Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sizing up the home stretch

After Gannon's disappointing 59-56 loss at Cal Sunday, things are (finally) becoming clear in this foggiest of seasons. Gannon is dynamite on one end of the floor and a complete dud on the other -- I'll let you guess which term applies to the offense. The goals for the rest of the season for Gannon (4-4, 9-11) are coming into focus as well.

NCAA tournament? Not in your dreams. Winning the PSAC West? The Knights aren't mathematically eliminated, but then again I'm not mathematically eliminated from winning the Powerball drawing Wednesday. Second in the PSAC West is basically an impossibility as well, Clarion and IUP both standing at 7-1 after Sunday's shocking Golden Eagle home victory over the Crimson Hawks.

So what are we looking at? Basically, the best Gannon can do is beat out Mercyhurst (5-3) to finish 3rd in the West and then, in a longshot, grind out a road win at Clarion, something like 45-44. In double OT. If the Knights win half of their remaining 6 PSAC games, 4th in the West is their likely fate. It looks like worst-case scenario for the Knights is finishing 5th and missing the PSAC playoffs; compounding the pain of that scenario is that historically woeful Lock Haven (3-5) is the team most likely to keep Gannon out of the playoffs.

To claim a .500 season (14-14), I think the Knights would have to win all their remaining home games (5 of their next 7), losing at IUP, at Edinboro, and their PSAC playoff opener. Obviously, the Knights could take one hit at home and win at Edinboro. So that's what we've got. We can dream about a winning record and making the PSAC playoffs (maybe winning one game). If this team could keep its defensive intensity and score just 65 points per game, the season-ending scenarios would be oh-so-much brighter.

If you're bummed that the best we can hope for is a barely winning season, take solace we're not experiencing seasons like Tiffin or the Salem International women.


  1. games rescheduled to tomorrow due to weather. spoke to the women's manager and it took them 7+ hours to get to cal last night. the area surrounding it is in a state of emergency.

  2. Must have been a long slog down I-79 for GU last night. :-)

    Wonder how this will affect preparation. It would be unfair if Cal got to practice today and Gannon didn't.

    Hope they brought an extra change of clothes.

  3. Since we don't have any GU basketball to discuss, how about Lock Haven's 91-90 triple OT win at EU?

    By the way, "slog" can be used as a noun.

  4. If cal practiced it Most likely wasn't at cal as their warning on site states school was closed altogether today as they're in a state of emergency. If they did practice, I really don't see how that'd be unfair. Cal themselves didn't cxl the game, the whole town is shut down. That's not their fault. Plus Gannon will get their usual work in before the games tomorrow.

    Re LH-EU, not too surprising. Didn't LH beat Mercyhurst too? Regardless EU is def one of the weakest teams in the PSAC. Not sure what their prob is, have good players and pretty good team play, just can't find ways to win.

  5. Although the GU women traveled to Cal Friday night, the GU men are still in Erie, I'm told. They supposedly practiced Saturday as usual in advance of the bus trip, but the trip got postponed when the game was moved and they remain in Erie. They're supposedly going to practice in the morning before riding down Sunday.

    Not sure who did or didn't practice at Cal on Saturday, but I saw a news report on the web that said that the power was out in the area, which may have prevented everyone from working out.

    This whole weekend has turned into quite a slog for the folks located between the Pittsburgh and Baltimore areas. Glad it wasn't Erie for a change. Best wishes to everyone for safe travels. Be careful out there, y'all.

  6. Surprised they both didn't travel together like they normally do. However, I know some of the players said it was really crowded with both teams, so maybe they switched it up. Regardless, safe wishes to all who have been hit with the 22+"!

  7. GUW 40 - 20 CALUW at halftime??

    Would not have predicted that!! Keep it going
    Lady Golden Knights!!!

  8. Spent the $7 to watch on the B2 net. Too much stop & go. Turned it off and listened on the radio. Great win for the l;adies and let's go Knights

  9. WOW! A dominating win by the now 24-0 (!!!) Lady Knights. Though I was "prepared" for them to lose, I'm not surprised they won. I am quite a bit surprised that they dominated from the outset like they did. In last year's regional final, GU fell behind 28-4 en route to a 64-40 loss. They matched their score last year by halftime.

    Brooque Williams didn't do anything -- a forgettable 3/17 performance where she fouled out. Give Kristina Freeman credit.

    Still some tough games left, but this was a huge hurdle. They now pretty much have a two-game cushion in both the PSAC west and the region.

    Cleve is also looking pretty smart for deciding to brave the snow and drive down on Friday.

