- ‘I’ll treat this like a warrior’
Football player continues fight with cancer
| Michael Bauer Sports editor |
Robert McField knew something wasn’t right.
It was a January morning and the junior tight end from St. Louis, Mo., noticed that he didn’t have any feeling in his right arm.
After going to Via Christi hospital in Pittsburg, McField went to the emergency room in Joplin, Mo., fearing that it could be horrible. It was then that the nightmare truly began: He was diagnosed with cancer.
“I cried immediately after the diagnosis,” McField, who majors in recreation, said. “I don’t think I’ve cried so hard in my life. They told me in Joplin and when they walked in with five doctors and they said, ‘Man, we need get you out of here really fast.’”
Being told he had to go to KU Medical Center in Kansas City, McField soon had to endure five surgeries in eight days. He had three tumors in different parts of his body: one in his shoulder, the other in the spine and the third in his neck. So far, only the one in his neck has been removed.
“They told me I had to leave to go to KU Medical Center because these things can get big really quick,” McField said.
It was there where he was fully diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“It was like my whole world turned around,” McField said. “I cried. I didn’t know what I was going to do. They said in five years I have a 40-50 percent chance to live and medically, they told me that was great, but I wasn’t thrilled.”
McField spoke to a specialist at the KU Medical Center where he was able to get a better grasp on the situation.
“He told me that it was a freak accident and there was nothing I could’ve done about it,” McField said.
His lymphoma started forming in August. During the 2014 football season, McField began to feel pain. He had only one catch during the year – a 2-point conversion pass in the NCAA Division II playoffs against Minnesota State Mankato that tied the game at 21 to send it into overtime in the Gorillas’ loss.
Brushed it off
“It started in parts. Last football season, my neck and shoulders started hurting and then after that, it really got bad in November,” McField said. “I went into the emergency room. I was taking pills like Tylenol but I kind of brushed it off. I thought if I could take an ibuprofen, I could make it through.”
Then in January, after taking Christmas break off, he felt his body begin to shut down.
“My neck would be throbbing. I knew something wasn’t right. I woke up one morning and my entire right arm went numb,” McField said. I went to the Joplin ER and they told me it was looking like cancer.”
McField has since gone through two sessions of chemotherapy and is scheduled to go through eight more. His third is supposed to be in a week and a-half.
“After this next week, we’ll re-evaluate after a CAT scan and it may show that I need to go to a more intense level or stay. I’m at a really aggressive chemo,” McField said.
In addition to chemotherapy, McField has had to take about six to seven drugs. Three months ago, he was still working out. Now he finds himself confined to bed every day while wearing a mask over his mouth. It’s no longer a question of does he feel sick every day but rather how sick.
“I’m nauseous and sick to my stomach every day,” McField said. “You wake up sick and get used to it. It’s just a matter of how much can you do today. That was the hard part. I feel nauseous right now but that’s a good day because in about a week, I’ll be in a bed throwing up my guts due to chemo therapy.”
McField’s girlfriend, Kaylee Kinsch, says she feels helpless.
“It’s hard because I’m a registered nurse and when I can’t help him, that’s the hardest part because it’s my job,” Kinsch said. “Sometimes I have to walk out of the room and give it a minute. I’m not a cancer doctor. I’m just a nurse. It’s been rough.”
But through the care and support of his family and his teammates, McField has been able to carry on. He’s received letters from Pittsburg State alumni, phone calls from past football players and souvenirs from the 1961 national championship team as well as the 1962 squad.
“I actually have an authentic copy of the 1962 Pittsburg State roster and when I got it I thought, ‘Do I send this back to them?’ but it’s been awesome,” McField said. “Words can’t describe it.”
Support from the team
The football team has rallied behind him.
“Our team has been first and foremost concerned about Robert’s well-being,” PSU head coach Tim Beck said. “Everyone’s been very, very supportive of him and worried about him getting healthy.”
While in the hospital, McField said, he would get calls from the coaches every day.
“They were there for every step. I can’t tip my hat off enough to the coaching staff,” McField said. “When I do feel good, I come up to see the coaching staff because I can’t thank them enough.”
To help pay for medical bills, McField has been receiving funds for his treatment through gofundme.com/robertmcfield. In 20 days, 127 people have raised $7,169.
