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Pitt State Aims for 4th Straight Win - KOAM TV 7

Pitt State Aims for 4th Straight Win

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PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State University men's basketball team will continue a six-game homestand when the Gorillas return to Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association play this week against Missouri Western State University Wednesday (Jan. 3) and top-ranked Northwest Missouri State University Saturday (Jan. 6).

The Gorillas will face off against the Griffons at 7:30 p.m. (CST) Wednesday at John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court and Pitt State will battle the Bearcats in an afternoon matinee Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

The Records
The Gorillas enter Wednesday's action with an 8-5 overall record and a 1-3 mark in MIAA play.

Pitt State posted a 112-53 victory over Central Christian College of the Bible (Mo.) in its most recent action Dec. 30. The Gorillas, who have won three straight games, also posted a record-breaking 120-31 victory over Baptist Bible College prior to Christmas Break on Dec. 16.

The Gorillas set school records for point scored (120), margin of victory (89 pts) and assists (32) against the Patriots, while equaling the school mark for field goals (49) in the contest.

Pitt State opened the 2017-18 campaign with a pair of wins over Minnesota State (90-80) and St. Cloud State (72-62) in the MIAA/NSIC Conference Challenge Nov. 10-11 in Pittsburg.

The Gorillas added a 90-50 home victory over NAIA member Haskell on Nov. 15, before dropping a 104-95 road decision to Arkansas Fort Smith last Saturday (Nov. 18). Pitt State rebounded with a decisive 88-69 win over Newman University on Nov. 21 in the MIAA Challenge at Kansas City, Mo.

The Gorillas split a pair of games at the Eckerd College Thanksgiving Classic at St. Petersburg, Fla., Nov. 24-25, defeating the University of Tampa, 86-78, on Nov. 24 before falling to Eckerd College, 114-105, the next night.

Pitt State opened their conference slate with a pair of tightly-contested road losses, falling in overtime to the University of Nebraska-Kearney (101-89) on Nov. 30 and by three points to Fort Hays State University (77-74) on Dec. 2.

Lindenwood University pulled out a 90-85 win over the Gorillas on Dec. 7, before Pitt State rebounded two days later with a 77-66 victory against Lincoln (Dec. 9).

Missouri Western is 3-8 overall and 1-3 in MIAA play. The Griffons have lost two straight games, including a 67-51 road loss to the University of Central Missouri in their most recent action Dec. 14. Western claimed a 96-80 exhibition win over Livin' The Dream on Dec. 19.

NW Missouri is 12-0 overall, 4-0 in the MIAA and ranked No. 1 in the most recent NABC/NCAA Division II Top 25 poll heading into a Thursday (Jan. 4) road game against Missouri Southern State University. The defending national champion Bearcats posted an 85-43 home win over Simpson College in their most recent action Dec. 30.

Head Coach Kim Anderson
Pittsburg State's Kim Anderson is in his first season leading the Gorillas. He has an 8-5 record. Anderson (Missouri, '79) became the Gorillas' 15th all-time head coach on Apr. 10, 2017, after coaching the past three seasons at his alma mater – the University of Missouri.

He has a 309-167 (.649) record in 16 seasons as a collegiate head coach, including the 2014 NCAA Division II National Championship as head coach at the University of Central Missouri as well as two more Division II Final Four appearances (2007, 2009) while compiling a 274-95 (.743) record at the school.

Anderson led UCM to seven trips to the NCAA Division II National Tournament and seven 20-win seasons.  In his final season with the Mules he guided the squad to a 30-5 overall record and the D2 national title.

His Mules teams captured six MIAA regular season titles (2005, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014) and four MIAA Tournament titles (2005, 2007, 2009, 2013).

He was selected the MIAA Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2010, and the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year in 2014.

Series History
Wednesday's action will mark the 75th all-time meeting between the Gorillas and Griffons in a series that dates back to the 1977 season. Western holds a slight 38-36 edge in the series, but Pitt State has won nine of the last 10 battles. The Gorillas are 22-15 vs. the Griffons in Pittsburg with five straight wins.

Saturday's action will be the 129th all-time meeting between the Gorillas and the Bearcats. Pitt State holds a 68-60 advantage in the series, including a 43-15 cushion in games played in Pittsburg, but Northwest has won nine of the last 12 match-ups.

All-Time Victories
Pitt State has compiled a 1413-1170 (.547) all-time record in 109 seasons of intercollegiate play. The Gorillas rank 15th on the NCAA Division II wins list (1412).

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State enters Wednesday's match-up averaging 91.0 points per game and shooting 49.8 percent from the field. The Gorillas lead the MIAA in scoring.

Pitt State has three players averaging in double figures on the season: senior guard/forward Xavier Adams (17.5 ppg), junior guard Donovan Franklin (16.9 ppg) and junior guard Grant Lozoya (12.9 ppg).

Adams is averaging 17.5 points and a team-leading 7.4 rebounds per game. He also is shooting 54.1 percent from the floor (79-146). Adams (6-6, 215) ranks fifth in the MIAA in scoring and rebounding and 11th in the league in field goal percentage (.541).

