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Gorilla Men Competing at Eckerd Thanksgiving Classic

Updated:

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State University men's basketball team will travel to St. Petersburg, Fla., to take part in the Eckerd College Thanksgiving Classic Friday and Saturday (Nov. 24-25).

The Gorillas will face the University of Tampa Friday at 4:30 p.m. (CST) at the McArthur Center. Pitt State will close out the two-day, classic format tournament with a 6:30 p.m. (CST) match-up against the host school, Eckerd, Saturday.

The Records
Pitt State is off to a 4-1 start to the season.

The Gorillas opened the 2017-18 campaign with a pair of wins over Minnesota State (90-80) and St. Cloud State (72-62) in the MIAA/NSIC Conference Challenge Nov. 10-11 in Pittsburg.

Pitt State added a 90-50 home victory over NAIA member Haskell on Nov. 15, before dropping a 104-95 road decision to Arkansas Fort Smith last Saturday (Nov. 18). The Gorillas rebounded with a decisive 88-69 win over Newman University Tuesday (Nov. 21) in the MIAA Challenge at Kansas City, Mo.

Tampa enters Friday's contest with a 2-2 record. The Spartans opened the season with a pair of overtime wins over North Alabama (90-81) and Alabama-Huntsville (102-96), before dropping back-to-back outings against Eckerd (65-49) and Nova Southeastern (92-69).

Eckerd is 3-1 on the season heading into a Wednesday (Nov. 22) home match-up against Puerto Rico-Bayamon. The Tritons opened the season with wins against No. 25 Delta State (61-55), West Alabama (82-79) and Tampa (65-49), before dropping a 93-89 decision to No. 5 Barry on Nov. 18.

Head Coach Kim Anderson
Pittsburg State's Kim Anderson is in his first season leading the Gorillas. He has a 3-1 record. 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.

He has a 305-163 (.652) record in 16 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
Pitt State's match-ups against Tampa and Eckerd will be the Gorillas first all-time meeting against both the Spartans and the Tritons.

All-Time Victories
Pitt State has compiled a 1410-1169 (.547) all-time record in 109 seasons of intercollegiate play. The Gorillas rank 15th on the NCAA Division II wins list (1409).

Scouting the Gorillas
The Gorillas enter the Thanksgiving Classic action averaging 87.0 points per game and shooting 47.1 percent from the field.

Pitt State has four players averaging in double figures on the young season: junior guard Donovan Franklin (17.6 ppg), senior guard/forward Xavier Adams (13.8 ppg),  junior guard Jabari Antwine (11.4 ppg) and junior forward Demetrius Levarity (10.8 ppg).

Franklin scored a game-high 30 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds in his Pitt State debut against MSU Nov. 10. The St. Louis, Mo., native is shooting 49.1 percent from the field (26-53), 87.1 percent from the free throw line (27-31) and averaging 3.8 rebounds per game. He has converted nine of 19 attempts from 3-point range (.474).

Franklin (6-5, 205) 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. The St. Louis, Mo., native averaged 14.9 points a game as a freshman at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Fla.

Adams is averaging 13.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He also is shooting 55.6 percent from the floor (25-45). He posted a double-double with team highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds in the Gorillas victory against SCSU on Nov. 11; and he scored a season-high 23 points vs. UAFS on Nov. 18.

Adams (6-6, 215) joined the Gorillas from the University of New Mexico. He 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.

Antwine scored a game-high 15 points in the Gorillas lopsided win against Haskell on Nov. 15. For the season, he is averaging 11.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.

Antwine (6-1, 155) averaged 9.0 points, 4.0 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.9 steals as a sophomore at Moberly Area Community College 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).

Levarity is contributing 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He did not play in Pitt State's opener against MSU. The New Orleans, La., native is shooting 54.2 percent from the field (13-24), including 66.7 percent from 3-point range (8-12).

Levarity scored 13 points on five of seven shooting in 20 minutes of action against SCSU. He made all three of his 3-point attempts against the Huskies.

Levarity (6-7, 210) 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.

The Gorillas have five additional players scoring between 4.6 and 9.0 points a game: senior guard Jaxon Holden (9.0 ppg), junior guard Mar'Qywell Jackson (7.4 ppg), junior guard Grant Lozoya (7.2 ppg), sophomore guard Brandon Clifford (5.5 ppg) and junior center Deitrich Cole, Jr. (4.6 ppg).

Holden (6-1, 180) is contributing 9.0 points per game and shooting 56.5 percent from the field (13-23). He scored a season-high 18 points against UAFS on Nov. 18. 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 29 of 39 career games for the Gorillas, after transferring to Pitt State following his freshman season from Stephen F. Austin University.

Holden has averaged 8.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per game for his career and he has converted 57 career 3-point field goals.

Jackson, a Detroit native, is averaging 7.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He scored a season-high 19 points in the Gorillas win over Newman Tuesday (Nov. 21).

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

Lozoya scored 15 points in the season opener against MSU. He has dished out a team-leading 13 assists (2.6 apg) and snared seven steals (1.4 spg).

Lozoya (6-3, 180) came 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.

Clifford scored 11 points in his season debut against Haskell on Nov. 15. The Paragould, Ark., native made three of four 3-point field goal attempts against the Indians.

Clifford (6-3, 190) made three starts as a freshman last year, contributing 6.9 points per game on the year.

Cole is shooting 52.6 percent from the floor (10-19) and averaging 4.8 rebounds per game.

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

The Gorillas are +5.4 in the rebounding department – +2.4 on the offensive glass. Pitt State has averaged 4.0 less turnovers a game (13.0 pg) than its opponents (17.0 pg).

Pitt State Probable Starters
    F    21    Xavier Adams, 6-6, 215, Sr., Flower Mound, Texas
    F    5    Demetrius Levarity, 6-7, 210, Jr., New Orleans, La.
    G    2    Grant Lozoya, 6-3, 180, Jr., Agoura Hills, Calif.
    G    3    Donovan Franklin, 6-5, 205, Jr., St. Louis, Mo.
    G    25    Jaxon Holden, 6-1, 180, Sr., Flower Mound, Texas

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