“We are overwhelmed by the support we’ve seen on (gofundme.com),” Kinsch said. “His mom (Denise McField) suggested it and we never would’ve thought about leaning on other people in a financial aspect since we’ve been independent. But, wow, we’ve had so many people donating and it’s been very helpful.”
Talking about his cancer has also helped him feel better, but sometimes that can be overwhelming.
“I like questions but you’ve got to keep in mind, two months ago I was working out. At times I don’t want to think about it because it sometimes brings me to tears,” McField said. “But sometimes, it’s therapeutic as well. At first, when going through it, I needed to talk to somebody and I talked to people who had it way worse.”
Friends rally behind him
His friends and teammates often visit him but he has to take extreme cautions. Because of his low white blood cell count from chemotherapy, he is vulnerable to sickness. There hasn’t been a shortage of hand sanitizers at his home.
“That’s what we do, I don’t care who they are. Everyone has to get sanitized,” McField said. “Sometimes I can’t do something because I might get sick or I can’t hang with my friends.”
But his friends do keep in touch.
“I’ll get texts from my teammates and all of them ask how I’m doing. Montrae Strickland (junior defensive end) and Taye Irvin (junior defensive lineman), those two guys will be calling me and have been awesome. It’s touching to know that I have brothers both on and off the football field.”
Needless to say, he doesn’t take his health for granted anymore.
“Days where I can get up and walk around, I give thanks for being able to do that,” McField said. “I came up (to PSU) a few times to see the coaching staff and always stay for about two hours because you miss the things you could do when you’re healthy. Now, I keep a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer with me at all times.”
Neither he nor his girlfriend is afraid.
“Am I scared now?” Kinsch asks. “No. I have full faith in his doctor. I have faith in God. He’s carried us this far. It’s really strengthened our faith.”
Added McField: “I tell people to not be scared. Don’t worry about me. We’ll get through it.”
But that doesn’t mean he or anybody else gets emotional about it.
“I’ve seen my girlfriend and mom cry and those are the two worst people for me to see crying,” McField said. “I just try to assure them that I’ll treat this like a warrior.”
McField remains a full-time student. He is scheduled to graduate this May with his bachelor’s and is taking 15 hours this semester, all of which are online.
“His teachers have been very good about accommodating him,” Kinsch said.
As for football? He has one more season of eligibility left and while he said he would love to return to the gridiron, he remains focused first and foremost on winning his own battle with cancer.
“Football is one of the things that keeps me going,” McField said. “Knowing that I can be back on the field on Saturdays with the best fans, that’s one thing that I vision … I’ve got to get cleared by my doctor and my girlfriend first. If I get cleared by my doctor and all things are a go, I’m out there, full steam ahead and I look forward to that day.”
- Mystery in religion
Speaker brings mystery of Shroud of Turin to campus
| Gretchen Burns reporter |
A world of mystery was the center of Russ Breault’s presentation on Monday, March 23, in Grubbs Hall.
“The world is full of mysteries from the pyramids to Stonehenge to crop circles,” Breault said. “There is a mystery in the Italian city of Turin. The cathedral of St. John the Baptist houses a mysterious cloth with a mysterious image.”
This cloth is known as “The Shroud of Turin,” the cloth believed to have covered the body of Jesus Christ when he was laid in the tomb.
The shroud bears the image of a crucified man and has undergone hundreds of thousands of hours of detailed study and intense research.
Breault, an international expert on the shroud, began writing on the subject as a student while at Columbus State University. The Newman Center invited Breault to present his research.
Breault says American scientists were first granted permission to study the Shroud of Turin in 1978 and that many of them who traveled on that exhibition believed it to be a fake.
Breault says one of the scientists was reported saying, “We all thought we’d find it was a forgery and would be packing our bags.”
The team ran multiple tests on the ancient cloth, from blood to textile to X-Ray and light scans. The test revealed that the blood on the cloth is AB positive and has the DNA of a human male. At the end of the two-day trip, the scientists confirmed that the shroud had indeed been wrapped around a man who had been crucified.
Breault read several verses from the Bible that discuss the shroud. He also provided images of a life size replica used for museum displays around the world. More than 200 images have been taken of the replica for study. Breault says the image of a crucified male can be seen in the bloodstains on the shroud, from the top of the head where the crown of thorns was placed to a whole in the left wrist where the arm would have been nailed to a cross.
