Wednesday, January 20, 2010

These Knights sure are entertaining. Maddening, but entertaining.

You know how much fun it is to open up a box of Cracker Jack and dig for the toy? You never know what you're going to get. This year's Golden Knights are just like that. Gannon's shocking 81-63 road win over previously 12-3 Slippery Rock was like finding a coupon for a free flat panel HDTV among your caramel corn. Gannon's previous game, a 70-51 stinker at Clarion, was like a box full of Scorpions instead of peanuts. Either way -- new TV or painful sting -- it's not boring!

I can't imagine the discussions the SRU coaching staff had yesterday during the game. The Knights' starting point guard (James Bryant) was reportedly benched while fellow starter Mark Demski was out with an injury. Tanner Furno then has the game of his life (including high school where he was a good player but not a rim-rattling offensive dynamo). Larry Swann, inconsistent since joining the team three weeks ago, goes crazy in the first half, totaling 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Meanwhile, Gannon's top scoring threat, George Johnson, goes 0-for-8. SRU coach Kevin Reynolds should have just turned over his personnel scouting report on Gannon and used it for scrap paper.

Think about it: We've all seen this Gannon team play about a dozen times this season, and we don't have a freaking clue who's even going to be on the active roster, in the starting lineup, and in the playing rotation. And for the Knights who do play, we don't know if they're going to dominate the boards or commit three dozen turnovers. Heck, they could do both in the same game. See you Saturday night vs. nationally ranked IUP. Either way, we'll be entertained.


  1. I'm hearing (i.e. a distant rumor) that Demski is done do to complications with his back. If true, I hope he has not hurt himself more by trying to play. If he's done, I hope the coaches honor him at the next home game ... maybe dress him, start him, if get the tip, call time out, and have him subbed out by the hugh ovation the fans will give him or something like that.

    If true, and I say if, then I guess Simmons will play the 5 spot (since Reilly stated in the paper that Simmons would have probably been a starter if he didn't hurt his foot), Travis the 4 with Zo the first forward sub in and Furno/Woodbury in reserve or maybe Zo will be in for Demski and Travis at 5 w/ Simmons being the first (F) sub in. Intersting what combo Reilly will use.

  2. I heard the same thing regarding Demski, but I can't see Reilly playing Simmons and Brannen together just yet. Too little experience in the way he wants them to play defensively, could also be a speed problem if S Rock has a quick team (which they usually do). Probably Scandrett in Demski's spot, with Brannen, Johnson, and Swann. Not sure about the point. Bryant has been regressing, and Bouldes is back practicing, according to Reilly's radio show. We'll see.

    I also don't see Woodbury playing anything but the 2 or maybe the 3. At 6'4" and maybe 180 lbs. the kid isn't really built to trade bumps and pushes under the boards all game.

    I wouldn't put Demski in a game, no matter how briefly, if his doc and/or his back are telling him not to play. I DO think that honoring him at a home game would be good, but, knowing Mark, I would think he'd opt to wait for Senior Night.

  3. Bouldes can't be in shape to give many minutes so I think Byrant will be at the point.

    Yea, senior night would be the best for Demski.

    Playing either Simmons or Zo has it pos and neg. Zo, little offensive threat but good defender and bounder and get up and down the court. Simmons gives the inside threat, can rebound but not a speed demon hauling 255 lbs.

    Woody could play the 4 spot if needed. They only have four (ZO, Furno, Travis, and Simmons) forwards.

  4. gannon74- Woodbury might be on the smaller side but let me tell you from personal experience, the kid can handle the bumps. From working with him in certain classes I know (and this sounds so creepy)he is solidly built, and probably more painful to run into and knock over than his competitors.

    I said it from the get-go that I don't think Mark should be playing this season. Playing him as much as he has this season, I strongly believe Reilly made the wrong choice. Though he is a strong fan favorite & I will surely miss watching him play, I think it will be more memorable for him, as well as the fans that have followed him from the beginning, to let us all honor him & say goodbye at senior night.

