Gorillas to host Hastings, Avila

Pitt State is 2-1 this season
Gorillas to host Hastings, Avila

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

The Pittsburg State University men’s basketball team will play host to a pair of squads over the Thanksgiving weekend as the Gorillas entertain Hastings College Friday (Nov. 29) and Avila University Saturday (Nov. 30).

Pitt State and Hastings will meet at 6 p.m. (CST) Friday at John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court, while the Gorillas and Eagles will battle at 5 p.m. Saturday. Friday’s game time (originally 3 p.m.) has been pushed back three hours due to inclement weather and travel conditions for Hastings to get to Pittsburg.

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.

The Records
Pitt State is 2-1 on the young season. The Gorillas rolled to a 110-57 victory over Baptist Bible College in their home debut last Saturday (Nov. 23). The Gorillas were idle for 13 days after splitting a pair of games against Upper Iowa University and the University of Sioux Falls at the Central Regional Challenge at Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 8-9.

Hastings is 5-3 on the season heading into a Wednesday (Nov. 27) match-up against Midland University. The Broncos are seeking to halt a two-game losing streak.

Avila will bring a 3-4 record into Saturday’s action. The Eagles dropped a 79-73 decision to Oklahoma Wesleyan University Tuesday (Nov. 26). Avila had a modest two-game winning streak snapped by the decision.

Head Coach Kim Anderson
Pittsburg State’s Kim Anderson is in his third season leading the Gorillas. He has compiled a pair of 17-13 records in his first two seasons at Pitt State.

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 337-189 (.641) 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.

Series History
Friday’s action will be the first all-time meeting between Pitt State and Hastings, while the Gorillas and Eagles will meet for the 10th time Saturday. Pitt State holds an 8-1 advantage against Avila, including a 60-56 win in the last meeting on Jan. 2, 2017, in Pittsburg.

Scouting the Gorillas
The Gorillas have four players scoring in double figures early in the season: sophomore guards Ray Elliott (12.7 ppg) and R.J. Lawrence (12.0 ppg), junior forward Xavier Womack (12.0 ppg) and senior forward Christian Edmondson (10.5 ppg).

Elliott (6-4, 165) is averaging 12.7 points and 2.0 rebounds per game to date. He averages 2.0 3-point field goals per game (6-20, .300).

Elliott saw action in all 30 games in a reserve role for the Gorillas in 2018-19. The Tulsa, Okla., native contributed 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.

Lawrence is contributing 12.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game on the season. He leads the team in assists and steals (2.5 spg).

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.

Womack made his Pitt State debut vs. Baptist Bible College, after missing the Gorillas’ first two contests. The Johnson County Community College posted a double-double against the Patriots with 12 points and 11 rebounds. He also dished out three assists, blocked three shots and made three steals.

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 per game while starting 26 of 31 games. He posted nine double-doubles during his freshman campaign and garnered second-team All-Jayhawk Conference honors.

Edmondson (6-6, 215) has averaged a double-double to date, scoring 10.5 points and grabbing 14.5 rebounds per game. He is shooting a team-best 56.3 percent form the field, making nine of 16 shots from the floor.

Edmondson posted career highs with 19 points and 18 rebounds in the Gorillas’ season over vs. Upper Iowa on Nov. 8. He missed the Baptist Bible College game on Nov. 23, but is expected to return to the lineup this weekend.

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 332 points (4.8 ppg) and grabbed 269 rebounds (3.9 rpg) in 69 career games for the Gorillas.

Senior guard Jah-Kobe Womack is averaging 9.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per gme to date. Womack (6-3, 175) transferred to Pitt State from NCAA Division II member Quincy University for his senior campaign.

He started 25 of 28 games played for the Hawks last year. The St. Louis, Mo., native averaged 12.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game during his junior campaign, after redshirting at QU 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 helped lead Cardinal Ritter College Prep to the Missouri Class 3A state championship as a junior in 2013-14. He averaged 19 points and six rebounds per game, earning first-team All-Conference honors as a senior in 2014-15.

Junior forward Dejon Waters Jr. is contributing 9.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game as well after joining the Gorillas from Central Georgia Technical College. He is shooting 52.6 percent from the field (10-19).

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.

Redshirt freshman guard Drew Roelfs has averaged 8.3 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 a team-leading seven 3-pointers on the season (7-15, .467).

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 forward Antonio Givens II has averaged 7.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game to date. He transferred to Pitt State from NCAA Division I Kent State University. Givens posted 15 points and eight rebounds against BBC on Nov. 23.

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.

Givens was a standout prep performer at West High School in Columbus, Ohio.

Junior guard Grant Harding is averaging 6.3 points and 3.3 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.

Senior guard Marcel Cherry made his season debut against BBC. He scored three points and dished out three assists in the game.

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. The Merrillville, Ind., native made three starts in the Pitt State backcourt.

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.

Senior guard A.J. Walker will return to action for the Gorillas at the start of the second semester. Walker 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.

Pitt State Probable Starters
F 0 Xavier Womack, 6-7, 180, Jr., St. Louis, Mo.
F 33 Christian Edmondson, 6-6, 215, Sr., Flower Mound, Texas
G 4 Ray Elliott, 6-4, 165, So., Tulsa, Okla.
G 11 Marcel Cherry, 6-1, 185, Sr., Merrillville, Ind.
G 14 R.J. Lawrence, 5-11, 145, So., Blue Springs, Mo.

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