Gorillas aim to stay hot in Vegas

Pitt State has won 7 straight games
Gorillas aim to stay hot in Vegas

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

The Pittsburg State University men’s basketball team will travel to Las Vegas, Nev., to compete in the Las Vegas Hoopla Dec. 17-18. The Gorillas, who are riding a seven-game winning streak, will face the University of Indianapolis at 6 p.m. (CST) on Dec. 17 and West Texas A&M University at 10 p.m. (CST) Dec. 18.

Both games can be heard on ESPN 100.7 FM radio, online at espn1007.com/go or through the ESPN 100.7 or KSHQ app for phones or mobile devices.

The Records
Pitt State will take a 7-1 record to the Las Vegas Hoopla. The Gorillas have posted seven consecutive wins, including a pair of MIAA match-ups against Northeastern State University (86-78) and the University of Central Oklahoma (77-66) last week.

The Gorillas opened the season by splitting a pair of games at the Central Region Tip-off Challenge Nov. 9-10 at Warrensburg, Mo. Pitt State dropped a hard-fought 95-92 decision to Wayne State College in its season opener Nov. 9, before bouncing back with a 99-76 victory over Harding University the next night.

Pitt State dispatched Maryville University, 71-66, at Municipal Auditorium on Nov. 19 after claiming a 79-71 win over the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith in its home opener Nov. 17.

The Gorillas also scored home wins over East Central University (92-84) on Nov. 23 and Nebraska Christian College (107-63) on Nov. 29.

UIndy is 6-2 on the season. The Greyhounds started the season 6-0 before dropping their last two match-ups: 84-71 to Lewis University on Dec. 1 and 95-81 to Olivet Nazarene on Dec. 4.

WTAMU is 10-2 on the season and ranked No. 13 in the most recent NABC/Division II Top 25 poll heading into a Dec. 17 match-up against Washburn University at the Las Vegas Hoopla. The Buffs had a seven-game winning streak snapped in a 68-65 road loss to Lubbock Christian University on Dec. 6.

Head Coach Kim Anderson
Pittsburg State’s Kim Anderson is in his second season leading the Gorillas. He compiled a 17-13 record in his first season at Pitt State and has an 24-14 (.632) mark leading the Gorillas.

Anderson (Missouri, ’79) became the Gorillas’ 15th all-time head coach on Apr. 10, 2017, after coaching the previous three seasons at his alma mater – the University of Missouri.

He has a 325-176 (.649) record in 18 seasons as a collegiate head coach, including the 2014 NCAA Division II National Championship as head coach at the University of Central Missouri as well as two more Division II Final Four appearances (2007, 2009) while compiling a 274-95 (.743) record at the school.

Anderson led UCM to seven trips to the NCAA Division II National Tournament and seven 20-win seasons. In his final season with the Mules he guided the squad to a 30-5 overall record and the D2 national title.

His Mules teams captured six MIAA regular season titles (2005, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014) and four MIAA Tournament titles (2005, 2007, 2009, 2013).

He was selected the MIAA Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2010, and the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year in 2014.

Series History
Monday’s action will mark the first meeting between Pitt State and UIndy.

The Gorillas and Buffs will meet for the eighth time in program history Tuesday. WTAMU holds a slight 4-3 edge in the series, including a 72-63 win in the last meeting on Nov. 26, 2014, at Canyon, Texas.

All-Time Victories
Pitt State has compiled a 1430-1182 (.547) all-time record in 110 seasons of intercollegiate play. The Gorillas rank 15th on the NCAA Division II wins list (1430).

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State has three players scoring in double figures – senior guard Grant Lozoya (25.3 ppg), senior guard Donovan Franklin (21.1 ppg) and senior forward Demetrius Levarity (10.0 ppg) – while four more players – senior forward/center Trenton Clayton (8.5 ppg), junior guard A.J. Walker (7.1 ppg), freshman guard Ray Elliott (6.4 ppg) and junior guard Marcel Cherry (5.6 ppg) – are scoring five or more points a game.

Lozoya is averaging 25.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game to date. He leads the MIAA and currently ranks seventh in NCAA Division II in scoring.

The Agoura Hills, Calif., native scored a career-high 33 points in the Gorillas’ win against East Central Nov. 23. He followed that up with a 32-point scoring night against Nebraska Christian on Nov. 29.
Lozoya (6-3, 180) earned MIAA Player of the Week honors on Nov. 9 after scoring 25 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out four assists in Pitt State’s 79-71 win over UAFS Nov. 17. He posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds vs. Maryville (Nov. 19).

Lozoya also earned MIAA Player of the Week honors Monday (Dec. 10) after averaging 27.0 points in a pair of MIAA wins over NSU and UCO. He hit the game-winning shot from just inside half court in the Gorillas 77-76 victory against the Bronchos Dec. 8.

Lozoya is shooting 61.5 percent from the field (72-117), 44.1 percent from 3-point range (15-34) and .915 percent from the free throw line (43-47). He currently leads the MIAA in free throw percentage and ranks second in the league in field goal percentage. He ranks third among guards in Division II in field goal percentage to date.

