Rock basketball (10-10, 6-8) lost its fourth straight game in the final seconds of Wednesday’s contest against Gannon University (13-5, 11-3).
“We’ve lost some really close ones over the last three weeks,” Rock head coach Kevin Reynolds said. “We played a good game with one of the best teams in the conference. I’m proud of the guys.”
SRU took the lead early in the first half. SRU held that lead for over 18 minutes, outscoring the Golden Knights 28-24. The Rock would keep the lead through the first five minutes of second half play before Gannon began to push back.
Within a minute, the Golden Knights scored 5 unanswered points to take its first lead since the opening minutes of the game.
The Rock and Gannon battled until the final two minutes of the game, tying the score on four different occasions. Despite SRU’s efforts, a late turnover by senior guard Jordan Marrow, his fourth of the night, with 13 seconds left in the game resulted in two made free throw attempts by Gannon’s junior guard Zay Jackson that put the game out of reach. Jackson had 20 points on the night, 9 which came from foul shots.
“It’s hard when you can’t check the replay,” Reynolds said. “One ref said that it was out on them, but another said it went out on us. We just couldn’t catch the break.”
While that late call could have made a difference in the game, Reynolds puts his team poor shooting performance for reasons why they loss.
The Rock went 22-60 (36.7 percent) from the field. In its last four games, The Rock has scored below 60 points averaging a 39.5 percent field goal percentage. The Green and White’s shooting troubles continued with foul shots.
SRU went 8-13 (61.5 percent) from the freethrow line. It is the team’s third game shooting below 70 percent from foul shot attempts.
“It’s the easiest shot in basketball,” Reynolds said. “It’s the only time we are guaranteed a shot uncontested. We have to get better.”
What Reynold’s players didn’t do on offense, they attempted to make up for on defense. Slippery Rock outrebounded Gannon 43-31 and had 6 blocks to the Golden Knights 3.
Redshirt junior forward Amir Johnson led the defensive charge with 10 rebounds and four blocks. Johnson finished with a double-double adding on 11 points. He finished second behind redshirt junior Merdic Green who contributed 15 points.
Gannon’s junior forward Damon Miraud followed behind Jackson adding 13 points and led the team with 8 rebounds.
Though his team loss, Reynolds said their defensive performance can potentially give them some motivation into next game.
“We held two of their top scorers to 7-23 from the field,” Reynolds said.
Jackson’s 20 points came primarily from the foul line only making 5-12 shots. But, it was the Rock’s stopping of senior guard Matthew Dogan that stands out the most.
Dogan has the ninth most points in the conference and held to 2-11 (18.18 percent) from the field.
If Reynolds and The Rock want to end their losing streak they are going to have to continue to shut down team’s most proficient scorers starting with the Seton Hill Griffin’s senior forward Noah Davis. Davis sits in front of Gannon’s Dogan at eight in scoring in the PSAC.
The Rock will take on Davis and the Griffins at home on Saturday, Jan. 28th at 3:00 p.m.