Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Give 'em an 'A' for effort ...

... but please don't ask me to grade them in any other categories. An ugly win is supposed to be better than a pretty loss, but I think I felt better after Saturday's defeat vs. IUP than tonight's 61-60 victory over Edinboro. Gannon committed 20 turnovers, fell behind a mediocre team by 17 at home, and it seems like the player rotation that was becoming clearer is now foggy again. (James Bryant is now the fourth string point guard behind Ty Batts? I've never seen anyone fall deeper and faster on a depth chart.)

Let's look on the bright side of this:
* The Knights are now alone in third place in the PSAC West after stopping the Scots. Mercyhurst fell at Clarion by 2 while Lock Haven was pummeled at Slippery Rock by 25.
* Several teams entered PSAC play with stellar records but are now behind 3-2 Gannon in the conference standings. Cal was 12-3 but is now 0-5 in PSAC West play. West Chester (11-2, 2-3 PSAC East), Mercyhurst (10-3, 2-3), and Slippery Rock (11-2, 2-3) are in choppy waters after fast starts. Whodathunkit after Gannon's early season turbulence?
* This team tries hard. Down 17, they could have started bickering and panicking. But instead they dug deep, got stops, pounded the Boro on the glass, and somehow squeaked out a victory despite some mind-numbing turnovers.
* You can complain about the referees if you want -- they opened themselves up for criticism by giving a Scot one free throw on a two-shot foul -- but they gave Gannon a huge break on the Knights' final possession. From my angle, it looked like George Johnson forced his way into a crowd and had the ball stripped cleanly from his hands.
* Gannon certainly has a clutch player in Johnson. Not only did he swish two pressure free throws, he demanded the ball for the winning shot. And then when he got it, he signaled with four fingers down, telling his teammates to clear out and stand on the baseline while he took his man 1-on-1. That's leadership.

I never thought I'd say this, but big game at Lock Haven (5-11, 2-3 PSAC West) Saturday. I'll take two ugly wins in a row.

15 comments:

  1. Nice to see another win! And good to see Zo step up to lead the team, thats what a senior has to do, especially since Demski is done. I said before a 7-7 PSAC season is a success and they are on getting there!

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  2. That should read that they are getting there...
    Also, Im liking Steve Piotrowicz running the point.

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  3. Wild, wonderful and WEIRD night at the 'Mill.

    Women break out 14-2, get smoked 13-2 to start 2nd half, then play gritty as can be to hold off EUP. The first half might have been as good as I've seen in ages.

    Men down 16 with 2 and change left in 1st half, then absolutely gut it out at the end. Piotrowicz was tremendous off the bench.

    An aside to cc3 and another poster who's name escapes me regarding a previous post about the GU women. I never said they would go unbeaten, nor did I state that they had the D II championship sewed up. I simply made the case that this team, in comparison to other top teams I've seen throughout the years, looks like a true contender.

    And cc3, I would never prefer a loss to "prepare" for the tournament, the almighty Huskies nonwithstanding.

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  4. Had 'em all the way! Never in doubt.

    The key to the game was the little 6-0 run in the last 2:13 in the first half to cut the lead from 37-20 to 37-26. The way I saw it, GU played about as badly as they could play and they were down by only 11 to a team that shot well. It certainly was doable and they did it.

    Strange to see Bouldes play only eight minutes the entire game. I thought that his hook was a bit premature, but Piotrwicz played very well.

    Furno looked like the Slippery Rock version, at least in the second half. Not sure, but I think that Scandrett had a career high. He's improved leaps and bounds offensively.

    I listened to the Reilly show on 1330 and they made the point that the team that wins the Erie County series (GU / Hurst / Boro) will likely make it to the PSAC tournament and the team that comes in last will likely miss postseason play. So this was a very important win in many ways.

    Good effort for the women's team, now 21-0. Seven different players scored eight or more -- I love the balance. I agree with Boze. This team is a contender. This team has a chance to do something special, like the men last year. But a lot still has to go right and there's a lot of basketball to play. Let's enjoy the ride and see what happens.

    As far as needing a loss ... no way ... any loss at this point would be really damaging to chances to host postseason play. GU is up by just one game to a fantastic Cal team and they still have to go to Cal. Very little margin for error.

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  5. Jim- totally agreed on all points!!! Shocked to see Batts get in and no Bryant especially after Coach said it's because he doesn't want to play 3 point guards. But also pleasantly shocked to see Bryant be the Knights #1 cheerer on the bench.

    Ugly is ugly, but a win is a win.

    The refereeing the past few games was defined on the Scots botched free throw play. Absolutely ridiculous!! And then for the one ref to tell the assistant coach he was going to T him up if he said one more thing. I don't care what he said, those refs deserved it.

    BUT.... they gave us the "make-up call" when it mattered the most. When the final play first happened I screamed NOOOOOO because I was certain he'd turned it over. Then when my brother said they called a foul I was in disbelief. I didn't see it, but I'm VERY glad the refs did.