    Let's hope the men can make it a snowstorm sweep!

  10. Looks like Bouldes and Simmons are starting. Scandrett is starting over Swann.

  11. It's ten minutes after the scheduled start time and Gannon still has yet to turn the ball over.

    The games has not yet started ... details.

  12. golden- i agree with you. brooque williams was far from the spectacular threat i think the entire gu team was expecting. the snow delay did our girls good. 24-0 to missouri we go!

    and zo starting? somewhat of a pleasant surprise. he has definitely worked for that.

  13. So much for that ... Brannen turned the ball over 31 seconds into the game.

  14. Two assists so far for Mook. Great start.

    No ... I won't be posting every minute. :)

  15. Beth -- Did you go? Did Williams play poorly or was it Freeman's defense? Or a combination of both.

  16. Drat ... GU down 21-14. Nine turnovers and 6/18 from the field. Johnson is only 1/5 for the game.

  17. golden- i did not. i was supposed to, but with weather, erie just seemed like the safer choice. i listened to sean and jim & followed the play by play. though free was FABULOUS on defense (though, isn't she always?) i really think williams had an off day. if she is supposed to rival freeman, i would expect her to score more than 6 points. also, i think cal played a lot better when she was on the bench. (which was a big surprise, that coach sat her out. when cal visited the mill she played 39 minutes.)

  18. Looks like a fairly solid effort by the men, but they came up just short. The made it interesting in the end.

    Jim -- I believe that the last GU game on Super Bowl Sunday was at Kutztown in 1991 or 1992, correct?

  19. Golden - Scandrett starting was definitely a surprise (not a shock, just a surprise), but why did you seem so surprised that Bouldes and Simmons started? They've been starting all along...

    I still have to stick by what I said in a previous post, however, that I'd rather have Scandrett coming off the bench. Do I necessarily think Swann should be starting, no. But Crouch could start, he's been showing he's got some stuff. And it's not like I'm saying Scandrett shouldn't be playing that much, I just really feel he and the team plays better with him coming off the bench.

    Today's loss was not disappointing, it was straight up stomach upsetting. This was not a "must win" game, this was a "cannot lose" game.

  20. Freeman played TREMENDOUS defense, however, Williams was way off!! I watched the girls game on the B2Network and though Freeman did a good job when she was on her, Crocker and Kleber also guarded her and that was when had the majority of her shots. However, her turnovers mostly came when Freeman was guarding her. As nice as it was, I won't expect a repeat performance by Williams should Gannon and CalU meet again.

    Also, CalU did play better without Williams in the game. I feel this was because they played "their" game when she was on the bench rather than having her hoisting up bad shots just trying to get something to fall (i.e.- like Johnson does in the men's games when he's not hitting shots). Also, she had 4 fouls for the most of the 2nd half and the coach took her out avoid the 5th foul should they make a comeback, which they somewhat did. However, when she came back in she didn't make a difference and the 5th foul came and CalU played better without her again haha sometimes your "team" can play better without the "star".

  21. Regarding the men's team, I'm as disappointed, looking at the big picture as anyone else. However, looking at things a little closer, I don't think how they've performed so far is that horrible, given all that's happened to them this season.

    A week into the season, many people who visit this blog were wondering if this team would ever win a game. All the changes they've gone through, given the defection of 3 of their most highly-rated recruits and 2 walk-ons, the temporary departure of their leading scorer and lone returning starter, long-term injuries to as many as 4 different players (including a season-ending injury to their most experienced forward), a disappointing performance, to date, of 2 mid-season additions at guard (who were expected to start), etc, etc.

    Right now, their most effective lineup includes a JC transfer at forward with a turnover problem, a freshman center still working his way back into shape after an injury that sidelined him for a number of months, a defensive specialist at forward not known for his offense who also struggles taking care of the ball, and an undersized walk-on sophomore point guard who is shooting in the 25% range from the field and was playing D-III ball at this time last year. The other point is an even smaller freshman who has been hurt a lot.

    Given all that, I think that a .500 league record at this point, home wins over teams like Northern Kentucky, Cal, and Edinboro and a road blowout over Slippery Rock isn't half bad.

    A lot of experience has been gained, and the coaching staff is likely getting a good idea of who can do what and just what type of player at which positions they'll need to bring in next year.

    Even without all the drama and bad luck, replicating anything even close to the last 2 years was a long shot at best. Admit it, they've done better than you would've thought after the first night of the Gary Miller Classic.

