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Gorillas Set to Host Bearcats in MIAA Action Saturday - KOAM TV 7

Gorillas Set to Host Bearcats in MIAA Action Saturday

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___PittsburgStateGorillasLOGOPSU ___PittsburgStateGorillasLOGOPSU

Press Release PSU:


The Pittsburg State University men's basketball team will open up Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association play Saturday (Dec. 6) when the Gorillas play host to Northwest Missouri State University.

Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m. (CST) at John Lance Arena.

The Records
Pitt State brings a 3-4 record into Saturday's action. The Gorillas claimed an 82-66 non-conference victory over Newman University Tuesday (Dec. 2) in the squad's home opener.

Northwest Missouri is 6-1 overall and 1-0 in MIAA play. The Bearcats, winners of six straight games, posted a 63-57 road win over Emporia State University Wednesday (Dec. 3).

The Coaches
Pittsburg State's Kevin Muff is in his fifth 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 59-59 (.500) record in his tenure with the Gorillas.  This will be his eighth meeting vs. NWMSU. Muff is 2-5 vs. the Bearcats.

Ben McCollum is in his sixth year at his alma mater. McCollum has guided the Bearcats to a 95-58 (.621) record, including a pair of MIAA titles in 2012 and 2014. He is 6-3 vs. the Gorillas.

Series History
This will be the 123rd all-time meeting between the Gorillas and Bearcats in a series that dates back to the 1926 season. Pitt State holds a 66-56 advantage in the series, including a 42-13 edge in games played in Pittsburg.

Last year:  The Bearcats got a game-high 27 points from Conner Crooker as Northwest claimed a 75-59 win over Pitt State at Bearcat Arena on Dec. 5, 2013.

Josiah Gustafson scored a season-high 16 points in the loss for the Gorillas, while Devon Branch chipped in with 11 points.

The Bearcats outscored the Gorillas, 18-5, at the free throw line in the game.

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State has three players scoring in double figures early in the season: sophomore guard Josiah Gustafson (17.0 ppg), senior guard Devon Branch (16.6 ppg) and junior forward Lamine Dieng (12.0 ppg).

Gustafson (6-6, 190) is shooting 48.8 percent from the field (40 of 82), including 11 of 22 from 3-point range. The Omaha, Neb., native also has made 28 of 34 (.824) free throw attempts. Gustafson has scored 20 or more points three times this season, including 23 in Pitt State's win vs. Texas A&M-Kingsville on Nov. 29.

Branch (6-6, 180) is shooting 58.7 percent from the floor, converting 44 of 75 shots on the season. He's also contributing 4.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and a team-leading 1.6 steals per game. The Aberdeen, Md., native scored 15 points and dished out a career-high eight assists vs. Newman Tuesday (Dec. 2).

Dieng made his Pitt State debut against West Texas A&M on Nov. 26. The Thies, Senegal native redshirted in 2013-14 and missed the Gorillas' first three games this season. He has averaged 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds thus far. Dieng (6-8, 240) had a season-best 18 points and nine rebounds vs. Newman. He had 12 points and nine rebounds in his Pitt State debut vs. WTAMU (Nov. 26).

Sophomore forward Trevor Gregory (6-7, 235) also chips in with 8.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, while junior guard Javis Flynn (5-10, 170) adds 4.4 points and a team-leading 5.1 assists per game.

Freshman guard Dakota Jones scored a season-high 12 points vs. Newman Tuesday (Dec. 2). The Warrensburg, Mo., native is averging 4.7 points per game.

As a team, Pitt State has averaged 73.1 points per game, shooting 50.0 percent from the floor (182 of 364), 38.8 percent from 3-point range (31 of 80) and 70.9 percent from the free throw line (117 of 165). The opposition has averaged 71.9 points per game and shot 45.8 percent from the field (162 of 354).

Scouting the Bearcats
Northwest has four players scoring in double figures to date: freshman guard Justin Pitts (17.1 ppg), senior forward Grant Cozad (13.1 ppg), sophomore forward Zach Schneider (12.4 ppg) and junior guard Conner Crooker (12.3 ppg).

Pitts (5-9, 135) is shooting 63.4 percent from the field (44 of 69), including 11 of 18 (.611) from 3-point range. The Blue Springs, Mo., native also has made 21 of 24 (.875) free throw attempts. Pitts also shares the team lead in assists (3.0 apg).

Cozad (6-8, 205) is shooting 50.9 percent from the floor, converting 27 of 53 shots on the season. He's also contributing a team-leading 5.3 rebounds per game. The Kearney, Mo., native also has converted 38 of 44 free throws (.864) on the season, generating 5.4 points per game from the foul line.

As a team, Northwest has averaged 77.7 points, while holding its opponents to 67.6 points.  The Bearcats are shooting 48.0 percent from the field (184 of 383), including 43.7 percent from 3-point range (59 of 135). Northwest is shooting 76.0 percent from the free throw line (117 of 154).

Pitt State Probable Starters
    F    20    Lamine Dieng, 6-8, 240, Jr., Thies, Senegal
    F    32    Trevor Gregory, 6-7, 235, So., Lee's Summit, Mo.
    G    3    Javis Flynn, 5-10, 170, Jr., Watonga, Okla.
    G    4    Josiah Gustafson, 6-6, 190, So., Omaha, Neb.
    G    5    Devon Branch, 6-6, 180, Sr., Aberdeen, Md.

Northwest Probable Starters
    F    33    Zach Schneider, 6-7, 205, So., Prairie Village, Kan.
    F    45    Grant Cozad, 6-8, 205, Sr., Kearney, Mo.
    G    1    Justin Pitts, 5-9, 135, Fr., Blue Springs, Mo.
    G    24    Conner Crooker, 6-2, 185, Jr., Overland Park, Kan.
    G    30    Matt Wallace, 6-1, 185, Sr., Bellevue, Neb.
 