He posted a double-double with team highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds in the Gorillas victory against SCSU on Nov. 11; and he scored a season-high 30 points vs. Eckerd on Nov. 25. Adams has posted four double doubles on the season, including 13 points and 12 rebounds in the last game vs. CCCB (Dec. 30).

Adams joined the Gorillas from the University of New Mexico. He started 14 of 77 career games in three seasons for the Lobos. The Flower Mound, Texas, native averaged 4.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2015-16. He contributed 3.9 points per game as a junior in 2016-17 before suffering a season-ending injury in early January.

Franklin (6-5, 205) scored a game-high 30 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds in his Pitt State debut against MSU on Nov. 10. The St. Louis, Mo., native is shooting 51.6 percent from the field (66-128) and 87.3 percent from the free throw line (69-79). Franklin, who ranks seventh in the MIAA in scoring, also averages 4.2 rebounds per game.

Franklin joined the Gorillas from Indiana State University. He averaged 4.2 points and 1.5 rebounds in 26 games for the Sycamores in 2016-17. He averaged 14.9 points a game as a freshman at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Fla.

Lozoya scored a season-high 22 points against Tampa on Nov. 24 and he has dished out a team-leading 44 assists (3.4 apg) and snared a team-high 18 steals (1.4 spg). He ranks 13th in the MIAA in assists and 10th in the conference in steals.

Lozoya (6-3, 180) came to Pitt State after three years at Stetson University. The Agoura Hills, Calif., native averaged 9.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a freshman for the Hatters in 2014-15, earning All-Freshman honors form the Atlantic Sun Conference. He contributed 7.4 points and 2.5 rebounds as a sophomore in 2015-16, before exercising a medical redshirt in 2016-17.

The Gorillas have six additional players scoring between 5.6 and 9.3 points a game: junior forward Demetrius Levarity (9.3 ppg), junior guard Jabari Antwine (9.1 ppg), senior guard Jaxon Holden (8.8 ppg), sophomore guard Brandon Clifford (7.2 ppg), junior guard Mar'Qywell Jackson (5.7 ppg) and junior center Deitrich Cole, Jr. (5.6 ppg).

Levarity is contributing 9.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He did not play in Pitt State's opener against MSU and he missed the CCCB game on Dec. 30. The New Orleans, La., native has blocked a team-leading nine shots (0.8 bpg).

Levarity (6-7, 210) transferred to Pitt State from Sam Houston State University, where he redshirted in 2016-17. He contributed 15.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Southeastern Illinois College.

Antwine posted the first triple double in Pitt State program history on Dec. 30 when he scored 12 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists against CCCB. For the season, the Chicago native is averaging 9.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.0 steals and he's made 11 of 20 3-point field goals (.550) in nine games played. He ranks 12th in the MIAA in assists and third in the conference in steals.

Antwine (6-1, 155) averaged 9.0 points, 4.0 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.9 steals as a sophomore at Moberly Area Community College in 2016-17, earning second-team All-Region and All-Conference honors.

Holden is contributing 8.8 points per game and shooting 57.1 percent from the field (36-63). He has knocked down 20 of 45 3-point field goal attempts (.444).

Holden (6-1, 180) scored a season-high 18 points against UAFS on Nov. 18. He started 13 games for the Gorillas a year ago, averaging 10.5 points per game. Holden missed 14 games due to injury.

The Flower Mound, Texas, native has started 36 of 47 career games for the Gorillas, after transferring to Pitt State following his freshman season from Stephen F. Austin University.

Clifford has averaged 7.2 points in six games played. The Paragould, Ark., native scored a season-high 18 points against CCCB on Dec. 30.  He has converted 11 of 21 (.521) 3-pointers on the year.

Jackson, a Detroit native, is averaging 5.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. He scored a season-high 19 points in the Gorillas win over Newman on Nov. 21.

Jackson (6-5, 195) contributed 11.5 points per game at Moberly Area Community College, helping the Greyhounds to a 27-5 overall record a year ago. He knocked down 42 3-pointers on the season during his sophomore campaign.

Cole is shooting 60.5 percent from the floor (23-38) and averaging 4.2 rebounds in nine games played.

Cole (6-10, 240), also a Detroit native, averaged 2.5 points and shot 55 percent from the field at Moberly Area Community College last season. He also averaged 2.4 rebounds and recorded 11 blocked shots on the year.

Pitt State Probable Starters
    F    21    Xavier Adams, 6-6, 215, Sr., Flower Mound, Texas
    F    5    Demetrius Levarity, 6-7, 210, Jr., New Orleans, La.
    G    2    Grant Lozoya, 6-3, 180, Jr., Agoura Hills, Calif.
    G    3    Donovan Franklin, 6-5, 205, Jr., St. Louis, Mo.
    G    25    Jaxon Holden, 6-1, 180, Sr., Flower Mound, Texas

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