    Would it be nice to make a repeat trip to Springfield? Of course, but there's no way that was going to happen this year, anyway.

    If national contention is an issue, channel your competitive energy toward the very deserving, very good women's team and give Coach Reilly a year to rebuild.

  22. To add to G74: Some of the players that have greatly improved from game one took an awlful lot of harsh criticism the first 6-7 games. IMO we should guard what we say with new players coming in - just don't know how things will progress. If one wants to evaluate their proformance mid and year end and where they need to improve, fine. Even coach R should watch what he says - he said that Byrant was our starting point guard when he got here at break - he hasn't even played in what 4 or 5 games.
    I'm not saying players/coaches/team can't be evaluated and "criticized" but the individual attacks IMO can not do much good. I will say that from game 8 or so, the criticism moved from individual players to how the team performed. Seems like folks accepted the fact that this year was a big rebuilding year and the team was not going to go 30-4. Defections and injuries profoundly changed the course of this year.

  23. Gannon- I totally agree. Going back to even just when they beat NKU if you told me they'd be 9-11 and 4-4, I'd put a ton of money against you. My problem with this game was that it was a can't lose game. Mainly because they needed to rebound after the Hurst loss. Listening to the game, I never once felt like they had improved from the Hurst game. Steve and Crouch are showing signs of improvement and so are some others, but the team in general did not. Back to 20 TOs and Johnson going 2 for infinity. Improvement is not losing by 3 to a team you crushed at home ( and home court can't be an issue when you dominate an opponent, and CalU didn't dominate, Gannon just turned the game over to them and said "We don't want it, you can have it."

  24. Given last years team, the large number of graduates - or at least players with expiring eligibility - this season should honestly be no surprise, at least to an honest, objective sort.

    Now I was as hopeful as anyone, seeing the impressive list of transfers, freshman, and Jucos. However, I should have put my thinking cap back on, and I would of thought of the 1990 - 1991 Knights - long on talent - short on production.
    Solid JC transfers - Rankin, Price, Cleveland St transfer Vinyard, Freshman Douglas, Stablien, added to senior returners Freeman, Crawford. And lest I forget the incomprable James Roddy, It is easy to say that those two (Freeman/Crawford) were in a much better place to to provide leadership and dismal let-down for most.
    I agree with Gannon 74 - what they have learned wwhere they have gotten, quite frankly, some quality wins, should all be part of another stellar year next year. Short of unsuspecting transfers out, there are no significant losses after this year. So next year should be a strong senior lead team....

    We HOPE!

  25. One would think next year should be rocking. Not really losing much and three freshmen getting valuable playing time. Coach V should be able to get some mass on Furno, some mass off Simmons giving us better presnces at the 5 spot, Furno could play 4 spot too. Byrant and Swann will have a full year with the team. Travis and Geo will only get better.A couple of good transfers that stay makes a very solid team.

  26. Defintely,

    they are a year away from some special things... assuming everyone here, stays here... and basic improvements occur. In terms of skill and presence...

    I was wondering the other day... why haven't we been able to get any of Jim Rocco's kids from Penn Hills up here? they've gone to Boro (Knight) IUP (Akida McClain) to name 2, but none here...

  27. 1. Let's still focus on this season and focus on not falling off the planet and losing all of our remaining games.
    2. Next year looks promising, but didn't this year? After some of the past 10 years, this year made me realize I'm not hyping up anyone-anything anymore until it's proven.

    And actually I'm more anxious to see what the girls bring to the table next year right now more than the guys. Not because of this season for the guys, but with losing 5 starters the girls will definitely not be favorites. However, they have some solid players returning who have gained some great experience this year and they could easily be a sleeper team and give some teams some unexpected challenges.

  28. I disagree about the loss to Cal. This was the third of 3 consecutive road games, including 2 pretty long bus rides. Then there was the whole "Gametime changed, game postponed, we're leaving, we're not leaving" uncertainty that gets a team out of its routine. It's unlikely that they practiced on Saturday as they would have the day before a game, because they still thought they were leaving and playing later in the day at that point. The whole weekend turned into, dare I say it, a bit of a slog. Not surprised that they came out flat and slow. Surprised that they came back and fought to the end, unlike the Clarion game where they just kind of mailed it in after falling behind.

    Also, it's a tough league to play road games in, given the affinity for a lot of refs for the home team (10 GU FT's vs 24 for Cal)that seems to be prevalent everywhere except the Audi (ever see a home team that so religiously gets fewer FT's than their opponents?), and Cal HAS to be playing better than they were earier in the season. They were the ones that mailed it in during the earlier meeting. At least GU didn't Sunday.

