Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Manchel-mania no, Furno-mania yes

Before each of Gannon's local rivalry games, I recall the words that Jim Rocco told me nearly 25 years ago when he was a senior and I was but a freshman for the Knights. "When Edinboro or Mercyhurst play Gannon, they come out as if they have just seen God," Rocco said. "For the first 10 minutes of the game, they can't miss." Tonight it was the Golden Knights' turn for a divine apparition, racing to a 24-6 lead in near-flawless fashion. What was even more stunning was that 10 of GU's points during that spree came from Tanner Furno, who made a rare second-semester start. He totaled an impressive stat line before fouling out in the game's closing seconds: 18 points, 8 rebounds, 7-for-11 from the field, 2 steals, and 2 turnovers in 32 minutes.

While Furno may have been the individual star of the game, you also have to give a lot of credit to Gannon's perimeter defense in the 71-59 win. As a team, the Lakers were just 4-for-20 on three-pointers. The difference was John Reilly's game plan to guard a step or two beyond the three point line -- both on the ball and frequently away from the ball. Laker starter Heiden Ratner, who I think is one of the most complete guards in the PSAC West, was held to just 4 points and 4 field goal attempts. When GU played the Lakers at the MAC, Ratner led all scorers with 16 points and shot 3-for-8 from three-point territory. But tonight when he or any Laker guard had the ball, a Knight was no more than an arm's length away. Gannon defenders also quickly recovered from screens, allowing little room for the Lakers to shoot their jumpers. The Knights were susceptible to dribble penetration, but that's not the 'Hurst's forte. Great game plan, great execution, great victory.

A few other thoughts:
* How about California's continued ascent? They won at Slippery Rock tonight, 72-64, giving them a 6-7 record in the West after an 0-6 start. I believe if they win at 7-6 Mercyhurst Saturday, the Vulcans are in and the Lakers are out ... providing our 7-6 Knights beat last place Lock Haven Saturday. I'm not sure what the tiebreakers are among Gannon, Mercyhurst, and Cal. I'm guessing by end of business Thursday, Dan Teliski will have it all figured out.

* And how about crashing Kutztown? The Golden Bears are in danger of missing the PSAC playoffs after their 76-71 loss at Cheyney tonight. You have to love how they reported the game on the KU website: "Following its 76-71 loss to Cheyney University at Cope Hall Wednesday, the Kutztown men's basketball season has been to reduced to this unfathomable truth: beat Bloomsburg Saturday afternoon at Keystone Arena or else it will not qualify for the PSAC Eastern Division playoffs. Kutztown (20-6 overall, 7-6 PSAC East) remained a game ahead of Bloomsburg, who lost to Mansfield, 68-64. Bloomsburg (12-13, 6-7) owns the tiebreaker over Kutztown based on its 70-58 victory on Jan. 30." Holy crap would that be a shocker if they don't make the league playoffs. I would have bet money they would have hosted the freaking regionals with the talent they had back from last year.

* Alternate headlines for this post:
-- Ouch, that smarts (if GU would have blown the game)
-- Knights coast to easy double-digit win (sarcastic version)
-- If you shoot good, you look good (if Tom Chapman ran this blog)
-- Jeremiah Wise "A Bullfrog" (if Chris Berman ran this blog)hts!


  1. I enjoyed Manchel's comments in the paper today calling Gannon fans the best in Division II. Though that is no surprise, it is always fun to hear your bitter rival's coach call our fanbase the best.

    Huge game tonight of course. It would certainly be nice to guarantee at least .500 in the PSAC. I think as fans we have to keep this season in perspective. Even though the guys have exasperated us with a low-powered offense and turnovers galore both on and off the court, they have certainly given us all something to watch. We have tuned in Wednesday and Saturdays all winter not knowing quite what to expect, but sometimes that is fun too. They have certainly has given everyone something to talk about, bad or good. GO KNIGHTS!

  2. Jeremy, nicely put...anticipation and uncertainty does always add to the excitement. But I would rather worry about how much they were going to win by....

    As to the 'Hurts (pun intended), here to not getting swept by them...

    Finally, as for the best fans in D-II, hate to say this because it amounts to blasphemy, but I doubt Manchel or many other coaches or players have been to games in the Midwest... not saying that I have. But taking a look at some of the highlights from Central Missouri last yr, and speaking to someone who grew up in Iowa, and whose father coached out there, they routinely have 6,000 a night (there is not much else to do for the students) and when the team is good they are every bit as rabid, and knowledgeable. It's probably better say that we are the best in the East. But people do like to over generalize.

  3. I like to think, there are approx 21,000 college students in Erie County at this time. If we had only one school instead of 4, well no doubt we'd all be watching D1 BB.
    Don't forget the "WHITE OUT" tonite.

