Saturday, December 19, 2009

Steady diet of Brannen

Entering the game vs. Glenville State (WV), Travis Brannen had scored 30 total points in 4 contests. In 32 minutes in Gannon's 88-80 win, he tallied 33, making 15-of-21 field goal attempts. Plus he grabbed 10 boards, helping the Knights to a 40-28 rebounding margin. I won't say he's the next Kyle Goldcamp yet, but he's certainly not the next Kris Roets. Now that Brannen appears confident AND comfortable, I'm curious to see how he'll fare against formidable post players.

Part of the reason Brannen was able to get to the basket was that George Johnson (26 points, 9-for-15 from the field) stretched the Glenville defense. It was the first time all year Gannon had two legitimate offensive threats on the floor at the same time. A few fans said to me before the game they didn't think it was fair that Johnson got the start. I disagree; I believe in private penance. I'm sure coach Reilly made sure Johnson paid his dues for quitting the team a few weeks ago. No reason to prolong the agony for everyone and cost the team another W.

A few other observations from Saturday night:
-- I had two concerns about Gannon from the game. I'm sure John Reilly shares the first one with me: you're not going to win consistently giving up 80 points. Sure Glenville scorched the nets from the perimeter, draining 13-of-23 three-point attempts, but the Knights could have defended the guards better. My second concern was that Daren Dexter, who appeared to be one of Gannon's better players through 4 games, logged only 4 minutes last night ... and from my vantage point he wasn't happy about it. When a Golden Knight player leaves the floor for a substitution, typically the entire team stands up to applaud him. I noticed last night down the stretch that Dexter was staying put on his kiester during substitutions. By comparison, Tanner Furno is a former starter who only got one minute last night, but he was on his feet most of the night and had a kid-in-a-candy store look when Gannon pulled away.

-- Jim LeCorchick said it well last night; Mark Demski does a lot of the little things that don't show up in the box score. The Prep grad (I'm taking about Demski, not LeCorchick) registered 8 points and 8 rebounds in 34 minutes of action. In addition to that, he handled the ball on the press, moved the zone offense from side-to-side, boxed out the Pioneer big men, and kept the Knights' energy level sky high. His 5 turnovers might be a career high, but I'm sure Gannon fans will give the guy a break. For one game.

-- I try to sit right behind the opposing team's bench as often as possible because though it's not the best view in the house, I think it's the most entertaining place to sit. I won't get into the details, but let's just say some members of the Glenville program aren't candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. That team has some good talent, but they're certainly not on the same page.


  1. VERY nice win tonight. It sure gives me hope for the rest of the season. From what I understand, LeBron Kobe, er, James Bryant will give us some needed help at the point guard position. I'm not predicting an NCAA berth, but at least this team will be competitive throughout the season.

    Speaking of point guard, I give Coach Reilly a ton of credit for continually looking for the right answer and sticking with Batts when he found it. Nobody's going to confuse Batts with Joe Lindsey, but he was as effective as he needed to be.

  2. Didn't get to see the game tonight, and I'll miss Tuesdays as well, due to work. But it sounds like Gannon played a solid all-around game. 80 points is a bit higher than our defense normally allows, but hey we scored 88 so no complaints here.

    Jim: I agree with u about Johnson. We all know Coach Reillys work ethic policies by now along with his values and morals for the team. He would not just let any player back to the lineup with open arms if the player didn't deserve it. Look at demski starting. He's been with the team all along but it was his first game, why'd he start? Because he probably earned it in practice.

    I know in the write up it said brannens 33 is the highest since a few years ago when 37 was scored. Stat question: when was the last time Gannon had a 30+ and 25+ scorer in the same game?!

  3. You are correct -- The Glenville players didn't seem to be on the same page.

    For one poor Glenville player, the pregame meal and his stomach weren't on the same page either.

  4. Jim: I have to agree with you on your comment about Daren Dexter. I remember Tom Chapmin always saying if you bring in a JR. College player and do not use him you just wasted a scholarship. He also said if you bring in Juco's and do not use them it does not help you with the Juco coaches because they do not want to see their players riding benches. I also though Daren showed a lot in the first four games lets hope it was a one time thing and he will be back on the floor soon.

  5. Some of the players still have the "me" verse "team" mentality ... what I heard is at least part of the reason why the other two left the program - not playing enough.I hear that Furno is a definitive team player that works hard in practice no matter his playing minutes (as well in class). True of most of the players and you always have a couple of "me" players whom you hope "get it" ... work hard in practice and the classroom doing your part for the team.

  6. My take is that I have noticed a similar attitude from that player in nearly every game that I have seen. It's a shame, because I think he IS talented, but he may not have the team attitude that the coaches are looking for.

  7. So I didn't get to the game on Saturday, due to Gannon being home on break, however I was given permission to sit in on practice on Thursday to interview a couple guys afterward. I whole heartedly agree with you, floorburn. Though there have been drastic improvements in the "team" mentality, they still have a long way to go. It was nice to see them in practice finally communicating and talking on the court.

