Monday, February 1, 2010

It's a shame someone had to win that game

All I have for you are questions after Gannon's 58-46 loss at Mercyhurst:
* Was that the most forgettable game in the 36-year Gannon/Mercyhurst rivalry?
* What was the highlight of the game -- for either team? Was there even one to speak of?
* Besides every other Mercyhurst regular season game, did you ever see so many empty seats at the MAC?
* Why is the Gannon-Mercyhurst game always a slog in the 50s or 40s?
* Should we now circle the Hurst at Gannon game on Feb. 24 or do we cross it out?
* Should I have gone to the Medaille/Behrend game tonight instead?
* After three ugly games in a row (two of them wins), where does Gannon go from here?
* Most important of all, where was Niv Zinder?


  1. Nice to see Tanner Furno collect his second-consecutive PSAC West freshman of the week honor. He's been on fire lately; you could almost call him Tanner "In-Furno"...

  2. jeremy- my household has been on "team tanner" from day 1 and have called him that from day one. did you see his stats for the weekend? he only averaged 5.5 points a game... congrats to him, but it must have been a slow week for psac freshman

  3. So, 2 days 'til the Hurst. The two games promise to be exciting, with (as usual)more GU fans than MC fans. I love that.

    To pass the time, how's 'bout relating your all-time favorite GU-MC game/moment/player. Not sure I have a game or moment, but, without doubt, my favorite player was Danny Brown, who played for the Lakers from 77-81. I can't remember another player in the series who absolutely relished the games against Gannon. He was a great penetrator, had tremendous range on his jumper, played great defense and was clutch beyond belief... and all of those traits seemed to be amplified against Gannon. A real treat to watch.

  4. Boze -- Great idea!

    Favorite moment ... The five-point comeback in 2001 the last minute after Javar Cheatham fouled out and it looked bleak. The once-a-year MC fans were going crazy and a few were ejected after jumping Gumby.

    Rich Bush made a conventional three-point play and Josh Morgan hit a short jumper after a backcourt steal. Then Cory Coleman hit a jumper with 20 or so seconds to give GU the lead. Shouse made a layup, but Bush hit two FTs in the closing seconds to provide the margin of victory. It's fun watching their fans' hearts get broken.

    Close second-favorite moment -- 1990 -- The frantic 27-7 run in the final eight minutes that turned a 57-42 defecit into a key 69-64 win. This was in spite of the afformetioned Andy Adams three-point attempt. A very poor MC team played out of their minds (e.g. Dave Constantion's TWO four-point plays) in the only game that truly matters to them, their fans, and their then-president.

  5. By the way ...

    Men's game -- First one to 50 wins. For whatever reason, the games at the MAC are generally ugly and low-scoring. And the '09-'10 Knights are making ugly, low scoring games their specialty. Maybe first one to 45 will win. One more thing ... if MC does win, will their fans storm the court after being a very average Gannon team. We know how they're obsessed with beating Gannon; a court-storming will prove the point even more.

    Women's game -- This one scares me to no end. MC is much improved and they will play very well as this is the games that matters most to them. GU will need to be on top of its game or MC could pull off the upset. To see their once-a-year fans celebrate taking down the undefeated season would sicken me to no end. Hopefully it won't happen, especially with Saturday's road game at Cal looming.

  6. Beth- I deeply apologize for infringing your copyright on Tanner "In-Furno." I shall not make that mistake again.

  7. In re to furno, he's not receiving these awards for offense. He's receiving them for all around play esp. his shutting down of key players. He's now defended 3 big scorers and held all of them to no less than 6 pts below their average. Also he's getting crucial rebounds and has made some key FTs down the line. (this is all taken from psac awards site; not word for word ad that'd be copyright infringement)

    in re to mercyworst, I loathe the school. Not just because I like Gannon or went to Gannon but because I just don't like the school or the people. I've had several friends go there and turn into totally diff people. For this reason I erase memories of games about 3 secs after they are over. However, in terms of basketball, Shouse was my fav opponent to watch. He, for most part, was the dragon that the Knights couldn't slay. Even if Gannon won, Shouse made it interesting. Hands down he's one kid I wouldve loved to see at Gannon.

