- Score: Gannon 46, at Mercyhurst 44
- Records: Gannon (2-2, 2-0 PSAC), Mercyhurst (1-3, 1-1 PSAC)
- Location: Erie, Pa. – Mercyhurst Athletic Center
- The Short Story: The Gannon men’s basketball team rallied from a 16-point deficit in the final 10:01 to stun rival Mercyhurst 46-44 Saturday afternoon at the Mercyhurst Athletic Center. The Golden Knights scored 21 of the final 24 points, including three consecutive three-pointers from seniors Girbran Smith (Nassau, Bahamas/Seton (Ill.) Academy) and Adam Blazek (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Prep) during the final two minutes.
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HOW IT HAPPENED
- Gannon held Mercyhurst scoreless for the first nine minutes and 32 seconds while scoring the game’s first eight points. Blazek scored the opening five points, before sophomore Matthew Dogan (West Middlesex, Pa./West Middlesex) capped the run with a three-pointer. The Lakers missed their first 10 shots and turned the ball over four times during the opening drought.
- Trailing 12-7, Mercyhurst forged ahead on three-pointers from Callon Dailey and Sean Beins. The second triple at the 4:28 mark gave the Lakers a 13-12 lead.
- After a Gannon free throw tied the contest at 13, Mercyhurst tallied four of the final five points of the half. Another Beins three-pointer with 26 seconds remaining gave the Lakers an 18-14 advantage at the break.
- The final 20 minutes were a tale of two halves. Mercyhurst dominated the first 10 minutes, out-scoring Gannon 23-11 for a 41-25 lead with 11:21 remaining.
- Mercyhurst needed only 2:51 to stretch its lead into double digits. The Lakers’ first three shots went down, including a jumper from James Ewing and five points from Gerrae Williams. An Andy Hoying long-range bomb gave the Lakers a 28-18 edge.
- The lead stood at 34-25 when Mercyhurst went on another run. Dailey ignited a 7-0 blitz with a three-pointer. Damon Jones followed with a pair of lay-ups to extend the lead to 41-25.
- Gannon then turned the tide and dominated the final 10 minutes. Four Blazek free throws sandwiched a lay-up by senior Raphell Thomas-Edwards (Leicester, England/The Gateway School) as the Golden Knights pulled within 41-31 at the 7:51 mark.
- The two squads exchanged buckets, leaving the Mercyhurst lead at 43-33 with 6:18 to play. Gannon answered with 13 of the game’s final 14 points.
- Senior A’Darius Porter (Stockbridge, Ga./Woodland) converted a lay-up and two free throws, cutting the deficit to 43-37 with 3:07 remaining.
- After a pair of three-point misses by Mercyhurst, Smith drilled a triple from the right wing to pull within 43-40 at the 1:58 mark.
- Ewing followed by hitting one of two free throws to make it a two-possession game. Smith came through again with another three-pointer. This one from the right corner with one minute to play cut the deficit to 44-43.
- Mercyhurst misfired on a three-pointer during its next possession, setting up the frantic finish. Blazek nearly lost the ball on the right wing, before regaining balance and draining a three-pointer with five seconds remaining to give Gannon a 46-44 lead.
- Following a Mercyhurst time-out, the Lakers got the ball down court. But Porter blocked a Dailey jumper on the left baseline as time expired to seal a 46-44 comeback victory.
- Saturday’s Gannon-Mercyhurst match-up represented the earliest meeting ever between the programs, surpassing last year’s first encounter on December 7. The earliest meeting prior to last year came on December 29 during the 1974 Porreco Cup.
- The 90 combined points were the fewest in a game involving Gannon since a 44-36 loss at the Mercyhurst Athletic Center on February 20, 2013. The Golden Knights’ 46 points represented their lowest output since that same contest.
- Mercyhurst’s 44 points were the fewest by a Gannon opponent since the Golden Knights defeated Cheyney 68-41 on January 8 at Penn State Behrend’s Junker Center.
- Gannon’s 46 points were the program’s fewest during a victory since a 40-38 win against Northern Kentucky during the Gary Miller Classic on November 28, 2009.
- The two teams’ 32 points during the first half equaled the fewest combined points in a half since Gannon and Northern Kentucky battled to a 13-13 halftime tie on November 28, 2009.
- Gannon’s 14 first-half points were its fewest in a half since scoring 13 during the second half of the February 20, 2013 contest at Mercyhurst.
- The Golden Knights have out-rebounded all four opponents this season, extending their streak to seven dating back to last season.
- Thomas-Edwards recorded his first double-double of the season and fifth in two seasons at Gannon with a season-high 13 points and 10 rebounds.
- Blazek led all scorers on both sides with 17 points, narrowly missing his first career double-double with nine rebounds.
- Smith’s two three-pointers during the final two minutes produced his only points of the game.
- Gannon shot 30.2 percent (13-43) from the field, 35.3 percent (6-17) from three-point range and 73.7 percent (14-19) from the free throw line.
- Dailey was the only Laker in double digits, recording 14 points and seven rebounds in 31 minutes off the bench.
- Mercyhurst shot 33.3 percent (17-51) from the floor, 33.3 percent (7-21) from behind the arc and 75 percent (3-4) from the charity stripe.
- Saturday’s home opener for the Lakers was played with no students on campus due to Thanksgiving break.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Gannon won at the Mercyhurst Athletic Center for the second consecutive season, improving to 19-9 all-time on the Lakers’ home floor. The Golden Knights increased their lead in the all-time series to 49-20.
- Gannon has five days off, before hosting the 31st annual Gary Miller Classic next weekend. The Golden Knights’ annual Thanksgiving Tournament begins Friday, November 28 with Slippery Rock and Alderson Broaddus at 5:30 p.m. Gannon and Le Moyne follow at 7:30 p.m.
- The second night features Slippery Rock against Le Moyne at 5:30 p.m. Gannon battles Alderson Broaddus in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m.
- Both Gannon games can be heard live on Jet Radio 1400 and via the 90.5 WERG stream at www.wergfm.com.
- The Gary Miller Classic begins a stretch of seven consecutive home games. The Golden Knights won’t hit the road again until a December 20 contest at Cheyney, a span of 27 days.