Franklin Leads Gorillas to Season Opening Win

Franklin Leads Gorillas to Season Opening Win
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PITTSBURG — Junior guard Donovan Franklin scored a game-high 30 points to help the Pittsburg State University men’s basketball team usher in the Kim Anderson era with a 90-80 victory over Minnesota State University Friday (Nov. 10) in the MIAA/NSIC Conference Challenge.

The Gorillas (1-0) overcame a 31-18 deficit midway through the first half against the Mavericks (0-1), outscoring MSU, 72-49, over the final 29 minutes of play in front of a spirited crowd of 1,875 fans at John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court.

Franklin, a transfer from Indiana State University, made nine of 15 shots from the field and snared a game-high nine rebounds as well. Pitt State shot 53.4 percent from the floor in the contest, making 31 of 58 shots overall. The Gorillas broke open a narrow 40-38 halftime advantage by making 59.3 percent of their shots in the second half (16-27).

Pitt State outrebounded MSU, 38-29, as the Gorillas limited the Mavs to 43.3 percent shooting (26-60).

Junior transfer Grant Lozoya added 15 points and a game-high four steals for the Gorillas. Senior transfer Xavier Adams scored all 12 of his points in the second half after being saddled with early foul trouble in the opening period. Junior transfer Dietrich Cole, Jr. also scored 10 second-half points on five of five shooting from the floor.

Senior guard Jaxon Holden, a third-year player for the Gorillas, added 11 points as the fourth Pitt State player in double figures in the contest.

Anderson posted the victory – the 302nd win in his decorated 16-year coaching career – in his Pitt State debut after taking over the Gorillas program in April.

Sophomore guard Kevin Krieger paced the Mavs with 24 points, while Charlie Brown, a senior transfer from Missouri Southern State University, added 12 points in his MSU debut. Three other players – junior guard Cole Harper, senior guard Chris Kendrix and junior guard Carlos Anderson – all finished the game with eight points.

Missouri Southern and St. Cloud State University will face one another in the second game of the MIAA/NSIC Challenge Friday. The Gorillas will face St. Cloud State at 6 p.m. Saturday, while MSSU will battle MSU at 8 p.m. to close out the two-day, classic-format tournament.