Curtis Meyer, Reporter
The Gorillas collected their first win of this semester with a 93-81 win over the Newman University Jets at home on Jan. 28, breaking an 8-game losing skid where they failed to find consistent offense for both halves. Pitt State is now 6-15 overall and 3-12 in MIAA play, with two of those three wins coming against Newman.
The game started poorly for the Gorillas, who looked lost on offense for the first 3 minutes. The Jets gathered a 12-0 lead, with Pitt State committing some early turnovers and fouls to help set up Newman’s offense.
Despite their slow start, the Gorillas climbed right back into the game, going on a 19-3 run to claim a 19-15 lead with 9:50 left in the first half. junior guard Deshaun English and freshman guard Landen Hughlett led the scoring for the early comeback, being able to capitalize on some steals and more importantly, make the points.
Newman fought back, tying it up a couple minutes later at 22 apiece. Pitt State would not let them complete the attempt, outscoring the Jets 14 to 3 to take a 12-point lead with 3:48 remaining.
It became an offensive match for the remainder of the half, as Newmann tried to cut down the lead while Pitt State continued to keep the Jets at bay. The Jets scored the final point of the half, a jumper for two points to cut the lead to 8 with ten seconds left. Pitt State took the 8-point lead into halftime.
Armed with a 41-33 lead, fans feared the worst, as the Gorillas had led in multiple contests at half time during this losing streak but failed to match the effort in the second. However, this would not be the case today.
It was a defensive battle to start the second, as Pitt State’s offense sputtered to begin. Cutting the lead in the first three minutes of the half to 40-44, the Jets looked poised to retake the lead early in the first half and continue the theme that has been prevalent for the Gorillas this season.
The Gorillas did not give up, with sophomore guard R. J. Forney scoring a three to energize the Gorilla offense. Despite an impressive effort from the Jets, they could not outscore Pitt State, never coming closer than within 8 points at 15:17.
Withstanding the push from Newman, the Gorilla offense proceeded to dominate, going on a 20-5 run to lead 74-51 with 10:41 remaining. Pitt State kept on the pressure, keeping even with the Jets to keep the 23-point lead with a little over 6 minutes left, then a 22-point lead with just 4:38 remaining.
Newman was able to make a late game push, bringing it back to within 12 points with 1:40 left on the clock, but it was too little, too late for the Jets. Pitt State was able to play keep away, scoring one last jumper. The Jets had the last points of the game, but the Gorillas escaped with the win to sweep the Jets in the regular season.
Pitt State’s next game will be on Feb. 2, when they will take on the Central Missouri Mules, who they have lost too during the 8-game losing skid.