PITTSBURG, Kan. — Faced with a halftime deficit, the Pittsburg State men’s basketball team used a big second half to earn a 78-67 victory over Avila University on Saturday night at John Lance Arena.

The Gorillas trailed the NAIA Eagles 35-30 at the break, but the hosts won the second half 48-32 to improve to 4-1 on the season before MIAA play arrives on Tuesday.

Ray Elliott led Pittsburg State with 20 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Elliott hit just 4-of-14 field goal attempts, but he made 10-of-11 free throws.

Jah-Kobe Womack also reached double figures for the Gorillas with 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting.

Xavier Womack and Marcel Cherry added nine points apiece, while Dejon Waters had eight. Xavier Womack pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds. R.J. Lawrence handed out four assists and chipped in six points.

The Gorillas made 20-of-59 field goal attempts, including 9-of-23 from long distance. Pittsburg State received 32 points off the bench.

Shandon Boone scored 21 points to lead the Eagles (3-5), while Eric Smith contributed 19 rebounds and 13 points.

Avila made 26-of-64 field goal attempts (41 percent), including 10-of-29 from 3-point range.

Cold shooting plagued the Gorillas in the first half, as the hosts made just 5-of-27 field goal attempts, with 4-of-12 shooting from 3-point range.

The Eagles took an eight-point lead, 42-34, with 17:15 remaining in the contest, but the Gorillas fought back and tied the score at 45.

Although Pittsburg State never trailed the rest of the way, the Eagles stayed within striking distance, trailing only by two with 4:47 to play after a layup from Jordan Matthews.

But the Gorillas closed out the game on a 13-4 run.

Pittsburg State is at Missouri Southern (5-1) at 7:30 on Tuesday night in the MIAA opener for both teams.

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