Gorillas return home to face Newman, UCO
Pitt State will host Newman on Thursday night.
RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:
The Pittsburg State University men’s basketball team will return to John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court for a pair of MIAA home games this week. The Gorillas will host conference newcomer Newman University Thursday (Jan. 9) at 7:30 p.m. (CST) and then entertain the University of Central Oklahoma Saturday (Jan. 11) at 3:30 p.m.
The Pitt State action 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.
Pitt State is 5-8 overall and 1-3 in MIAA play. The Gorillas halted a seven-game losing streak with a 79-68 road win over Fort Hays State University Monday (Jan. 6). Pitt State had dropped a hard fought 81-80 overtime to decision to the University of Nebraska-Kearney two days earlier (Jan. 4).
Newman is 7-7 overall and 1-4 in the MIAA. The Jets scored an 84-77 home win over the University of Central Missouri in their last action Monday at Wichita, the last of five consecutive home games for NU.
Central Oklahoma is 6-8 overall and 3-2 in MIAA play heading into a Thursday match-up against No. 12 Missouri Southern State University. The Bronchos have won three straight games, including a 79-65 win against Lincoln University Monday.
Head Coach Kim Anderson
Pittsburg State’s Kim Anderson is in his third season leading the Gorillas. He compiled a pair of 17-13 records in his first two seasons at Pitt State and he has a 39-34 (.534) overall record 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 340-196 (.634) record in 19 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.
Thursday’s match-up will be the 29nd meeting between the Gorillas and the Jets. Pitt State holds a 16-12 advatange in the series. The Gorillas claimed an 88-69 win against NU in the last meeting on Nov. 21, 2017.
On Saturday, Pitt State and UCO will meet for the 36th time in program history. The Bronchos hold a slim 19-16 advatnage in the series, but the Gorillas are 11-5 against UCO in games played in Pittsburg.
Scouting the Gorillas
The Gorillas have three players scoring in double figures on the season: senior guards A.J. Walker (16.7 ppg) and Jah-Kobe Womack (13.8 ppg) and junior forward Dejon Waters Jr. (10.8 ppg).
Walker made his season debut for the Gorillas vs. Henderson State on Dec. 18. In six games played, he is averaging 16.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists.
Walker (6-0, 165) started all 30 games during his junior campaign, averaging 7.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
The Kansas City, Mo., native transferred to Pitt State from State Fair Community College where he averaged 13.7 points and 7.0 assists per game during his sophomore campaign and earned honorable mention NJCAA All-America honors.
Womack is averaging 13.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game to date. He has made a team-leading 28 3-point field goals (2.2 pg). Womack (6-3, 175) scored a season high 27 points vs. Drury on Dec. 22.
Womack transferred to Pitt State from NCAA Division II member Quincy University for his senior campaign. The St. Louis, Mo., native averaged 12.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game during his junior campaign at Quincy, after redshirting in 2017-18. He made a team-leading 41 3-point field goals.
Womack averaged 10.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Allen County Community College in 2016-17. He averaged 19 points and six rebounds per game, earning first-team All-Conference honors as a senior in 2014-15 at Cardinal Ritter College Prep.
Waters is contributing 10.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game as well after joining the Gorillas from Central Georgia Technical College. He scored a season-high 21 points vs. Henderson State (Dec. 18) and he’s shooting 52.2 percent from 3-point range (24-46).
Waters (6-4, 220) averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game as a sophomore at Central Georgia Tech. The Atlanta, Ga., native scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds a game as a senior at Shiloh High School.
Senior guard Marcel Cherry is averaging 9.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game in 11 games played. The Merrillville, Ind., native is shooting 46.3 percent from the field (38-82). He scored a career high 30 points on 12 of 17 shooting vs. MSSU on Dec. 3.
Cherry (6-1, 185) averaged 4.2 points and 1.7 assists per game in his first season in the Pitt State program in 2018-19.
Cherry averaged 7.7 points and 3.2 assists per game as a sophomore at Wabash Valley College in 2017-18. He posted 9.1 points per game as a freshman at Howard College, earning honorable mention All-Conference honors.
Sophomore guard R.J. Lawrence is averaging 9.3 points and 3.0 assists in seven games played. He has missed the last five games due to injury.
