The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Knights’ late-game heroics not enough against Cal

After dropping three of its last four games, the Gannon men’s basketball team will have a golden opportunity to score a major win as well as bragging rights when it hosts crosstown rival Mercyhurst Wednesday night at the Hammermill Center.
( Gannon freshman forward Stephen Battle (30) hits a jumper in the Knights 70-43 victory over Lock Haven University on Jan.15. It was Gannon's last win before dropping two straight Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West games against Edinboro and California (Pa.) universities.

But after enduring a heart-breaking 70-62 defeat at rival Edinboro Wednesday, and a 72-70 loss to California (Pa.) at home Saturday, the Knights know a win of any kind would work wonders for the scuffling squad.

“We don’t approach it any differently than when we played Cal or Edinboro,” coach John T. Reilly said. “We concern ourselves with what we do best and can’t worry too much about them. This is kind of our philosophy and if we focus on that, we’ll have a good chance at beating any team we face.”

Junior point guard Steve Piotrowicz echoed his coach’s sentiments, adding that the Knights expect to be in a position to win every game.

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“We’ve lost our last two, so we know just getting a win here is the most important thing,” Piotrowicz said. “We probably had our best effort against Cal., and if we just continue that, we’ll be in a positive position to win.”

The Knights’ efforts were sunk by the Vulcans’ clutch shooting performance, which was capped off by Quentin Harding’s game-winning baseline jumper that fell in with 45 seconds left.

Piotrowicz had a chance to give the Knights the lead in the final seconds but missed the mark on a 3-pointer from behind the left elbow.

Kelvin Agee led all scorers with 25 points after registering a season-low total of eight against Edinboro (10-8, 2-2).

Against the Scots, Gannon could not overcome an anemic 17-point offensive output in the first half despite a 13-0 run late in the second half.

The Knights converted just seven field goals in the first half and were hampered by 19 turnovers, which led to 16 Edinboro points.

Despite not tallying a win last week, Reilly said he sees much improvement in his team to go along with a sense of great poise and resolve.

“We’re a better team and we’re maturing,” Reilly said. “We’ve got a young nucleus, and I think we had our best effort against Cal, but give them credit because they made the tough shots when they had to. There’s no easy game in this league and we know we can win or lose on any night.”

For some Gannon players, the youth and inexperience in league action is beginning to wane. Freshmen Agee and Stephen Battle top the team in scoring. Battle earned his third straight PSAC West freshman of the week honor after scoring 19 and 17 points, respectively, against Edinboro and California.

Should Gannon defend its home court Wednesday, the Golden Boys will have to best the equally-talented and red-hot Lakers, who lead the PSAC West with a 13-3 overall mark to go along with a perfect 4-0 conference record.

The Lakers boast a high-powered offensive attack, led by Heiden Ratner and Luis Leao, who, together, are the conference’s best scoring duo. Ratner leads the PSAC with 23.1 points per game, while Leao, the PSAC West player of the week, averages 16.8 points per contest.

Despite the laundry list of accolades Mercyhurst will bring with them to Hammermill Center Wednesday, the Knights will be ready for the Lakers, Reilly said.

“Their record doesn’t concern us,” he said. “We’re a defensive team and our philosophy is to keep them from scoring and that may sound simple, but if we do that we’ll have a good chance to win.”


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