  4. Attendance figures always seem to grow as time goes on. According to the NCAA last year in division ll
    1) Northern State ave 4735
    2) Saint Cloud State ave 3316
    3) Central Missouri ave 2932
    24) Gannon University ave 1754

  5. Good job on the Stats Bobb,

    Was anyone in the east ahead of us?
    I would have to think not...

  6. Not really been a players tired kind of guy... But.... not subbing until 12 min are gone in the first half? just don't see that...

    great start though

  7. A sweep, what a wonderful night! Way to go ladies and guys!

  8. want att stats for GU men BB
    YR TOT AVE Nat'l
    98/99 33000 2063 19
    99/00 29434 1840
    00/01 30988 1823
    01/02 33981 2124 20
    02/03 29525 1845 27
    03/04 31234 1837 26
    04/05 23615 1574
    05/06 20122 1184
    06 07 17074 1220
    07 08 26773 1575 22
    08 09 38583 1754 24
    09 10

  9. And here last yr" PSAC MBB
    sch tot ave

    Ganon 38583 1754
    Cheyney 9855 821
    Indiana 13015 813
    Kutztown 10914 728
    Edinboro 9418 724
    Millersville 9051 696
    E Stroudsburg 7935 610
    Mansfield 6770 564
    California 6524 544
    West Chester 7145 476
    Shippensburg 5007 455
    Slippery Rock 7158 447
    Clarion 6555 437
    Lock Haven 4968 414
    Mercyhurst 3835 274
    Bloomsburg 2687 207

  10. Now to the games.
    I thought the pressure of #1 showed at least in the 1st half. In the 2nd they settled in and played like they should.

    The men really put it together in the 1st half
    and had to play strong def in the 2nd.
    I thought Furno played really well and Geo was all over the place. Good job by all;

  11. Furno-mania is full swing at GU.

    But nothing about George Johnson's game? 12 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists! If GU players would have completed a few more shots, he would have what is believed to be only the third triple-double in GU history.

    One of the keys was that GU actually made some threes, loosening up the game so that Furno has some room to manuver. If he has room, his quickness takes over. If he doesn't have room (like Edinboro), then he doesn't have the beef to move guys around.

    The other key to the game was Brannen's wayward contact lens in the closing minutes. MC had Chris "Yukon" Cornelius at the line for two FTs to tie the game. The delay seemed to affect the 80% FT shooter as he missed both shots and Piotrowicz had the key three-point play on the next possession. Mercyhurst started the game making 15 of is first 17 FTs, but missed their last six.

    Great effort. The women had their usual solid effort. Tiffany Crocker had a fantastic game. Great basketball evening!

  12. Can I just say that it was fabulous to see Preston on the court, even if it was for 15 seconds? I'm not sure where this version of the men's team has been all season, but I've missed them. What a fabulous game to actually enjoy. It was nice to see the men working together, and actually playing like a team. Though I'm not sure if I've caught the Furno-Mania, it was nice to see Tanner give a solid effort.

    As for the ladies, it was a sketchy first half, with passes all over the place, but I found it humorous that the women who turned the game around in the second half to turn it into a decent game scored the exact same number of points as the men's team who had one of, if not the best, game they've had all season! Hats off to Crocker who scored a career high 19 points tonight. She was perfect offensively and led all scorers! Awesome night for Gannon Basketball!

  13. 1. This is the 3rd game this season the George was 3 "stats" (or less) away from a Triple-Double. One game he had 7 assists, and another game he finished with 9 assists.

    2. How is it that East Stroudsburg has a better record (PSAC and Overall) than Kutztown; has played better than KU (strength of schedule, etc) YET KU is 25th in Poll (as of yesterday) and ESU (should Poll go past 25 spots) would be 28th?? Are the voters of the Division 2 poll hoping that KU would be inspired by the fact they're still ranked...?

    3. On a related note, I would love to see Stephen Dennis not make playoffs his senior year. "Great career.. maybe had you played a bit of defense, it would've been a great team career."

    4. Is it true that Tiffany joined the 1000 point club tonight? If so, does that mean that all 5 starters are now a member of that club? If so, when's the last time a team had five 1000-point club players (on the same team)? Impressive regardless.

    5. I'm a UCONN women's fan and I must admit I love to see that Gannon Women are 2nd in many categories (regardless of division) to UCONN (not that they are in 2nd, but that they are only trailing a prestigious team). Also, they and UCONN are heading many categories regardless of Division AND gender.

    6. Turnovers: 16-16. Is this the first game we've matched our opponents in turnovers? I know we've had a few blowout wins, so maybe in those games we had less TO's than opposing teams, but nice to see Gannon at least match the opponents (and stay below 20 TOs)

    7. I believe Gannon shot over 50% for the game. Seems like it's been a while since we've even smelled 45%.

    8. I wasn't at the game, but I hear that Cornelius was not able to get his 4 dunks (or a single dunk) like he did vs. Gannon at the MAC. What a shame!