  8. jeremy- feel free to use it, just let it be known that the obnoxious kids in section a started it! :) besides, i never said i started it- i'm still standing by the idea that reilly should have redshirted the kid this season.

  9. True, Reilly should've red-shirted Furno and was planning to red-shirt Furno, but circumstances dictated that he HAD to use the kid this year. Even now, with him on the roster, GU has only 4 front-court players(4's and/or 5's-Brannen, Simmons, Scandrett, Furno)to put on the floor. That's not enough, and having only 3 certainly wouldn't work, depth-wise.

  10. I would have rather seen Simmons and/or Bouldes redshirted this year. Simmons is good, but is definitely not in "game" shape yet and I don't know if he will be by the end of this season. With the four point guards on the team, and this season not having a huge chance of being our NCAA Championship run season, I would've liked to see Bouldes redshirt so we can have him for 4 more years along with Simmons. That way if Bryant pans out you would have Steve and Bryant for 2 more years and then Bouldes for 4 more years.

  11. The last line of my previous post shouldve said "Then you would have Steve and Bryant for 2 more years and Bouldes for 2 more years after those two graduate."

  12. Again, having any less than 4 players to man the 4 and 5 spots is not enough. If there was any chance that Simmons could contribute, there was no way they could redshirt him. Remember that Reilly, in interviews, has said that he thought Simmons would be a starter this season at the 5. Remember also that Simmons played at a 5-year prep school last year, so he's already a sophomore, age wise. Redshirting wouldn't be necessary for him to mature, as is done with many freshman who are built like Furno. Regardless, after the defections and Demski's injury, Reilly didn't have the numbers to redshirt either one.

    I do agree that, NOW, utilizing 20-20 hindsight, redshirting Bouldes makes sense. However, I thought I had heard somewhere at the beginning of the year that he wasn't agreeable to redshirting (don't know if that's true or not). Besides, there was no way Reilly could know what he had in Piotrowicz, Batts was still playing football and was hurt afterwards, and Bryant wasn't here at all until January, and how could they have known IF he would show, and, if he did, how he's fit in. No, back in November, he couldn't have afforded to redshirt Mook, either.

  13. How about when Karl Fogel got a technical foul for leaving the coaching box late in the game, sealing the Knights' win? I loved seeing Gannon beating his teams! He only beat Slocum once (2001) and I know that fact ate at him.

  14. I've been a die-hard GU fan since the mid-60's, but, for the record, I've always thought that T on Fogel was a bad call at that point in the game. It shouldn't have been called. I was happy with the win, but felt that call cheapened it somewhat.

    Fogel may have seemed like a jerk, but he was actually a great guy who contributed to the basketball development of a lot of local kids (including kids who have gone on to play at GU)with his famous Sunday morning clinics and his summer camps, which I felt, from having my kids go there, were the best-run instructional and competitive camps in Erie County at the time, far better than anything Slocum ever put together before heading to the golf course.

    Speaking of Jerry Slocum, someone's memories of that game when Rich Bush hit the free throws at the end, reminded me that, after that game, I randomly ran into Slocum in the hallway on the way out, and he was so fired up/overwhelmed after the game that he literally couldn't speak. He just sort of stood there babbling to anyone who addressed him. It was hilarious at the time, but later I realized how much he got into those games and how much they meant to him.

    The thing I most remember is that, for some reason, no matter how the team's records lined up going into the game at MC, GU won every time, except once (I believe). Always was amazed by that.

  15. I have to agree w golden89 how do you not rate that game as the best. Dr. barry hadf a first class recruiting class,(Kornick,Redding, Beck, Constantino, Fink, Swanger the banger :-)) freshmen playing out of their minds...
    Bass, doing what he did...
    Constantino's histrionics in front of the Gannon benchone one of his 2 4-pt plays...

    And although Adams had a rather bad... I got the ball..... I am open.... what do I do now... ohhh I'll shoot a three.. ohhh @#!$... moment.

    and then Freeman's twisting 'and one' to tie/go ahead

    I have a hard time believing their has been a better since....or before...

    But let's give MC credit for moving the games back to campus rathjer than the hole of the civic center... those were games to forget.