  5. I thought the same thing regarding Bouldes, but I heard a rumor that we may be surprised.

    I suppose Woodbury COULD play the 4, but he doesn't look or play like a power forward, IMO.

    Based on past preformance, I'd bet that Coach Reilly will start Scandrett. He almost always chooses the known entity and experience over potential. One other point: If Brannen and Simmons ARE both in there at the same time, and they both get in foul trouble, then what does Reilly do? Look for Zo to start.

  6. Woodbury is naturally a point guard so I don't see them playing him that far out of position. A 2 or 3 yes.

    Sorry to hear about demski, but let's recall when we first heard he was going to try to play, many of us said he shouldn't test a back. I am really praying he didn't mess it up more than it was.

    As for the point, I don't see Bryant being benched. He's our "point guard of the future" as it's been stated many times, and with as many players leaving, I don't think anyone would risk him leaving. I would like to see Bouldes play more though now that he's not injured.

  7. i know this is a men's blog, but can anyone tell me what in the world happened to the women's team in this game?! with 6.5 minutes left, the girls are only shooting 39% from the field, and 22% from the 3 point line...

  8. Gannon74 - I'll bet you a internet beer that Ant starts over ZO. Also, if Simmons or Travis get in foul trouble, you'll probably see Furno. Most folks on here don't like the kid but he is 6-9 and maybe he'll have another game like he did against NKU, second Urbana game, and Taylor. IMO Furno will be a good one in a few years but for now, he and the fans will go through growing pains as he plays and improves. Reilly will definitely have to recruit some 4's for next year.

  9. Beth- With a min left, they are shooting 44% and 35%, which 1) aren't bad numbers (for them not, great, but not horrible) and 2) is just a few percentage shy of their season average. They are averaging 49% and 38%. But you can't expect a team to average 49% from the field for an entire season. Also, Gannon loves to shoot the long ball, which is a live or die game unfortunately. If they rely on the 3-point game, it can come back to hurt them in good games. I would like to seem them start utilizing Vargas, Tabron, Thompson a bit more. But until they lose I have no reason to criticize, because they're doing something right.

    The big numbers to focus on in this game, however, are theyre asst/to ratio and rebounding.
    GUW- 20/11, SRUW- 10/14; REB: GUW 45:29 SRUW
    (20 assists on 26 baskets is amazing!)

  10. Ok, where is Sean at?? I'm sorry but LeCorchik is not a play-by-play guy. He's a very colorful analyst, but not play-by-play.

    First example - "Mark Demski is not in uniform, he is injured. Preston Harris is not in uniform, not sure.. wait, it says issues with school here. Oh, it says personal." If it's personal or school related, it shouldn't be announced to the public! And did it say "school reasons" or "personal reason" or "school reasons, but it's personal"?? meaning DON'T READ THAT ON THE AIR!! :)

    Second example - "Filmore Bouldes is in uniform and, Mars, I know this is your first game, but Sean Amiccuci and I have fun every game determining how many Gannon players are in uniform. One thing we know for sure is that Dexter Reid left school last week and he will definitely not be in uniform." 1) WHO?! 2) Ohhh, Daren Dexter! Thanks for that tidbit, but I think we all realized that for the Clarion game when his name was no longer on the roster.

    I miss Sean :(

  11. Third example - he's reading Gannon's lineup and (in the background) you can hear the announcer reading Slippery Rock's lineup. This means Gannon's lineup has already been announced. Yet, he didn't know who the starting PG or Center is.

    Fourth Example - After reading the WRONG lineup for Gannon (stating that Bryant started and no idea who the 5th starter is), he finally states that Simmons is the 5th guy and then he goes "Bry.. uhh that's Bouldes!! bringing the ball up the court. So Bouldes started at the point and he passes to simmons?! Why is.. oh Simmons is the 5th starter".
    (sorry, sick and crabby haha)

    Ok, Sean is sick. I can't complain because I am getting over a real bad case of stomach flu so I feel for him. Get better Sean!

  12. gannon74- good call on Bouldes starting... I really did not think we'd see that!! Figured it'd kind of be a kick in the pants for Bryant if that happened. But maybe Bryant will respond to the demotion.

