Thursday, December 30, 2010

Knights Rock Wayne's World

I'm doing everything in my power to avoid the cliche "defense wins championships" after Gannon's 61-52 Porreco Cup championship win over Wayne State. But what else can you say about a team who wins despite shooting just 43% from the field, 4-for-14 on three-pointers, and committing 18 turnovers? You can win games doing that when your defense forces opponents to 35% shooting, 6-of-20 threes, and 17 turnovers of their own. So, I know you want me to say "defense wins championships," but my mom (an English teacher) would be mortified if I used a cliche.

The best part about the defensive effort is, man, did it require a supreme effort! It wasn't like Wayne was small, slow, passive, weak, young, or tired. They pushed; Gannon pushed back. Wayne dominated the boards early; the Knights ended the game with a 39-33 rebounding advantage. I don't want to overreact and extrapolate that the Knights are now PSAC contenders. But you have to be impressed that Gannon has the ability to go bicep-to-bicep with a team like Wayne and come out on top.

Other thoughts on the game:
* Does anybody know what the deal was with Wayne's Mike Hollingsworth Thursday night? Until the Porreco championship, he'd started all 10 contests for the Warriors, ranking second on the team in scoring (15.9 ppg). But he didn't play a second against GU. I think we was sitting on the bench the whole game but never took off his warmup.

* I was OK with Chris Giles from third-place Seton Hill earning Porreco Cup Outstanding Player honors. There wasn't any one player from either team in the finals that stood out more than Giles did. Kelvin Agee had 22 points vs. SHU, but he was just 2-for-11 for 8 points against WSU in the finals.

* I'm not sure if Gannon's defense is special or East Stroudsburg's is woeful. The Knights gave up just 67 points to Seton Hill and 52 to Wayne; ESU gave up 98 to Seton Hill and 82 to Wayne. Overall that's a difference of 61 points.

* Defense wins championships. There -- I said it. Sorry mom.


  1. What a difference a day makes....24 little hours..
    As bad a effort as they put out yesterday today was a tremendous EFFORT. Thats the Kareem I've been hoping to see, not offensively but on the defensive side. I still would like to see a few less turnovers but WOW great effort and heart.

  2. I think that's the defense everyone has been waiting for. Constant in your face pressure, hands up, all eyes on the ball and the player! I was still a little disheartened with the rebounding, or lackthereof, but they made up for it by denying many second chance opportunities.

    I think this was a great tournament for them to build off of heading into psac play. They need to just build on this and improve and continue to have the want to get better and the want to win.

    Side note 1- I'm quite disappointed that the kid from seton hill was named
    MVP. I just do not believe that you can be the most valued player in a tournament when your team is playing for 3rd place. I can see a player from the runner-up team being named MVP if he/she was a main reason they 1) got to the championship and 2) kept the game close. But helping your team "not finish last" (as someone sitting near us tried explaining to the guy next to him when a similar statement was made) should not get you an MVP recognition. Brannen or battle wouldve been well suited for the title.

    Side note 2- University of Connecticut Women's Basketball team suffered their first loss in 998 days today as Stanford played a tremendous game to snap the historic 90-day win streak. I truly believe this is a record that may never be broken. Cal Ripken, Brett Favre and the UCONN Huskies Women's Basketball program. Truly a spectacular accomplishment!

  3. Didn't GU out rebound them 39 to 33?

  4. CC3 - Agree with your MVP comments. Yes, his numbers were impressive, but his numbers enabled his "TEAM" to to finish third. Agee would get my vote.

  5. I'm going to assume Hollingsworth was injured vs. ESU in the semifinals..? Wayne has nothing listed on their site in regards to him, but looking at box scores from the season he was playing 24-27 mins most games. Against ESU, he only played 18 minutes with #5 and #33 playing 18 and 21, respectively. Then #33 started vs. Gannon and player a good chunk of time. So, no, I have nonproof or facts, just my thoughts.

    Jim- have to disagree with you on Giles getting the award. Thinking on it, I would have had no problem with them giving co-MOP awards because yes he was most definitely someone who stood out. However, he didn't even make the championship game. If Seton Hill made championship and lost and he had those #s, I'd definitely give it to him. I truly feel Brannen or Battle shouldve got it. Yes Agee had 16 points in the semis and did make some clutch shots in both games; however nothing about his performances either night was "outstanding". Brannen tallied 16 rebounds in the consolation and then gave an all-out effort in the championship to help them win. That's my first vote. Although Battle didn't have huge numbers either night, he was consistently great both nights. Yes he had a few dumb turnovers but he was very overmatched in guarding the bigger guys both nights and still managed to have good games and hit the shots when the team needed him to (and without taking 15+ shots to do so). That's my second vote.