The real Shroud of Turin will be on display in Turin, Italy, soon. Pope Francis has made a request to see the shroud in person as well.
Sophia Olsen, sophomore in biology, says the presentation was a success in educating Pitt State students and the community on the science and relevance of the shroud.
“I learned a lot of new information from the shroud presentation including how the image was caused on the linen, why it is likely that the image is of Jesus of Nazareth, and why the shroud is still important today,” Olsen said. “My favorite part was that the image was likely caused by a 40 nanosecond burst of intense light and not by any substance including dirt and that the body did not decay in the linen. It gives new understanding to what occurred at the resurrection of Jesus.”
Chad Garrett also enjoyed the presentation.
“The speaker wasn’t biased for a single religion,” Garrett, senior in accounting and finance, said. “He was able to speak to the general audience, and pass his message to all those willing to listen.”
- Students being warned against extortion scam
Students who checked their Gus mail over spring break received a Bulk-E warning from the Pittsburg Police Department after the department received several calls from individuals targeted in an over-the-phone extortion scam.
The victims reported phone calls from unknown individuals claiming to be Pittsburg Police officers. Victims were told they had outstanding warrants and would be arrested if they did not send money to the fraudulent callers.
Extortion is defined as a crime in which a person or persons forces the victim to do something against his or her will, generally to give up money or property, by threat of violence, property damage, damage to the victim’s reputation or extreme financial hardship. Extortion involves the victim’s consent to the crime, but the consent is obtained illegally.
In the email sent out by the police, students were informed that it is believed the fraudsters were using a caller ID spoofing technique to display the Pittsburg Police Department’s administrative line.
In a statement released by the Pittsburg Police, the department said it would not call and solicit money from people over the phone and in most cases, would not require one’s personal identification, such as a Social Security number.
Students are advised to request the officer’s name and badge number if they receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a representative of the Pittsburg Police Department if they suspect the scam is occurring. Students should then call the officer immediately back at the department’s dispatch phone number 231-1700.
Those who have already received these phone calls and believe themselves to be a possible victim of this scam are encouraged to contact local law enforcement and request to file a report.
Bailey Jones, sophomore in justice studies, says she was not surprised by the email sent by police.
“I have had fire station posers call me for money at a time,” she said.
Jones added she doesn’t like that people use public services to scam money and that it is unfortunate that it happens.
“I don’t like it, but I know they do it all the same,” Jones said.
The Pittsburg Police Department says the investigation into the scam is ongoing but the department is not at liberty to share details at this time.
- Sales-tax increase proposed
If you’re the legal drinking age, about to be or a tobacco user, you may want to consider saving your pennies for your next purchase.
Gov. Sam Brownback introduced his plan to help balance the state budget on Thursday, March 12, during his State of the State address. Kansas currently has a projected budget shortfall of $648 million and part of Brownback’s plan would be to increase the sales tax on cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol.
Kansas sales tax on alcohol currently sits at 8 percent, putting the state in a three-way tie for 23rd place on the Federation of Tax Administrator’s list of states with lowest alcohol tax. Its next-door neighbor, Missouri, is tied for second with Wisconsin, charging 4 percent. Brownback’s proposal (Senate Bill No. 233) would increase Kansas’ sales tax to 12 percent “for the privilege of engaging in the business of selling alcoholic liquor,” three times that of Missouri.
“This bill is bad for any border-town economy,” said Richard Pyle, owner of Pairott Head Liquor in Pittsburg. “Being about 20 miles away from Joplin, where there’s MacaDoodles and Sam’s and only a 4 percent tax, I already lose a lot of people. If they bump up the tax here, that’s just pushing even more people to go over to Missouri.”
Pyle says that a whole town’s economy misses out when locals drive across state lines to shop, whether it’s alcohol, a carton of cigarettes, gas or anything.
“All of that is cheaper there, people will buy a pack of cigarettes here to hold themselves over to Missouri where they can get a carton for a much better deal,” Pyle said. “Then they buy gas over there, go out to eat, go shopping, spend the day there and local businesses back in Kansas miss out.”
SB 233 would also increase the tax on cigarettes from 79 cents to $2.29 per package of 20. “I think taxing tobacco is a good idea,” said Brittney Feuerborn, junior in graphic communications. “I used to smoke and it’s terrible for you. Increasing the tax would discourage people to buy them.”
