Gannon's nailbiting 54-53 win over Slippery Rock, combined with Mercyhurst's 62-55 loss at Edinboro tonight, puts both the Knights and the Lakers at 5-4 in the PSAC West. That's good for a third-place tie right now. So, because the two teams meet in a couple weeks, Gannon controls its own destiny as far as snagging the #3 spot for the PSAC playoffs. Despite a slew of errors vs. The Rock, Gannon is a team of destiny.
Slippery Rock, on the other hand, is the team of density. I've never seen a team take so many stupid, ridiculous, asinine shots so consistently. And I coached grade school basketball for 5 years. Heck, I coached 4th graders at an MYAA camp and they knew not to shoot right handed after dribbling to your left while fading over the baseline. With a man on you. And with 25 seconds still on the shot clock. But, doggone it, that's just what SRU's Jabril Bailey did vs. Gannon tonight. To make matters even worse, on the next possession -- the next time he touched the ball -- he jacked up a long three-pointer that clanged hard off the rim. And then he stayed in the freaking game? Not a shocker that he finished the night 5-for-17 and his team lost. If SRU had those two possessions back, they could have won the game.
A couple other observations (which I promise will be delivered much more calmly):
* God bless George Johnson for demanding the ball again with the game on the line. This was like a repeat of the Edinboro game, except against SRU Johnson was clearly fouled.
* Why does Slippery Rock bring stools to sit on away from the sidelines during timeouts? I know big-time college programs do that to get away from the noise of 20,000 opposing fans, but most SRU games don't have 20 dozen fans. It just seems like wasted effort to me.
* The Knights committed 12 turnovers in the second half after just 7 in the first stanza. At times it looked like they played hot potato with the ball, which resulted in extra passes, unforced errors, and heartburn for the Gannon faithful.
* I should have asked Donna Reilly why after the game, but holy smokes was her husband irate with the officials all game long. He usually doesn't say boo to the refs, but Riles was downright Slocum-like tonight.
* I'm still in shock over Tanner Furno's behind-the-head slam dunk in transition. (And kudos to Filmore Bouldes for the on-the-money pass.) I hear that during the offseason the Furno family plans to meet with Gary Miller and Lou Porreco and beg them to invite Slippery Rock to both the Gary Miller Classic and Porreco Cup next year. The Furnos might even buy a car or 8 as a means of persuasion.