Men’s basketball falls at Gannon
In their fifth consecutive single-possession game, the Slippery Rock men’s basketball fell 56-59 Wednesday night at the Hammermill Center at Gannon University.
The loss dropped the Green and White (16-7,7-4 PSAC-West) to fourth place in the PSAC-West and gave the Golden Knights (13-8, 8-3 PSAC-West) sole possession of third place. The two were previously tied at third.
“It’s disappointing,” SRU head coach Kevin Reynolds said. “We didn’t play to our capabilities in the second half and we have ourselves to blame.”
Slippery Rock is 2-3 in their past five games.
Prior to the string of single-possession games, they had been ranked first in the conference.
“To have a good year, you want to be 4-1 in these situations,” Reynolds said. “We have to close games out.”
Gannon shot nearly 46 percent from the field in the second half and finished the game with 80 percent success from the free throw line.
“We have to lock down in the stretch,” redshirt sophomore guard Maxx Rynd said. “The defense was there for the most part. We held them to 59 points but we need to execute at the end of the game.”
Rynd scored four points against the Golden Knights, hitting 50 percent from the line.
SRU was led by senior center Maurice Lewis-Briggs, who totaled 27 points and eight rebounds in the game.
“Moe played a great game,” Reynolds said, “but he’d be the first to tell you that having that type of game in a losing cause isn’t any consolation.”
Reynolds related the performance to the upcoming Olympic Games.
“In the Olympics, it’s okay if you get silver or bronze,” Reynolds said. “Getting second in basketball is disappointing.”
The Rock and Gannon experienced 11 ties, six of which occurred in the second half.
With three minutes remaining in regulation, the Green and White buckled down and almost came back from the seven-point deficit.
The score was 56-58 with 47 seconds remaining.
Gannon’s Adam Blazek hit a free throw and gave the Golden Knights a three-point lead (56-59).
Slippery Rock didn’t rebound after Blazek’s shot and Gannon called a timeout with eight seconds remaining.
“Tonight we had a chance but we didn’t rebound the shot,” Reynolds said. “We outrebounded them all night. We gave them too many easy baskets tonight. That’s not typical for us.”
SRU had a 35-27 rebounding advantage over Gannon.
Gannon held an 11-17 advantage in turnovers over the Rock.
“Limiting turnovers is our main concern heading into Saturday’s game,” Rynd said.
Junior forward Kelvin Dixon nearly hit the game-tying three-point shot but the Golden Knights took the win.
Dixon scored 10 points in the game Redshirt senior forward Tabari Perry added 12 points and seven rebounds.
“We have to continue to work on guarding, sharing the ball offensively and work on our free throws,” Reynolds said. “Saturday’s game is a must win.”
Slippery Rock faces the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown (12-9, 5-6 PSAC-West) at 3 p.m. Saturday.