Lawrence (5-11, 145) played in 17 contests during his freshman campaign, averaging 3.5 points per game. The Blue Springs, Mo., native shot 46.7 percent from the field (21-45) in limited action (7.6 minutes per game).
Lawrence was a three-time All-Conference and two-time All-District performer at Blue Springs High School.
Sophomore guard Ray Elliott is contributing 8.0 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. The Tulsa, Okla., native posted career highs of 20 points and nine rebounds in the Gorillas victory over Avila on Nov. 30.
Elliott (6-4, 165) saw action in all 30 games in a reserve role for the Gorillas in 2018-19, averaging 4.8 points per game. He made 27 3-point field goals on the year (27-83, .325).
Elliott led the state of Oklahoma in scoring as a senior at Tulsa’s Nathan Hale High School in 2017-18, averaging 36 points per game.
Senior forward Christian Edmondson has averaged 7.8 points and 8.3rebounds per game. He is shooting a team-best 65.5 percent form the field, making 38 of 58 shots from the floor. Edmondson also has blocked 17 shots in 12 gamed played (1.4 bpg), ranking fourth in the MIAA in blocked shots. He also ranks third in the league in rebounding.
Edmondson (6-6, 215) posted career highs with 19 points and 18 rebounds in the Gorillas’ season opener vs. Upper Iowa on Nov. 8.
Edmondson averaged 6.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game during his junior campaign. He saw action in 25 games, including eight starts, in the Pitt State frontcourt. The Flower Mound, Texas, native shot 64.9 percent from the field, making 74 of 114 shots from the field. He also grabbed a team-leading 54 offensive rebounds and recorded 32 blocked shots (1.3 bpg) on the season.
Edmondson has scored 405 points (5.1 ppg) and grabbed 340 rebounds (4.3 rpg) in 79 career games for the Gorillas.
Junior forward Antonio Givens II has averaged 7.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game to date, while shooting 55.9 percent from the field (38-68). He transferred to Pitt State from NCAA Division I Kent State University. Givens posted 22 points and eight rebounds against UNK on Jan. 4.
Givens (6-9, 260) redshirted in his only season at Kent State after playing his freshman and sophomore seasons at Wabash Valley College. He averaged 3.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game as a sophomore for the Warriors in 2017-18, shooting 62.5 percent from the field on the season.
Junior forward Xavier Womack is averaing 4.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in 11 contests for the Gorillas. The Johnson County Community College transfer posted a double-double in his season debut on Nov. 23 against BBC with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Womack (6-6, 180) started 10 of 35 games played for the Cavaliers in 2018-19, helping JCCC to a 31-4 record and the NJCAA Division II National Runner-Up finish.
The St. Louis, Mo., native averaged 8.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while shooting 47.1 percent from the field on the season.
Womack was selected the NJCAA Kansas Jayhawk Community College Division II Freshman of the Year in 2017-18 when he averaged 12.5 points and 7.7 rebounds and garnered second-team All-Jayhawk Conference honors.
Redshirt freshman guard Drew Roelfs has averaged 3.3 points per game to date. Roelfs (6-1, 180) scored a career high 18 points in the Gorillas’ win against Baptist Bible College. The Pittsburg native has made eight 3-pointers on the season (8-19, .421).
Roelfs redshirted in his initial season in the Pitt State program in 2018-19. He earned All-League honors as a senior at Pittsburg High School.
Junior guard Grant Harding is averaging 2.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game on the season. He posted 17 points and five rebounds vs. BBC.
Harding (6-3, 219) transferred to Pitt State from Hesston College. The Louisburg, Kan., native started 60 games in the backcourt at Hesston. He averaged 17 points and seven rebounds a game as a senior at Louisburg High School.
Pitt State Probable Starters
F 12 Dejon Waters Jr., 6-4, 220, Jr., Atlanta, Ga.
F 33 Christian Edmondson, 6-6, 215, Sr., Flower Mound, Texas
G 1 A.J. Walker, 6-0, 165, Sr., Kansas City, Mo.
G 3 Jah-Kobe Womack, 6-3, 175, Sr., St. Louis, Mo.
G 11 Marcel Cherry, 6-1, 185, Sr., Merrillville, Ind.