Men search for consistency
Tyler Smith | reporter
The Pitt State men’s basketball team continued its win one, lose one trend, knocking off the Truman State Bulldogs on Wednesday, Feb. 6, with a score of 79-75. The Gorillas then lost a heartbreaker to Southwest Baptist, 81-75.
Against the Bulldogs, Pitt State went on a 13-3 run after finding itself down by seven points in the second half to gain the lead. Despite a valiant effort from Truman State, the Gorillas made 16 off 28 shots in the second half to come out with the victory.
Also, this past Saturday, Pitt State faced a strong-willed SBU Bearcat squad that fought to the bitter end. Despite being down 22 points at one point in the game, Southwest Baptist went on a 16-1 run to take the lead and eventually the win.
Free throws, turnovers and missed rebounds were the downfall for the Gorillas in the last 10 minutes of the game, says head coach Kevin Muff.
“We dominated on the boards in the first half, but they kept getting second, third opportunities,” Muff said. “We couldn’t get a board to secure it and kind of lost our aggressiveness there.”
Despite playing good basketball for the first 30 minutes, Muff says, he will give credit where credit is due.
“Give Baptist credit, I’ll admit it,” Muff said. “Their players stepped up and responded.”
Fouling was definitely a factor in the loss as well, with Rico Pierrevilus fouling out late in the game. That, along with other factors, may have taken a toll on the team’s aggressiveness, according to Muff.
“I think it got us a little hesitant, we turned it over a few times,” Muff said. “I thought we lost a little bit of our aggressiveness offensively and they did a good job of packing it.”
A huge game-changing factor was when the Bearcats’ Brown-Peterson hit a big three-pointer with 1:48 to play to cut the lead to one point. The Gorillas turned it over next and were shortly followed by a quick jumper from SBU’s Preston Guiot to take the lead 75-74.
“We didn’t respond very well,” Muff said. “The bucket where he hit a three and we turned it around and gave it right back to them and he hit a two … that was a big momentum shift.”
The hardest part, according to Muff, is the dead week ahead for the team as they wait to play again until this Saturday.
“I think the other thing, when you lose like this with a week off it’s really hard,” Muff said. “I’d rather get out and play, I’d rather just turn around and play again.”
Despite the setback, there are still plenty of games left, and in the MIAA conference, anything is possible.