Strong defense plays key in lifting men's basketball over Gannon
Published: Thursday, February 2, 2012
Updated: Friday, February 3, 2012 12:02
The Crimson Hawks continued their success on the road with a 59-48 victory against Gannon with help from junior center Danny Ayebo, who scored 11 points off the bench.
The Hawks' leading scorer was guard Ashton Smith, who finished with 17 points and helped the Hawks come back from a slow start.
The Hawks were down early thanks to the great play of Gannon guard Brandon Belt, who opened the game scoring nine of the first 13 points for Gannon. Belt finished with a game- high 23 points.
Even with Belt leading the charge for Gannon, the Hawks were able to take the lead late in the first half when Julian Sanders hit one of his three 3-pointers with 38 seconds left in the first half. The shot gave the Hawks a 25-22 lead going into halftime. Sanders finished the game with nine points, and he shot 3-9 from the behind the arc.
In the second half, the Hawks' depth took over with the help of Ayebo and the rest of the bench. While IUP's depth contributed to the victory, the Golden Knights' lack of depth has hurt them this season, particularly in this game. Belt and Darrell Blanton were the only two players in double figures for Gannon.
Blanton finished the game with 14 points. Aside from Belt's 23 points and Blanton's 14, the rest of the team scored a combined 12 points.
As for the Hawks, Marcel Souberbielle joined Smith and Ayebo as the three players who scored in double figures with 14 points.
"He [Souberbielle] did a lot of things," IUP Head Coach Joe Lombardi said. "He made a jump shot, drove to the bucket and got a 3-point play, drove and made a nice pass to [Josh] Wiegand. You have to search for gold in everybody, and each and every one of our guys has weaknesses, but each and every one has great strengths. During the course of the season you never know when someone will emerge and help you win a game."
Gannon's Adam Blazek hit two free throws for the Golden Knights with 8:48 left in the game to cut the IUP lead to 43-41, but the Hawks went on a 16-7 run to finish out the game.
The stellar defensive play of IUP held the Golden Knights to 38 percent shooting from the field as well as a season low in points.
With the win, the Hawks improve to 16-3 overall and 13-2 in conference play, and Gannon's record falls to 10-9 overall and 8-7 in the conference.
The Hawks are back on the court at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against PSAC West opponent Clarion at the KCAC.