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.