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Gorillas to Face RiverHawks, Bronchos - KOAM TV 7

Gorillas to Face RiverHawks, Bronchos

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___PittsburgStateGorillasLOGOPSU ___PittsburgStateGorillasLOGOPSU
Press Release PSU:

The Pittsburg State University men's basketball team will wrap up a three-game road swing Wednesday (Jan. 28) when the Gorillas travel to Tahlequah, Okla., to face Northeastern State University in MIAA action.


The Gorillas and RiverHawks will meet at 7:30 p.m. at the NSU Event Center.

Following Wednesday's action, Pitt State will return to John Lance Arena to face the University of Central Oklahoma at 3:30 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 31).

The Records
Pitt State is 11-7 overall, 7-3 in the MIAA and tied for second place in the conference standings (with Nebraska-Kearney and Missouri Southern).  The Gorillas split a pair of hard-fought games last week to slip out of a tie for first place in the MIAA. Pitt State dropped a 68-64 road decision to UNK last Thursday (Jan. 22), before bouncing back with a 69-64 road win over Fort Hays State Saturday (Jan. 24).

NSU is 5-13 overall, 3-8 in the MIAA and 12th in the conference standings.  The RiverHawks have won two straight games, including an 80-73 win over Washburn University last Saturday (Jan. 24).

UCO is 13-7 overall, 6-5 in the MIAA and seventh in the conference standings. The Bronchos snapped a three-game losing streak with a 68-50 victory over Emporia State University last Saturday (Jan. 24).

Head Coach Kevin Muff
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 67-62 (.519) record in his tenure with the Gorillas.  This will be his seventh meeting vs. NSU. Muff is 3-3 vs. the RiverHawks. He has a 1-4 record vs. UCO.

Series History
Pitt State and NSU will meet for the 67th time Wednesday in a series that dates all the way back to the 1928 season.  The Gorillas hold a 44-22 advantage in the series, but the RiverHawks hold a 14-13 edge in games played at Tahlequah, Okla., including three straight wins in their home facility.

Last Year (vs. NSU):  PSU and NSU split a pair of match-ups in 2013-14 with the Gorillas taking a 73-63 win in Pittsburg on Jan. 29, 2014, and the RiverHawks claiming a 61-60 victory at Tahlequah on Feb. 19, 2014.                                        .

Pitt State and UCO will meet for the 29th time Saturday in a series that dates all the way back to the 1916 season.  The Bronchos hold a 16-12 edge in the series, but the Gorillas are 8-4 vs. UCO in gm.
Last Year (vs. UCO):  The Bronchos swept a pair of games from the Gorillas, taking a 74-73 decision in Pittsburg on Feb. 1 as well as an 80-72 decision at Tahlequah on Feb. 8.

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State has two players scoring in double figures on the season: sophomore guard Josiah Gustafson (16.4 ppg) and senior guard Devon Branch (14.7 ppg). Junior forward Lamine Dieng is averaging just under double figures on the year (9.5 ppg).

Branch (6-6, 180) is shooting 53.8 percent from the floor, converting 93 of 173 shots on the season. He's also contributing 4.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game. The Aberdeen, Md., native has led the Gorillas in scoring six times this season, helping the squad to a 4-2 record in those games.

Gustafson (6-6, 190) is shooting 46.6 percent from the field (97 of 208), including 25 of 62 (.403) from 3-point range. The Omaha, Neb., native also has made 76 of 91 (.835) free throw attempts. Gustafson, who ranks fifth in the MIAA in scoring, has scored 20 or more points six times this season.

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 9.5 points and a team-leading 5.2 rebounds thus far. Dieng (6-8, 240) had a season-best 18 points and nine rebounds vs. Newman (Dec. 2). He had 12 points and nine rebounds in his Pitt State debut vs. WTAMU (Nov. 26).

Freshman guard Dakota Jones (5-10, 165) contributes 7.1 points per game, while sophomore forward Trevor Gregory (6-7, 235) chips in with 6.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Junior guard Javis Flynn (5-10, 170) adds 6.1 points and a team-leading 5.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game.  Flynn dished out a PSU record 12 assists in the Gorillas' 59-58 win over Emporia State on Jan. 14. He leads the MIAA in steals and ranks second in the league in assists.

As a team, Pitt State has averaged 69.8 points per game, shooting 48.6 percent from the floor (439 of 904), 41.0 percent from 3-point range (93 of 227) and 70.8 percent from the free throw line (286 of 404).

The opposition has averaged 65.9 points per game and shot 44.6 percent from the field (395 of 700).

The Gorillas rank second in the MIAA in scoring defense

Pitt State Probable Starters
    F    24    Trevor Gregory, 6-7, 235, So., Lee's Summit, Mo.
    F    33    Connor Kjer, 6-6, 218, Sr., La Habra, Calif.
    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.

Scouting the RiverHawks
Northeastern State has two active players scoring in double figures – junior forward Demone Harris (11.6 ppg) and Keon Littleton (10.4 ppg) – and two players scoring more than eight points a game –  senior guard Dakota Caudill (9.3 ppg) and senior guard Trey Mohair (8.8 ppg).

Littleton averages a team-best 5.7 rebounds per game, while Caudill is shooting a team-leading 47.4 percent from the field. Mohair leads the team in assists (2.4 apg).

The RiverHawks are averaging 69.9 points per game and shooting 40.3 percent from the field on the season, the lowest percentage in the MIAA to date.

NSU Probable Starters
    F    10    C.J. Winzer, 6-5, 195, Fr., Elmo, Texas
    F    32    Dakota Caudill, 6-6, 220, Jr., Claremore, Okla.
    G    00    Amir Gilliam, 6-0, 185, Sr., Newark, N.J.
    G    20    Trey Mohair, 6-0, 190, Jr., Denton, Texas
    G    23    Montre' Williams, 5-10, 160, Fr., Copperas Cove, Texas

Scouting the Bronchos
Central Oklahoma has two players scoring in double figures – senior guard Mahlon Jones (14.6 ppg) and redshirt freshman guard Garen Wright (11.5 ppg) – and three players scoring more than nine points a game – junior guard Seth Heckart (9.8 ppg), senior forward Philip Brown (9.6 ppg) and junior forward Cal Andrews (9.2 ppg).

Brown is shooting a team-best 64.5 percent from the field and grabbing a team-leading 5.0 rebounds per game. Heckart averages a team-high 3.3 assists per game, while Andrew has made a team-leading 42 3-pointers

As a team, UCO has averaged an MIAA-leading 81.9 points per game and shot 49.1 percent from the field.

UCO Probable Starters
 
   F    23    Corbin Byford, 6-7, 220, So., Velma, Okla.
    F    32    Philip Brown, 6-7, 240, Sr., San Antonio, Texas
    G    00    Garen Wright, 6-4, 210, R-Fr., Oklahoma City, Okla.
    G    02    Darrius Bryson, 6-2, 190, Sr., Oklahoma City, Okla.
    G    13    Mahlon Jones, 6-1, 185, Sr., Oklahoma City, Okla.
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