Phoenix Staff Reports
PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Northeastern State men’s basketball team dropped an 89-59 decision to Pittsburg State inside John Lance Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The RiverHawks (17-7, 10-6 MIAA) recorded their worst loss of the season, while the Gorillas (15-7, 9-5 MIAA) were able to exact revenge from a 64-62 defeat at the hands of NSU back on Jan. 23.
”Our guys showed up only because it was a game on our schedule, but Pittsburg State showed up to kick our tails,” said NSU coach Larry Gipson. “We never looked competitive from the opening jump to the final buzzer.”
Northeastern State had not lost by more than 12 points this season and all six previous losses were by a combined 34 points. Junior guard Bryton Hobbs led NSU with 16 points and five assists in 35 minutes. Senior forward Jermaine Bransford added 12 points, and fellow senior forward John Schneider added eight points and eight rebounds off the bench.
NSU shot just 33 percent (19-for-57) from the field, 39 percent (7-for-18) beyond the arc and 82 percent (14-for-17) at the charity stripe. The Gorillas shot a scorching 57 percent (32-for-56) from the field, 53 percent (9-for-17) from distance and 84 percent (16-for-19) from the free-throw line.
Marky Nolen paced PSU with 22 points. JaVon McGee recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Kaleb Porter posted 15 points, eight assists and six boards.
“They are an excellent ball club. You have to be able to bring it on a high level every night and we just don’t have the maturity right now to do that,” Gipson said.
“We practiced with a lot of complacency over the last two days. We weren’t as focused and as sharp as we need to be at this point in the season. We just assume that because we beat somebody the first time that’s all there is to it.”
Sophomore forward Landon DeMasters scored the game’s opening basket to put NSU on top 2-0, but the home side scored eight unanswered points and never looked back.
Pittsburg State led 50-31 at the half and cruised to the 30-point victory.
Northeastern State will take a week off before heading to Emporia, Kan., for a 5:30 p.m. meeting Feb. 23 with Emporia State University.
Pitt St. 78, NSU 60
The RiverHawks (17-7, 12-4 MIAA) saw their recent four-game win streak halted, while the Gorillas (15-7, 9-5 MIAA) earned revenge from an earlier-season loss at the hands of NSU.
Taylor Lewis exploded for 29 points to finish just one shy of her career high. She was 8-for-15 from the field, 5 of 7 from downtown and a perfect 8-for-8 at the free-throw line.
She was the only member of Northeastern State to finish in double figures, and she helped lift NSU’s shooting averages to 38 percent (18 of 47) from the field, 29 percent (6 of 21) from 3-point land and 86 percent (18 of 21) from the line. Pittsburg State shot 56 percent (30 of 54) from the field, 50 percent (9 of 18) from distance and 69 percent (9 of 13) at the line.
“Sometimes at this time of the year you have a game like this, but you have to put it behind you and move on,” NSU coach Randy Gipson said. “There will be some things we take away from this game that we know we need to improve on, but we can’t dwell on the result. At the end of the day, we just lost to a good team at their place. I’m glad we get our bye week. It will be nice to have a few days to prepare before we go on the road again.”
Lauren Brown finished with 17 points and nine rebounds to pace the Gorillas. Lizzy Jeronimus also scored 17 points, Alexa Bordewick dropped 14 and Morgan Westhoff added 13.
Pitt State led 31-25 at the half and stretched the advantage to 18 in the second half.