  13. sean has the flu. i just spoke with him & he is promising to be back on saturday. i agree cc- i'm not a fan of this duo calling games. it would help if this mars fellow knew ANYTHING about either gannon squad.

  14. I'm holding him to that PROMISE!!!! :)

    GUBB- I'll agree. I am not a huge fan of Furno at the time being. BUT with the little sparks he's shown here and there, I am optimistic on his future! Especially (and this is future-speak), an inside force of Simmons/Furno could be very tough if they both are able to pick it up and play to the potential that Coach Reilly has stated they have.

  15. Ok, so I had to turn off the radio because I honestly couldn't take it anymore haha Jim talks about how Slippery Rock likes to shoot from anywhere.. yet sounds shocked and surprised every time they take a deep 3. Also, his connotation towards Furno and Swann is very negative and I'm not sure if he's a Gannon announcer or a Slippery Rock announcer right now?!

    I am very glad to see that Swann and Furno are putting up good numbers thus far and I'm hoping it continues! GO KNIGHTS!!

  16. cc- i turned it off too. my household is following the live stats. and though we're not on team furno, we're happy with his performance.

  17. yahh!! 22 for Swann and 16 for Furno!! Way to go boys!

    If you told me that Johnson would be 0-7 from the field and in foul trouble, and that our starting 5 guy (Simmons) was fouled out after just 14 mins and Brannen only had 11 pts, with 7 mins left.. I'd think we lost by 50!!!

    Good to see "spot players" stepping up

  18. Furno 27, Swann 24. 51 of 81 points by 2 players (not named Johnson or Brannen)!!


  19. Congrats to both squads. Not sure about the angst regarding the women's team. On the road, conference game, win by 30+; sounds kinda okay to me.

    The men simply refused to back down after getting punched in the neck. Tremendous game by the entire team; possibly one to build on. Contributions from seemingly the entire roster.

    Calling a game on the radio isn't as easy as it sounds, especially at Morrow. And beth, "that mars fellow"is one of the area's more respected former coaches. This was his first look at the Knights this season and got the call to do the game this morning. Trust me, he does a great job 9 times out of 10. (and wasn't half-bad tonight).

    And, if you think the Peach Street squad is the only team in America having a down year after last, cast your gaze to Chapel Hill. Folks, it happens. Don't sweat the petty stuff, and don't pet the sweaty stuff.

  20. And to Jim.....

    I GOT IT!!!!!!!

  21. I respect him as a former coach and he wasn't bad as an announcer. I just can't stand lecorchik.

    I miss the good ole days of Bohen and Roddy.

    "Moyer... For threeeeeeee..... COUNT IT!!!!!"

  22. boze- i was talking to the women's manager via text throughout the game & was simply surprised at the low numbers for their squad. also, i completely understand the trouble of calling the games on short notice. i call many of the lady knights games & can't imagine going on the road, let alone at the last minute. he wasn't my problem in the broadcast tonight, it was jim doing play-by-play. i guess i'm just spoiled with sean generally at the helm.

  23. Just got back from SRU ...

    Why the angst over the women's game? They got off to a sluggish start and were up by five at the half. It was simply a matter of time before they took control and it happened early in the second half, finally winning by 34 and improved to 19-0. Their defense has improved greatly this half and don't have to rely on their high-octane offense to win. The starters have always been consistent, but the bench, particulary Julie Kleber, give them a huge lift this year.

    OK ... Now to the men's game. What in the name of Findlay got into these guys? Absolutely unbelievable. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that GU would completely dominate the game, start to finish. And without Demski. And with Bryant DNP -- Coach's decision. And with George Johnson being held to no field goals.

    Here's my take -- SRU is a very poor defensive team, 15th in the PSAC in points allowed. GU's defense got under their skin and SRU forced up shot after shot in the first half. Swann got untracked early, loosening up the inside game. Furno exuded confidence on offense the entire way. He kept getting open and the guards got him the ball in position to score. And he had a dunk on a wild sequence early in the second half.