    On the other side, I was surprised to see Demski get as much playing time as he did. He was clearly struggling at the tail end of practice, and my fellow interviewer said they were seriously worried he was going to fall over on the scorer's table when he came to talk with us. I just hope he doesn't kill himself over this season.

  8. Yah I was surprised to see that Demski played 34 minutes!! In the paper, though, it did quote Coach Reilly as saying Demski played much more than anyone had intended on due to Scandrett being in foul trouble. Demski said he was in pain, but that Coach Reilly told him if he needed to come out say something immediately. Being an athlete, however, I know from personal experience when you are coming back from an injury and a coach tells you to "watch yourself", you keep playing until you can't walk! haha

    But, Beth, it is agreed... I don't want to see him further hurt himself for this season. He has a huge future ahead of him, off the court!!!

  9. Re: Demski - Reilly's comments doesn't make much sense - even if ZO was in foul trouble, he had Dexter, Harris, Jones, or Furno who he could have subbed in. Though, the offense moved well with Demski in - when you have a group in that are playing well, it is hard not to keep playing the same group. At times, it was clear to me that Demski needed a blow yet coach left him in. In the second half, Demski was very gassed and finally asked to come out of the game. If I can recognize the need for a break, should not have the coaches seen it? Especially knowing as cc3 states that a player will not take themselves out of the game unless carried. Personally, I would have not played Demski so much since being off for so long and to gradually break in the back. Concerning that he states he was in pain but still pushed himself to play. I agree w/ cc3 if playing causes pain, maybe he should go back to his original decision not to play. Great guy, tough player, hard to hang the shoes up, but playing may not be worth the cost.

  10. Yah, I can remember games that I played in after coming back for injury and I'd be in so much pain, but 1) the want to be playing again and 2) the adrenaline rush took over and I'd feel fine. Then at any "down time", the pain would kick in and there were times tears almost fell!

    I give Demski credit for sticking through it, but also, as everyone seems to be agreeing with, feel he shouldn't push it as I would not want to see anything severe happen to him just because he wants to play ball. I had minor setbacks after playing through pain after returning from injury, but I never had anything as severe as him, let alone a back injury. A back is nothing to mess with... That can lead to real bad stuff down the road!!!

    Heard a rumor from some "boosters"... that the reason Furno didn't play much is because if Demski ends up being able to play the season out and Simmons returns healthy soon, that Coach Reilly is planning on redshirting Furno and Sweeny as originally planned. I don't know a lot about the rules of redshirting, but I was told it's based on the percentage of individual player's minutes played compared to total minutes of each game the team has played. And apparently Furno is still under the limit and would be eligible to redshirt. Again, just a rumor, but wondered if anyone else heard anything similar or different? Regardless.. that is the reasoning I heard for why Demski played when Scandrett got into foul trouble. + Dexter and Harris are guards so they wouldn't take Demski's place as, if you look at the way they have it listed, Demski is technically the "5" spot. Also noticed that it appears Coach Reilly is going away from the 3 guard, 2 forward line he's used since he started and transitioning towards a 2 guard, 3 forward line (with the 3rd being a "swing" player). Whatever he's gotta do to make it work, I'm behind him!

    It would make sense for him to redshirt a few as, when Bryant is activated, they will have I believe 17 players?! Maybe it was 16? 16 or 17.. That's going to leave MANY unhappy pine-riders which could lead to more departures from the team.

    Can't make game tomorrow, but GO KNIGHTS!!!! Even though they are NAIA, it appears Daemen is quite tough this year. Could be another game of reversed fortunes... hope not!

  11. An ugly win is better than a pretty loss. 28 turnovers is ugly.

    And the Daemen had one of the better lines of the year after his player was called for traveling in the closing seconds. He got out a piece of paper (presumably a check) and said, "This guarantee check isn't enough!" Hilarious.

  12. Few questions after seeing box score...

    1. Demski played 36 mins, how'd he look, act, etc?
    2. Scandrett wasn't in foul trouble yet only played 11 mins. Demski play that well? Scandrett play that bad?! A combined 70 minutes playing in your first two games back from a severe injury is quite a bit!!
    3. I see Bouldes didn't play that much and Batts-Steve played 14-15 mins respectively. Which handled the ball the most when Bouldes was out? Did anyone besides these 3 have significant ball control time?!

    Good win for the boys though!! Good to see Johnson back with a fire; can't wait for the Cup so I can actually see him play again!!

    Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

  13. Regarding the Daemen coach's complaints, I didn't hear him complaining with 4 minutes left when, despite both teams playing a very similar defensive style (very physical), the team fouls were 15 for Gannon and 5 or 6 for his team. Daemen was in the bonus with 12 minutes left in the half, Gannon never got there until Daemen started fouling to extend the game. Sorry, Coach (by the way, you WERE playing a road game). Gannon had a lot more to complain about than one call. The refs were bad, but they were bad both ways. Merry Christmas.