    Great games Gannon, were looking forward to 2011!

    This is to wishing everyone a Happy and Safe New Year's. May your 2011 be the best year yet!

  6. Gannon SID Dan Teliski weighs in with details on the Porreco Cup Outstanding Player award. I'm glad I never faced him in my Argumentation and Debate class at Gannon. The guy's just so darn logical and familiar with facts:

    Jim --

    Please let the blog readers know we have not given out a MVP (Most Valuable Player) in quite some time. It has been called and always announced as the MOP (Most Outstanding Player). The award goes to the best player in the tournament regardless of how their team does. The Tournament MVP awards are given out in post-season tournaments. I completely understand the confusion (especially if we gave out an MVP award to the third-place team), but just wanted to clear it up.

    Giles Final Numbers: Giles was named Porreco Cup Most Outstanding Player for the second consecutive season. The junior recorded 53 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists, four steals and one block during the two-day event. He shot 60.6 percent (20-33) from the floor and 85.7 percent (12-14) from the free throw line. In the process, he scored his 1,000th career point during the second half of the consolation game. He had 22 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block against Gannon. He then added 31 points, five rebounds, seven assists and two steals against East Stroudsburg. He also finished 11 points shy of the tournament scoring record.

    So, a good argument to be had, but with the award being for Most Outstanding Player – I can honestly tell you the voting was close to unanimous. And the process has people from all four teams, the media, etc. involved in the tournament voting.

    Have a Happy New Year to you Jim and all the Gannon followers. Hope the 2011 portion of the season is a great one for Gannon basketball!

  7. Thats a joke of a selection for "MOP" or "MVP" whatever you want to call it. There is no way that it should not be for a player on the championship team. What happened to no 'I' in team? And if MOP is your criteria instead of MVP, then change it to MVP.
    What a lame ending to the night when the fans remaining in attendance have to scratch their head/boo when the MOP is announced.
    His stat line is nice but not that out of this world. 35 points against Stroudsburg: thats nice but who didnt score alot in that 95-93 game?
    What a joke.

  8. Jeremy....relax, it's not THAT big of a deal

  9. Jeremy - I hope you're sitting down when you read this... This will be a shock for you

    Ok are you sitting down yet? Ok read below now..


    Regardless of if it's MOP, MVP, best player, top player, etc. it needs to come from the Championship game. To me, it should be the Championship team, however, if a team finishes 2nd and they had a player that led them to that Championship game and then did everything he could to win the championship.. then yes I believe he can get it then.

    But you are totally correct about the "shock" of the crowd.. They announce Brannen and Agee to the team.. my buddies go "well the MVP is going to be either Battle or Crouch" (they felt Crouch could be in it because he hit some really big shots when Gannon needed it)... and they annouce "Giles" and all you could hear was this huge "huh?" and gasps from the entire crowd. It was a very disappointing moment for me as I waited after to cheer and the person winning the "top honor" of the tournament isn't even there! Hence, MOP shouldn't come from the consolation game.

    Also, reardless of what the honor is called or what the criteria is for it... what player had the biggest impact for HIS TEAM and the TOURNAMENT? Giles' numbers were remarkably incredible... nothing short of amazing! Without him, I'd put money on Seton Hill losing both days by 20+ points. That is outstanding and I will admit it. However, the TEAM finished 3rd. Maybe his team was absolute garbage and th eplayer scored 90% of the points in both games... doesn't matter... they were not in the championship game.

    My take is I'd like to see them pick 5 All-Tournament Team players. Those can be from any of the 4 teams.. then the 6th player picked will be separate form those 5 and should be solely from the CHAMPIONSHIP game. Regardless of what they did the night before, it should be based on the final game. So, in essence, that honor could've went to Furno for yesterday's game. He led them in points. But my pick would have been Battle, Brannen or the kid from Wayne State (#11?). He's the one that hit the three as time expired for the first basket with two hands in his face and then hit some great shots throughout the game.

    That's just my take on it though.

    Regardless, we're not going to Seton Hill to take the trophy back from Giles. So, it's in the past.

    Have a great time tonight everyone and be safe! :)

  10. Its an award for most outrstanding player over the course of the tournament, not who hit a clutch shot or who played well one half of one game. Fact is, most of the voters were begging for someone from wayne, specifically brannen or agee, or wayne state, specifically udonoh or coleman to step up in the second half and take MOP honors didn't happen. Is the nfl mvp always from the player who played the best in the super bowl? Expecting that the MOP should always come from the championship team is short sighted and ignores a remarkable two games played by Chris Giles who was far and away the best player of the four teams represented.

