The Gannon University men’s basketball team faced impressive shooting in two consecutive road losses last week to PSAC opponents Seton Hill University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
The Knights challenged IUP Saturday at Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex but came away with a 74-66 loss. It was the Knights’ sixth straight loss to the Crimson Hawks.
That came on the heels of a 74-70 setback at the hands of Seton Hill at McKenna Arena in Greensburg Wednesday.
The twin defeats, which came after a stretch in which Gannon had won 10 of its previous 11 games, left the Knights with an overall record of 14-8 and a 10-6 PSAC mark.
Gannon will look to rebound when it hosts California University of Pennsylvania at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hammermill Center.
Knights senior standout Evan Phoenix said the team “just needs to find that edge we had in January” when Gannon went on an eight-game win streak.
Assistant coach Chris Viscuso said that the back-to-back losses were “no indication of the team’s abilities and talents.”
Against Indiana (Pa.), the host Crimson Hawks built a 33-22 lead with four minutes to play in the opening half. Phoenix scored six straight for the Knights to close the gap, but IUP added six more to take a 39-30 halftime lead.
Gannon continued to inch closer after scoring five points at the start of the second half with consecutive layups by senior Jair Green.
But the Hawks went on another nine-point run immediately after, increasing their lead to 57-40. Zay Jackson countered with two three-pointers to bring the Knights within seven with five minutes remaining, but IUP was able to score on its final three possessions and hold on for the win.
Gannon shot 48.1 percent from the field, 23.5 percent from three-point range and 76.9 percent from the line. But IUP shot a sizzling 54 percent, including 48 percent from three-point range, where it connected on 12-of-25 shots.
Green scored 16 points to lead Gannon while Jackson and Gerrell Williams each contributed 11.
In the loss to Seton Hill, the Knights held a one- to five-point advantage for much of the first half until Seton Hill took a 31-30 lead with three minutes left.
Gannon regained the lead going into halftime after freshman Cyril Ogbuagu tied the game with a layup and Jackson quickly followed with a three pointer.
Gannon gradually increased its lead at the start of the second half, growing its advantage to a double-digit lead at 53-43 with 13:51 left to play. Seton Hill immediately struck back with a 7-0 run.
The game remained tight the rest of the way, and the Knights saw their lead slip away with four minutes left to play as Seton Hill went on a 10-2 run kickstarted by consecutive triples.
Jackson landed a bank shot in the final minute to tie the score, but Seton Hill’s Nathan Davis scored the winning bucket 11 seconds later.
Jackson poured in 26 points to move into Gannon’s all-time top 50 scorers, as he has netted 791 points over two seasons.
Phoenix added 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Knights, who outrebounded the host Griffins by 10 but still came up short. It marked the 19th time in 21 games that Gannon won the rebound battle and the 10th time Gannon outrebounded its opponent by double digits.
Gannon again ran into a red-hot shooting team, as Seton Hill shot 53 percent from the field and from the three-point line, connecting on 10-of-19 shots from long-range.
Following Wednesday’s home game with Cal U, Gannon will travel to Edinboro to take on the Fighting Scots at 3 p.m. Saturday, then host IUP at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Hammermill Center.