Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The night Tom Taylor "did an Edinboro"

I'm pretty sure the phrase "did an Edinboro" means absolutely nothing to you. But my older brother Rob and I know exactly what it means.

On Feb. 16, 1987, the Gannon team that eventually advanced to the Division II championship game was locked in a classic battle at Edinboro's McComb Fieldhouse. My brother and I, along with about 4,000 other fans, were a bundle of nerves as the game came down to the final minute of regulation.

The Knights were at a disadvantage all evening. On the road in front of a frenzied crowd. Mitchell Smith was out sick. Shanghai Matthews fouled out of the game early -- and saluted some Edinboro fans with two his middle fingers before heading to the bench. Little-used Bruce Martin played extended minutes for the Knights.

I don't recall many other details about that game except with Gannon down 2 points in the closing seconds, Fighting Scot Tom Taylor secured the basketball and was fouled. That's when he became the first person who "did an Edinboro."

Taylor palmed the ball with his right hand and stretched his right arm over his head. He also extended his left arm high and raised his index finger (the one right next to what Shanghai showed everyone) and turned toward the Fighting Scot faithful. They ate it up as Taylor sauntered down the floor for his 1-and-1 free throws to put the game away.

But Taylor missed his first free throw attempt, the Knights rebounded, and fired the ball ahead to Mike MacDougall. The senior sharpshooter pulled up on the right wing and let the shot fly. It was well short. But out of nowhere came lightning fast Roland Shannonhouse to tip in the missed shot just before the buzzer.

We went crazy. The game was headed for overtime. Sparked by Shannonhouse's heroics, the Knights earned a 91-86 overtime victory, one of the greatest in the storied local rivalry.

When Rob and I see a team that celebrates too early and blows the game, one of us says "they did an Edinboro." We'll never forget that game. And neither will Tom Taylor.


  1. Great post! One of the all-time great GU-Boro memories ...

    A few more come to mind:

    1. c. 1984-85: In a wild sequence at Gannon, Butch Warner grabs the ball out of midair after a few deflections, including one off of Craig Dixon's head to put in a shot at the buzzer. GU ultimately lost in OT, but it was certainly an amazing play.

    2. 1985: In Butch Warner's last game at McComb, he hits a shot from the baseline over four 'Boro players in the final seconds. EU announcer Rudy Yovich had some choice words on the radio that I won't repeat. :-)

    3. December 1985: At Gannon, Mitchell Smith's steal and dunk caps a three-point play in the final minute is the differnce in a 51-48 GU victory. With the crowd roaring, Smith points at the EU defender writhing in pain under the basket. The EU defender was former WJET sportscaster Brian Duffy. Come to think of it, in today's world, Smith's antics may have drawn a techical foul.

    4. January 1995: Kevin Krai hits a three at the buzzer in OT for a one-point GU victory after Jason Stitcher's controversial three at the buzzer ties the game. The controversy is fueled by a biased video by former WJET sportscaster Brian Duffy.

    5. c. 1999. Steve Moyer brings down the house and EU's spirit with a 40-foot jumper in the middle of an offensive possession (not to beat the buzzer) from the tip of the Fighting Scot sword.

    6. December 1987: The year after Shanghai Matthews' "unicorn salute," John Bowen punts the ball into the EU student section after fouling out in a GU loss.

  2. Sorry for the double-post, but it occurred to me after sending that all of these games (except #5) occurred in the pre-GLIAC / Great Lakes region era. Now that GU and Edinboro are in same league / region, these games mean so much more. I expect more lasting memories to be made in the coming years ... even tonight.

  3. Those 6 memories you listed are all good ones. Thanks for sharing them.

    I was broadcasting the game when Moyer bombed away just one dribble over the midcourt line. It's still the longest non-desperation shot I've ever seen attempted or made.

    There's a video clip of Krai's shot from behind the Edinboro bench. When he goes into his shooting motion, EU's Xavier Zollicoffer (when's the last time you heard his name?), who was standing on the sidelines, turns away in disgust. He knew it was going in and couldn't bear to look.