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


Men’s basketball team falls to .500

The New England Patriots weren’t the only team experiencing a painful case of déjà vu this weekend.

The Gannon University men’s basketball team had to endure yet another last-second defeat Saturday, when California University of Pennsylvania drained a 3-pointer with 7 seconds remaining to steal a 68-67 win at the Hammermill Center.

The gut-wrenching loss was compounded by the Knights’ 59-48 defeat at home to No. 13 Indiana Wednesday, dropping the Knights to an even-.500 after the winless week. Gannon stands at 10-10 overall and 8-8 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

For the Knights, Saturday’s near-miss marks the fourth time an opponent has made a decisive shot in the last 30 seconds of a game.

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Coach John T. Reilly said the atmosphere in the locker room reflected as much.

“They were upset, they were mad. They care,” he said. “Now it is my job is to pick them up, and make sure we’re ready for our next game.”

Gannon, whose next game is against Edinboro Wednesday, showed great resolve, Reilly said, when they erased a 10-point lead with five minutes remaining in the second half.

The Knights put together a 13-0 run when T.J. Wilson bookended a pair of layups around three consecutive scores by freshman point guard Adam Blazek to give the Knights a 64-63 lead.

After Cal and Gannon traded points on their next possessions, Oscar Macias stole the Vulcans’ inbound pass under their basket and was fouled with 20 seconds left. The junior guard knocked down one of two free throws, before Cal’s Chad Tipton silenced the crowd of 1,229 with a 3-point shot from the right elbow with a hand in his face.

“For a while, we were making the same mistakes that have been plaguing us all season. But they did a great job of refocusing and giving themselves an opportunity to win,” Reilly said. “I’m proud of the way they stepped up and actually played to win, rather than play not to lose like we have been.”

With the season sweep, Cal (12-10 overall, 9-7 PSAC) moved to a virtual two-game lead over Gannon.

The loss has left the Knights with little margin for error.

“The last few games we have to play even hungrier then we have been and hope that everything plays out right,” said Macias, who came off the bench for the first time Saturday and responded with 13 points.

The thrilling defeat came on the heels of an underwhelming loss when the Knights shot just 38 percent and committed 23 turnovers to PSAC West-leading IUP (17-3, 14-2) Wednesday.

Gannon did receive some welcome news Wednesday when sophomore guard Stephen Battle saw his first game action in more than a month after suffering a deep knee bruise in the Porreco Cup in late December.

“I’m still in pain, but with six weeks left in the season, I think I should get back to help the team,” said Battle, who logged 12 and eight minutes against Indiana and Cal last week, respectively, while scoring three points in each game.

Battle was named the PSAC Freshman of the Year a season ago when he averaged 12.6 points per game.

Reilly iterated how important each player is to the team’s future.

“The key for us is to keep the group together for next year, add one or two pieces and continue to improve,” he said.

The Knights’ immediate future will begin Wednesday, when they make the short trip down Interstate 79. The Scots (11-9, 9-7) join the Knights and Vulcans among those on the outside looking into the PSAC playoffs.

Gannon will try to exact revenge on the Scots, who put together a furious second-half rally in their 76-72 win over the Knights at home on Jan. 11.

For the Knights, Battle said they have to step up their intensity to have any chance at the postseason.

“Every game’s a must win,” he said.

Joe Cuneo

[email protected]

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