Curtis Meyer, Reporter
John Lance Arena in the Garfield Weede building was home to basketball on the evenings of November 18 and 19, with the Pitt State Classic. Four teams played, Quincy State University, University of Illionois-Springfield (UIS), and MIAA rival Missouri Southern.
MSSU tipped off first, playing UIS at 5:30 on the 18th. Winning 89-80, this was the first win of the Lions season.
Following MSSU, Pitt State played Quincy at 7:00 p.m. The Gorillas kept up with the Hawks early in the game, falling behind by 7 points at 12:47 before battling back to within 1 point.
The Gorillas then proceeded to continue falling behind and catching back up for the rest of the half, falling behind by 9 points on three different occasions, before catching up at 5:36 just two points behind at 29-31.
However, Quincy went up 14-7 in the final five minutes of the period to make it 47-36. The Gorillas ended the period with a layup by Deshaun English, who was the Gorillas leading scorer with 19 points and 11 rebounds with 4 blocked shots.
The Hawks dominated for the entire second period, never letting the Gorillas get closer than 11 points at 17:36. The Gorillas best chance came at the 11:36 mark, when Albert McBride was able to cash in two free throws to make it 44-59.
Dominating the rest of the period, the Hawks put up 21 points to the Gorillas 14, ultimately winning 82-58. With that, the first day of the Pitt State Classic ended.
Starting at 5:30 the following day, MSSU once again started, this time playing Quincy. Winning 74-68 in a close one, the Lions were undefeated at the Classic.
Pitt State played once again at 7:00, this time facing UIS. Jumping to an early lead, Pitt State had the 10-2 lead in the first five minutes.
Pouring on the pressure, Pitt State did not let UIS come closer than 6 points during the next 17 minutes, before finding themselves with a 28-19 lead at 2:28.
UIS was able to regroup in the final couple of minutes, bringing the game closer as the buzzer sounded with a 25-29 game.
Going into the halftime, Pitt State narrowly held on to a 4-point lead. This game Quentin Hardrict led scoring for Pitt State and the entire game, with 17 points. English had 10 rebounds.
UIS came out firing in the second period, bringing the score to within 1 point at 17:46. Pitt State was able to stave them off, keeping a narrow lead before UIS tied it at 43 with 11:23 left.
Pitt State kept the lead though, with Hardrict scoring a three pointer and 2-point jumper to keep the lead at 48-45. With ten minutes left UIS tied it once again, but the Gorillas still held in there to keep the lead a few minutes later.
With a 55-50 lead in the final 5:33 of the game, UIS scored seven straight points to take their first lead of the game. After being tied by McBride at 57, UIS scored 5 points to take a 62-57 lead, which R.J. Forney cut into with a 3 pointer with just 16 seconds left.
Only down two points, the Gorillas were unable to score in the final seconds and gave UIS the win as time expired.
Pitt State will have another home game Monday, November 22, at 7:00 p.m. against Harris-Stowe University. Pitt State is now 1-3 on the season and will look to improve against the 0-5 Hornets.