Feuerborn says though the idea for tobacco isn’t bad, she is not in favor of raising the tax on alcohol.
“I drink occasionally,” she said. “Nobody wants to spend a lot of money when they go out (to drink) and I think many more people will dislike taxing alcohol because more people use it.”
Sara Snodgrass agrees.
“It will put all the small business – bars and liquor stores – out of business,” she said. “Those businesses bring a lot to the local economy.”
If SB 233 is passed, from cigarettes alone Kansas would collect an estimated $547.50 per person per year if every resident smoked one pack per day. SB233 is projected to increase tax revenue by $211 million and Brownback plans to cut and transfer another $615.5 million from other areas to put the state in the black.
“My take on it is Brownback is just trying to milk us any little way he can to fix a problem he created,” said Logan Dillinger, junior in computer information systems. “Alcohol and tobacco have a negative connotation, making them an easy scapegoat.”
Pyle says he is encouraging his customers to call their state representatives and urge them not to vote for SB 233.
Pittsburg’s state government representatives are Republicans Charles Smith, in the House, and Jacob LaTurner, in the Senate.
- Bringing cultures together
| Charles A. Ault reporter |
The smells of Paraguayan empanadas, meat pies and bubble tea, a tea with milk and tapioca balls, filled the basement of Memorial Auditorium on Saturday, March 7, when PSU’s International Student Association (ISA) hosted the International Food and Culture Fair.
“The basement of Memorial Auditorium…is a small place,” said Igor Gorn, president of ISA and sophomore in English language and literature, “but it’s not small today.”
The students offered a variety of dishes from a variety of the countries they represent.
“It’s a good blend,” said Jordyn Bollinger, junior in English literature. “The way that they set it up is nice. You get to pick and choose so you’re not spending a whole bunch for one; it’s great for college kids.”
Many students enjoyed the opportunity to express a part of their culture to the community of Pittsburg and the university.
“I think this is a good way to show our culture, show our food and to show all the international peoples and Americans what we can bring to the United States,” said Alessandra Lima, PSU alumna from Paraguay.
The turnout for this year’s event nearly filled the basement to capacity. Those in attendance had to stand shoulder-to-shoulder for much of the event.
“I expected that there would be a lot of people, but not this many,” Gorn said. “It’s absolutely wonderful that this event is so popular in the community.”
Kuralay Kussainova, graduate student in human resources development, agreed.
“I’ve never seen so many people in one place since I came to Pittsburg,” she said, “but I really like that so many people came.”
The event was not just an opportunity for American students and residents of the area to be exposed to new and different cultures, but for the international students as well.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is a blessing because you don’t get to see these kind of things every day, at least not where I’m from and not even in America,” said Opeyemi Olomola, graduate student in international business from Nigeria. “This is one of the opportunities to experience the international community.
“I have been in America for some time; I know what American food tastes like, but this time around, I get to see everything. Chinese, Saudi Arabian, it’s all here.”
George Fiedrich, freshman in business from Germany, was encouraged to attend the event as part of his transitions class.
“Even though we Germans (did) not have food here, for us it’s really great that we can share experiences and culture with other countries,” he said. “The food from the Brazilians is really awesome. I had no clue what to expect; I am kind of overwhelmed.”
In addition to showcasing their food, people were also able to demonstrate their culture through dance and song on stage.
Some of the performances included six students from the African Student Association who danced to a sampling of African songs, some Taiwanese students who danced to music popular in Taiwan, a group of Arab students who danced a traditional Arab dance and an Indian student and Kazakh student who danced together.
“The guy from India and the lady from Kazakhstan’s dance was really romantic in the way that they were bringing the two cultures together,” said Caitlin Martin, freshman in psychology. “You could tell the different song changes were from each of their cultures.
The crowd packed in to watch a Paraguayan student dance to music alone while balancing one and then two wine bottles on her head.
“That was absolutely stunning and incredible and just beautiful,” said Lauren Geiger, sophomore in history. “I’ve seen dances like that on YouTube, but live, in person, it was incredible.”
- Student injured in fight at frat
| Audrey Dighans copy editor |
Police are investigating a fight that broke out at a party in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 1, at the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity house.
