Gorillas and Lions prepare for rivalry rematch

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pitt State and Missouri Southern are set to meet this weekend for the second time this season.

“We know what they want to do, but we don’t want to be too sure,” says Pitt State’s Antonio Givens II on seeing MSSU for a second time, “We’re still learning and checking them out, trusting coach A to bring the right game plan…and executing that.”

The Gorillas won the first matchup by 16 back in January against a Southern team missing two starters.

“They out-toughed us. They outplayed us in every aspect of it,” says Missouri Southern head coach Jeff Boschee, “Especially in the second half. I thought we competed in the first half, but the second half they were too much for us, too big.”

Missouri Southern has been on a roll the last few weeks.

“They’re playing real well right now,” Givens says of his rivals, “They got a little different swagger to them.”

After a 40-point loss to Washburn on January 14th, the Lions have won 7 of 10 to climb to 3rd place in the MIAA.

“That was our breaking point,” says Southern’s Cam Martin of the Washburn loss,” Since that game, we’ve been a whole new team. We all bought into what coach Boschee is trying to have us do, and we’re just a whole different basketball team.”

“We changed up the lineup. I thought our demeanor and our sense of urgency (since then) is where we’ve been trying to get it to the whole year,” Boschee says.

Southern is trying to even the score with PSU.

“Our fans and our community really want this win,” Martin adds.

The Lions know they’ll have to work for it, with the Gorillas hungry to sweep the season series from them for the first time since 2007.

“I think this year coach Anderson has done a great job getting them guys to buy into what he’s coaching and playing as a team,” Martin says of Pitt State, “They’re playing really good this year and they’re playing well (right now).”

“I want to be a winner. I want to win the MIAA,” Givens finishes, “I want to go to the national tournament. So it would mean everything to me to win.”

The two teams will square off in Joplin on Saturday. The women’s game begins at 1:30 PM, with the men’s game following at roughly 3:30 PM.

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