MEN’S BASKETBALL HOLDS OFF GANNON, 65-62, ON OPENING DAY OF GARY MILLER CLASSIC
Erie, Pa. – Graduate student center Jim Janson (Scotia, N.Y./Scotia-Glenville) scored a career high-tying 28 points to lead the Le Moyne College men's basketball team to a 65-62 win over Gannon University on Friday night in the first round of Gannon's 30th Annual Gary Miller Classic at the Hammermill Center.
The Dolphins will now face Wheeling Jesuit University in the championship game of the Classic on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The match-up, the first ever between the two programs, is one of 46 men's contests this season between Jesuit institutions. The Dolphins are 50-48 all-time against Jesuit institutions. Wheeling Jesuit advanced to the title game after overcoming a 15-point second-half deficit to defeat Alderson-Broaddus, 80-71.
Janson, who previously scored 28 points against New Haven on February 1, 2012, pulled down 11 rebounds to register his first double-double of the season and the eighth of his career. He also tied his career-high with 12 made field goals, which he previously recorded in the aforementioned New Haven game and against Bentley on January 25, 2012. He tallied 15 of his points and six of his rebounds in the first half. Senior guard Nate Champion (Logansport, Ind./Logansport), the Northeast-10 Conference Co-Player of the Week, posted his fifth career double-double with 13 points and 10 assists, while adding five rebounds and a pair of steals. Sophomore guard Qwadere Lovell (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount Vernon) was the third Dolphin in double-figures with 11 points, while adding four rebounds and three assists.
Gannon, which lost on the opening day of the Gary Miller Classic for just the fifth time in the 30 years of the tournament, put four players in double digits scoring. Adam Blazek led the Golden Knights with 17 points, 10 of which came in the first half. Raphell Thomas-Edwards and Tee Talley came off the bench to record 13 and 11 points, respectively. C.J. Oldham registered a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Following a dunk by Oldham to give the Golden Knights a 5-4 lead at the 16:53 mark, the Dolphins rattled off 12 of the next 16 points over a span of 8:16. Janson and junior forward Ryan Romich (Groton, Mass./Groton-Dunstable/Vermont Academy) each had four points in the span, which was capped by a lay-up by freshman forward Stan Buczek (Port Jervis, N.Y./Burke Catholic).
Gannon responded with an 8-4 spurt to trim its deficit to thee with 5:41 left in the half. Blazek bookended the run with a three-pointer and a conventional three-point play, while Oldham had a dunk in between.
After the teams split the next 14 points over the ensuing 3:46, the Dolphins closed out the half with the final five points over the last 55 seconds. Janson dunked the ball off a feed from Champion and then Lovell recorded a conventional three-point play with 20 seconds to play.
The Golden Knights opened the second half with six of the first eight points to pull within 34-30 with 17:23 left in the game, but Le Moyne countered with a 16-5 run to take its largest lead of the game. Janson had the first seven points on two baskets and three free throws, Champion followed with a conventional three-point play, Buczek made a pair of lay-ups and Lovell ended the jaunt with a lay-up with 9:41 remaining.
Gannon responded with 14 of the next 20 points over a stretch of 3:51 to get within seven points. Thomas-Edwards had five of the points, Oldham posted four, Talley had three and Blazek made a pair of free throws.
The Dolphins pushed their lead back to 10 on a pair of occasions, the last of which came on a Champion lay-up with 2:10 left to make the score 63-53. The Golden Knights answered with six straight points to cut their deficit to four with 1:33 remaining. Thomas-Edwards made a lay-up and two free throws and then Talley made two free throws.
After Champion connected on a pair of free throws with 26 seconds remaining to complete Le Moyne's scoring, Talley nailed a three-pointer with 17 seconds to go to cut the margin to three. The Golden Knights stole the ensuing in-bounds pass, but Talley's three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.