The Gannon University men’s basketball team was defeated by East Stroudsburg University 66-58 in the second round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Atlantic regional in East Stroudsburg, Pa., Sunday.
Coach John Reilly said that even though his team didn’t finish its season on a winning note, he was proud of the effort.
“I thought they played as hard as they could every game,” Reilly said. “I thought we competed as well as anyone in the country this year.”
The Knights did get a taste of what winning at the NCAA tournament level feels like when they sneaked past the University of Charleston 66-64 Saturday.
Reilly said senior guard/forward C.J. Oldham had been battling a stomach virus all day prior to the matchup against Charleston. Oldham tied the game late in the second half and gave the Knights the lead that they never gave up.
“It was a great win for us and it was so fitting,” Reilly said.
The Knights, who went 20-10, had their aspirations of taking home a national title shattered the following day. Reilly said the team was a little shaky to start the game, but thought his team played well in the second half.
Junior forward A’Darius Porter finished the game with a team-high 17 points and 10 rebounds. Porter said he thought his team played decently in the tournament, and added that the experience could be used as a learning tool.
“I believe that we know what the tournament is like now,” Porter said. “Going into next year we know even better how to prepare.”
Seniors Roger Livramento, Brandon Emmitt, Jabs Newby and Oldham saw their Gannon careers come to end Sunday.
Oldham said he was very proud of how his team handled its season.
“It was a rough start going into the second half of the season 6-7, but we refused to accept mediocrity,” Oldham said.
The senior guard said he wasn’t pleased with how the season ended, but noted that he was honored to be a part of such a great program.
“The program has definitely left a large mark on each one of us,” Oldham said. “For the past two years we have had the privilege of being a part of this group of guys and have loved every moment of it.
“And for all of it we are so grateful.”