The Pittsburg State University men's basketball team will open up Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association play Saturday (Dec. 6) when the Gorillas play host to Northwest Missouri State University.


Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m. (CST) at John Lance Arena.

The Records
Pitt State brings a 3-4 record into Saturday's action. The Gorillas claimed an 82-66 non-conference victory over Newman University Tuesday (Dec. 2) in the squad's home opener.

Northwest Missouri is 6-1 overall and 1-0 in MIAA play. The Bearcats, winners of six straight games, posted a 63-57 road win over Emporia State University Wednesday (Dec. 3).

The Coaches
Pittsburg State's Kevin Muff is in his fifth 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 59-59 (.500) record in his tenure with the Gorillas.  This will be his eighth meeting vs. NWMSU. Muff is 2-5 vs. the Bearcats.

Ben McCollum is in his sixth year at his alma mater. McCollum has guided the Bearcats to a 95-58 (.621) record, including a pair of MIAA titles in 2012 and 2014. He is 6-3 vs. the Gorillas.

Series History
This will be the 123rd all-time meeting between the Gorillas and Bearcats in a series that dates back to the 1926 season. Pitt State holds a 66-56 advantage in the series, including a 42-13 edge in games played in Pittsburg.

Last year:  The Bearcats got a game-high 27 points from Conner Crooker as Northwest claimed a 75-59 win over Pitt State at Bearcat Arena on Dec. 5, 2013.

Josiah Gustafson scored a season-high 16 points in the loss for the Gorillas, while Devon Branch chipped in with 11 points.

The Bearcats outscored the Gorillas, 18-5, at the free throw line in the game.

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State has three players scoring in double figures early in the season: sophomore guard Josiah Gustafson (17.0 ppg), senior guard Devon Branch (16.6 ppg) and junior forward Lamine Dieng (12.0 ppg).

Gustafson (6-6, 190) is shooting 48.8 percent from the field (40 of 82), including 11 of 22 from 3-point range. The Omaha, Neb., native also has made 28 of 34 (.824) free throw attempts. Gustafson has scored 20 or more points three times this season, including 23 in Pitt State's win vs. Texas A&M-Kingsville on Nov. 29.

Branch (6-6, 180) is shooting 58.7 percent from the floor, converting 44 of 75 shots on the season. He's also contributing 4.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and a team-leading 1.6 steals per game. The Aberdeen, Md., native scored 15 points and dished out a career-high eight assists vs. Newman Tuesday (Dec. 2).

Dieng made his Pitt State debut against West Texas A&M on Nov. 26. The Thies, Senegal native redshirted in 2013-14 and missed the Gorillas' first three games this season. He has averaged 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds thus far. Dieng (6-8, 240) had a season-best 18 points and nine rebounds vs. Newman. He had 12 points and nine rebounds in his Pitt State debut vs. WTAMU (Nov. 26).

Sophomore forward Trevor Gregory (6-7, 235) also chips in with 8.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, while junior guard Javis Flynn (5-10, 170) adds 4.4 points and a team-leading 5.1 assists per game.

Freshman guard Dakota Jones scored a season-high 12 points vs. Newman Tuesday (Dec. 2). The Warrensburg, Mo., native is averging 4.7 points per game.

As a team, Pitt State has averaged 73.1 points per game, shooting 50.0 percent from the floor (182 of 364), 38.8 percent from 3-point range (31 of 80) and 70.9 percent from the free throw line (117 of 165). The opposition has averaged 71.9 points per game and shot 45.8 percent from the field (162 of 354).

Scouting the Bearcats
Northwest has four players scoring in double figures to date: freshman guard Justin Pitts (17.1 ppg), senior forward Grant Cozad (13.1 ppg), sophomore forward Zach Schneider (12.4 ppg) and junior guard Conner Crooker (12.3 ppg).

Pitts (5-9, 135) is shooting 63.4 percent from the field (44 of 69), including 11 of 18 (.611) from 3-point range. The Blue Springs, Mo., native also has made 21 of 24 (.875) free throw attempts. Pitts also shares the team lead in assists (3.0 apg).

Cozad (6-8, 205) is shooting 50.9 percent from the floor, converting 27 of 53 shots on the season. He's also contributing a team-leading 5.3 rebounds per game. The Kearney, Mo., native also has converted 38 of 44 free throws (.864) on the season, generating 5.4 points per game from the foul line.

As a team, Northwest has averaged 77.7 points, while holding its opponents to 67.6 points.  The Bearcats are shooting 48.0 percent from the field (184 of 383), including 43.7 percent from 3-point range (59 of 135). Northwest is shooting 76.0 percent from the free throw line (117 of 154).

Pitt State Probable Starters
    F    20    Lamine Dieng, 6-8, 240, Jr., Thies, Senegal
    F    32    Trevor Gregory, 6-7, 235, So., Lee's Summit, Mo.
    G    3    Javis Flynn, 5-10, 170, Jr., Watonga, Okla.
    G    4    Josiah Gustafson, 6-6, 190, So., Omaha, Neb.
    G    5    Devon Branch, 6-6, 180, Sr., Aberdeen, Md.

Northwest Probable Starters
    F    33    Zach Schneider, 6-7, 205, So., Prairie Village, Kan.
    F    45    Grant Cozad, 6-8, 205, Sr., Kearney, Mo.
    G    1    Justin Pitts, 5-9, 135, Fr., Blue Springs, Mo.
    G    24    Conner Crooker, 6-2, 185, Jr., Overland Park, Kan.
    G    30    Matt Wallace, 6-1, 185, Sr., Bellevue, Neb.
 
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