WICHITA, Kan. -- Newman men’s basketball downed the Gorillas of Pittsburg State 80-76 on Wednesday evening to secure their first win of the season. Jack Pyle led the way with 19 points behind a 7-for-10 shooting effort in the victory.
The first half of the game displayed a back-and-forth offensive battle, with both teams trading baskets early in the half. Marquis Cuyler made a layup at the 16:45 mark to put the Jets up 11-9, but the Gorillas responded immediately to knot the game at 11-11 four minutes in. Pitt State jumped out to a four point lead thanks to a jumper and a pair of free throws from Devon Branch, who was the high scorer in the game with 20 points. The Jets then played catch-up for the next ten minutes, with the Gorillas leading by as many as seven in the half. Ryan McCarthy sank a three-pointer with 7:39 to play to tie the game up at 28 apiece, and sparking a 10-2 run by the Jets which saw them take a six-point lead with five minutes to go in the half. Pitt State battled back though, and closed the first half out on a 14-6 run to go into halftime with a 44-42 advantage.
The Gorillas came out of the half hot, scoring seven straight points to give them a nine point lead at 51-42, their largest lead of the game. Perryonte Smith got the Jets’ offense going with a layup, and the teams traded baskets for several minutes before going into the first media timeout, which saw the Gorillas lead 55-48 with 15:54 to play. The Jets came out of the timeout ready to go, and went on a 9-0 run over the next three minutes to go up 57-55. Pitt State would tie the game up at the ten minute mark, and the teams exchanged leads several times over the next seven minutes, with a three-pointer from Sam Pugh giving the Gorillas a slim 75-74 lead with 3:30 left in the game. Jeremy Espinoza nailed a jumper a minute later to put the Jets back on top, and the Jets would hold on to win 80-76.
Jack Pyle led the Jets with 19 points on the night, including going 3-for-3 from three-point land. Ryan McCarthy added 13 points to go along with four assists and a perfect 5-for-5 from the charity stripe. Jeremy Espinoza and Elhad Emerllahu tallied 12 points apiece, and Perryonte Smith added six assists in addition to six points and three steals.
Pitt State’s Devon Branch was the high scorer on the night, with 20 points behind 6-for-9 shooting from the field. Jake Bullard and Sam Pugh had 17 points each.
As a team, the Jets shot 45.3% (29-64) from the field and 33.3% (6-18) from behind the arc. Pitt State outrebounded Newman 38-31, and the Jets tallied nine steals in the game.
In notching their first win of the season, the Jets move to 1-1 (0-0 Heartland). They will look to build on the victory when they play host to the Crusaders of Manhattan Christian on Saturday night. Tip off is slated for 7 p.m. inside Fugate Gymnasium.