- The most surprising of the PSAC wins was #7 IUP's steady 69-63 victory against #2 Va. Union. Though it said "Union" three times on the Panthers' uniforms (once on the jersey, twice on the shorts), their team was anything but. When head coach Willard Coker yanked Lemoyne Williams just 31 seconds into the game, the two of them debated for longer than that on the sidelines until Coker walked away in disgust. Down the stretch, Coker had scorer Gregg Thondique (injured ankle), leading rebounder Williams, and #2 scorer Braxton Byerson on the bench. In the game instead was little-used Travis Berry (1.6 ppg, 4-for-24 on 3-pointers on the season); Berry jacked up 5 trey attempts in the final 8 minutes of play, missing 4 of them. Meanwhile, Byerson rolled his eyes on the bench as coach Coker shuttled other players onto the floor.
- The most pleasing game of the evening was Gannon's 76-53 demolition of UPJ. The game was enjoyable not just because Gannon won, but because both teams played incredibly hard and respected playing defense. That was in sharp contrast to Kutztown, who rallied past West Va. State, 99-88, despite the Golden Bears frequent defensive lapses. I'm not talking about missing an assignment on D; I'm talking about some players (including KU's all-region guards) not even crossing midcourt to play defense on a few occasions. If they weren't so freaking talented offensively, their season would have ended long ago. Again, it was good to see Gannon and UPJ give maximum effort on defense. Neither team was afraid of a little floorburn.
Other observations from Saturday:
- Alderson-Broaddus scored 55 points in the second half of its 92-83 quarterfinal win over Johnson C. Smith. I'm not one for predictions, but I'd bet a dollar or two they don't score that many in the first half against Gannon Sunday night.
- What a stinker of an evening for the CIAA, who exited the tournament on day one. Their league tourney was broadcast on ESPN Classic this year. Do you think we could petition ESPN execs to show the PSAC tourney instead next season?
- Former Missouri All-American and LA Laker first-round draft choice Anthony Peeler was on the bench as a Va. Union assistant coach. Surprisingly, there was no biography on him in the VUU media guide. For more info on the smooth-shooting lefthander, click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Peeler. One detail the bio won't mention -- he clearly had the nicest suit of the 5 Panther coaches.
- I felt confident at halftime of the Gannon game when I saw the stat sheet and the Knights were leading by 7 despite scoreless halves from both Joe Lindsey and Tyler Stoczynski. Stosh finished the evening with 13 points and sparked the run that broke the game open.
- Very bright note for the Knights: they committed only 9 turnovers against the intense UPJ defense. Joe Lindsey had an off shooting night (1-for-7) but totaled 9 assists and 0 turnovers. If the Knights continue to handle the basketball efficiently, they'll be a tough out.
- It was great to see several of my former Gannon teammates at the game in support of our former assistant coach. (I'm referring to coach John Reilly. If you didn't know that, why are you on this website?) In attendance were Erie residents Gerald Blanks and Darryl Freeman plus out-of-towners Jim Rocco, Chris Hollan, and Dave Callahan. All of them looked to be in excellent shape ... just like our old coach.
- This Gannon Hoops blog gained some major street cred today. We were issued an official NCAA media pass for the Atlantic Region tournament. Eat your heart out, Billy Packer!