  16. BMOC -- The GU / MC game in 1986 that drew 5,689 fans to the Civic Center, at the time the largest crowd to see a basketball game in Erie, surely wasn't one to forget. And I wasn't one of the 5,689 -- I was sick.

    My only comment on the men's game tonight will be to repeat a line from Tom Chapman. "The loss was not due to a lack of effort. It was due to a lack of productivity."

  17. Not commenting on the game... Too many negatives. One positive- nice to see Crouch show up

    there is a younger boy who is at every Gannon home game and was at tonights road game. I do not know his name, but I like to call him Chris Farley as his personality, sense of humor, and sayings remind me of the late comedy actor. I'm sure many of you know who I'm referring to (the fan; not Farley). This boy is always cheering for Gannon, moving across the front of the bleacher section trying to get people to cheer louder, etc. He is never obscene, he is never crude, and he's one of the only fans that cheers consistently whether were winning or down by 30.

    Can he sometimes get annoying? Yes. Can he sometimes be overkill? Yes. Does he make me ashamed to be a Gannon fan? NO!!! There was an older man who, after the game when the boy was leaving, turned to the kid and said "Ive been a Gannon fan for 20 years and tonight you made me change my mind. You are loud and rude! You embarass Gannon as a whole". The boy didn't respond and just walked away, looking slightly upset.

    To you, Mr. 20 year fan, I am ashamed to have YOU as a Gannon supporter. You think he's rude by chanting "defense" and cheering and saying "what's a laker?"?? But you made no reference to the Hurst students who swore on multiple occasions, directly made crude comments to or about Gannon players and were very racey with the Gannon lady players? What is rude about trying to get fans pumped up and try to get your team back in the game as they are slowly slipping??

    You, sir, are an embarassment to any true Gannon fan. I don't care what anyone else says on here, I am sticking up for the kid. It's people like this old grumpy man who ruin it for everyone. You actually disappointed me more than the game itself. Shame on you!

  18. Nice post, Jim. Maybe Image Sports knew what they were doing by showing the Behrend game instead of GU / Hurst.

  19. Sorry for the multiple posts, but I have two more things. "A SELLOUT IS EXPECTED" was announced last week by MC and the crowd was less than 1500.

    Solid effort by the women's team. They simply wore Mercyhurst down ... I know that it's a men's blog, but Atlantic Regional news regarding the GU women that surprised me:

    The Atlantic Region has changed its post-season format this season. The top two seeds will host four-team regionals March 12-13. The top remaining seed will host the region's title game March 15.

    Basically, if the standings held today, GU and Cal would host sub-regionals and the top remaining seed would host the championship game. The men's West region did this last year when they realized that they didn't want to fly eight teams to Hawaii. It must have worked well. Not sure if all regions are operating this way.

  20. Strange night in PSAC:
    Mansfield escapes from bloomsburg by 1
    clarion just barely slips by Lock Haven by 3
    Cal defeats Slippery Rock by 14 for first conf win
    IUP remains unbeaten by crushing Boro
    Kutztown LOSES to Cheyney???... BY 32 POINTS??.. AT KU??

    Thus far, Gannon (7) and Slippery Rock (9) are the only PSAC teams to lose by less than 10 to IUP. Hurst lost by 22, Boro by 25.

    Cheyney is the only team to beat IUP at all this season (by 4 at Cheyney). Cheyney then went on to lose to California (by 12 at Cheyney).

  21. IMO, this Gannon team will never be effective offensively if they do not make a better effort to get the ball inside. According to the box score, Brannen got only 3 shots, and 2 of them were 3's! This team has to get more shots inside or they won't get enough open opportunities for their outside shooters. Simple as that. They also need to shoot better from the FT line.

    The games are slogs (is that really a word, Jim?)for several reasons. First off, both coaches are very defensive-oriented and emphasize winning by stopping the opponent from scoring rather than winning by scoring themselves. Thus, when they play each other, the games turn into ugly defensive struggles like the one we were treated to tonight.