    Glad to see Alfonso get his second career high in his second straight game. But I would like to see him keep the same lineup just to build the chemistry of the team altogether. Plus I like Alfonso coming off the bench. Even if Swann starts and plays only a minute, keep the lineup that appears to be progressing intact.

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  6. I agree w/ cc3 - keep the starting line-up intact having Steve, Furno, and Zo off the bench.
    cc3 - You now have TWO deep ball shooters at the 4 spot - Zo a three - crazy!
    For turnovers - Prozac in the water bottles! Baffling turnovers - passes to the 5 spot to the feet and while doubled teamed ... passes to ghost players ... driving to the hoop against 4 defendes ... hoew about Travis shot that went over the backboard ... nutty.

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  7. GUBB- I know!!! When Scandrett and Brannen hit their 3's I thought to myself "Holy cow! They've been reading Roddys blog." hahaha

    yah the turnovers are exactly that... Baffling!! It's like one game they'll make some dumb turnovers and then the next game they won't make the same, but still some very "what was he thinking" turnovers. Then the next game back to the original turnovers. That's one area i'd say as of right now we are not progressing much in. We keep making the same strange turnovers game after game. I know the turnovers in the IUP game were probably our lowest of the season, but they pretty much all came at the most inopportune times. Yes we average nearly 20 a game, BUT many of them are scattered here and there at times that they end up making up for it (or at least getting the ball back). Then some games we don't commit that many, but they all come at crucial times in the game (I.e.- tie game, close game either way, etc).

    But it's always good to beat a local. And only being two games behind 9th ranked IUP isn't bad either!!!!

    (side note- ESU and KU are both 4-2 in PSAC East. KU beat ESU, who beat KU????)

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  8. cc3, according to their website, the Bears are 4-1, the only loss at Mansfield.

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  9. what a fabulous atmosphere after that game last night. one of the guys next to me made the remark that he had not seen the mill that pumped since we clinched the division last year. i was glad to see some boro fans really get into it. there was a group of students directly across the place from me who were making fun of the kid in front of me (i doubt any of you missed him- running back and forth, screaming, etc.). they were silenced at the end when we held up fanman's sign "knights are golden, plaid is bad" :)

    it was surprising to me that james bryant did not see any playing time whatsoever after starting several games. but like cc3 i agree that his cheering from the bench def brought up the moral.

    the other thing that pleased me was the way george held his emotions together on the court. there was an encounter between george, a ref and a boro player (who really should have gotten a t) & you could see george asking the ref to reexplain the call. thought it was completely obvious george did not like the call, he accepted it & moved on while the boro kid continued to run his mouth. something might finally be clicking with the team!

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  10. According to Geo J as reported by the ETN. On that last drive to the basket EUP's Metebo did get all ball but just a frac of a sec before his arm was hacked and that was what the call was for. So bonafide win and no make-up gimme.

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  11. Boze- thanks. Yah I meant 4-1, not 4-2. Can't believe they lost to Mansfield. I really didn't think they'd lose to anyone, unless ESU beat them.

    Also, who is IUPs lone overall loss to?

    And GUFanman, not trying to be rude, but do you think George would actually say "no it definitely wasn't a foul". Of course he's going to say it was legit. Now
    I'm not saying he's lying, the guy couldve got his arm and we just didn't see it. Very possible. But I can't picture any athlete in a sport admitting that even they didn't see what the ref called. So just going by what he says can't be held 100% accountable as in competition you take what you're given. Again, not saying George is lying and from Meeting him before I'd say he probably is honest. But just in general athletes aren't going to straight out admit a game winning decision was incorrect. The only thing I can think of that a player did admit to a referees fault would be Theirry Henrys handball that got France into the World Cup. He flat out admitted he handballed it and anyone who saw it knows too. But in that case, that's not showing up the officials. That's part of the game and he knew here was nothing FIFA could do to him or to overturn it. However if Johnson were to be quoted as somehow saying the refs were wrong or there was no foul, he could get into some trouble.

    But regardless, a win is a win. And I'm glad the kid did get a piece of his arm (I was hoping he'd get a T eventually. He was really annoying!!!!)

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  12. First Atlantic Region rankings are out:
    1. IUP
    2. West Liberty
    3. WV State
    4. Kutztown
    5. E. Stroudsburg
    6. Alderson-Broaddus
    7. West Chester
    8. St. Augustine
    9. Mansfield
    10. Fairmont State

    What jumps out to me is only one CIAA team in the top 10. That used to be THE power DII conference in the nation. Central Missouri, who GU lost to in the Elite 8 last year, is #2 in the South Central.

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  13. Foul or no foul on GJ in the closing seconds, it never should have been that close. When Edinboro got some calls and got to the line, they didn't convert, shooting 14/26 in the game, including a horrific 6/14 in the second half.

    Coupled with an 8/28 performance from the field, it was a second-half brick-fest for the 'Boro.

    Good defense will always keep a team in the game.

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  14. Golden- AGREED!!! That was the point I was making with my post on the other article about refs controlling a game.

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