An out-of-sync Slippery Rock men’s basketball team fell to an aggressive Gannon University 61-68 Wednesday night.
The loss ended a six-game win streak and dropped SRU to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in the PSAC-West.
Gannon improved to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the PSAC-West.
Head coach Kevin Reynolds blamed the team’s performance on the coaching staff.
“There’s a lot of frustration on my part,” Reynolds said. “That was a bad job out of myself and that type of performance hasn’t happened since I’ve been here.”
For the first time all season, Slippery Rock was outrebounded. The Golden Knights held a 40-30 advantage over the Green and White.
SRU took an early 17-6 lead over Gannon but the Golden Knights fought back to tie the score 30-30 heading into the half.
“We stepped out of how we play,” Reynolds said. “Guys were taking chances and risks that were bad. That’s coaching. At the end of the day, it’s my responsibility to have those guys in the right positions to make the right plays.”
Both teams had 12 turnovers but Gannon capitalized on their opportunities better than SRU.
The Golden Knights scored 18 points off turnovers, compared to Slippery Rock’s 13.
A lack of chemistry on the court greatly affected the team’s ability to put up a defensive effort against the Golden Knights.
Gannon outscored the Rock 26-22 in the paint and 16-13 in second chance points.
All-conference guard Adam Blazek, who scored 26 points, led the Golden Knights.
During the final minutes of the game, Slippery Rock made a run against Gannon and trimmed the deficit to two or three possessions on several occasions.
In the end, missed shots prevented the Green and White from tying the game or taking the lead.
“There’s no prize for effort,” Reynolds said. “You don’t get a prize for effort. Effort’s expected but you have to play with smart effort.”
Junior guard Matej Delinac led the Rock with 18 points, senior center Maurice Lewis-Briggs and junior forward Kelvin Dixon scored 10 points while senior forward Tabari Perry scored nine.
Perry, one of Slippery Rock’s only returning starters, said that the struggle with team chemistry shouldn’t be connected with the graduation of last year’s seniors.
“I try not to think like that,” Perry said. “I just want this year’s team to be better than last year’s.”
Team chemistry will continue to be a focus for Slippery Rock and they will need it in order to make a statement in the conference.
The Green and White shot a meager 35 percent efficiency in field goals.
A frustrated, disappointed Reynolds took the loss to heart and gave a lot of credit to Gannon’s coaching staff.
“Gannon was a better coached team tonight and they played significantly better than us,” Reynolds said. “That ultimately falls on me. There’s no blame to put on the guys. I need to do a better job coaching the game.”
During the final moments of the game when the Rock attempted to make their comeback, the stands began to empty.
Reynolds said that he didn’t blame the fans or put any fault on them.
“The fans have been great to us,” Reynolds said. “They come to home games and they travel. We let them down with a disappointing performance.”
Slippery Rock will continue PSAC-West action with a game at 3 p.m. on Saturday against the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.