    9. On a related note... anyone remember when Coach Manchel said he "does not recruit one-year players like Gannon" does (referring to Mosley, who technically wasn't a one-year player when recruited... became a one-year players when he forgot to wake up from his dream of trying to make the NBA... he may still be snoozing). Christian Cornelius?? Oh, yes! He's a graduate student and this is his only year at Mercyhurst after transferring. I'm sure Coach Manchel hesitated in signing him, but after a long debate decided he could go against his "values" and get a one-year player... for the second time (reference Shelby Chaney).

    10. I was finally happy to see that Coach Reilly didn't sub in players quickly into the game and disrupt the flow of the game with the players on the floor. Thus we had a 24-6 lead. In the second half, however, he did quickly sub in Crouch and Simmons and that's when the nice lead became a Gannon fan's dejavu. Not blaming Crouch or Simmons, but "you can't fix what ain't broke!".

  14. cc3- Tiff has not hit the 1,000 point mark. She was honored for 600 career assists, but I don't think she'll hit that 1,000 point anytime this year.

  15. Yah I didn't think that sounded right. She only averages like 10 a game, if that. 600 assists is awesome though!!

    Also, Harris is still listed as a junior on roster, but it says he will be honored on senior night Saturday night. I don't think they'd commit the same typo 4 different times.

  16. Preston red-shirted one year I believe, so academically he would seem to have enough credits to graduate. He knows that if he didn't play this year theres no sense hanging around another year. Graduate and move on would seem to be his approach. It's a shame, I'm sure if he was given a better opportunity to prove himself he wouldn't have been too bad.

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  19. Well, the Erie Times-News does it again!

    I had chuckled at the comments on here the last couple weeks, knowing that it's difficult, with all they have to cover, to devote proper space to everything they're trying to cover. But, the glaring omission in today's edition is different and deserves comment.

    Stories about college basketball in today's Sports section features a game story, very deserving, of course, about the #1 Lady Knights win vs. Mercyhurst. Inside, there's a summary of both the Edinboro mens' and women's games with IUP. You'll also find a very nice story about Tanner Furno(which includes a glaring mistake about Tanner which says he scored 27 in the Knight's home win vs SRU, when it actually was in the Knights' blowout road win), which mentions the ramifications of Wednesday's loss on Mercyhurst, including a quote from the losing coach (and nothing from the winning coach)but barely mentions that GU won and how they did so.

    Really? The Gannon-Mercyhurst game? Arguably, the biggest local rivalry game of the season? With both teams in playoff contention? The same matchup that deserved front page coverage, including a huge picture of a Hurst player shooting over a GU player, when Mercyhurst won 3 weeks ago? They couldn't have a reporter write a game story or even file enough data off the play-by-play to write a summary piece? Really?

    That's a joke. If this game was worthy of a front page story with a huge picture 3 weeks ago when Mercyhurst prevailed, there should've been at least a game summary this time around.

    One other thing, I don't understand the comment above about it being humorous because the women's team scored the same number of points in what the author is implying was one of their bad games as the men scored in what the author was implying was their best game (which isn't correct-that would've been their game @ SRU). The women's team has been fantastic in staying unbeaten all season and well-deserving of their #1 ranking. They are truly awesome to watch play, particularly how complete and deep a team they are. However, I don't think that's any reason for someone who is obviously a bigger fan of the women than the men to be laughing while looking down their nose at the men's team. Not trying to start anything here, but, to me, that comment sure sounds like women's fans are doing just that, which I've seen other more subtle evidence of at the games. I often see this type of behavior among certain pro football fans, who seemingly can't enjoy their team's success without also demeaning someone else's team. In this case, since we are all supposed to be on the same side, I don't think there's any need for that.

  20. I was fine by the ETN coverage. And I don't think it is a anti-Gannon conspiracy.

    I don't believe that the rest of Erie cares as much about Gannon b-ball as the few who frequent this board.

    I believe that if the ETN thought they could sell more papers or more advertising by putting GU on Page 1, then we would see them there.

    A LOT goes into laying out a paper, and I can't imagine a Gannon bias having anything to do with the decision of where to place a story.

    Oh, and for the record, I'd personally LOVE more coverage.

  21. I don't think it's anti-Gannon either, however, I do not like the lack of coverage. I mean for the women to get the #1 national ranking they should have had the WHOLE front page about that. Yes, they had a very nice picture, with a brief article (continued on another page inside), but they had Olympic news at the top and two articles below it. Maybe I AM just being biased, but the whole front page should have been for them. Pictures, articles, reflections, etc.

