Saturday, January 2, 2010

Signs of progress

You can't judge much from listening to a game on the radio, but:

* It was nice to be competitive on the road for a half against arguably the best team in the region. I'm wondering what was said at halftime in the Kutztown lockerroom to light an inferno under them.

* One sign of progress besides the competitive first half was a tie on the boards -- 40 for each team.

* Good to see George Johnson getting his shooting touch back (7-for-12 from the field). But I'm guessing this is the first time Mark Demski (2-for-2) ever beat Johnson (2-for-5) in a free throw shooting contest.

* I was worried that without Anthony Simmons at full strength, the Knights didn't have anyone in the post who could match up with long, lean, athletic, and active Ryan Washington. Sure enough, he destroyed the Knights with 31 points and 13 rebounds.

* If you feel bad with a 16-point loss in a crossover game, be glad you're not a Lock Haven fan. They were drubbed by 4-4 Bloomsburg, 70-38.


  1. I'm glad it was only a 16pt loss, cuz after we knocked them out of the regionals last yr, I know thet were gunnin' to cream the Knights this yr.
    Like CC3, I too get excited for GU BB more than any D1 game. I haven't missed a home game since I moved back to Erie from the land of TCU and I don't watch D1 BB games except March Mad.
    Also on Furno. Weak couple of early games, but he's a FR. Next yr or 2 with 25 to 35 lbs, I think he'll be a force. We'll see on that one.

  2. Maybe KU coach Driscoll told his team that if they lost to Gannon again, he'd go "Up on a Roof" ... and jump. Sorry ... couldn't resist another James Taylor reference. :-)

    I am also pleased to see another good game from George Johnson, but I am assuming that Stephen Dennis was guarding him, so it may not mean as much. By the way, Dennis was six rebounds and two turnovers short of a triple-double.

    Not a pretty game from a fan standpoint. 51 fouls, 60 free throws, and 44 turnovers.

    This GU team turns over the ball way too much, but it's also gratifying to see that they force quite a few themselves. How much better would they be if they could turn the ball over five fewer times per game?

  3. Certainly a step forward in playing a fired-up, very experienced Kutztown team close for quite a while.

    Hard to tell when listening to a game, but, oddly, this game seemed to turn in the last few minutes of the first half when KU was called for a taunting technical and Johnson missed both free throws. That appeared to fire up the Bears as they quickly overcame what was once an 11 point Gannon lead.

    Hope Bryant is just feeling his way into his role rather than trying to do too much. His shooting percentage and number of turnovers make it appear that he may have been forcing things a little.

    Let's also keep in mind the youth and inexperience of this GU team. Only Scandrett is a true senior, eligibility-wise. Freshmen who are contributing include Furno, Simmons, and Bouldes, and sophomores include Bryant and Piotrowicz. First year (@ Gannon)juniors include Brannen, Dexter, Crouch, and Swann. That's quite a bit of experience-gathering going on in their first honest-to-goodness conference road trip.

    The harsh reality is that this year's team is going to struggle a lot of the time, and we shouldn't be measuring their progress solely in wins and losses. We're going to have to take a little harder look for signs of improvement.

  4. I'm looking at this game as a HUGE BUILDING BLOCK for this season. Again, I'm not saying they are going to win the rest of the season just because they played a "decent" game against a very good team, but this is a good learning game.

    Obviously, the fact that they blew an 11 point lead is very displeasing to see. Also, the turnovers are very upsetting. I know this team is new and inexperienced, but overall, they are not that young!! Yes we have freshmen and sophomores, but the majority of the team is juniors. I know they are mostly transfers and new to Gannon, but some of the turnovers they make are not a matter of "the system", some of them are players making poor choices. For example, we have a "big guys" who, sometimes try to be guards. They dribble the entire court, drive to the hoop, make "fancy" passes and they lose the ball. I have no problem with a "big guy" doing more than just posting up and playing in the paint, BUT when your point guard or shooting guard (or any other good ball handler) is wide open and you choose to take it yourself, that's your own fault. Those are the turnovers that are the most disappointing. Although, a lot of the turnovers are because people are not in "position" or moving to the wrong space, etc. which is all because they are new to the Gannon system. So I'm not saying every turnover is individual player's fault, but at the same time they are not all because we are young and inexperienced either.

    Now... if you just look at the halftime score and final score.. Gannon played a great game! (yes, great!!) Honestly, did anyone SERIOUSLY say "Ya know, I have a feeling that even though we've struggled against teams nowhere near as good as Kutztown, we are going to play the #7 team in the country competitively for the majority of the game". If you did, then you had more faith than most, and that's great! If you thought "Man this game could get ugly real fast" or "If we lose by less than 50, we played well" (50 is exaggeration!!), or something along that lines, I think you are then thinking the same way just about everyone thought. We were tied at halftime (forget the 11 point lead, we were even-steven with the #7 team IN THE COUNTRY!!!). That is awesome! When I last heard it, it was 5-0 Kutztown about 20+ seconds into the game. (I didn't turn it off because I thought it was over haha It was time to leave for Church and, unfortunately, other church members don't like it when I listen to the game there haha). I'm not sure how much we were down by in the 2nd half, but I know it was over 20 at one point. I think 16 is a very respectable score coming out of Kutztown. Now, let's hope that the team will take this as a building block... evaluate what they did right, what they did wrong, what went right, what went wrong, what tactics worked, didn't work, etc. And then take that and use it tomorrow against East Stroudsburg, and in future games.

    But, honestly, I know I was harsh on them in the beginning... at this point I have learned that each game is a building block. Last year, before each game it was more predicting how many points we would put up on the board and how much we'd win by. This year before the game, it's what can they do to stay competitive, to attempt to win, if they get down what can they do to ease the pain a bit, who needs to play in what situation, etc. As they learn Gannon, Coach Reilly learns them.

    I'm expecting big things this year from Gannon. A 30+ point victory? NO! A 4+ winning streak? NOPE! A string of 1-2 point losses? POSSIBLY BUT NOT GETTING MY HOPES UP. A .500 record? NOT GOING TO BET A DOLLAR ON IT. But... I am expecting progression, gaining experience, and a fun team to watch learn as well as watch teach.


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