Second half strong:
Gorillas rally late in the game to win over Bulldogs
Tim Spears | Collegio Reporter
Rico Pierrevelius scored 13 straight Pitt State points in the second half to lead the Gorillas to a 17-point win over the Truman State Bulldogs.
“[The second half] was a big jump,” Pierrevelius said. “We are going to take that second half and carry it over to practice tomorrow and the game Saturday and we are going to continue rolling.”
PSU ended the first half with a three-point lead, 28-25. However, the Gorillas were able to move the ball and get the turnovers needed to push the lead to double-digits less than three minutes into the second. Eric Ray made two straight 3-point baskets, giving the Gorillas a 40-27 advantage.
“I thought Eric Ray gave us a good lift early in the second half,” said head coach Kevin Muff. “And him knocking down threes really stretches defenses and causes problems.”
The second half was dictated by the battle for the paint, with both teams often double teaming any offensive player near the basket.
“We weren’t anticipating a double in the post like they did every time we went in. It’s smart play on their part,” Muff said. “It’s not like we have dominating 6’10 post guys.”
The Gorillas were able to counteract Truman’s half-court defense with quick transition layups and a dominating performance by forward Andra Bailey, who led Pitt State with 14 rebounds (eight more than Truman’s top rebounder for the game).
“When teams double you they’re leaving something,” Muff said. “Second half we did a better job moving the ball and if we just get it to the rim we’ve got guys who will go get it.”
Pierrevilus was the dominant Gorilla force in the half court, offensively and defensively. Pierrevilus scored 18 points along with six rebounds and four blocks, displaying a polished post-up game and having one of the best halves for any Gorilla this season.
“To be able to shoot the 3 as a big man, like he can, [is an asset],” Muff said. “We don’t discourage that shot. We just want to make sure his feet are set when he shoots it, but he’s got a little bit of range.”
This Saturday Pitt State faces the No. 1 team in the MIAA, Central Missouri, in Warrensburg, Mo. Central is coming off a big win against Missouri Southern.
“[UCM] beating Southern, at Southern, that’s a big win,” Muff said. “I don’t care who you are. You beat Southern you’ve proven you’re a team to be reckoned with.”
Pitt State lost by eight at home to the Mules on Dec. 18, but look to avenge that defeat like they did against Truman last night.