PITTSBURG, Kan. – Rogers State men's basketball came from behind to defeat Pittsburg State 87-80 in overtime Thursday night at the John Lance Arena.
Four Hillcats finished in double figures as Rogers State picked up their first victory of the season after outscoring the Gorillas 18-11 in the overtime period.
Hillcat senior Devin Pullum also surpassed a milestone in the win, as he eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career midway through the first half.
How It Happened: The Hillcats trailed for nearly the entire first half as Pittsburg State took a lead with the first possession and retook the lead nine seconds after Destin Eke tied the game with the Hillcats first basket. The Gorillas then pulled away and opened up a lead by as much as 13 points late in the second half at 40-27.
However, the Hillcats would respond. In the final 64 seconds of the half, Ricardo Lynch made a jumper and Darraja Parnell hit a three pointer with one second left to cut the deficit to eight at the break with a mini 5-0 run.
Starting the second half trailing 40-32, Rogers State went on a 12-0 run to cap a 17-0 run in both halves and take a 44-40 lead. The run was fueled by a trio of three pointers from Brewster Peacock, including a four-point play to begin the second half.
The Hillcats would go up by as much as seven in the second half before the Gorillas responded with a run to go up by six. Devin Pullum then sank a pair of free throws with 22 seconds left to tie the game at 69 and force overtime.
After each team made a free throw in the early possessions of overtime, Rogers State took a 72-70 lead with two free throws from Destin Eke. A jumper from Cole Kinnamon and a three pointer from Pullum put the Hillcats ahead 77-72.
The Gorillas would cut the deficit to 81-80 with 1:01 remaining, but Joey Saracco's layup with 39 seconds left gave the Hillcats an 83-80 lead. Pitt State then missed two free throws and Jett Sternberger sank a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left and two more with three seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Key Statistic: The big difference between the two teams came at the free-throw line. Rogers State shot 87.5 percent (21-for-24) from the free throw line, while Pittsburg State was just 52 percent (13-for-25) from the stripe.
Players of Note: Pullum finished with 16 points on the night, surpassing the 1,000-point mark for his career. The senior now sits at 1,012 career points. Pullum finished 5-for-8 on the night with a pair of three pointers. He also had three rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal.
Eke led the Hillcats in scoring for the third time this season as he finished with 19 points, including seven points in overtime. The sophomore was 8-for-12 from the field and also had six rebounds and a block.
Peacock finished with 14 points, all in the second half, to help fuel the Hillcats comeback. Peacock finished 5-for-9 from the field along with his trio of three pointers early in the second half. He also had five rebounds.
Sternberger scored 13 points in his official return to action for the Hillcats. After playing in last Saturday's exhibition at Oral Roberts, Sternberger made three field goals and was also 7-for-9 from the free-throw line, including four free throws to seal the victory in overtime.
Parnell recorded the first double-digit rebounding performance for the Hillcats since February with 11 rebounds on the night. Parnell fell a point shy of a double-double, finishing with nine points. He also had a pair of assists and steals on the night.
Kinnamon set a career high in assists in the game, finishing with seven, breaking his previous best of four. Kinnamon also had eight points and a steal on the night.
Up Next: The Hillcats will be back in action on Saturday, making another short trip north to Joplin, Missouri to take on No. 21 Missouri Southern. Rogers State will tip off with the Lions at 3:30 p.m. at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.