Mules outlast Pittsburg State 66-54

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) — The Mules beat the Pittsburg State Gorillas 66-54 on Thursday night at the UCM Multipurpose Building.
The win improves UCM’s record to 13-2 overall and 4-2 in MIAA play.
It took nearly two minutes, but Pittsburg State (7-6, 3-2 MIAA) got on the board first with a Lamine Dieng tip-in to grab a 2-0 lead. The Mules responded with a 16-2 run that put UCM in front 16-4 midway through the first half. The Gorillas got it going offensively though and used a 15-4 run of their own to pull within a point at 20-19 with 5:44 to play in the first half.
The UCM lead was three at 24-21 with 3:45 to play in the opening period when Preston Brunz knocked down a three to give the Mules a six-point advantage. After a pair of Denton Hays free throws cut the UCM lead to four, the Mules closed the half on a 4-0 spurt to lead 31-23 at the intermission.
A Brennen Hughes layup out of halftime gave the Mules a 10-point cushion, but the Gorillas responded with a 7-1 run that cut the lead to four. The Mules once again pushed the lead to double digits at 45-35 with 14:15 to play in the game. Three straight threes by the Gorillas cut the UCM lead to one at 45-44 with 10:48 to play in the game. Jordan Epps halted the run with a triple to push the lead back to four, but Dakota Jones responded with another three of his own and UCM led 48-47 with nine and a half to play.
Hughes knocked down a jumper and Dillon Deck followed with a pair of layups to push UCM back in front by seven at 54-47. TJ White beat the shot clock with a layup of his own and the Mules led by nine with 4:10 to play in the game.
PSU cut the lead to six on Josiah Gustafson’s three-point play, but White made a pair of foul shots and Kyle Wolf knocked down a pair to push the lead back to 10. The Gorillas would get no closer than eigh the rest of the way as the Mules extended the lead and iced the game at the free throw line.
Brunz led all scorers with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting. He also dished out a team-high three assists. Deck finished with 13 points off the bench and Epps chipped in 12. The Mules shot 47 percent from the floor, going 22-of-47. They were 5-of-14 from deep for 36 percent. UCM was 17-of-19 at the foul line for 90 percent.
Jones led three Gorillas in double figures with 13. Kjer had 11 and Gustafson chipped in 10. PSU shot 39 percent from the floor, 20-of-51, and 36 percent from beyond the arc, 8-of-22. They were 6-of-7 at the charity stripe for 86 percent.
The Mules forced 16 Gorilla turnovers and turned those in to 18 points. UCM held a 30-26 edge in rebounding, 30-24 in points in the paint and 31-24 in bench scoring.
UCM is back in action on Saturday afternoon when Emporia State comes to the Multi for a 3:30 p.m. tip. A pay-per-view webcast is available through the UCM Media Network and Central Missouri’s Stretch Internet portal at portal.stretchinternet.com/ucmo/.