The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 30, 2013

Gorillas saw makings of good team when they faced WSU in exhibition

PSU coach says he's pulling for the Shockers in the NCAA tourney

By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor

— Pittsburg State’s men’s basketball season began with a 100-56 exhibition loss at Wichita State on Nov. 5, 2012.

Did the Gorillas realize at that time they were playing against an Elite Eight team?

“You can never tell,” Gorillas coach Kevin Muff said Friday afternoon. “I thought they would be a good team in the Missouri Valley with their mix of inside and outside game at that point.”

But today at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Shockers, the No. 9 seed in the West Regional, battle second-seeded Ohio State for a spot in next weekend’s Final Four in Atlanta.

“I’m pulling for them all the way,” Muff said. “I’m excited for their coaches and the Shocker fan base. You follow them during the year. They don’t get the national exposure like the Big 12 teams I usually follow.

“It’s nice to see them have success and the team get on the roll. I’ve texted their assistant coach Chris Jans, who I got to know pretty well in the juco ranks, a few times, congratulating them on their run and to keep it going. Having played them, even though it was an exhibition game, you follow them and hope they do really well for the state of Kansas as well as the Missouri Valley.”

A.J. Adams scored 13 points in his PSU debut that night, and Rico Pierrevilus added 10 points.

Wichita State received 23 points from Carl Hall, 17 from Ron Baker, and 13 from Ethan Wessel and Nick Wiggins. The Shockers scored the game’s first nine points and led 54-17 at halftime.

“It was an eye opener for us,” Muff said. “It showed us where we were at and what we had to work on.

“They are well-coached. Coach (Gregg) Marshall has done a great job there every year. This year’s team seemed to have a nice mix ... a lot of new faces. The first half they totally dominated us. You could see they understood their expectations and had a good feel for what has turned out to be a good team. They had good chemistry at that point of the season and played well together.”