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PSU Men Open Season Friday

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RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State University men's basketball team will make its 2017-18 season debut Friday and Saturday (Nov. 10-11) when the Gorillas host the four-team MIAA/NSIC Conference Challenge at John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court.

The Gorillas will host Minnesota State University from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference at Noon (CST) Friday, while MIAA rival Missouri Southern State University will take on the NSIC's St. Cloud State University at 2 p.m. On Saturday, Pitt State will battle SCSU at 6 p.m. and MSSU will face MSU at 8 p.m. to close out the classic format tournament.

The Records
Pitt State is entering a new era of basketball with first-year head coach Kim Anderson making his debut as the Gorillas mentor.

Anderson had nine players hold over from the 2016-17 Pitt State squad, which posted a 5-22 overall record. He also signed nine newcomers, including eight transfers, to bolster the Gorillas lineup.

Senior guard Jaxon Holden leads the Pitt State returning group. Holden averaged 10.5 points in 13 games for the Gorillas a year ago, before his junior campaign was cut short due to injury.

Minnesota State posted a 21-10 record in 2016-17.  The Mavericks advanced to the second round of the NSIC Tournament before ending their season with a 63-55 loss to Upper Iowa University. MSU claimed an 85-80 season-opening win over Pitt State at St. Cloud, Minn., on Nov. 11, 2016.

SCSU registered a 19-14 overall record a year ago. The Huskies posted a 91-68 home win over Pitt State in the MIAA/NSIC Challenge on Nov. 12, 2016.

MSSU is coming off an 18-12 season in 2016-17. The Lions advanced to the semifinals of the MIAA Tournament before falling to eventual NCAA Division II national champion Northwest Missouri State University, 67-63.

Head Coach Kim Anderson
Pittsburg State's Kim Anderson enters first season leading the Gorillas. Anderson (Missouri, '79) became the Gorillas' 15th all-time head coach on Apr. 10, 2017, after coaching the past three seasons at his alma mater – the University of Missouri. [for complete biography, see page 3]
He has a 301-162 (.650) record in 15 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 Divsion 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
Pitt State and Minnesota State will meet for the third time in program history Friday. The Gorillas and Mavs have split the previous two meetings, with Pitt State taking a 62-59 win on Nov. 13, 2015, at Joplin, Mo., and MSU countering with an 85-80 victory on Nov. 12, 2016, at St. Cloud, Minn.

SCSU holds a 2-1 advantage on Pitt State in the head-to-head series. The Gorillas beat the Huskies at Joplin, Mo., 85-69, on Nov. 14, 2015, and SCSU knocked off Pitt State, 91-68, last year on Nov. 12. The Huskies also own a win over the Gorillas from the 1966 season.

Scouting the Gorillas
Pitt State has nine players back from its 2016-17 squad.

Senior guard Jaxon Holden started 13 games for the Gorillas a year ago, averaging 10.5 points per game. He missed 14 games due to injury.

The Flower Mound, Texas, native has started 26 of 36 career games for the Gorillas, after transferring to Pitt State following his freshman season from Stephen F. Austin University. Holden (6-1, 180) has averaged 8.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per game for his caeer and he has converted 51 career 3-point field goals

Redshirt-junior guard Dakota Jones also returns from an injury shorted season a year ago. Jones (5-11, 175) started eight games, averaging 9.4 points per game  in 2016-17.

The Warrensburg, Mo., native has started 40 of 69 career games for the Gorillas. Jones has scored 656 career points (9.5 ppg), grabbed 141 career rebounds (2.0 rpg) and converted 85 career 3-point field goals.

Sophomore guard R.J. Pair (5-10, 175) started 26 of 27 games in 2016-17. The Colony, Texas native averaged 8.4 points per game and dished out a team-leading 55 assists on the season (2.0 apg).

Sophomore guard Brandon Clifford (6-3, 190), from Paragould, Ark., made three starts as a freshman last year, contributing 6.9 points per game, while sophomore forward Christian Edmondson (6-6, 215), from Flower Mound, Texas, chipped in with 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in his rookie campaign.

Junior forward Lucas Wilson (6-6, 190), from Paola, Kan., contributed 2.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game in 2016-17, while sophomore guard Colton Pitko (6-0, 175), from Eureka, Kan., averaged 1.3 points a game.

Redshirt freshman guards Darrian Guillory (6-3, 200) and Robbie Ostermann (6-3, 175) also are back for a second season to the program.

Pitt State's signing class includes one senior, seven juniors and one incoming freshman.

Senior guard/forward Xavier Adams joined the Gorillas from the University of New Mexico. Adams (6-6, 215) started 14 of 77 career games in three seasons for the Lobos

The Flower Mound, Texas, native averaged 4.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2015-16. He contributed 3.9 points per game as a junior in 2016-17 before suffering a season-ending injury in early January.

Three juniors – guard Jabari Antwine, guard/forward Mar'Qywell Jackson and center Deitrich Cole, Jr. – transferred to Pitt State from Moberly Area Community College.

Antwine (6-1, 155) averaged 9.0 points, 4.0 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.9 steals as a sophomore in 2016-17, earning second-team All-Region and All-Conference honors. The Chicago native also made 35 3-point field goals, converting 44.9 percent of his long range-shots (35-78).

Jackson (6-5, 195), a Detroit native, contributed 11.5 points per game for the Greyhounds, helping MACC to a 27-5 overall record a year ago. He knocked down 42 3-pointers on the season during his sophomore campaign.

Cole (6-10, 240), also from Detroit, averaged 2.5 points and shot 55 percent from the field at MAAC last season. He also averaged 2.4 rebounds and recorded 11 blocked shots on the year.

Junior guard Donovan Franklin joined the Gorillas from Indiana State University. Franklin (6-5, 205) averaged 4.2 points and 1.5 rebounds in 26 games for the Sycamores in 2016-17. The St. Louis, Mo., native averaged 14.9 points a game as a freshman at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Fla.

Junior forward Demtrius Levarity (New Orleans, La.) transferred to Pitt State from Sam Houston State University, where he redshirted in 2016-17. Levarity (6-7, 210) contributed 15.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Southeastern Illinois College.

Junior guard Grant Lozoya (6-3, 180) comes to Pitt State after three years at Stetson University. The Agoura Hills, Calif., native averaged 9.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a freshman for the Hatters in 2014-15, earning All-Freshman honors form the Atlantic Sun Conference. He  contributed 7.4 points and 2.5 rebounds as a sophomore in 2015-16, before exercising a medical redshirt in 2016-17.

Junior forward Jonathan Murray inked with the Gorillas from Kansas City Kansas Community College.  Murray (6-9, 220) averaged 14.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2016-17 at KCKCC. The Macon, Mo., native contributed 10.9 points and 7.1 rebounds and blocked 41 shots as a freshman in 2015-16.

Freshman guard Isaiah Burton rounds out the Pitt State newcomers. Burton (6-4, 170) joins the Gorillas from Raytown (Mo.) High School, where he was a first-team All-Conference and All-District performer as a senior. He averaged 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists a game for the Bluejays.

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