Knights go back to back


Coach John Reilly and the Gannon University men’s basketball team enter Wednesday night’s road matchup against Seton Hill coming off back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Despite the Knights’ impressive recent performances– a 71-56 victory over Clarion on Feb. 3 and Saturday’s 80-79 overtime thriller over host Pitt-Johnstown—this season has proved to be nothing short of a challenge for Reilly’s young team.
The Knights, who improved to 6-15 overall and 5-13 in PSAC play, have eight new players on their roster this season, a mix of both freshmen and transfers, who have all had to adjust to playing with each other.
“Anytime you have new players coming into your program, it’s a whole ‘other level for them,” Reilly said.
“We’ve had a hard time developing consistency, and knowing what to expect from each player.”
There is without a doubt an expected period of adjustment for a program with so many fresh faces. However, according to Reilly, the Knights can continue to get better as they gain the necessary experience.
In spite of all the hurdles this season for Reilly, he also had many positive things to say about his team’s performances last week against Clarion and Pitt-Johnstown.
“We’re sharing the ball better on offense, and trusting each other a little more,” Reilly said.
The Knights’ 15 assists against the Pitt- Johnstown is clear evidence of that.
Without a major scoring presence this season, sharing the ball appears to be key for the Knights.
Reilly also pointed out the 14 points in transition his team had last game and added that he’s been pleased to see his players getting more easy baskets that way.
Defensively, Reilly said he has also been very happy with how his team has done guarding the rim off screens.
The Knights are primarily a man-to-man team, but their zone defense has helped reserve some energy for players on the offensive end of the floor.
It will be up to seniors like guard Tony Boykins to keep the wheels turning for the rest of the Gannon’s season.
Boykins was a guard last year, but is getting a lot of minutes this year playing with his back to the basket.
According to Reilly, Boykins has an outstanding work ethic and toughness that makes him the Knights’ best practice player. His defensive abilities are also the best on the team, Reilly added.
Gannon hopes to add to its two-game winning streak Wednesday against the Seton Hill in Greensburg. In their last meeting, earlier this season, the Griffins came away with a seven-point win, and they’ll be looking for their first ever season sweep of Gannon.
The Knights had to come from behind in their win over Pitt-Johnstown, as Kevin Kuteyi hit a 3-pointer to tie the game and then another 3-pointer to go ahead – all in the final 90 seconds of overtime.
Pitt-Johnstown led 74-68 with 3 minutes, 16 seconds remaining in overtime, but Gannon answered with five straight points.
Kuteyi’s first 3-pointer later tied the score and his second gave Gannon the lead for good with 56 seconds to play.
Ian Gardener led Gannon with a career-high 17 points in 19 minutes off the bench and C.J. Asuncion-Byrd added 14.
Boykins’ 20 points led the way in the win over Clarion while Jean Yves Toupane added 17 and Asuncion-Byrd contributed 15.

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