The Gannon University men’s basketball team came up empty last week, dropping a pair of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference home games to Seton Hill and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
The losses left the Knights with an overall record of 8-15 and a 6-10 mark in PSAC West play going into Wednesday’s 7:30 p.m. battle with California University of Pennsylvania on the road.
Gannon is currently in fifth place in the PSAC West but sits just a half-game ahead of Cal U and one game in front of Seton Hill.
The Knights put up a strong fight in both of last week’s home losses, but they couldn’t quite finish strong enough to end up on the winning side.
Gannon battled on the boards and hustled on defense but could not get its crunch-time shots to fall, and that made a big difference.
IUP came into the Hammermill Center Saturday leading the PSAC West and ranked sixth nationally among all Division II teams.
The Crimson Hawks jumped to an early eight-point lead, but Gannon regrouped and forged a 19-17 lead on a jumper by guard Daryl Porter with 8 minutes, 43 seconds remaining in the half. But IUP went on to outscore the Knights 16-9 over the remainder of the half to take a 33-28 lead at halftime.
IUP widened its margin to 47-34 five minutes into the second half, but a 3-pointer by Porter with 9:37 to go cut the lead to 57-51. But that was as close as Gannon would get.
Victor Olawoye led the Knights in scoring with 16 points on efficient 51 percent shooting from three. Porter added 14 points while Jonathan Harewood contributed 11.
The Knights shot just 38.5 percent from the floor in the second half after hitting at a 52 percent clip in the first half. The Crimson Hawks, meanwhile, shot a blistering 65 percent in the second half, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range.
In Wednesday’s game with Seton Hill, the two teams traded baskets in the early going before the Knight offense got hot and went on a 10-2 run, fueled by two 3-pointers from Joe Fustine. The run put Gannon in front 18-13 just before the 10-minute mark, and the Knights went on to build a 37-31 lead at intermission.
Seton Hill used a 9-2 run to take a 45-43 lead seven minutes into the second half, and Gannon’s offense ran cold the rest of the way, marked by poor shooting from both in the paint and behind the arc.
Going only 5 of 32 from the field, Gannon put up a total of just 17 points in the final 20 minutes.
DeAnte Cisero led Gannon with 12 points, also tying with Mike Haysbert for most rebounds with 7.
Following Wednesday’s game at Cal U, Gannon will host Edinboro at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Hammermill Center.