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Gorillas Return Home to Face Bearcats, Bronchos - KOAM TV 7

Gorillas Return Home to Face Bearcats, Bronchos

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PRESS RELEASE PITTSBURG STATE UNIVIERSTY:

The Pittsburg State University men's basketball team returns home for a pair of MIAA games this week against Southwest Baptist University Tueday (Feb. 4) and the University of Central Oklahoma Saturday (Feb. 8).

Tuesday's tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (CST) at John Lance Arena, while Saturday's action will begin at 3:30 p.m.

The Records
Pitt State enters the week 7-11 overall and 3-8 in MIAA action.  The Gorillas split their two games last week. PSU defeated Northeastern State, 73-63, in Pittsburg before falling on the road to Central Oklahoma, 74-73, Saturday (Feb. 1).

Southwest Baptist is currently 10-10 overall and 3-8 in conference action. The Bearcats had won two consecutive games over Lindenwood and Lincoln before falling, 96-94, at home to Missouri Southern last Thursday (Jan. 30).

Central Oklahoma is 12-7 overall and 6-6 in MIAA play heading into a Thursday road contest against Northeastern State. The Bronchos defeated the Gorillas last week, 74-73, at Edmond.

The Coaches
Pittsburg State's Kevin Muff is in 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 55-48 (.535) record in his short tenure with the Gorillas.  This will be Muff's sixth meeting against SBU. He is 1-4 vs the Bearcats. This will be his fifth meeting against Central Oklahoma. He is 1-3 vs the Bronchos.

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.

Terry Evans is in his 12th year as head coach of  Central Oklahoma. Evans, (Oklahoma, '95) has compiled a 235-111 (.678) record while leading the Bronchos. He is 3-1 all-time against the Gorillas.

Series History
Tuesday will mark the 59th all-time meeting between Pitt State and SBU in a series that dates back to the 1965 season. The Bearcats hold a slight 31-27 advantage in the overall series, and SBU has won the last eight straight games against Pitt State.

Saturday's action will mark the 28th all-time meeting between the Gorillas and Bronchos. UCO holds a slight 15-12 advantage in the series that dates back to 1916, but the Gorillas have won six of the last nine contests.

UCO defeated Pitt State, 74-73, at Edmond the last time the two squads met on Feb. 1, 2014.

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State enters this week's action with three players averaging in double figures on the season: junior guard Devon Branch (20.2 ppg), sophomore guard Jake Bullard (14.4 ppg) and senior guard Sam Pugh (10.9 ppg).

Branch, who currently ranks third in the MIAA in scoring, 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 a season-high 31 points against Washburn on Jan. 18. He recorded 23 points against both Northeastern State (Jan. 29) and 22 vs. Central Oklahoma (Feb. 1).

On the season, Branch is shooting 51.3 (102-for-199) from the field while also tied for  the team lead with 4.9 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 to the University of Kansas.

Bullard (6-5, 180) ranks among the MIAA leaders in scoring (22nd) and assists (eighth, 4.3 apg) on the season.

The Cleora, Okla., native posted a double-double with 15 points and a career high 10 assists against Eastern New Mexico (Nov. 29). He just missed posting a triple double against West Texas A&M on Dec. 18 with 20 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists against the Buffs.  Last week he tallied 16 points and five rebounds against Northeastern State and notched 14 points, four assists and four rebounds against Central Oklahoma.

Bullard is shooting 50.7 percent from the floor (77-for-152), including 41.3 percent from 3-point range (19-for-46). He is also averaging 4.9 rebounds and a team-leading 4.3 assists per game as well.

Pugh (6-0, 180) is averaging 10.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and a team-leading 1.3 steals per game. He leads the MIAA in 3-point percentage at 53.4 (39-for-73).

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.

Pugh ranks 15th in the MIAA in assists and steals. He missed last Saturday's game against Central Oklahoma due to injury.

Freshman guard Josiah Gustafson is averaging just below double digits at 8.8 points per game. The Omaha, Neb., native tallied a team-high 16 points and five rebounds against NW Missouri State on Dec. 5. He tallied 13 points and three rebounds against Emporia State on Jan. 15.

Senior guard Ethan Cordray (5.9 ppg), freshman forward Trevor Gregory (5.4 ppg) and junior forward Connor Kjer (5.2 ppg) all chip in more than five points a game. Gregory is also averaging 4.1 rebounds per contest and shooting a team-high 63.8 percent from the floor (30-for-47). Cordray has converted 29 of 81 3-point field goals (.358).

As a team, the Gorillas are shooting 47.5 percent from the field (469-987)and 37.1 percent from 3-point range (128-345). Pitt State also is shooting 73.8 percent from the free throw line (354-480).

The Gorillas' opponents have converted 43.9 percent of their shots from the floor (464-1057), including 34.9 percent (152-435) from beyond the arc. PSU's opponents are shooting 70.7 percent from the charity stripe (355-502).

Scouting the Bearcats
Junior forward Desi Barmore leads three Bearcat players averaging double figures with 17.2 points per game and also leads the team with a 6.8 rebounds per game. The Fresno, Calif., native is shooting 61.9 percent (125-for-202) from the floor.

Senior guard Rashaad Brown-Peterson is currently averaging 16.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per contest. The Milwaukee, Wis., native is shooting 53.7 percent (108-201) from the field.

Junior guards Derrick Stewart (10.8 ppg) and Preston Guiot (9.7 ppg) round out the Bearcat top scorers. Stewart is currently shooting 46.0 percent (52-113) from beyond the arc.  Guiot leads the team and ranks second in the conference with 6.7 assists per contest.

Collectively, SBU has averaged 86.7 points, while giving up 84.7 points per game. They are shooting 49.6 (612-1233) from the field, including .382 (195-511) from three-point territory. The Bearcats shoot .688 (375-545) from the charity stripe.

Scouting the Bronchos
Central Oklahoma has four players averaging in double figures: senior forward Josh Gibbs (20.7 ppg), sophomore guard Aaron Anderson (14.1 ppg), sophomore forward Cal Andrews (11.8 ppg) and sophomore guard Seth Heckart (11.5 ppg).

Gibbs also leads the team with 11.4 rebounds per game. The Kansas City, Mo., native ranks first in the MIAA in rebounding and second in scoring. Anderson leads the team in field goal percentage (.605) and assists (3.8 apg).

As a team, the Bronchos average 84.1 points and shoot 45.9 percent from the field (531-1156), 39.2 percent from the 3-point line (193-492) and 67.2 percent from the free throw line (342-509).

Central Oklahoma's opponents are averaging 79.8 points and shooting 45.7 percent from the field (523-1144). UCO's opponents have made 72.7 percent of their free throw attempts (323-444).

Pitt State Probable Starters
    F    32    Trevor Gregory, 6-7, 235, Fr., Lee's Summit, Mo.
    F    33    Connor Kjer, 6-6, 205, Jr., La Habra, Calif.
    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.

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    3    Preston Guiot, 5-11, 185, Jr., Bolivar, Mo.
    G    20    Menas Stephens, 6-4, 215, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.
    G    55    Rashaad Brown-Peterson, 6-1, 210, Sr., Milwaukee, Wis.

Central Oklahoma Probable Starters
    F    2    Josh Gibbs, 6-5, 235, Sr., Kansas City, Mo.
    F    21    Cal Anderson, 6-7, 200, So., Washington, Okla.
    F    32    Phillip Brown, 6-7, 230, Jr., San Antonio, Texas
    G    1    Aaron Anderson, 6-3, 190, So., Edmond, Okla.
    G    3    Seth Heckart, 6-0, 175, So., Woodward, Okla.  

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