The Gannon men’s basketball team got double-doubles from Raphell Thomas-Edwards (Leicester, England/The Gateway School) and A’Darius Porter (Stockbridge, Ga./Woodland) while coasting to a 71-54 victory against rival Edinboro Wednesday night at the Hammermill Center.
Thomas-Edwards and Porter became the first Gannon duo to produce double-doubles in the same game since Darrell Blanton and Robert Wilson performed the feat during an 81-66 victory against Notre Dame (Ohio) on December 14, 2012.
Meanwhile, Gannon snapped a three-game win streak by Edinboro at the Hammermill Center. The Fighting Scots had won three straight games on the ‘Mill floor and hadn’t tasted defeat on Peach Street since a 61-60 setback on January 27, 2010. The Golden Knights swept the season series for the first time since their first year as a PSAC member in 2008-09.
Gannon clinched at least a home game in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Tournament first round with Wednesday’s verdict, but more importantly maintained pace with first-place Indiana (Pa.). The Crimson Hawks throttled California (Pa.) 84-47 to remain one-half game ahead of the Golden Knights in the loss column. Both teams have 10 wins. Gannon remained one-half game ahead of rival Mercyhurst for second place and the first-round bye the comes with it. The Lakers slipped past fourth-place Slippery Rock 56-52.
Following an even first 10 minutes, Gannon controlled the majority of the final 30 minutes. Leading 20-15, the Golden Knights ripped off 12 consecutive points to assume the upper hand. Adam Blazek (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Prep) ignited the run with back-to-back three-point bombs, forcing Edinboro to call time-out.
The stoppage didn’t break Gannon’s momentum. C.J. Oldham (Solon, Ohio/Solon) took off for a dunk, before Thomas-Edwards hit a pair of free throws and scored on a lay-up to give the Golden Knights a 32-15 edge with 6:23 remaining in the first half.
A 9-0 blitz later in the half gave Gannon a 41-19 advantage with 2:23 left in opening stanza. Four different Golden Knights scored during the run, capped by a Porter breakaway dunk. Edinboro responded with the final eight points of the half to climb within 41-27 at the break.
The lead hovered between 10 and 14 points for the first 10 minutes of the second half, before Gannon put the game away with 11 straight points midway through the final period. Thomas-Edwards and Porter scored four points each during the deciding run, giving the Golden Knights a 63-40 lead at the 7:12 mark.
Seven consecutive points later gave the home team its biggest lead of the evening at 71-44 with 3:17 to play. The Fighting Scots added the last 10 points of the game to account for the final 71-54 score.
Wednesday’s game was a nice breather for Gannon after two straight games decided by five combined points. The Golden Knights, who have played in nine games decided by five points or less in 2013-14, posted their third-largest margin of victory this season.
Blazek led all scorers with 19 points while playing all 40 minutes. The junior guard jumped three players and into Gannon’s all-time top 25 in scoring with 993 career points.
Thomas-Edwards recorded his second career double-double with 16 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Porter produced his third double-dip with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Oldham quietly went about his business with nine points, six rebounds, six assists and only one turnover in 36 minutes.
Gannon shot 42.4 percent (25-59) from the field, 60 percent (6-10) from three-point range and 93.8 percent (15-16) from the free throw line. The Golden Knights shot at least 60 percent from long range for the first time since February 2, 2013 against Lock Haven.
Henri Wade-Chatman was the kingpin for Edinboro with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Bryan Theriot, who entered the game at 17.7 points per game, was limited to 11 points.
Edinboro shot 37 percent (20-54) from the floor, 16.7 percent (2-12) from behind the arc and 92.3 percent (12-13) from the charity stripe.
Gannon improved to 15-8 overall and 10-3 in the PSAC Western Division with its ninth victory in the last 10 games. Edinboro dropped to 9-13 overall and 2-10 in divisional play. The Golden Knights next head to No. 7 Indiana (Pa.) Saturday, February 15 for a first-place showdown. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.