Lozoya averaged 13.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while making 29 starts for the Gorillas a year ago. He made a team-leading 44 3-point field goals (44-114, .386) and he shot 48.0 percent from the field (129-169).

Lozoya came to Pitt State after three years at Stetson University. He averaged 9.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a freshman for the Hatters in 2014-15, earning All-Freshman honors from the Atlantic Sun Conference. Lozoya contributed 7.4 points and 2.5 rebounds as a sophomore in 2015-16, before exercising a medical redshirt in 2016-17.

Franklin is averaging 21.1 points and a team-leading 7.5 rebounds after eight games played. The St. Louis, Mo., native is shooting 46.2 percent from the field (55-119) and 86.2 percent from the free throw line (50-58). He’s currently third in the MIAA in scoring and he ranks fifth in the conference in rebounding and sixth in the league in free throw percentage.

Franklin (6-5, 205) scored the game’s final nine points as the Gorillas rallied from down 66-62 to claim a 71-66 win over Maryville Nov. 19. He posted a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds against the Saints; and he’s scored 20 or more points in five of Pitt State’s eight games to date.

Franklin earned honorable mention All-MIAA honors in his initial season with the Gorillas, averaging 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 26 games played. He shot 49.2 percent from the field, converting 130 of 264 shots on the season. Franklin shot 40.2 percent from 3-point range (41-102). He also made 87.2 percent of his free throw attempts, sinking 129 of 148 charity tries.

Franklin scored 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds in his Pitt State debut against Minnesota State on Nov. 10, 2017. He scored 20 or more points eight times, including a season-high 31 points against Missouri Western on Feb. 17, 2018. He scored in double figures in 22 of 29 games and averaged 18.7 points per game over the final seven games of the 2017-18 campaign.

Franklin joined the Gorillas from Indiana State University. He averaged 4.2 points and 1.5 rebounds in 26 games for the Sycamores in 2016-17. He averaged 14.9 points a game as a freshman at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Fla.

Levarity is averaging 10.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. The New Orleans, La., native also is averaging a team-leading 1.8 steals per game, ranking in a tie for third place in the MIAA in the category.

Levarity (6-7, 210) contributed 10.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season. He shot 50.2 percent from the field (105-209) and he converted 37 of 90 3-point attempts (.411).

Levarity scored in double figures in 17 of 27 games played. He posted three double-doubles, including a 19-point, 11-rebound effort against Fort Hays State on Dec. 2, 2017. Levarity scored a season-high 22 points against Missouri Western on Feb. 17, 2018.

Levarity transferred to Pitt State from Sam Houston State University, where he redshirted in 2016-17. He contributed 15.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Southeastern Illinois College.

Clayton is averaging 8.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game.The Montgomery, Ala., native is shooting 53.7 percent from the field (22-41). He currently ranks in a tie for third place in the MIAA in blocked shots.

Clayton (6-9, 230) transferred to Pitt State from the University of North Alabama. He averaged 6.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game for the Lions last season. Clayton averaged 8.4 points and 4.8 rebounds a game as a sophomore at Shelton State Community College.

Walker is contributing 7.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game to date. He is tied for sixth place in the MIAA in steals.

Walker (6-0, 165) transferred to Pitt State from State Fair Community College. The Kansas City, Mo., native averaged 13.7 points and 7.0 assists per game for the Roadrunners in 2017-18, earning honorable mention NJCAA All-America honors.

Elliott has added 6.4 points per game in his first eight collegiate contests.Elliott (6-4, 165) averaged 36 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game as a senior at Tulsa’s Nathan Hale High School last year. He earned firstteam Oklahoma Class 5A All-State honors after leading the state in scoring his senior prep season.

Cherry is averaging 5.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

Cherry (6-1, 185) joined the Gorillas from Wabash Valley College where he averaged 7.7 points and 3.2 assists per game in 2017-18. The Merrillville, Ind., native averaged 9.1 points per game and earned honorable mention All-Conference honors as a freshman at Howard College.

As a team, Pitt State is shooting 47.9 percent from the field (240-5017),33.2 percent from 3-point range (62-187) and 74.2 percent from the free throw line (161-217). The Gorillas are scoring 87.9 points per game.

The Gorillas rank second in the MIAA and 19th in Division II in scoring (87.9 ppg). Pitt State ranks third in the conference in steals (7.50 spg) and fourth in the league in blocked shots (3.13 bpg). The Gorillas rank third in the MIAA and 16th in Division II in turnover margin (-5.5 pg).

Pitt State Probable Starters
F 0 Trenton Clayton, 6-9, 230, Sr., Montgomery, Ala.
F 5 Demetrius Levarity, 6-7, 210, Sr., New Orleans, La.
G 1 A.J. Walker, 6-0, 165, Jr., Kansas City, Mo.
G 2 Grant Lozoya, 6-3, 180, Sr., Agoura Hills, Calif.
G 3 Donovan Franklin, 6-5, 205, Sr., St. Louis, Mo.

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