.
    G    5    Devon Branch, 6-6, 180, Jr., Aberdeen, Md.
    G    21    Sam Pugh, 6-0, 180, Jr., Branson, Mo.

West Texas A&M Probable Starters
    F    5    David Duncan, 6-9, 235, Jr., Washington, D.C.
    F    32    Antjuan Ball, 6-3, 205, Jr., Collirene, Ala.    
    G    1    Keon Pledger, 6-3, 185, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.
    G    2    Drimir Ferguson, 5-9, 170, Sr., Bronx, N.Y.
    G    14    Tez Dumars, 6-2, 175, Jr., Garland, Texas

Southwest Baptist Probable Starters
    F    24    Desi Barmore, 6-7, 190, Jr., Fresno, Calif.
    F    25    Afam Obukwelu, 6-4, 215, So., Houston, Texas
    G    2    David Gabrovsek, 6-7, 210, Fr., Domzale, Solvenia
    G    22    Tim Pendergraph, 6-3, 195, So., Ontario, Calif.
    G    55    Rashaad Brown-Peterson, 6-1, 210, Sr., Milwaukee, Wis.

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