“There was an altercation in which an individual was injured on Saturday night, possibly early Sunday morning, and transported to the hospital,” said Steve Erwin, vice president of campus life and auxiliary services. “The situation is being conducted by the city of Pittsburg police. We are aware the alleged assailant was not injured and is not a PSU student.”
The injured individual, whose family has asked to keep his name undisclosed at this time, is a Pitt State student. At some point during the fraternity’s Mardi Tau party, the student became involved in an altercation, according to the Pittsburg police report.
“He is now out of the hospital and at home with us,” the student’s mother said. “At this point I do not know if the alleged assailant has been picked up. We are working with the police and the university, since this incident occurred at a fraternity, for the duration of the investigation.”
Meagan Smejdir, programming coordinator for campus activities and Greek adviser, says any statements by fraternity members will be coming from the fraternity’s national headquarters and at this time, PSU members are not allowed to comment on the incident.
“We need to protect privacy and keep to policy at this moment and time,” Smejdir said. “We are not trying to dodge questions or keep anything secret. Our policies for conduct are public, online, for the specific reason to promote transparency.”
Erwin says the university is working to uncover the facts surrounding the incident.
“As more light comes we will be able to take more action, complete the investigation and take action to ban the assailant from campus,” Erwin said. “We are looking at the fraternity in question’s risk management policy to see if it was followed.”
Erwin says PSU fraternities use guest lists when holding events such as parties at their houses. People wishing to gain entry must present a student ID and driver’s license to prove legal age and whether they are a PSU student. Non-students are not admitted.
“It is possible someone could be so persistent to gain access that they circumvent the rules,” Erwin said. “We are looking to see if the alleged did indeed take extraordinary measures to get into the event that night. We expect the members of our fraternities to work in a good-faith manner to follow risk policies and there is nothing to our knowledge so far that would indicate that not being the case.”
- Students react to OU fraternity’s racist chant
| Charles A. Ault reporter |
“You can hang him from a tree, but he’ll never sign with me, there will never be a n***** in SAE”
A bus full of members of the University of Oklahoma’s chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity were recorded singing this racist chant on Saturday, March 7. The video quickly spread across the Internet and came to the attention of OU’s president and the national chapter of SAE. By Monday the university and the national chapter had severed all ties to Oklahoma’s SAE. By Tuesday two students featured in the video were expelled.
The national chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon issued a statement on its website reading, “We apologize for the unacceptable and racist behavior of the individuals in the video, and we are disgusted that any member would act in such a way.”
Brad Cohen, the fraternity’s national president, said in an official statement, “SAE is a diverse organization, and we have zero tolerance for racism or any bad behavior.”
The president of Pittsburg State’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Gage Davies would only say, “We fully support the decision made by our national headquarters regarding the incident at OU.”
Davies, freshman in biology, declined to discuss how the incident would affect recruitment for the new SAE at Pitt State. Christopher Bolinger, junior in marketing and president of the Interfraternity Council, the governing body for PSU fraternities, had no comment.
Pittsburg State students, on the other hand, did have comments on the issue.
Bailey Whyte, freshman in nursing said, “I feel like if they’re doing it in Oklahoma it looks bad for all the Greeks.”
Another student, Deandre Murray, calls the OU bus incident “unfortunate.”
“I’m sure not everyone in their fraternity thinks that way, but it probably goes way back into history,” Murray, undeclared freshman, said.
Some students wonder if the recent event could have an effect on fraternity recruitment.
“I think this could have an impact on students’ decisions to join (a fraternity),” said Murray.
But Blake Ahlers, junior in math, disagrees.
“I think they’ll see this as more of a generalized, isolated incident,” Ahlers said. “It really shouldn’t impact them, it should be about being good people in a group.”
Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the second-largest and second-oldest fraternity in the United States, with more than 15,000 current collegiate members, is no stranger to controversy. According to SAE’s website, of the 219 chapters and 20 colonies, 131 have been cited or had activities suspended, sometimes for years, for “health and safety violations” since 2010.
Arizona State’s SAE chapter had revoked in 2013 after a member of the fraternity was dumped at a hospital with a potentially deadly blood-alcohol content of .47 and a Post-it note with his name scrawled on it to identify him. In November of the previous year, a rushing student at the same chapter drowned in a river shortly after leaving a party hosted by SAE.
In 2011 the University of Michigan’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon lost its charter because of a hazing scandal, and Cornell University suspended its chapter after a pledge was found dead in the chapter house.
