Some of the stats from Gannon's 51-48 win at Lock Haven ain't a thing of beauty: shooting just 35% from the field including 3-of-14 on three-pointers; leading scorer George Johnson making 3 field goals but missing 11; forwards Alphonso Scandrett and Tanner Furno combining for 54 minutes but only 8 points; and starters Anthony Simmons and Mook Bouldes registering a combined 1 point in 15 total minutes of playing time. But look at the PSAC standings, and Gannon (4-2) has the same in-conference record as Kutztown, currently ranked #7 in the country. A win next week at Mercyhurst would put Gannon solidly in third place in the PSAC West and withing striking distance of second.
How in the blazes did that happen? Defense. The Knights allowed only 16 field goals to the Bald Eagles and forced them into a 6-of-25 shooting chart on threes. GU also outrebounded LHU 42-32, Johnson (8), Furno (7) and Travis Brannen (7) carrying the load there. Gannon's excellence these last few weeks on defense and their penchant for winning close, frenetic games could be their tribute to the 1989-90 team that advanced to the Elite 8. That team was comfortable playing games in the 50s and won 13 games in tight, come-from-behind fashion. Maybe the wildest of those wins was at Mercyhurst as GU overcame a 13-point deficit -- and an ill-advised Andy Adams three-point attempt -- in the final minutes to win, 69-64. Let's hope that's a harbinger of things to come Wednesday.
Side note: While I appreciated the video internet broadcast of the GU/LHU game, it was an embarrassment to the athletic and communications departments as the school. The facility reminds me of a classic line from the The Simpsons, which I hope they don't mind me paraphrasing: "Describe the Lock Haven gymnasium in one word." "Um, is 'craphole' one word or two?" Worse were the broadcasters who were comfortable with dead silence or regularly stringing together a series of words and grunts full of sound and fury signifying nothing. (I'm paraphrasing Shakespeare there; had to earn back some credibility.) I've done a lot of games on the radio and had my share of gaffes. But there's no excuse for lack of preparation.