PSU to close regular season at Kearney, Hays

Pitt State will face UNK Thursday night
PSU to close regular season at Kearney, Hays

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

The Pittsburg State University men’s basketball team wrap up regular season play and a four-game road swing with a pair of games Thursday and Saturday.

The Gorillas will face the University of Nebraska-Kearney Thursday (Feb. 28) at 7:30 p.m. at the Health & Sports Center at Kearney, Neb. Pitt State will then travel to Hays, Kan., to battle Fort Hays State University at 4 p.m. Saturday (Mar. 2) at Gross Memorial Coliseum in the regular season finale.

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 is 15-11 overall, 8-9 in MIAA play and in sixth place in the conference standings.

The Gorillas snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 73-69 road win over Emporia State University last Thursday (Feb. 21). Pitt State opened the season 13-3 before suffering eight defeats in the last 10 games.

UNK is 10-16 overall and 5-12 in MIAA play. The Lopers split a pair of games this past weekend, dropping an 88-83 road decision to Central Oklahoma in its last outing on Feb. 23.

FHSU is 16-10 overall, 10-7 in MIAA action and fourth in the conference standings heading into a Thursday match-up against Missouri Southern. The Tigers dropped a 72-62 decision against Northeastern State last Saturday (Feb. 23).

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 a 32-24 (.571) 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 332-185 (.642) record in 17 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
On Thursday, Pitt State and UNK will meet for the 41th time in program history. The Lopers hold a 31-9 advantage in the series, including a 17-1 margin in games played at Kearney. The Lopers defeated Pitt State, 65-63, in Pittsburg on Feb. 9. Demetrius Levarity paced the Gorillas with 23 points in the game.

Saturday’s action will mark the 161st all-time meeting between Pitt State and FHSU. The Tigers hold an 87-73 advantage in the series and a 53-24 edge in games played at Hays. The Tigers defeated Pitt State, 77-75, in Pittsburg on Feb. 7. Grant Lozoya paced the Gorillas with 27 points in the game.

All-Time Victories
Pitt State has compiled a 1438-1192 (.546) all-time record in 110 seasons of intercollegiate play. The Gorillas rank 15th on the NCAA Division II wins list (1437).

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State has two players scoring in double figures – senior guard Grant Lozoya (22.7 ppg) and senior guard Donovan Franklin (21.3 ppg) – while five more active players – senior forward Demetrius Levarity (10.0 ppg), junior guard A.J. Walker (6.9 ppg), junior forward Christian Edmondson (6.1 ppg), freshman guard Ray Elliott (5.1 ppg) and junior guard Marcel Cherry (4.2 ppg) – are scoring four or more points a game.

Lozoya is averaging 22.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game to date. He leads the MIAA and currently ranks eighth in NCAA Division II in scoring.

The Agoura Hills, Calif., native scored a career-high 38 points in the Gorillas’ win against UIndy Dec. 17, posting the third-highest single-game scoring total since Pitt State joined the NCAA ranks in 1990.
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 on 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.

He added a third MIAA Player of the Week recognition following the Las Vegas Hoopla on Dec. 20 after averaging 34.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in a pair of games.

Lozoya is shooting 48.4 percent from the field (199-411), 37.8 percent from 3-point range (56-148) and 88.3 percent from the free throw line (136-154). He currently ranks third the MIAA in free throw percentage, ranks 13th in the conference in rebounding and 13th in the league in field goal percentage.

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 has scored 968 points in 55 career games for the Gorillas (17.6 ppg). He is bidding to become the 24th player in Pitt State history to score 1,000 career points.

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 21.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in 24 games played.

Franklin averaged 25.9 points per game in seven games prior to suffering the knee injury against MWSU on Feb. 2.

For the season, Franklin is shooting 49.0 percent from the field (168-343) and 88.6 percent from the free throw line (124-140). He’s currently third in the MIAA in scoring and he ranks 14th in the conference in rebounding and second 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 14 of Pitt State’s 21 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.

He has scored 940 points in 50 career games for the Gorillas (18.8 ppg).

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 (6-7, 210) is averaging 9.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. The New Orleans, La., native also is averaging a team-leading 1.3 steals per game, ranking in a tie for fourth place in the MIAA in the category.

Levarity, who scored a career-high 23 points vs. UNK on Feb. 9, contributed 10.7 points and 4.7 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.

Walker is contributing 6.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 0.9 steals per game to date.

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.

Edmondson is averaging 6.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots in 21 games played. The Flower Mound, Texas, native is shooting 71.3 percent from the field (57-80). He currently ranks in fourth place in the MIAA in blocked shots.

Edmondson scored a season-high 22 points vs. MSSU on Feb. 16. He has averaged 15.3 points and 9.0 rebounds and shot 77.3 percent from the field (17-22) in the last three games.

Elliott has added 5.2 points per game in his freshman campaign. 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 first-team Oklahoma Class 5A All-State honors after leading the state in scoring his senior prep season.

Cherry is averaging 4.3 points and 1.8 rebounds 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.

Senior forward/center Trenton Clayton averaged 8.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shots per game per suffering a season-ending foot injury vs. FHSU on Feb. 7.The Montgomery, Ala., native shot 58.3 percent from the field (67-115).

As a team, Pitt State is shooting 46.7 percent from the field (764-1637), 34.9 percent from 3-point range (225-645) and 75.0 percent from the free throw line (424-565). The Gorillas are scoring 83.7 points per game.

Pitt State Probable Starters
F 5 Demetrius Levarity, 6-7, 210, Sr., New Orleans, La.
F 33 Christian Edmondson, 6-6, 215, Jr., Flower Mound, Texas
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.