    SRU is too good of an offensive team to hold down the entire game and they cut the thirty (THIRTY?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??)-point lead down to 15. The Knights took SRU's best shot and was able to pretty much trade hoops the rest of the way to an easy win. Bouldes and Furno played like freshmen with the lead at times, but it was way too much for SRU to make up. What a win. Let's build on it on Saturday.

    OK -- I have to say it again. The men's team is now 7-0 with me in attendance and 0-8 without me at the game. One of those streaks had to end sometime.

  24. Just got back from SRU. The way a non-basketball playing fan saw it.
    The ladies were shooting cold in the 1st half leading by only 5pts. A little worrisome. In the 2nd half they came out after hearing the ten commandments from Cleve W and played like the champs they are.
    In the men's game GU came out with an attitude of beleif and they never let go all night. Furno played great he hung the basket at least 3 times. In spite of the "foot locker" rent-a-refs and the razzing by the SRU FB players (again), I like to think the wild and loud cheering from the Gannon fans help our boys beat the both of them. This time we, the GU noisemakers helped in our little way to subdue the rowdies from from SRU.

  25. Just got back. What an unbelievable game. If I hadn't seen it myself, I wouldn't have believed it. As the late great Jack Buck once said, "I don't believe what I just saw."

    Worse yet, I have no explanation as to what happened. Did GU just play better and all of a sudden discover their shooting touch? How did that happen right out of thin air? Did Slippery Rock look at a team with a 6-8 record and figure all they had to do was show up? Had the Rock not seen a team that played defense that hard all year? Had Demski's back problems and related immobility been slowing him down so much as to seriously hamper GU's defense and rebounding? Did the combined size of Brannen and Simmons on the court together(nice call, GUBBFLWR, but at least I had the pg rumor right)change things that much? What happened to light a fire under Furno (Those dunks were spectacular!)? And all this with almost nothing from Johnson offensively (although he defended and rebounded like a fiend).

    The reality more likely is that the Rock, based on what they'd seen on tape, were not prepared for Simmons and Brannen together, for Furno to even play, for Swann to shoot lights out, for Bouldes careful game at the point (instead of Bryant's hurried pace), etc. It WAS like playing a new team.

    If that new team continues to play like this, everyone here will be a lot happier. Unfortunately, they won't have the element of surprise anymore.

  26. Forgot to mention 2 other things. Jim LeCorchik will tell you he's no play-by-play man. I'm sure with the regular guy getting sick, they had to scramble to just get the game on the air. Coach Marnella is always excellent when he's more familiar with the subject matter, and he almost always does high school games exclusively. Didn't hear him, since I was in attendance, but, on short notice, I'm sure he wasn't that bad. He knows the game, I have no doubt about that.

    As far as the officials, unlike the Clarion game (even though many don't agree with me on that game), I thought these 3 tonight were blatantly one-sided in favor of SR. The Rockets were allowed to hand check throughout, all over the floor and any GU player going to the hoop was putting his physical well-being on the line, without much notice from the fellows in stripes, yet the slightest brush or touch from a GU player drew a whistle. Despite the huge first half, the team fouls were somewhere around 10 for GU, 4 for SR until the last minute. Another example, at the beginning of the second half, Johnson was hit right in the mouth right in front of the ref-no call, but, on the next play, he went for an offensive rebound and brushed against a SR player, barely touching him (no impact on the play), and (TWEET), they rang him up. Later, Bouldes tipped the ball away from a SR player, and as, he ran around him to pick up the ball, the SR player literally body-checked Bouldes, sending him flying as the ball went out of bounds, last touched by Bouldes. Same thing happened to Swann later. After several obvious ridiculous calls against GU, Reilly had a long chat with one of the refs, and things miraculously evened out after that. It helped that by then, GU was pulling away anyway.

  27. Great win for both teams!

    ...ease up on Lecorchik...he is one of the biggest supporters of local sports and Gannon basketball. He is not a play-by-play guy, and he'll be the first to admit it, but he was called into emergency duty due to sickness. Same with Jim Marnella...

