Gannon and Mercyhurst Men's Basketball Teams to Play for the Porreco Pride of Erie Trophy

Posted: January 18, 2016The Gannon and Mercyhurst men's basketball rivalry just had fuel added to the fire. School officials, along with Bianchi Honda owner Jason Porreco, unveiled the Porreco Pride of Erie Games and festivities around the rivalry games during a press conference Monday afternoon at the Bianchi Honda showroom.

The Gannon-Mercyhurst men's basketball contests will be called the Porreco Pride of Erie Games. The first match-up is scheduled for Wednesday, January 20 at the Mercyhurst Athletic Center. The second encounter is slated for Wednesday, February 24 at the Hammermill Center. Tip time for both contests will be 7:30 p.m.

Much like the schools' football teams play for the Niagara Cup, the winner of each game will receive the Porreco Pride of Erie trophy and hold onto the honor until defending it during the next match-up. Also presented after the game will be a "Game Changer Award" given to the student-athlete who had the most impact on the outcome of the game.

"My father really valued the Porreco Cup for many years and we brought in a lot of big teams such as Georgetown and Navy, as well as players like Julius Erving," said Porreco. "It was a great tradition that most importantly brought the community together. We thought about adding a new twist to the rivalry game within the city between two great schools. We're really excited to get it kick started Wednesday night." 

Porreco and game organizers also plan to distribute Porreco Pride of Erie Game t-shirts to each University's student fan base and give away a gift card to a lucky fan in attendance.

"Jason (Porreco) has done a tremendous job creating more excitement around the game," said Mercyhurst head coach Gary Manchel. "The game has always been as much an event as a game in the 12 years I've been here. And this just adds more to it."

Mercyhurst enters Wednesday's first showdown one-half game out of first place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Western Division with a 9-3 conference record. The Lakers are 12-4 overall. Gannon enters the game with a 3-12 overall record and 2-10 PSAC slate.

"There have been a lot of crazy games in the series," said Gannon head coach John Reilly. "These are two teams that compete at a high level and are proud teams. It's always a challenge. That's what makes this game so special. Every possession will be contested as hard as it can be."

Gannon has won the last three games in the all-time series to assume a 50-20 advantage. The Golden Knights are 27-8 all-time against the Lakers at the Hammermill Center, 19-9 at the Mercyhurst Athletic Center, 3-2 at the Erie Civic Center (now Erie Insurance Arena) and 1-1 at the Erie Fieldhouse.