Curtis Meyer reporter
The Gorillas traveled to Lawrence on Thursday, Nov. 3 to play the reigning NCAA champs at Kansas University. After a fast start giving the Gorillas a 21-6 lead, KU fought their way back in, eventually reclaiming the lead at half.
Pitt State ultimately lost 94 to 63 after a strong second half performance by the Jayhawks. As the season opener, the game was an exhibition match, so it does not go on either team’s record.
“The start we had was an amazing feeling, felt like we couldn’t miss, like everything we had been working on preseason leading up this moment was just clicking, and I mean it was just a great feeling being able to play in this arena and just to start like that, it was great,” said Pitt State forward Deshaun English.
Pitt State started the match with 12 unanswered points, and after a three pointer by English led 15-2 5 minutes into the first half. The Gorillas continued to press their advantage early, with threes by Guard R. J. Forney and a couple of scores from guard Albert McBride.
With 11:10 left in the first half, Pitt State held onto a 21-6 lead over the reigning NCAA champs.
“I didn’t think we played great early, I thought we were awful. I thought they (Pitt State) were great early, they made everything they looked at. I think they made us pay,” said Kansas University Head Coach Bill Self.
However, the Gorillas couldn’t hold off Kansas indefinitely. Scoring 14 unanswered points, Kansas threatened Pitt States lead. After Forney scored another three to make it 24-20, the Jayhawks came back to reclaim the lead at 31-28.
Pitt State was able to reclaim the lead for the final time that night, scoring a three pointer to make it 32-21. However, the Jayhawks went on an 8-2 run to close out the half, making it 39-24 as they headed back to the locker room.
Coming back out, KU dominated for the remainder of the game, outscoring Pitt State 55-39 to win 94-63. Overall, Pitt State had a decent game, with a strong first half. English was 3 for 4 on threes and had a team leading 9 rebounds and team leading 14 points.
Guards Forney and Quentin Hardrict each tied for second with 12 points. With three members of the team reaching double digit points against a team like the Jayhawks, the new Gorilla head coach Jeff Boschee will have plenty to work on for this upcoming season.
For Boschee, this game was a little bit of a homecoming for him. Boschee played college ball at Kansas University, a four-year starter under then head coach Roy Williams. Boschee still holds records at KU, with the all-time 3-point record and is second all-time in games started.
“It was obviously exciting, exciting to come back here and play. I haven’t been back to a game here since 2012, (I) came back last year to watch the team practice and see some of the new renovations and everything. It was really fun to walk around, staying at the hotel and seeing some of the different things on campus,” said Boschee.
Pitt State will play Winona State next, in Kansas City on Nov. 11. Last year Pitt State lost to Winona State in a 68-79 game. The Gorillas will look to build off their strong first half performance against KU as they continue the rest of their season.