Rock basketball dries up in loss to Gannon

Published by Karl Ludwig, Date: February 5, 2020
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As country music star Luke Combs once sang, “Oh Lord, when it rains it pours.”

The Slippery Rock men’s basketball team experienced a downpour first hand as Gannon shot 62% in the second half compared to Slippery Rock’s paltry 21% over the same stretch.

Gannon (9-9, 8-6 PSAC) rode its 50 point second half to a 69-49 win over a listless Slippery Rock team (10-10, 6-8 PSAC) Wednesday night at the Morrow Field House.

“They just beat us in the second half,” Slippery Rock coach Ian Grady said. “We didn’t do anything that we talked about doing and anything we were doing in the first half that was working, we stopped doing. Offensive and defensive end.”

Despite shooting just 33% in the first half, Slippery Rock led Gannon at the halftime break, 27-19, largely due to the hot shooting night of sophomore forward Will Bounds.

Bounds connected on all five of his first-half shots, including a perfect three of three from 3-point range, to lead all players with 14 points.

Despite playing 10 minutes in the first half, to great success, Bounds only saw eight minutes on the court in the second half. Grady attributed the lack of a cohesive lineup to Bound’s decreased play time and subsequent lack of impact.

“We were trying to find a combination that was working, and he was part of that,” Grady said. “The second half went quickly, and we were just trying to find a group that worked, but we couldn’t find that in the second half.”

Slippery Rock experienced scoring droughts from every starter in the second half, as SRU made just five field goals over the final 20 minutes.

Senior forward Micah Till and junior guard Deontae Robertson led the team in scoring in the second half with just four points each. Till, who went ice-cold in the second half, recorded all of his points on free throws.

In addition to Gannon seemingly hitting every shot it took, Slippery Rock turned the ball over 12 times in the second half, compared to the Golden Knights’ two.

Fixing the problems on the court during a bad stretch of play isn’t always cut and dry, Grady said.

“You can say things that you see, try to correct them,” Grady said. “[Say] things that you see that are going on in the game. They have to go on the court and make those adjustments, and I have to do a better job of making them sooner.”

With a significant margin in points off turnovers (23-3), fast-break points (14-1), and points in the paint (24-2) in the second half, Slippery Rock found itself stuck under a raincloud.

On a night where nothing went right and everything went wrong, Grady stressed an “on to the next game” mentality moving forward.

“You have no choice [but to move on],” Grady said. “When you have the conference schedule set, it’s Wednesday and Saturday, you don’t have a choice to not brush it off. You have to move on. When you lose in that fashion, you just try to correct some things.

Leaders

SRU: Bounds led Slippery Rock with a career-high 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting and a perfect 4-of-4 from 3-point range.

Robertson just missed on a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds while senior forward Will Robinson Jr. rounded out the scorers with eight points.

GU: Matt Johnson scored a game-high 20 points, helped by a perfect 9-of-9 day from the free-throw line.

Kevin Dodds scored 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in just 23 minutes, and DeAnte Cisero scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds.

Big Picture

SRU: With the loss, Slippery Rock falls to 10-10 on the season and 6-8 in the conference.

Slippery Rock still sits securely in the playoff picture, largely due to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Western Division bottom dwellers sitting so far outside the picture. At 6-8, SRU still controls the sixth seed in the division.

GU: Gannon improves to 9-9 on the season and 8-6 in the conference with the win.

Sitting in the fifth seed in the PSAC-West, Gannon is only one game back of Mercyhurst for the fourth seed.

Up Next

Slippery Rock is back in action on the road against California (Pa.) Saturday afternoon. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

“[California] beat us here, and we just have to go down there and put our best foot forward,” Grady said.

Karl is a senior sport management major and communication minor entering his fifth semester on The Rocket staff. He will serve as the sports editor after previously serving as the assistant sports editor. During his time with The Rocket, he has covered every sport that SRU has to offer, and with the lack of sports this coming semester, he is looking forward to finding alternative ways to deliver sports news to the SRU community. After graduation, he hopes to work in the sports writing field.

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Karl Ludwig
Karl is a senior sport management major and communication minor entering his fifth semester on The Rocket staff. He will serve as the sports editor after previously serving as the assistant sports editor. During his time with The Rocket, he has covered every sport that SRU has to offer, and with the lack of sports this coming semester, he is looking forward to finding alternative ways to deliver sports news to the SRU community. After graduation, he hopes to work in the sports writing field.

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