    I think it's not fair to an inexperienced team such as this to say any game is a "must win" or "can't lose" game. Those are reserved for teams that have a chance to go somewhere. This team isn't ready to do anything except gain experience. Most of us pretty much could tell early on that they aren't ready to contend.

    Let's continue to hope for effort as opposed to "must wins".

  29. The men practiced Saturday. They were informed that of the cancellation Friday night when the girls were in the middle of ther journey to Cal. They also got their pregame practice on Sunday.

    Cal was a "can't lose" but not in regards to playoff contention or anything like that. It was a can't lose for morale. Last place team in PSAC and you crushed them at home. If they beat them by just a few at home then you can expect a decent game win or lose on road. But to follow a blowout and then go and let them pretty much control the game is not a good step for progression. They were progressing well, even in a few losses, then started falling with the edinboro game.

    It's good to be able to evaluate players for next year, but you can't abandon this season yet or you'll see many more departures.

  30. cc3, not for nothing, but.....
    The continuing use of the term "girls" when referring to the Gannon women's basketball program is just a bit tiresome. I'm not trying to sound all uppity, but it IS 2010.

    The women's program has reached a point where the use of "girls" is demeaning at best, and shows a lack of respect for what the program has acheived over the past 15 years. The university and its athletic department have gone to great lengths to assure young women who attend Gannon that they will be afforded all that comes with playing intercollegiate athletics.

    So, please continue your support of the Gannon University women's basketball program, and refer to it as such. Thanks.

  31. Golden: I believe the last Gannon game on Super Sunday was Jan. 26, 1992 -- Gannon at Alvernia. The Knights won that afternoon in OT, 74-67, and won at Kutztown the next evening at Kutztown, 71-54. The Alvernia game was the only time in my college playing career that I taunted the fans. The whole game their student section was calling me "water boy" -- clearly an insult to water boys everywhere -- and as they yelled at us going to our lockerrrom after the game, I remember pointing to the scoreboard and waving bye-bye to them. Not one of my prouder moments.

    GUBBFWLR: You're right about managing expectations of new players. Don't believe their news clippings; trust only your eyes after several games.

    BMOC: Regarding the 1990-91 team, we finished 17-13 but I think that was a lot different from this year's team. Maybe I'm biased, but I wouldn't describe that season as a "dismal letdown." That club had two REALLY embarrassing losses to good teams (at Pace 90-64 and at Textile 70-50) but no 30-point losses to mediocre Urbana (now 12-10), or a double-digit home loss to Lake Erie (8-15), or frequent losses where the Knights scored in the 50s or 40s. One of the 90-91 team's losses was by 3 to eventual national runner-up Bridgeport. Other close losses were at IUP (by 3), vs. Millersville (by 1), and at Textile (by 3) in the MCC semifinals. Among the quality wins that season were vs. Len Rauch and LeMoyne (twice in OT), vs. Pace, and Univ. of Buffalo (three times). Your comments made me look at this year's schedule to ask, "What's the best win of this season?" and "What are the respectable losses?" I'm not sure what's the best win so far. We all thought Northern Ky. at the time, but they're just 13-10 now, 6-8 in the GLVC. The best loss is by 7 to IUP, but what's the next best? Maybe the best wins are yet to come ...

    And as far as Jim Rocco, after his final game at Gannon, he gave me the maroon T-shirt he wore under his uniform, so maybe he feels that's all he owed Gannon. :) Seriously, I'm not sure why more of his kids aren't at Gannon. Rocco came to a game last year, so I don't think there's a rift there.

  32. Boze- that's just the way I talk. I use the terms guys and girls. I use it with adults and kids and teens. I refer to even people my grandmothers age as girls. "Hey, I met this girl that knows you." just the terms I use.

    Not meant to be degrading, but, no offense to you, I'm not changing the way I talk because you, or anyone, don't like it. Sorry.

  33. Sorry, cc3, I can't agree. This team's morale has been stepped on so many times that losing to Cal isn't going to make that much of a difference. They'll still be able to get up to play the Rock. If they could come back from the 2 crossover blowouts and the miserable Clarion performance to blow out Slippery Rock, they'll be able to get over Sunday's loss. IMO, you're making too much of that game. It may have been a game that was there for the taking, but their failure to do so isn't going to affect the players' morale as it apparently affects some of the fans'.