According to a report by Bloomberg, at least 10 members of SAE have died from alcohol overdose and drug consumption at fraternity events since 2006. This makes Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Bloomberg said, the deadliest fraternity in the nation.
In response to these problems, pledge events were banned at a national level effective March 9, 2014, almost exactly one year before the events at Oklahoma University. In addition 39 SAE chapters, including chapters at Kansas State, the University of Kansas, Fort Hays State and Wichita State now offer only alcohol-free housing, according to SAE’s website.
The website says that alcohol-free housing “is defined as no alcohol whatsoever for any reason or any purpose at any time is permitted on or in a chapter or colony’s house, including the entire property and all buildings on the property.”
Not all of the fraternity’s problems have been drug- and alcohol-related. Some have centered on racial issues.
The Clemson University SAE chapter was suspended in December 2014 for holding a “Cripmas party” during which white students dressed as gang members. In November 2014, the chapter at Washington University in St. Louis was suspended after pledges sang racist slurs to black patrons in a restaurant. The University of Arizona suspended its chapter in 2013 after members attacked a Jewish fraternity.
According to Bloomberg at least 15 chapters have been suspended in the past four years.
“There are certain guidelines you can’t just step over,” Ahlers said, “because if you do that’s the quickest way to have your organization kicked off campus and that’s the easiest way to get your charter gone.
“There’s just certain things people shouldn’t say, even as a group.”
- ESU tops Pitt State again, 67-53
| Michael Bauer sports editor |
Give credit to the Emporia State Hornets. They have Pitt State’s number.
Playing against the No. 2-seeded Hornets for the third time this season, the No. 3 Gorilla women’s basketball team could not avenge its previous losses, as the team fell 67-53 in the semi-final of the MIAA Tournament on Saturday, March 7, at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.
“They’re a good basketball team,” said Lane Lord, head coach. “They’re well-coached and their kids came out and performed well. I was proud of our effort. We’ve got a great group of players. Tonight was tough because they played so well defensively and we struggled to score.”
Trying to unseat the two-time defending MIAA Tournament champions proved to be too tough for the Gorillas this season. The Hornets entered Saturday’s game with the conference’s second-ranked scoring defense and held Pitt State to 32.7 percent from the field and 30.8 percent on 3-pointers. PSU shot 17 out of 22 from the free-throw line.
ESU has not missed the tournament championship game since 2010. The Hornets shot 50 percent from the field, were 23.1 percent on 3-pointers and made 14 out of 20 from the free-throw line.
“I thought our defense played well enough to win the game,” Lord said. “I coached our offense so that’s all on me. We were a poorly coached offensive team tonight.”
The Hornets had 40 total rebounds (31 on defense, nine on offense) while the Gorillas had 22 (three on offense, 19 on defense).
Emporia State’s Kelly Moten and Merissa Quick each scored 11 points to lead the Hornets while Jacee Kramer had 10 points. Kelsey Barnwell and Kathryn Flott each put up nine.
ESU won its previous two contests against PSU, winning by four in each game. While this loss was more lopsided, the Gorillas didn’t see a different Hornet team.
“They didn’t do anything different,” said senior Hailey Roderique. “They made all of their shots. They came ready to play and we didn’t show up like we should have.”
Pittsburg State was led by freshman Mikaela Burgess in scoring with 16 points. She was 4-11 on field goals while shooting 6-6 from the line in addition to two 3-pointers.
Senior Lizzy Jeronimus had nine points and was 33.3 percent field goal shooting.
Senior Antqunita Reed and junior Kylie Gafford both put up nine points and senior Morgan Westhoff scored seven.
Pitt State showed some signs of life against Emporia after going on a 9-2 run to lower the deficit to single digits with 2:04 left, but it was not enough to overcome them.
With ESU showing its defensive intensity, no PSU player was in double figures by the 3:29 mark in the second half and Reed and Jeronimus had only eight points apiece at that point.
“Sometimes, you feel like you can’t get things going and tonight was one of those nights,” Burgess said. “It wasn’t the refs, it was our game.”
The Gorillas’ 3-point shooting went cold in the second half, as Jeronimus, Gafford and Brugman each had perfect opportunities that did not fall through and PSU went on a two-minute scoring drought while ESU extended its lead to 54-37.
