Curtis Meyer reporter
Pitt State’s Men’s basketball team had an up and down week, winning a tight game against Emporia State University Thursday but losing to Missouri Western State University by 24 points on Saturday. Pitt State is now 8-20 overall and 5-17 in MIAA conference play.
This week was the last of the season for the Gorillas, under first year head coach Jeff Boschee. Boschee previously coached at rival Missouri Southern, posting a 151-86 overall record with the Lions. This is a rebuilding year for the Gorillas, as they will look to improve this offseason.
Pitt State played both games away, starting with Emporia State. It was a tight game all throughout, as Pitt State scored first. Emporia took the lead at 5-2 with a little over three minutes gone, but Pitt State took a 14-8 lead with 14:25 remaining, going on a 12-3 run in just three minutes.
The Gorillas continued to hold onto their lead, building it to 26-16 at 9:55. The Hornets began to gain ground, as the Gorillas offense sputtered. The Gorillas still held onto a 30-25 lead with 5:24 left. The Hornets cut it to within three points at 3:53 and again at 3:26, before coming within one at 32-21 with 2:36 left.
The Gorillas outscored the Hornets 8-3 in the final two and a half minutes, holding a 42-33 lead at halftime. It was a productive night for the Gorillas as a whole, as each of their starters found the basket for at least two points in the game.
Pitt State continued to build the lead in the start of the second, going up by as much as 50-36 with 16:35 left. Emporia battled back, closing the gap to 54-49 at the ten minute mark.
Emporia continued to wear on Pitt State, coming withing two at 59-57 with 5:19 left. Pitt State was able to hold Emporia off until 2:33 when Emporia took a 65-64 lead. Pitt State took it right back 15 seconds later, but Emporia claimed it again at 67-66 with 1:53 left.
The Gorillas were down, but with almost two minutes left, neither team found itself able to score, setting up a dramatic finish. Getting the ball back with just 6 seconds left, the Gorillas called a timeout. The Gorillas then scored with just three seconds left to take a 68-67 lead, which proved to be the game winner.
Following this close win, the Gorillas traveled to face the Missouri Western Griffons, in what was not a close game. The Griffons scored first and never looked back. The Gorillas were able to keep it close for the first ten minutes, keeping the game at 8-14 with 10:50 left.
Pitt State never got closer than that moment, as Missouri Western outscored Pitt State 34-15 in the first half. Despite a strong second half from Pitt State, they never recovered.
The Griffons kept piling it on in the second, scoring first and making it 53-22 with 12:35 remaining. The Gorillas could not find any rhythm, trailing 65-33 with 7:05 remaining.
Pitt State was able to make a small push to close out the remaining seven minutes, but it was not enough. The final score was 45-69, ending Boschee’s first season.