Pittsburg, Kan. - A tip-in from Pittsburg State's Rodney Grace as time expired lifted the Gorillas over Missouri Southern, 67-65 tonight in the first game of the Sonic Trophy Series between the two teams.
Mariun Price hit a layup with 16 seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 65, but the free-throw wasn't good. Spencer Magana took what looked like would be the last shot, but it went high off the backboard and Grace's tip-in gave the Gorillas the win.
Southern (7-5, 1-4 MIAA) was led byJason Adams as the sophomore from Carthage scored 17 points to lead three Lions in double-figures. Price scored 12 on 4-9 shooting, while Patrick Hester scored 10. Keane Thomann had nine points and seven rebounds.
PSU (7-6, 1-5 MIAA) picks up its first win in conference play as Magana led the Gorillas with 18 points, 12 of which came from the free-throw line.
Pittsburg State opened up on an 8-2 run to start the game, but the Lions responded with a 10-0 run of their own, capped with a jumper from Price to make the score 12-8 with 11:27 left in the first half. Price hit two threes during the run. A pair of free throws from Pitt's Magana cut the Lions' lead to two, and after another freebie, a three from the Gorillas' Brendan Coleman put Pitt up 14-12. After a Pitt bucket, back-to-back scores from the Lions tied the game at 16 with 9:08 left, forcing a PSU timeout.
A bucket from Adams with just under two minutes to go in the half gave the Lions a 27-26 lead, but a three from Pitt's Coleman on the next trip down put the Gorillas back up two (29-27). The halftime score would be 33-30 Gorillas.
A three from Adams gave the Lions their first lead of the second half (40-39) with 14:23 left in the game. Eight-straight points from Pitt's Magana, however, gave the Gorillas a five-point advantage (51-46) with 9:47 left in the game. A free-throw from DaRell Crittendon tied the game at 55 with just under six minutes to go.
Southern was out rebounded 44-31, but out shot the Gorillas 46 percent to 38. The Gorillas led the turnover battle 16-17, as both teams scored 17 points off of each others miscues.
The Lions will be back in action on Wednesday, January 6 as Southern plays host to Emporia State at 7:30 pm in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. Emporia lost 75-62 tonight at Southwest Baptist.