The drought ended with Brugman’s first field goal with 7:01 left in regulation play.
Emporia went on to beat Fort Hays State for its third straight MIAA Tournament Championship.
Pitt State will now face sixth-seeded Northern State in the NCAA Division II Tournament on Friday, March 13, in Fort Hays.
“I’m still proud of my team,” Lord said. “Twenty-six wins is a lot for any college program and the good thing is that we’ve got another week at least and we’re going to cherish every moment of it. We don’t want it to end. We have great kids and we’re excited to get back to practice.”
- MIAA Tournament: Men Capture title
| Michael Bauer sports editor |
T ough defense, a strong team effort and the explosiveness of junior Trey Starks was the combination to the Pittsburg State men’s basketball team beating Missouri Southern 91-65 on Sunday, March 8, in Kansas City, Mo., for the school’s first ever MIAA Conference Tournament.
Playing at Municipal Auditorium, the fifth-seeded Gorillas became the lowest seed to win the MIAA Tournament and posted the widest championship margin in history.
Pitt State (20-11) scored 24 points off of turnovers and Starks scored a game-high of 24 points, garnering the tournament’s Outstanding Player award. This was Starks’ 11th appearance for the Gorillas.
“I didn’t see myself being here (at the start of the season) and it’s what I love to do,” Starks said.
In the matchup against the Lions of MSSU, Starks shot 8-11 from the field and was 2-3 on 3 pointers as well as 6-8 at the free-throw line.
Three other Gorillas, in addition to Starks, reached double digits in points, with freshman Dakota Jones scoring 16, sophomore Josiah Gustafson with 14 and senior Devon Branch with 10.
“This was a great effort by our team,” said Kevin Muff, head coach. “Good effort on the floor. I thought we came out and established ourselves early.
“Offensively, I thought we responded well when they did make a run and kept that space in between scores. I think they’re a hard team for anybody to play.”
The Lions, who were playing for their second straight tournament championship, shot 47.6 percent on field goals.
“On the defensive end, I thought we did a good job and then taking care of it on the offensive end and not giving them extra possessions,” Muff said. “Against a team like Southern you don’t want to do that. Our guys took care of the ball.”
In the first half of Sunday’s game, PSU kept MSSU scoreless for the first five minutes and went on an 18-2 run, taking a halftime advantage of 30-17.
Taking advantage of two early-game turnovers, Pitt State took a 6-2 advantage. A turnaround jumper by junior Lamine Dieng made the game 8-4 PSU, and MSSU responded with a 3-pointer. The Lions managed to take a 2-point lead with 14:10 left in the half.
“We knew they were going to come out firing and that’s what they do,” Gustafson said. “They take a lot of tough quick shots and we did a good job with our ball pressure. We put a lot of pressure on them, making them guard full court.”
Another turnover and the Gorillas regained the lead with Jones shooting his first 3-pointer of the game.
Branch missed a layup, rebounded and shot three missed put-backs before adding another two points to the scoreboard.
Missouri Southern had 10 turnovers within the first 13 minutes of the game while Pitt State had zero.
Gustafson scored another outside shot, and MSSU put up one more before entering halftime with PSU up 44-28.
“It was definitely our defense,” Gustafson said. “It’s been key for us all year, and that’s what we practice every day. That’s what our team is built on.”
In the second half it was the Lions in the lead with scoring for the half with 10-6 made in the first five minutes.
“They made runs,” Muff said. “We knew they would make a run to start the second half. I thought we did a good job of managing it. We handled it the right way. I thought we did a good job of keeping our composure and not getting too tight. We didn’t allow their pressure to turn us over. We finished it the way we needed to. Once we got that separation back, I told the guys during a media timeout, ‘We’ve only given up three points this half’ and you can see it in their body language.’ We did a good job of playing through it. We always talk about the next play.”
Just when it looked like the Lions would close the lead to single digits, Charlie Brown lost control of the ball in the paint. The loose ball was scooped up by Starks, who passed to a wide-open Jones for a layup. At 10:35, PSU went on another scoring surge of 18-4, ending the game 91-65.
Pitt State’s victory gained an automatic bid for the NCAA Division II Tournament later this week.
- Yearbook Pictures
Yearbook Pictures are next week. McCray Lobby March 10, 11, 12. 10am – 7pm. 2015 Kanza.