Gorillas to Meet Bronchos for Second Time in Eight Days - KOAM TV 7

Gorillas to Meet Bronchos for Second Time in Eight Days

___PittsburgStateGorillasLOGOPSU ___PittsburgStateGorillasLOGOPSU
Press Release PSU:

The Pittsburg State University men's basketball team will travel to Edmond, Okla., Saturday to face the University of Central Oklahoma in MIAA action.

The Gorillas and Bronchos will meet at 3:30 p.m. (CST) at UCO's Hamilton Field House. It will mark the second meeting between the two teams in eight days.  Pitt Sate cruised to a 78-61 victory over UCO in Pittsburg on Jan. 31.

Following Saturday's action, Pitt State will begin a four-game home stand at John Lance Arena.

The Records
Pitt State is 13-7 overall, 9-3 in the MIAA and alone in second place in the conference standings.  The Gorillas have posted three straight wins and claimed victories in six of their last seven outings. Pitt State defeated UCO in Pittsburg in its last action on Jan. 31.

UCO is 14-8 overall, 7-6 in the MIAA and tied for seventh place in the conference standings (with Fort Hays State University). The Bronchos bounced back from their road loss to the Gorillas with a lopsided 77-49 home win over Northeastern State University Thursday (Feb. 5).

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 69-62 (.527) record in his tenure with the Gorillas.  This will be his seventh meeting vs. UCO. He has a 2-4 record vs. the Bronchos.

Series History
Pitt State and UCO will meet for the 30th time Saturday in a series that dates all the way back to the 1916 season.  The Bronchos hold a 16-13 edge in the series, including a 12-4 advantage in games played at Edmond.

Last Time Out (vs. UCO):  Pitt State started fast, building a 16-point lead 10 minutes into the game and riding that early momentum to a 78-61 victory over UCO.

Josiah Gustafson scored a game-high 25 points, including 14 in the first half to spark the Gorillas. Dakota Jones added 15 points for Pitt State, which shot 47 percent from the field (24 of 51). Devon Branch (13) and Trevor Gregory (10) also finished in double figures.

The Gorillas outscored the Bronchos, 28-14, at the foul line in a game that featured 43 combined personal fouls. Pitt State made 28 of 32 charity shots in the contest. UCO got 14 points off the bench from Jacob Strassle.

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State has two players scoring in double figures on the season: sophomore guard Josiah Gustafson (16.8 ppg) and senior guard Devon Branch (14.5 ppg). Junior forward Lamine Dieng is averaging just under double figures on the year (8.9 ppg).

Branch (6-6, 180) is shooting 54.2 percent from the floor, converting 103 of 190 shots on the season. The Aberdeen, Md., native also is contributing 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game.

Gustafson (6-6, 190) is shooting 47.2 percent from the field (109 of 231), including 31 of 74 (.419) from 3-point range. The Omaha, Neb., native also has made 87 of 103 (.837) free throw attempts – ranking fourth in the MIAA in free throw percentage. Gustafson, who ranks fourth in the MIAA in scoring, has scored 20 or more points seven 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 8.9 points and a team-leading 5.0 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 7.5 points per game, while sophomore forward Trevor Gregory (6-7, 235) chips in with 6.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Junior guard Javis Flynn (5-10, 170) adds 6.8 points and a team-leading 5.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game.  Flynn dished out a PSU record 12 assists in the Gorillas' 59-58 win over Emporia State on Jan. 14. He ranks second in the MIAA in assists and steals.

As a team, Pitt State has averaged 70.6 points per game, shooting 48.4 percent from the floor (484 of 999), 40.8 percent from 3-point range (104 of 255) and 71.7 percent from the free throw line (339 of 473).

The opposition has averaged 65.7 points per game and shot 44.3 percent from the field (435 of 983).

The Gorillas rank third 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 Bronchos
Central Oklahoma has two players scoring in double figures – senior guard Mahlon Jones (13.6 ppg) and redshirt freshman guard Garen Wright (11.0ppg) – and three players scoring more than eight points a game – junior guard Seth Heckart (9.9 ppg), senior forward Philip Brown (9.6 ppg) and junior forward Cal Andrews (8.7 ppg).

Brown is shooting a team-best 63.7 percent from the field and grabbing a 4.9 rebounds per game. Heckart averages a team-high 3.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He also has made a team-leading 53 3-pointers

As a team, UCO has averaged an MIAA-leading 80.8 points per game and shot 48.9 percent from the field.  The Bronchos also rank second in the league in field goal percentage defense (.419).

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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