The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 27, 2014

PSU stings fifth-ranked Hornets

Brugman hits free throws to force overtime

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Pittsburg State’s Cathy Brugman had been in this position before.

In an earlier meeting against Emporia State, Brugman was fouled with 1.7 seconds as her Gorillas trailed by two points. Brugman missed the first free throw and was forced to intentionally miss the second in an 80-78 loss to the Hornets.

This time, things were different.

Fouled with three seconds remaining in regulation, Brugman hit both free throws to send the game into overtime. No. 23 Pittsburg State went on to defeat NCAA Division II’s fifth-ranked Hornets 81-75 on Wednesday night at John Lance Arena. It was a game where the Gorillas trailed by 18 with 16:30 left in the second half.

Emporia State finished its regular season 25-3 overall and 16-3 in the MIAA, falling a half game behind Central Missouri (22-3, 16-2) in the conference standings. Pittsburg State (22-6, 15-3) is third in the MIAA standings, but can share the league championship if it defeats Washburn on Saturday and Central Missouri loses at home to Northwest Missouri State.

It was the 11th consecutive win for the Gorillas, who moved up to fifth in the regional poll that was released Wednesday.

Trailing 71-69 with 26 seconds left in regulation, Brugman grabbed a rebound on a missed Emporia State free throw. Pittsburg State called timeout and set up a play for Brugman, who was fouled with three seconds left. After Brugman made both free throws to tie the game at 71, Emporia State’s final shot at the end of regulation bounced off the rim.

Pittsburg State took its first lead of the game as Lizzy Jeronimus hit a jumper to put the Gorillas up 73-71. Emporia State regained the lead at 75-73, but Brugman converted a three-point play to give the Gorillas the lead for good.

Brugman led the Gorillas with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 3-for-4 on 3-pointers. Antqunita Reed added a career-high 20 points off the bench. All-American Lizzy Jeronimus dealt with foul trouble most of the game and was limited to nine points, but led the Gorillas with four assists.

The Hornets led by 10 points with 4:51 left in regulation, but PSU held Emporia State scoreless for the remainder of the second half.

Laura Patrick led the Hornets with 20 points.

Pittsburg State will conclude its regular season against Washburn at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at John Lance Arena.

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