ERIE, Pa. – Gannon’s John T. Reilly has been named 2013 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Western Division Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year and Darrell Blanton (Cleveland, Ohio/Euclid) has been selected to the All-PSAC Western Division first team. The honors were announced Tuesday morning by the conference office.
The PSAC Western Division Coach of the Year selection is the second major award for Reilly during his eight-year tenure at Gannon. He was named National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Atlantic Region Coach of the Year after his 2008-09 squad won the regional title en route to an NCAA Division II Elite Eight appearance.
Only three other Gannon men’s basketball coaches in school history have received conference coach-of-the-year accolades. Current Youngstown State head coach Jerry Slocum was the last to achieve that status, being named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Coach of the Year in 2000. Bob Dukiet and Tom Chapman were named Mideast Collegiate Conference (MECC) Coach of the Year in 1990 and 1987, respectively.
Reilly has guided Gannon to its fourth postseason appearance during the last six years in 2012-13, entering the PSAC Tournament as the Western Division’s second seed. The Golden Knights finished only one game out of first place. The program rose as high as 17th in the national rankings and seventh in the regional poll this season.
Gannon brings a 22-6 overall record into tonight’s PSAC Quarterfinal against Slippery Rock at the Hammermill Center. The Golden Knights have recorded a 20-win season for the 25th time in school history. The squad leads the league in scoring defense (58.1), field goal percentage (48.3) and rebounding defense (28.1). The defensive unit’s 58.1 points allowed per game ranks third among all NCAA Division II schools.
Blanton was named to the All-PSAC Western Division first team for the second consecutive season. The redshirt senior averages 15.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and one steal per game. He has recorded three double-doubles this season, giving him 12 during his two-year career at Gannon. Blanton has reached double digits in scoring 22 times this season, hitting the 20-point plateau six times.
The Cleveland, Ohio, native is second among PSAC players and 44th nationally in field goal percentage (55.6). Blanton ranks 11th among conference players in points per game, 13th in offensive rebounds per game (2.5) and 14th in total rebounds per game.
Blanton has already put his name among Gannon’s all-time best despite playing only two seasons in a Golden Knight uniform. He ranks 10th all-time at Gannon in career field goal percentage (.546), 11th in career scoring average (16.3) and 36th in career points (881).
The remaining PSAC Western Division’s major postseason awards went to Mercyhurst’s Luis Leao (Athlete of the Year), California’s Jake Jacubec (Freshman of the Year) and Slippery Rock’s Luiz Santos (Defensive Athlete of the Year).
Major postseason accolades in the PSAC Eastern Division included East Stroudsburg’s Whis Grant (Athlete of the Year), Cheyney’s Brandon Norfleet (Freshman of the Year), Millersville’s Elijah Obade (Defensive Athlete of the Year) and East Stroudsburg’s Jeff Wilson (Coach of the Year).
Blanton was joined on the All-PSAC Western Division first team by Leao, Devin Taylor (Slippery Rock), Isaiah Prince (Edinboro), Bryan Theriot (Edinboro) and Mathis Keita (IUP). The second team comprised of Jay Fletcher (Edinboro), Scooter Renkin (IUP), Keith Lowe (California), Wali Hepburn (Lock Haven), Anthony Wells (IUP) and Gerald Brooks (Slippery Rock).
The PSAC Eastern Division first team included Obade, Grant, Terrance King (East Stroudsburg), Jon Breeden (West Chester), Micah Fraction (Kutztown) and Joe Bell (Mansfield). The second team landed Duane Johnson (East Stroudsburg), Corey Blake (West Chester), Jason Saab (Cheyney), Dylan Edgar (Shippensburg), Larry Grant (Millersville) and Reggie Charles (Shippensburg).
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