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PSU's inside game sets tone

Pittsburg State men's basketball head coach Gene Iba inserted Andy Wachter into the starting lineup Saturday night in an attempt to give him more playing time.
/ Source: Yorknewstimes.com

Pittsburg State men's basketball head coach Gene Iba inserted Andy Wachter into the starting lineup Saturday night in an attempt to give him more playing time.

"I wanted to get Andy some time and not just have the opportunity to come in and fill for somebody,'' Iba said. "Andy has to be a big part of what we do.''

Wachter, however, had to leave the game after 2 1/2 minutes when he lost a contact. After a quick trip to the locker room for a replacement, Iba substituted him back into the game.

Coming off the bench, Eddie Jackson, shedding a recent shooting slump, fired in 37 points and set a school record with nine 3-point goals in the Gorillas' 95-86 victory over Central Missouri State at John Lance Arena.

That raises the question: Will Jackson be coming off the bench again in Wednesday night's game against Washburn?

"I don't know, but I'm sure going to think about it,'' Iba said. "I can't imagine why he would have any objections.''

Jackson, who sank 14 of 21 shots overall and 9 of 13 from beyond the arc, broke the school record of eight treys set by James Sanders in a 97-90 home loss to Drury on Jan. 16, 1995. Jackson's previous high was seven 3s in 15 attempts during a 33-point performance in the Gorillas' 84-76 win over Central Missouri last March in the first round of the MIAA Postseason Tournament in Kansas City, Mo.

Jackson, who became the 19th player to reach 1,000 points for the Gorillas, seemingly couldn't miss in the first half, hitting 8 of 11 shots and 6 of 8 treys for 22 points.

But before Jackson caught fire, the Gorillas had success working the ball inside and driving the ball to the basket.

"That's what Coach harped on getting the ball inside first,'' Jackson said. "If we get it inside, that's going to open up the outside.''

The center combination of first Justin White and then Daniel Blair, who finished with a combined 17 points and 15 rebounds, drew three fouls against Pat Schumacher, the Mules' 6-foot-11, 247-pound center, in 11 minutes in the first half. Schumacher picked up his fourth foul three minutes into the second half and went to the bench for the rest of the game.

"We got the ball (inside) and got Schumacher in trouble at the first,'' Iba said. "JT (Jason Taylor, who scored 19 points) took the ball a couple of times to the glass. We made their perimeter people have to come back inside, which is what they didn't do there (in a 90-71 loss one month ago in Warrensburg, Mo.)''

The Gorillas dominated the rebounding by 39-29 margin. Blair claimed nine rebounds, including five at the offensive end. White and Taylor both had six rebounds, one more than Greg Campbell.

"Going into the game, we knew we couldn't possibly let them have as many offensive rebounds as they did up there and have a chance to win,'' Iba said.

The Mules finished with nine offensive rebounds, only one less than in the previous meeting, but they claimed two offensive boards in the final 20 seconds.

HEAD:Names and numbers

* Campbell handed out seven assists - two below his career high - to boost his career total to 247. With his next assist, he'll tie Tony McCoy (1984-85) for seventh place on the Gorillas' career list.

* Junior forward Zac Shepherd set a career high with four assists. He also scored six points in 19 minutes.

* Jackson's nine 3-pointers gave him 157 for his career, tying him with Matt Sherrel (1989-92) for third place in PSU history. They trail Oscar Gonzalez (272 from 1996-99) and Tony Fleming (197 from 1987-90).

HEAD:Next month

As the calendar flips to February, the Gorillas will play five of their final eight games on the road.

This week the Gorillas entertain Washburn on Wednesday night before traveling to Missouri-Rolla for Saturday matinee games.