NSU basketball falls to Pitt State, looks ahead to road games
TNE Editor

NSU basketball falls to Pitt State, looks ahead to road games

Published 1/31/18

Jesse Crittenden

TNE Writer

After winning two big home games against Missouri Southern last Wednesday, Jan. 24, the RiverHawks basketball teams could not keep that momentum going on Saturday against Pitt State.

The NSU women’s team took the floor first on Saturday at the NSU Event Center and struggled in the second half, losing 65-50. The men’s team followed and could not overcome a large halftime deficit, falling 96-82.

With the women’s team climbing to a game above a .500 winning percentage after Wednesday’s victory, Saturday was a good opportunity to keep their rhythm going. After the first quarter ended with a 16-14 score in NSU’s favor, the RiverHawks looked to be in good shape.

However, the rest of the game was a different story, as the RiverHawks struggled mightily on the offensive end. They managed only nine points in the second quarter, as they lost momentum from their first quarter lead and found themselves trailing by five points at the halftime break.

Both ends of the floor hurt the RiverHawks in the second half, as they only scored 25 points while surrendering 35 points to Pitt State. The RiverHawks could not string enough stops together to make a run, as Pitt State shot 50 percent from the floor and grabbed seven offensive rebounds.

“I thought there were some good moments from us defensively where we were getting stops early,” said Fala Bullock, NSU women’s basketball head coach. “First quarter I thought we stuck in there and really defended well. I thought we got fatigued there in the second half and weren’t playing nearly as hard as we needed to.”

Bailee Eldrid, junior guard from Sulphur, led the way for the RiverHawks with 13 points. Lauryn Blevins, redshirt freshman center from Claremore, chipped in with 11.

Pitt State’s hot shooting buries the RiverHawks, 96-82

It is hard to beat a team that finishes a game shooting over 60 percent from the floor.

That is the lesson the NSU men’s basketball team learned on Saturday, as they lost a home contest to Pittsburgh State, 96-82.

The RiverHawks were able to keep pace in the second half, with both teams scoring 42 in the final 20 minutes of play. However, the first half is what doomed the RiverHawks on Saturday, as they were outscored 54-40 and allowed Pittsburgh to make 10 of their 16 three-point attempts.

Pitt State’s hot shooting was never contained, as they finished the game shooting over 61 percent from the floor and 57 percent from the three-point line.

Mark Downey, NSU men’s basketball head coach, referenced Pitt State’s hot shooting, as well as NSU’s 16 turnovers, that made the difference in the game.

“We gave up too many points and they made a lot of shots,” Downey said. “We turned it over too much, which led to them getting some easy buckets, and they just made shots. Those were the two things that hurt us.

Despite being down 14 points at halftime, the RiverHawks continued to fight back in the second half. They made their first run with 14 minutes remaining, as an 11-1 NSU run cut the deficit to four points. Pitt State’s hot shooting returned, as they managed their own 11-2 run to push the NSU deficit back to double digits.

Jamir Andrews, graduate guard from Roselle, N.J., led the way for the RiverHawks with 23 points on 7 of 14 shooting. Trent Cantrell, sophomore shooting guard from Broken Arrow, chipped in with 13, and Lucas Antunez, senior guard from Madrid, finished with 12.

The women’s team fall to 9-9 on the season, and the men’s team fall to 6-14.

Looking Ahead

The RiverHawks will hit the road for two away games this week. They play Thursday, Feb. 1 at Southwest Baptist and then travel to Central Missouri on Saturday, Feb. 3.

Heidi Messer, NSU women’s basketball assistant coach, is looking for the team to pick up two important road wins.

“We need to play two complete halves of basketball,” said Heidi. “Southwest Baptist and Central Missouri are two teams that are really picking up steam here recently, so it will be important for us to come into their gyms on the road and knock down shots.”

The RiverHawks split their matchup against Southwest Baptist earlier in the season, with the women’s team winning 69-52 and the men’s team losing 92-69. Game times are set for 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The matchup with Central Missouri will be the only matchup between the two teams this season. The Central Missouri men’s team is 16-4 on the season, and the women’s team is 17-1. Game times are set for 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

 


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