    Your account of the weekend's schedule doesn't match what I was told. I was told that they still had an early, game-day-style practice early Saturday as if they were traveling to Cal and playing that night, as the game had just been moved back at that point. Then, later in the day came the postponement to Sunday. If they HAD known about the game being moved to Sunday, Saturday's practice would have been a day-before-the-game practice, which would have been different. They essentially held 2 game-day practices. It might seem like a little thing, but it makes a difference. The coaches do a lot to create a routine for the players, and their routine was defintely thrown off by the game being moved, then postponed particularly when there's a 3+ hour (or longer, due to the weather) bus ride involved.

    That has been the point I've been trying to make through all of this. Simply put, their routine was changed, their plans altered a couple times, and that can affect a team's performance.

  34. Jim- I think this Morningstar guy from Kansas' team should transfer to Hurst. He's fit in perfectly with their unique name roster.

  35. gannon74 I heard what you heard. The men did apparently have two game day practices. They were scheduled very early in the gym on Saturday due to other events, so they had fully practiced before the call came about moving the games. I agree with you that this surely changed their routine and the bus rides probably didn't help.

  36. Boze,
    What's with the PC? its 2010 come on. I say baloney! How about some respect for seniors? Come on. Am I bad boy if iI refer to a female as a girl. My wife is still my girl. Being in my 60's, I'm to old to change (only joking). Every coach you hear in an interview calls his male players boys. I respect the ladies as well a anyone, but if I say the gals played well, well.. I'm not going to confession.
    Lighteb up. Sheesh!

  37. Thank you GU Fanman.

  38. Coach, Fanman and everyone else on this board....

    Please accept my sincere apologies for the outburst. Was having a crummy day. Just think that there should be more about this great team, but we're forced to endure endless babble about the D-League.

    Again, sorry for the rant. My panties are unbunched, your grandmas and wives and sweethearts can and should be your girl.

  39. By the way, the D-League reference was not directed towards this board, just the local sports scene, in general. Sorry if I upset the tens of fans who attend the Bayhawks' games.

  40. Boze- I hear you on that one!! It's very disappointing to even look at the newspaper the day after a Gannon doubleheader. The guys seem to only make front page main article when they get crushed (or they play Hurst or Boro) and the girls make the front page main article... Never!!!! 24-0, beat CalU twice, and they get a small blurb on page 28384839. It's a joke. Especially when the front page main article is of the BayHawks, who are now what?! 11-19? Or something like that.

    The girls deserve much, much, much, MUCH, MUCH!!! more credit, recognition than what they are getting currently.

  41. Absolutely Correct-o. I personaly think the B'awks get the ink bec of the ads they have in the ETN. Give em the money you get the ink. Its bizz. I had season tkts last yr to the hawks and missed too many games cuz I went to GU 1st (as it should be..hee hee. This yr I was able to get a season seat for GU and see the Hawks when GU's not playing.
    Now to the ladies. Are sports eds nuts? Here they have the #3--NUMBER T_H_R_E_E in the nation. Come on ETN. They should have pre-game
    intvws a couple photos and player profiles. Our gals are the target of everyone on the East Coast. There sure are a lot of out of towners looking at Erie,Pa and GU for info with jealous eyes. Wake up ETN and enjoy what this team has accomplished.

  42. Jim,

    I think a little objective step back may lead you to my conclusion, while the overall record may and likely will be better. I think the starting point of expectations to finishing point is where I was trying to go.

    You had 2 returning experienced scorers (realistically the 1st and second options) that returned in 1990 - they were not going to have trouble putting points up. Although George was a significant player last year, he was far from a significant scorer - was he not the third or fourth option on last year's team? Your own words from July demonstrated a cautious optimism. And while you 'predicted' somewhere around 19-8, you also said they could be .500. While back in 1990 there was an air that with Freeman and Crawford back, there was a real expectation for the march to continue.... and the 3 point loss to Bridgeport simply made the fall from grace that much more precipitous.

    This year - honestly - great hope, but uncertain expectations, lead to disappointment

    1990 - Great hope - AND expectations - lead many in the area to a feeling of greater disappointment (dismal letdown)

    Just this humble guys opinion – and know it is far in the past and out of the range of knowledge for most on this board. But I think it gives a great level of comparison and objectivity in two somewhat similar situations, historically speaking.
    We should be fairly happy that after the addition through subtraction that occurred, the team is there – from what I can tell. And they can grow together, keeping everyone around allows for negativity or ‘cancer’ to grow.

    Support the guys for what they are trying to do, realize how far they have come, and how far they have yet to go. Don’t give up, but we need to better manage our expectations.