    I agree with thefauves that Gannon is not the "sexy" team at the moment and that a front page article isn't going to thrill people (except for the Gannon fans), however, the women need more respect than they are getting.

    I felt the men should've had a better write up after their last-second victories over Cal, Edinboro, etc. and when they play Mercyhurst and Edinboro (regardless of who wins; rivalry sells), but in general the men, at this point, should take what they can get. However, it'd be nice to see George get a little more recognition as well. Whether you like the guy or not, you have to face it... without him, Lock Haven would be laughing at us right now.

  22. Never suggested an anti-Gannon bias or a conspiracy. Just comparing the two GU-Hurst matchups and the coverage given to each. Just saying that if the first game between the teams was deserving of a front page story complete with a large picture, the return match, which had even greater significance, playoff-wise, deserved to at be covered or at least, have a game summary written about it.

    Performances that deserved a mention include all 5 GU starters in double figures, a near triple-double by Johnson, and over 50% shooting from the field, for starters. There were key plays made throughout the game by players on both teams, particularly near the end, that deserved a mention. When this team has had a bad shooting night and fails to score 50 points in a loss, it's plastered all over the front page. Last night, they shot well, scored over 70 on a team noted for its defense, beat a team that was ahead of them in the conference standings, and there's barely a mention, and more coverage goes to the losing coach and the impact of the loss on his team's playoff chances.

    That's not a conspiracy or bias, it's simply a bad management plan for the ETN to not have a reporter there to cover the men's game and a bad editorial decision to not at least include a game summary. Period. That's what you get when there's no competition in the media business.

  23. Gannon- it is very poor editorial work. Also, I wasn't implying that you were claiming anti-Gannon. I was saying it's not anti-Gannon to agree with the other guy that said it's not.

    But your points are very valid about the rematch.

  24. I stick to the point that if the ETN thought that it would help them either:
    1. Sell papers
    2. Sell advertising

    then, Gannon men would have more coverage.

  25. And, there were TWO reporters at the game, Jarz and Dudley; found it odd that the reportage of the men's game was more like a feature story, with no real indication of what happened. What strikes me is how THE rivalry has fallen off in general in terms of interest. Playoff implications, revenge vs. sweep, GU/MC at the Audi and only 1400+? There are certainly reasons for the dropoff, not the least of which the aforementioned "not-very-sexy-iness" of both teams this season (plus the playoff implication is for third or fourth in the conference; lo, how the mighty have fallen!). I just remember the games at the Audi when the 'Hurst students would enter en masse and be bunched in the northwest corner and be loud as hell; great atmosphere for a great rivalry in a great barn.

    At least they got it right by putting the #1 team in the country on the front page.

  26. Golden: I didn't mention Brannen's contact lens and "Yukon" Cornelius's missed free throws because ... I didn't see them. My 4-year-old daughter HAD to use the bathroom right at that moment -- a 2-point game with 3 minutes to go. We got back the the game right after Piotrowicz's three-point play.

  27. Just looked at the most recent Atlantic Region's men's rankings and, much to my surprise, Gannon beat the #10 team in the region last night! Yes, your Mercyhurst Lakers, 15-8 in the region prior to yesterday, are -- or maybe I should say "were" on the NCAA tournament bubble.

    The rest of the regional rankings are as follows:
    1. West Liberty
    2. IUP
    3. St. Aug's
    4. WV State
    5. E. Stroudsburg
    6. Fairmont St.
    7. Alderson-Broaddus
    8. Kutztown
    9. Mansfield
    10. Mercyhurst

  28. Just shows the polls are worthless

    And as I said in an earlier blog re ETN and seconded here they are doing what they can to sell papers...

    They probably have to fight what outsiders would call a Pro-GU bias,think about the quantity of GU coverage vs Boro, Hurts, PSUB - too much and the offend other markets..

    Hey they had full front page coverage for all tournament titles, whether the old MEC - or last yrs PSAC, and full front page covers for regional titles...

    be honest about what is important

  29. I know this is a rehash. L ast yr GU drew an ave of 1574 which was a down yr. This yr ave home att GU 1036, MC 386, Boro 559. Similar for the ladies. It is clear that Erie's college BB team is GU. The ETN knows this but they continue to cover the Warsaw Tennis Open, Peking Ping Pong Chmps and The Annual Run up the Stairs at Takal Inca Ruins bec they sell a lot of papers in Erie.
    Sometimes I just don't understand.

  30. The ETN coverage is also dictated by what else is going on. The start of the high school playoffs is a big event as well. The GU women were prominently featured the previous day. I thought that the men's game deserved an article, but it was a pretty nice column. I guess that I wasn't outraged.

    The fact that there was only 1,400 people there also speaks to the importance of the game in the area.

    I still can't believe that Kutztown is basically one game away from not making the playoffs.