    Additionally, the east end of the basketball court at Mercyhurst has always been a difficult end to shoot from the outside at (terrible syntax, I know). If you've ever taken a close look, the background is an uneven mixture of windows, a scoreboard, walls painted white with large blue and green painted logos, a railing, and assorted light sources. The GU men shot 47% in the first half heading west and 32% going east in the second. The women, who went east in the first shot 36%, but improved to 50% in the second going west. I don't have the stats, but this is something that I've noticed before. The background is just not conducive to shooting well, particularly when you don't play there more than once a year. The west end is better, but there's all those pipes running across in front of the wall up near the ceiling, which creates shadows and different light. All those holes in the ceiling and falling insulation might not help, either.

    Tonight, neither team played well enough to raise the game out of "slog-ness". That didn't help, either.

  22. Why worry, the most forgettable to a GU fan is any that we lost - or blew them out.

    As for the Civic center - in any barrel of rotten apples someone will always find a good one-at least an edible one. But I will give you that Kalbaugh lead team did have some spunk and here's to Billy (anyone know where he is?) - Another great addition to GU from the Hurst (Scott Kornick, although he never played up to his potential - he couldn't figure Dukiet out/ Dick Fox).

    Running the Dukiet/Princeton stuff that Reilly runs takes a little longer for anyone to pick-up and run effectively. It is a completely different way to play and some pretty good groups have struggled running it, until they become more acclimated to it. Someone will challenge then on recruiting the "right" players, you never know what you've got until they actually get here. Scouting, seeing, bringing them in for visits, is essentially a beauty contest, one in which everyone is on their best behavior, until the honeymoon is over.

    Let us not forget the talent he built with in '07 that lead to '08 and then '09. And given some of the facilities - I know this is heresy here - It is not as easy as you may think to get recruits in. Looking at some of the facilities - offices, locker rooms, weight rooms found around, and then what we have on site GU.

    Reilly was a step away from a bus ticket in 07, at 21 - 32 - who couldof imagined the next 2 years... Now with this group - this year was going to be a rebuilding year NOT reloading as some hoped/prayed - see where he takes them next, he's got the guards, and the big men a year in the system seems to be what it takes. Then with the diverse class range, hopefully we will not have to reload for quite some time.

  23. Just a thought. Can ANYONE be an offensive threat besides Johnson? I know my game plan, and apparently everyone else’s, would be stop him and you win. A few times last night when he was out of the line up there was not one player on the floor to score. Nobody wanted to shoot. Wide open shots where passed because the players in that position are not shooters nor had the confidence to fire it up.
    Another thought why not give Bryant a minute or two? I’m not saying start him or play him for 30 minutes but Ya never know. Is Malcolm Woodbury glued to his seat as well? Again, Ya never know unless he actually gets on the floor at some point.

  24. As far as running their Princeton offense, you're right, but there have been times that they have been successful (Slippery Rock comes to mind) because they were able to get the ball inside and score from there, thus opening up the outside. At the Rock, they were successful doing this despite the fact that Johnson was around 0-10 from the field. If the ball moves properly, it works. Last night, they were unable to work the ball inside to either score (or maybe get some shots) or work the ball to the open man when double-teamed (which they did not do well at all last night).

    As far as why certain players don't play, it's impossible for us to know what goes on in practice, and that is how a coach determines who plays. I agree that it would make sense to US to try certain players, but if it's often apparent to the coaches from watching the players every day whether the coaches can trust those players to play the way they want them to.

    As far as players passing up "wide open" shots, I think there was a lot less of that than you say there was. Scandrett is the only one I remember being wide open all that much and not shooting, but that's not really his game. Mercyhurst's strategy was that they helped and/or double-teamed inside, were willing to give Brannen and Scandrett 18+ footers and make sure no one else got many good looks. GU's failure to move the ball quickly and Mercyhurst's hard work and hustle on defense combined to limit the number of open shots GU had available to them. One thing I've noticed about this team is that, except for Johnson, rarely do any of these players force bad shots because when they do, they get to watch, not play, the game. It's clearly not something Coach Reilly wants to see.

