The Pittsburg State University men’s basketball team finished their regular-season schedule with games against Emporia State University and Newman University. The Gorillas were unable to secure the wins needed to clinch a post-season berth in the MIAA Tournament.
Pitt State finished their final home game with a win against conference rival Missouri Southern State University. The Gorillas first faced the Emporia State University Hornets on Feb. 23 at White Auditorium in Emporia, Kansas.
Emporia State entered the game after a win at #13 Northwest Missouri State University of 75-52 on Feb. 21. The #18 Hornets’ win against the number one team in the conference gave them momentum going into the final week of regular-season play.
Pittsburg State started with a quick bucket by Bobby Arthur-Williams Jr, graduate student in human resources and forward. Both teams began the game strong with strong performances by Arthur-Williams Jr. and Hornet guard Tray Buchanan.
Emporia State University took an early 21-11 with 10 minutes left in the half. The Gorillas stayed competitive in the remaining minutes of the first half. Emporia State forward Gage McGuire sunk a three-pointer with 30 seconds on the clock to give his team a 34-23 lead going into the locker room.
Arthur-Williams Jr. led the team in the first half with eight points and five rebounds. The Emporia State University’s lead player was Tray Buchanan who produced 11 points from two free throws, four field goals, and one three-pointer.
In the second half, the Hornets continued to dominate. A layup by Kaden Evans, freshman guard, gave his team a 20-point lead with 15 minutes left in the quarter.
The Gorillas kept pace with Emporia State and held the deficit under 15 points with 10 minutes left in the game. Emporia State responded and pushed the pace in the final minutes.
The final score of the game was 75-52 in favor of the Emporia State Hornets. Tyler Hawkins, junior guard, scored five points for the Gorillas in the second half. Buchanan continued to lead the Hornets with a 14-point second half from four free throws and five field goals.
Pittsburg State finished their regular season with a road game against the Jets of Newman University. The Jets entered the matchup with a record of 5-21 and a conference record of 2-19. The Gorillas traveled to Wichita to face Newman University inside of Fugate Gymnasium.
Both teams started off strong with a jumper by Arthur-Williams Jr. and a three-pointer by AJ Morris, guard. A back-and-forth game kept the game close in the first 10 minutes.
The Jets grew their lead to 12 with five minutes left in the half with a jumper by Branden Bunn, junior guard. The Gorillas responded with buckets by Magic Reliford, sophomore guard, and Tyler Hawkins, junior guard.
Newman entered halftime with a lead of nine after Morris hit a free throw to bring the score to 36-27. Success continued for the Jets as they grew their lead in the first minutes of the second half. However, the Gorillas kept pace and began to close the gap.
With 10 minutes left in the game, Pitt State re-took the lead. The Jets regained the advantage with six minutes in the game after Stevie Strong hit a three pointer to change the lead back to Newman.
Pittsburg State was unable to regain momentum and fell to the Jets with a final score of 73-63. Their final two games left them short of the record needed to enter the MIAA Tournament and they finished their season with a record of 8-20.