PSU men fall to 0-2 with loss to William Jewell
Michael Bauer | sports editor
The William Jewell Cardinals delivered the second loss for the Pitt State Gorilla men’s basketball team for the season, cruising to a 93-80 victory on Tuesday, Nov. 19, in Liberty, Mo.
Sophomore Jake Bullard scored all 19 of his points in the second half to lead the Gorillas.
Trailing 43-28 at halftime, the Gorillas managed to cut the deficit from 23 points to 11 late in the game.
But, it would not be enough.
“The one positive I will talk about is I thought at the end of the game, we showed a little bit of fight,” said Kevin Muff, head coach, in a postgame interview with KKOW. “(We showed) a little bit of toughness and continued to battle, compete and got up and got after it,”
The Cardinals used a 13-3 scoring run in the first half and then used a 9-0 run to take a 22-point advantage in the second half.
“We absolutely got our rear-ends handed to us tonight by a team that executed extremely well on the offensive end,” Muff said. “It’s not like we didn’t know what they were going to run and how they’re going to run it but we refused to guard the way we had talked about.”
The Gorillas were without junior Devon Branch, who was out with an injury from last week’s game, forcing Bullard to step up to take over the scoring duties, even though he didn’t get his first basket until after halftime.
But Muff was critical of Bullard’s first half performance.
“Early on, Jake spent too much time with the ball,” Muff said. “As a leader, he can’t go zero in the first half. I don’t care what he ended up with but he can’t set the tone like that offensively and when he gets mad and aggressive, he was good in the second half and got to the rim.”
It was William Jewell’s first win of the season after consecutive losses to Missouri Western and Northwest Missouri State. They are now 1-2.
It was also revenge for the Cardinals who received pay back from last year’s 74-69 loss to the Gorillas in Pittsburg.
“Give them credit too. They did hit a lot of deep shots and they made some tough ones,” Muff said. “But, at the same time, we did very little to take them out of what they’re very good at.”
For PSU, the next few days of practice will not be a walk through the park.
Muff says the Gorillas will be grinding it out.
“The next two days need to be grind it out and basically mano-a-mano, bloodbath-type practices,” he said. “Our practices haven’t been intense like we played that last 10-minute stretch there and we’ve got to make our practices more competitive and guys have to respond better.”
The Pittsburg State basketball team will get to spend the next few days at home with the Pitt State Classic on Friday, Nov. 22, and Saturday, Nov. 23.
The Gorillas will face the Bethany Swedes on Friday at 8 p.m. before taking on Avila University on Saturday at 3 p.m.
The Gorillas dropped to 0-2 for the season.
“We’re going to figure some things out. We obviously need to make some adjustments . . . our personnel . . . but we’ve got to get more solid and being a better team on the defensive end,” Muff said. “It’s not 1-on-1, it’s not one person, it’s a group effort on the defensive end and we’ve got to be better at it.”