Men lose to Gannon despite close first half

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, February 12th, 2020 at 8:11 PM
Men lose to Gannon despite close first half by Sam Bohen
EU men’s basketball battled it out against Gannon in the Feb. 5 EUKnighted match. They lost 74-47. Photo: Ben McCullough

The Edinboro men’s basketball team lost to Gannon University on Feb. 5, 74-47. The loss is the 10th straight for the Fighting Scots, dropping their season record to 5-14 overall and 2-13 in PSAC play. 

The win gave Gannon a season sweep of the Scots, of which both match-ups were part of the EUKnighted series benefiting the Pennsylvania Soldiers and Sailors Home. This game was played in front of an incredibly loud McComb Fieldhouse crowd, which for the first time this season sported a student section across the court from Boro’s bench.

“There were a few factors we were aware of in that game,” said Head Coach Pat Cleary. “The first being the crowd, which helped us. It’s a rivalry game and it’s for a good cause. All that stuff matters to us.”

Clearly the players on both sides could feel the intensity. Edinboro won the opening tip and the teams traded jabs early and often in the rivalry game. Gannon would eventually take a 15-13 lead with just under 12 minutes left in the first half; each made shot landed like a prizefighter connecting on a haymaker. 

“It was because of the crowd,” said sophomore Turner Kurt. “We had a ton of fans in there tonight.”

The cross-county foes would continue to put on a show, eventually landing at 28-27 in favor of Gannon with 3:55 remaining in the first half. After a media timeout, the Golden Knights would get hot, going on a 7-0 run and making it 35-27. Edinboro would call another timeout, regroup and close the half at 38-30. 

“As a team, we knew we needed to bring it tonight,” Kurt said. “We brought a lot of energy to the first half.”

Unfortunately for Edinboro, that energy and excitement would not carry through to the last two quarters. Gannon would outscore the Fighting Scots 36-17 in the second half, the 17 points being the lowest Edinboro has scored in any half of action this season. 

“The second half we started off slow, and then it just spiraled from there,” Kurt said. 

The second half was certainly a peculiar one for multiple reasons. There was the fact that ‘Boro scored only 17 points. There was the fact that they didn’t score for nearly 7 and a half minutes, until a garbage-time 3-pointer with 6 seconds remaining in the game. There was the fact that both teams combined for only two buckets in the first five minutes of the half. 

“Frustration sets in,” Cleary said. “We start missing shots and we start giving up some easy baskets. It can snowball pretty quickly.”

Kurt would lead the Scots with 13 points, 11 of which came in the first half. Big man Trey Staunch would contribute 11. Anthony Allen, who started alongside Staunch in hopes of dominating the frontcourt, would add five points and four boards before getting into foul trouble. 

A positive note for the Scots going forward: leading scorer Anthony Coleman returned against Gannon, playing for the first time after missing the last five games. Coleman would contribute five points and three rebounds, but was slowly easing his way back into game action. The return of Coleman should allow Cleary to send out some more game specific lineups. If he has the advantage in the backcourt, he can emphasize that advantage with Coleman and Jaryn Simpson, if it lies in the frontcourt, he can go with size of Kurt, Staunch and Allen. 

The Scots played at Pitt-Johnstown Feb. 8. They would lose, 98-73, pushing their losing streak to 11.  

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