I don't know if Kyle Goldcamp's stomach virus is contagious, but it certainly led to Gannon fans having an ill feeling today. The Knights, without their All-American center, lost at home to scrappy East Stroudsburg, 52-49, on a three-pointer at the buzzer.
The Knights missed Goldcamp for the second straight game, and then proceeded to miss 65% of their shots and their perfect season. In the grand scheme of things, the loss is more painful emotionally than statistically. The game didn't count in the PSAC standings; it will only hurt Gannon in the upcoming regional rankings.
What bums me (and other GU fans, I'm sure) the most is that the Knights have a legitimate shot this year to host the NCAA Regional, something they haven't done since 1990. (Side note: Who did Gannon beat in the 1990 East Regional championship at the Audi? East Stroudsburg.) Teams that host the regionals have only two or three losses at the most, so this L puts a major dent in GU's regional-hosting goal.
How did ESU pull off today's shocker? Their quickness was a tough matchup of the center-less Knights. Gannon's speedy guards typically exert their will with their on-ball pressure defense. But because Stroudsburg's guards were equally as quick, the Knights could amass only 7 steals on the evening.
On offense, the Knights didn't have an inside presence that Goldcamp would have provided. As a result, their offense was out of sync all afternoon, and the ESU guards could stay on the perimeter instead of helping down low the rare times Gannon got the ball into the post.
I believe if Gannon had a healthy Goldcamp they would have won this game going away. He would have provided the post presence on both ends of the floor that Stroudsburg wouldn't have been able to contend with. If these two teams would meet again in PSAC playoffs at full strength, I'd predict Gannon to win by at least double digits.
But that prediction won't help matters today. The Warriors deserved their lively post-game celebration, pounding on the metal garage door at the south end of the Hammermill Center.
To top off Gannon's devastating day, their local rivals -- Mercyhurst and Edinboro -- swept their PSAC games this weekend. That's not making me feel any better.