  25. cc- the kid is a junior at gannon. he generally sits near my friends & i. i agree with you though. is he rediculous to the point where the bench is watching him instead of the game sometimes? ohhhhh yes. has he made all the local news stations with his enthusasim? ohhhh yes. however, though he is an embarrassment to us at times, i'm with you on this one. who is anyone to say what the other fans can and can't do?

  26. gannon74 Not to belabor the point, but there is a fine line with this offense...

    At SRU the defense was such (bad,lazy) that the ball movement was easily accomplished to facilitate the offense. However, the pressure last night on the guards, then the double downs - or front with help, and finally not guarding guys (Travis/Zo/ et al) where they would not shoot, thereby clogging up the lane, is a classic problem for the inexperienced or lethargic team.

    Time will heal 44 - 15 all time ain't all bad.....
    Every blind squirrel finds a nut

  27. Jim- Zinder (#21) was on the bench. I don't remember seeing his name in the paper much this season, if at all.

  28. Golden89: Good call on first to 50.

    Corey: You're right -- was there a full moon at nearly every PSAC game yesterday? I checked to see if Kutztown had its full team, and everyone was there. Also, for some reason Zinder is listed on Hurst roster but he's not on the stat sheet and wasn't in the Mercyhurst scorebook.

    Gannon74: The definition of "slog" is "to plod perseveringly especially against difficulty." Both teams certainly persevered ...

    BMOC: Regarding Scott Kornick, I believe the reason he never fully reached his potential was due to a nose injury he suffered. I know that sounds odd, but his nose was broken so severely that he wasn't breathing properly, so he couldn't get in shape. I believe he had surgery to correct it -- regrettably after his eligibility was done -- and returned to 100% physical health. He was a redshirt my senior year. He was a joy to play with on the scout team.

  29. Here's the local newspaper article on Kutztown's 94-62 home loss to Cheyney. It's very damning. For all Gannon's struggles this year, nobody's questioned the team's effort.

    My favorite excerpt from the article is this: "The Bears ... didn't guard, didn't rebound and didn't hustle. Several times, they failed to get back on defense."

  30. I like how they focus on Dennis as the leader trying to get the team back on track. But we all know he was most likely the one not getting back on defense! Plus all they note him for is his offense, as if to say he doesn't need to worry about defense.

    Jim- could Zinder be a redshirt this year? I know Gannon redshirts wear street clothes to games, but there was a 21 sitting near the end of mercyhursts bench. Maybe the NCAA has a limit to how many strange names can suit up for one game??!!

  31. Jim-regarding the word "slog"-

    OK, it sounds like slog is a verb. Can it also be used as a noun, as you did, in referring to the game as a "slog"?

    Just trying to learn a new word and its proper usage every day . Hey, it beats rehashing Wednesday's game again, doesn't it?

  32. jim to Gannon74: The definition of "slog" is "to plod perseveringly especially against difficulty." Both teams certainly persevered ...

    Gannon74 response: OK, it sounds like slog is a verb. Can it also be used as a noun, as you did, in referring to the game as a "slog"?

    For this game to be a slog someone had to persistent, refuse to stop, as against an obstacle

    while technically correct in it's usage, I would think survive, or someone had to win...

    After what I saw, I do not think either of those phrases truly applies... I did not get the feeling that either team was persevering, rather hanging on getting by...

  33. gannon74, that is a very interesting point that you make about the MAC and the backdrop to the hoops. The windows are a bad thing to have back there. The stats that you mentioned do illustrate that the east end is difficult. I'd like to see the season long trend on those stats.

  34. I first noticed that problem during one of those "corporate olympics" competitions that were so popular back in the 80's(Heck, this was so long ago they still had the rubberized floor). We weren't even playing a game, just a free throw shooting contest as one event in a bigger competition (you know, tug-of-war, running relays, volleyball, dodgeball, etc- just a bunch of dumb stuff). But we were shooting at the east end and the light reflecting off the windows WAS distracting, as were the shadows from the different walls, pipes, scoreboard, etc. This condition was seconded by some kids that I know that played for St. John's when they played the State CYO tournament there back in 2002 or 2003.

    I WOULD like to chart the season stats there. Maybe I'll check into it. Interesting that the Hurst women prefer to shoot at that end in the second half of their games. I sure wouldn't.