    I'm not sure, considering the circumstances, that it is fair to take shots at the competence of the broadcast team.

  28. I don't care for LeCorchik at all, play by play or color analyst. He's done almost every game this season and he still doesn't know Brannen, Johnson, and Scandrett by number? But enough with the bad...

  29. On the radio broadcasts, SRU didn't even have one, online only. I took my radio but after asking 7 people no one knew. Finally, I was told onl only. Most of the out of town games that I've attended are by students and some I think are badmitten experts who chase feathers in the air. Speaking of local bias, I often wondered if I had the right station on. These 2 from Clarion were calling a different game then what I was seeing. I felt like I was under Niagara Falls with an umbrella. Really they and the black and white gods were beyond sanity.
    Maybe these PSAC refs just don't like GU bec we came in last yr and upset the apple cart in the normal pecking order of the PSAC West BB conference.
    Be happy that we have Sean and Jimmy, I think they're some of the best in the area.

  30. Fanman, good point about other schools' lack of broadcasts. It shows, along with the volume of posts on this blog, one of the differences between GU and most of the other schools in the conference (and the previous two conferences, to boot.). Gannon fans are spoiled, in a good way, by having the coverage provided. From Bob Cannon to Bill Shelley to John Speciale to Red Hughes to Sean Amicucci, Gannon games on the radio have provided excitement, jubilation and disappointment for over 40 years, or about 40 years longer than the others, combined. Kudos to the local stations' involvement.

  31. What a Jeykell and Hyde team the Knights are this year! I know that I have been pretty harsh on the coaches lately, but I do have to give them credit for pushing the right buttons last night.
    I don't think we can count on the team to shoot around 60% all year and for Swann and Furno to combine for 51 points each night. I would LOVE it, but even if they put up half of that total, we'd have a better team.
    I wonder if Furno was helped by the fact that most of the Rock guys are around 6'4" to 6'6", and he was able to get over them easier.
    George showed great maturity by grabbing 10 boards despite an 0-fer from the field. Maybe his three-week sabbatical was a very good thing for him.
    Finally, I have to note that the announced attendance at the Edinboro/Mercyhurst game last night was 538. What a measly showing for a rivalry game. Gannon gets nearly double that for games the week before Christmas against Glenville State or Daemen.

  32. Jim- you said furno wasn't an offensive guy in hs in your post... Was it him it simmons that had the 54-point game in high school? I was under the impression that in hs, Furno was the scoring guy and Simmons was the "muscle" guy.

  33. Corey: Furno did have a 50-point game in HS in a 3OT game. For his career, he averaged right around 15-16 ppg (8 as a soph., 15 as a jr., and 23 as a sr.).

    I agree with Boze about Gannon's long tradition of calling the games on radio -- and not just the college station. The amount of media coverage certainly ranks in the DII Top 20.

  34. Ok, I'm not sure what I was thinking then... I thought Furno averaged like 20 pts for his career. Mustve just seen his senior numbers.

    I agree that, together, we have one of the best announcing crews. I'm not a LeCorchik fan but he complements Sean well. I just wish they could find a play by play replacement if Sean has to miss. I'm sorry but to listen to the game last night was almost as hard as watching the Mansfield game.

    So what's everyones opinion what Gannon WILL and SHOULD do... In regards to the 5 spot? Furno or Simmons?
    My take is Simmons should start a few more and keep Furno coming off the bench. Maybe Furno will feel less pressure off the bench? I think Simmons is ready, just needs more game minutes to get back into the flow of things.

  35. who knows??????????????????? maybe m woodbury will erupt for 30 against IUP? with harris chipping in with 24...

  36. I think next big explosion will be Crouch, he's due (I'm saying 24 points; don't know against who haha).

    Then after that it will be Dexter Reid. He's going to have a HUGE GAME vs. Lake Erie in February. Haha sorry I had to. :)

  37. IUP's center is 6-9 235lbs. I would start Simmons. Since Simmons is a load to handle, the greater the chance their center will pick-up some early fouls. Plus, Simmons playing first worked Wednesday.

    Next break out? Buck!