Gannon grabs late win from Wildcats

By Journal Sports Staff

ERIE, Pennsylvania — Host Gannon scored the final four points to erase Northern Michigan University’s one-point lead and take a 65-62 win on Saturday night in a college men’s basketball game.

The victory gave the Golden Knights the championship of their 34th annual Gary Miller Classic after NMU scored a 71-69 win in the semifinals over St. Rose on Friday night.

After trailing for most of the second half, NMU (3-3) made it a back-and-forth game in the late going, taking its last lead of 62-61 with 41 seconds remaining on a pair of free throws by Will Carius.

Gannon (4-2) responded with a jumper by Evan Phoenix 16 seconds later, then a pair of free throws by Zay Jackson with just a single tick left on the clock.

Carius was able to get off a 3-pointer that could’ve tied the game without any more time ticking off, but it fell no good to end the game.

Starting guard Naba Echols and sub Eddie Tornes shared NMU scoring honors with 12 points apiece. Echols also led Wildcat rebounders with five, while Tornes his a pair of 3-pointers and also paced his team with three assists and two steals.

Another Northern starting guard, Sam Taylor scored 10 points with a pair of triples.

Phoenix led all scorers with 24 points on 12-of-15 shooting from the field, while Jackson added 18 points after making 11 of 13 free throws.

Though the Wildcats made three more shots from the field, 25 to 22, Gannon was 20 of 27 at the free-throw line with NMU just 6 of 10.

The teams traded leads throughout the early going, but NMU didn’t trail over the final 9:43 of the first half once Taylor hit a 3-pointer to tie it and Echols a layup to put Northern ahead.

Leading 38-32 at halftime, the Wildcats kept the lead for the first 3 1/2 minutes after intermission. Then the Knights took control, though without a big advantage, for 12 straight minutes until Isaiah Johnson sank a 3-pointer with five minutes left to give NMU a 56-55 lead.

Northern returns home this week to open GLIAC play, facing Northwood at 6 p.m. Thursday and Saginaw Valley State at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Berry Events Center.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.