Gannon flops against rival ‘Hurst

The Gannon men’s basketball team will take on two opponents Saturday afternoon at the Hammermill Center: Indiana (Pa.) and breast cancer.

Terry Carson
(Terry Carson) Redshirt freshman Kelvin Agee contorts his body around Mercyhurst's Jonathan Oeugnin to get off a baseline jump shot. Agee finished with 10 points and five rebounds. The Knights lost to the rival Lakers 68-64 in overtime.

With the Crimson Hawks soaring into town, the Knights will take part in the fourth annual Pink Zone game at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Gannon men’s and women’s basketball teams have joined together in hopes of raising $18,000 for the Erie unit of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Fund.

On the court, the Gannon men will look to clamp down on D and kick start the O against the Crimson Hawks.

The Knights, who sit at 10-7 overall and 2-4 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West division, were able to stop a three-game slide Saturday, when they defeated Clarion 76-67.

Gannon’s defense stifled the 12-5 Clarion offense, by allowing the Golden Eagles to shoot just 37.7 percent from the floor.

 The Knights ended the first half on a 7-0 run to take a 37-29 lead into halftime before leading the entire second half.

Redshirt freshman Kelvin Agee and freshman Stephen Battle teamed up to combine for 43 points, as Agee led the way with 24, including 4-for-5 from 3-point range.

The win brought with it more meaning than just a much-needed conference victory for the Knights.

It also meant Coach John T. Reilly became the fifth Gannon coach to attain 100 wins while at the school.

The victory improved Reilly’s record to 100-63 in six seasons at Gannon and 332-208 in 18 years overall at Gannon and Brescia University.

 However, Reilly said the fact that the team is winning is what matters most to him.

“I think the most important thing is that we got a league win,” he said. “We persevered and had to endure some tough losses up to this point.”

Prior to the win on the road, the Knights had to suffer one of said heart breaking defeats, this time at the hands of rival and PSAC-West leading Mercyhurst at home.

After leading for most of the game, the Knights’ offense went cold for the second half’s final minutes before the Lakers overtook them in overtime, 68-64.

Leading 56-50, Gannon failed to score in the last 3 minutes, 26 seconds as the Lakers tied the game at 56 and sent it to overtime.

In the extra session, Mercyhurst’s Luis Leao scored five of his team-leading 18 points on consecutive possessions to put the Lakers ahead for good.

Travis Brannen finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Knight attack, which recorded an uncharacteristic 24 turnovers in the game.

Reilly said he and his staff addressed the issue of ball control before traveling to Clarion.

“We had gotten very careless with the ball,” Reilly said. “I think we showed them a little bit more tape and we said a few things and really just tried to clean things up and give ourselves a positive opportunity,”

“Our goal is to have 12 turnovers in a game – max, and we were far exceeding that. When we have that many turnovers, it often leads to fast breaks or one-on-two and two-on-three situations for the other team, so even if we don’t get points, we can play our half-court defense and put ourselves in a good position.”

The Knights will test their renewed plan of action when they take on 14-6 Slippery Rock University Wednesday before they face 13-5 IUP, when the Hammermill Center transforms into the Pink Zone Saturday.


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