Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Something special

If you have a good season but falter in the league and NCAA playoffs, you're left with just that -- a good season. Gannon did that 6 years in a row (2000-2005), leaving the fans wanting for more. The season doesn't really become special until you win the regional championship. And if you advance beyond that -- like Gannon's 1986-87 club -- you become legendary.

That's the opportunity Gannon has next week, though I'm sure John Reilly and the Knights won't view it that way. They'll focus on stopping the 29-4 Central Missouri Mules (that's right -- the Mules!) one defensive possession at a time. Central Missouri averages 80.1 ppg and shoots 46% from the floor, 39% from 3-point range. The love to shoot the 3; in 33 games, UCMO has hit 269 treys while Gannon, who isn't shy about shooting from the outside, has made 172 over 32 games. The Mules are 17-0 at home and 6-0 in neutral-site games, including three consecutive OT wins in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAA) tournament. For more on the team that could deny Gannon the Final Four, go to www.ucmo.edu/athletics/mules/.

Other thoughts while trying to stop my ears from ringing after listening to two-plus hours of screaming Gannon fans (myself included) yesterday:
  • You can't teach a defense in one day. Kutztown, who Erieites got to see play several times this year, showed consistently that their attitude was shoot first, play defense later ... maybe ... if we feel like it. When they tried a 1-3-1 trap against Gannon yesterday, the Knights quickly diced it and sliced it, resulting in a wide open Cory Knight 3-pointer. If KU would have worked harder on their defense beginning Oct. 15, they might have had a happier bus trip home yesterday.
  • Speaking of that, I couldn't help but feel bad for the two busloads of Kutztown fans as I saw them file onto their Greyhounds after the game. They looked like delinquents begrudgingly stumbling onto the school bus for the first day of classes.
  • Several Gannon fans (myself included) were disappointed that the final play of Kyle Goldcamp's career at the Hammermill Center was a technical for mouthing off to a Kutztown player. I'm not criticizing the ref; the T was well deserved. What did not disappoint me was the reaction of his teammates and coaches. When a GU player leaves the game, the team members almost always rise from their seats and applaud. I didn't see the Knights do that when Goldcamp left the game (the T was his 5th foul). Instead, Goldcamp quietly took a seat next to the coaches and received some strong words (and looks that could kill) from Coach Reilly. Goldcamp lost his emotions, and I was glad that his team was holding him accountable.
  • Conversely, when Golden Bear David Ben gave a cheap shot to Mark Demski while scrambling for a loose ball -- Ben intentially drove his shoulder into the back of Demski's head while he was lying on the floor -- what did the KU staff do? Nothing. Oh, they saw it, but winning was more important than playing the game right. Ben scored over 2,000 points in his college career, but I'll remember him for his lack of sportsmanship.
  • Furthermore, Ben still didn't score as many points as a collegian as McDowell grad and Gannon Hoops follower Lucas Marsh, who poured in over 2,200 at Geneva College.
  • Did you see Cory Knight's stat line from last night? Not only did he play stellar defense, but in 28 minutes, he tallied 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting, 9 assists, and 0 turnovers. I know he didn't make the all-tournament team (that's usually reserved for the big scorers), but let's be real: Gannon's season would be over if they didn't have Knight's spark off the bench.
  • Dave Wilson's production and playing time are way down from when he started 21 games earlier this season (Wilson played only 3 minutes last night). But that dude's intensity hasn't dropped one iota. From even before the opening tip through the end of the game, he pushes his teammates harder than a constipated drill sergeant and cheers for them with more passion than their mothers. And when Wilson gets into the game, he's like the Tasmanian Devil. To me, he symbolizes this team-first, play-hard Gannon team.
  • I think swearing in public is highly inappropriate, but with Central Missouri's nickname being the Mules, is it acceptable to say when Gannon scores on a fast break that they beat the Asses down the floor?

8 comments:

  1. Marsh might have scored 2,200 points at Geneva but how many assists did he have? His next one will be his first! Go Knights!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Same thing can be said for Dave Ben and the majority of the Kutztown team. I don't see how any of them can average more than 1 assist per game. Exception Stephen Dennis... at first I thought he was a huge ballhog, but shooting percentage wasn't THAT bad... and he showed in the Atlantic Championship game that he can pass and is quite good at it... he can create and get others to "be" open.... Ben Dave however is just dribble, drive, shoot... or most of the time just shoot.

    Side note... went to the Bayhawks game tonight (free tickets, don't worry didn't spend at dime). Coach Reilly and Kirsten were "Erie Bayhawks Honorary Fans of the Night" (or should we say "Knights"). Reilly must have felt like he was at a PSAC West away game however... the crowd was small and the fans cheered more and louder for him and Kirsten (on behalf of the Knights) than they did for the "home team".

    ReplyDelete
  3. Speaking of Final Four, Findlay will attempt to give the GLIAC its first-ever Final Four appearance on Wednesday. This fact still stuns me -- the GLIAC has NEVER had a final four team. Obviously, being in the same region as the GLVC had something to do with this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Grand Valley lost twice in the Elite 8 (the one year they got absolutely demolished) and I believe Findlay made it to the Elite 8 a few years ago, but lost (I think it was pretty bad too).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Is it just me or did the bracket change?

    I thought that GU wouldn't play Findlay until the national championship game. Now it looks like GU will play the winner of Findlay / CW Post. What happened???

    ReplyDelete
  6. the brackets did change... winner of Gannon/Central MO was originally bracketed to play winner of CP Pomona/SW Minn St. Now they changed it somehow.... Are they allowed to do that?

    http://perfect10.collegefanz.com/perfect10/bracket

    that has the original bracket.. and it still says gannon/central MO will play CP pomona/SW Minn st winner. What a crock...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Check out my new post. I tried my best to answer your questions.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jim: If you looked at the original bracket it did not make any sense. They had the noon game winner on wednesday playing the winner of the 8:30pm game thursday at 8:30pm. I question why one team would get an extra 8 hours rest.

    ReplyDelete