Gorilla Season

News, notes and quotes on KU's final exhibition game against Pittsburg State tonight in Allen Fieldhouse. Tipoff is 7 p.m. with the game televised on Jayhawk TV.

KU has never lost to Pitt State (7-0), including three exhibition victories. The teams last met in the 2007 exhibition season, a resounding 94-57 Jayhawk victory. The series dates back to 1944 with KU winning 35-21 in Lawrence. All seven games have been played in River City.


Pittsburg State is coming off a 10-17 season last year. The Gorillas return two starters and five letterwinners, including 6-4 senior guard Spencer Magana and 6-6 senior forward Rodney Grace. Magana started 26 games last year, averaging 12.4 points per game, while Grace posted 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds in 23 starts.

Pitt State lost its exhibition opener at Kansas State on Sunday, 89-53. Junior forward Quincy Jones (6-8, 230) led the Gorillas with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Grace and 6-5 freshman forward Javon McGee added seven points each. McGee, who played at Grandview High School in Kansas City, Mo., also had seven boards. A three-year starter at Grandview, McGee was an honorable mention All-Metro performer his senior year. He helped the Bulldogs to a 29-2 record and the Missouri Class 5A state runner-up finish in 2009.

The Gorillas committed 23 turnovers against K-State and were outrebounded 45-32.

"I thought we played hard," head coach Gene Iba told pittgorillas.com. "We aren't where we want to be. (These players) want to get better. The thing we want to accomplish from these games is to execute and have patience. If we can do that against these superior teams, it will be much easier for us to do during the regular season."

Pitt State next travels to Las Vegas for its final exhibition game on Saturday night.

It's a tough exhibition season for Iba, who enters the last season of his coaching career. He is retiring after 15 years at Pitt State and 30 years overall as head coach. Iba, 68, is the nephew of the late, legendary Henry Iba, the longtime Hall of Fame coach at Oklahoma State. Gene Iba has posted a 252-154 record at Pittsburg State and 478-357 mark overall. The Gorillas have made five trips to the NCAA Division II National Tournament under Iba.

He led Pitt State to a school-record 40-straight home wins between Jan. 10, 1997 and Feb. 22, 1999. The Gorillas won 18 straight games during that time and achieved the program's first No. 1 NCAA ranking on Feb. 15, 1999.


KU junior center Cole Aldrich had a solid game (13 points and 13 rebounds) in the Jayhawks' exhibition opener against undersized Fort Hays State last Tuesday. However, he only had seven field goal attempts, just two in the first half.

Coach Bill Self wants the big man to get more touches in "areas where he can shoot, and if they take that away, then hopefully he will become a better passer or better assist guy."

Self hopes Aldrich boosts his 9.5 shot attempts per game from last season and gets double-figure attempts every night.

"Sometimes when things are going well and other guys are making shots," Self said, "a lot of times we can forget about the big fella and we don't need to do that."

Aldrich believes more touches for him and his fellow big men will benefit the team.

"It's really important to have an inside-out game because if guys are struggling with outside shooting, then they can throw the ball to the big guys," he said. "If we're struggling and get double-teamed, then we can kick it out for open threes and just get the perimeter guys easy shots."


KU opens the regular season Friday night against Hofstra at 7:00 in Allen Fieldhouse. This will be the first meeting between the two schools. Hofstra returns five letterwinners, including two starters from last season's 21-11 team.

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