Neighbors sparks Knights’ win


Morgan Neighbors didn’t need a lot of time on the court to make a major impact Thursday night.

Gannon’s junior guard finished tied for second on the team in scoring – while only logging 14 minutes of action – during the Knights’ 71-63 win over No. 24 California University of Pennsylvania.

Neighbors came off the bench and scored all of her 14 points during the second half after playing two minutes in the first half. Along with Neighbors, all Gannon reserves were held scoreless in the opening period.

Coach Jim Brunelli said that it was uncharacteristic of his squad to not have any bench points in the first half, but added that Neighbors gave the team a big lift when it needed her.

“She was a really great spark for us tonight,” Brunelli said.

After the Vulcans had cut Gannon’s lead to five points, 45-40, with 12:45 remaining in the game, Neighbors netted her first bucket of the contest to extend the lead to seven.

She proceeded to score the next five points for Gannon, hitting a 3-pointer in the process, and giving the Knights an 11-point advantage with 10:37 left. Neighbors said that despite Gannon’s lead, she knew it would be a fight until the final buzzer.

“No good team like that is just going to lay down, so we had to keep playing hard and finish it out,” she said.

The Vulcans responded and were able to cut Gannon’s 14-point lead to one with 4:33 remaining.

Neighbors also proved to be clutch from the charity stripe down the stretch for Gannon when she was fouled twice in the final two minutes.

The Knights had a four-point lead with 18 seconds left and Neighbors calmly drained both shots to secure the win.

Neighbors credited her coaches’ practice tactics for her cold-blooded foul shooting at the end of the game. She said that during practice there is a five-minute time limit where every member of the team has to hit eight straight foul shots, which simulates a high-pressure situation.

“It used to be nerve-wracking, but now we are used to it and can focus and hit them,” Neighbors said.

The Westerville, Ohio, native finished the game shooting 50 percent from the field, sinking 7-of-8 from the foul line and grabbing three offensive boards.

“I do what the team needs me to do,” Neighbors said. “I have a role to help in any way I can, and I was happy to help in a big win.”


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