  11. Commenters keep saying that Giles should not have gotten the MOP award, but nobody is giving their pick as to who should have gotten it.

    That's because there wasn't anybody who stepped forward and had a good game two straight nights. If Agee had a half-decent championship, it would have been a no-brainer. Giles kind of won it by default, but he still deserved it for two great performances.

  12. Good points, in which I agree with Jeremy even more now; they need to make it MVP. The fans don't care if a kid who's team finished 3rd scored 50+ points total, especially when the host team wins the Championship. If your team finished 3rd or 4th you obviously weren't outstanding enough...

    And yes I do believe the superbowl MVP is based solely on the superbowl game. I've never seen a player get the award that had a great postseason and then flopped in the superbowl. Or a player from a team not in the superbowl win it..

  13. The award isn't for the fans.

  14. cc3,you say "if your team finished 3rd or 4th, you obviously weren't outstanding enough...". So, for you, the operative word is "team". But the award is for Most Outstanding PLAYER, not "Most Outstanding Player On The Team That Either Won The Tournament Or Finished Second".

    I was unable to attend, so I'm only going on heresay. But the award is clearly labeled. It is also, on a yearly basis, the subject of much discussion. It might depend on who you are rooting for, on what you see from the stands or on some difficult-to-quantify intangible. If we all saw things the same way, Jim would need to start the Evelyn Soccer Blog.

    For weeks, there has been a constant theme on here: not enough games before the CUp so we don't know what kind of team is developing. Sounds like you all saw a gritty group that claimed two wins that some predicted would not happen. It appears that the Golden Knights will present PSAC teams with a tough out; if the offense finds its stride, they might be right in the thick of things. Those are statements that, due to lack of exposure to the fans, could not have been made as recently as Tuesday. For all of the angst here, the Knights got the hardware that matters: The Cup.

  15. And I didn't say superbowl, I said nfl. And the mlb postseason mvp often goes to the player who had the best body of work over the course of the post season. By your logic corey, giles could have averaged a triple double and put up 40 a game each night and still not have deserved the award because his team didn't win. His body of work was the most outstanding of any player in the tournament. I commend the rest of those who voted (including myself) for not caving to fan expectations and showing outstanding sportsmanship in recognizing giles accomplishments when it would have been much easier and more popular had a gannon player gotten the award. Again, we were begging brannen and agee to step up but it didn't happen.

  16. Giles absolutely dominated steve p and Anthony c during the gu/seton hill games . We had absolutely no answer for that kid. I think what we gu fans should be concerned with is our very ordinary point guard play. This will cause us some problems down the way.

    But great tournament anyway. I agree with the selection.

  17. Really? GU is 5-2, coming off Gary Miller and Porreco Cup championships, and you’ve chosen to criticize the point guard play? In keeping with Jim’s intentions on his site, I’ll criticize the comment, not the commentor. That might be the least intelligent, least observant, and most inappropriate comment I have seen on this blog. It is certainly the most undeserved.

    To start with, the observation that "steve p and Anthony c were dominated by Giles" reveals that the commentor either wasn’t at the game, or if he/she was, may not have been paying close attention to GU’s defensive assignments during that game. Giles, a 6’4” shooting guard who has now already scored 1,000 career points early in his junior year, was primarily guarded by Agee, Brown, and Crouch. Unless they were caught in a switch or back defending the fast break, at no time were either of the point guards defending Giles. And, looking at Giles scoring totals (23 vs. GU, 31 vs ESU), it didn’t appear that ANYONE had an answer for him, anyway.

    I would love to know exactly what you expect GU’s point guards to do. After 7 games, the 2 of them together are averaging 11.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. They have totaled 27 assists while committing 21 turnovers. In GU’s offense, which shares the ball pretty equally once it crosses mid-court, that’s not bad at all. They are shooting 41.6% from 3 point range, best on the team. Together, they hounded Smothers (#11 from Wayne St) into 4-17 shooting on Thursday.

    What should Coach Reilly do? Go out and find a new point guard and plug him into the roster right now? That worked real well last year, didn’t it?

    Sure, neither one of these kids is Joe Lindsey, but you may not have noticed that they aren’t passing the ball to the likes of Pierre Howard, Kyle Goldcamp, and Tyler Stoczynski, either.

    More specifically, your criticism of Piotrowicz puzzles me. This is a kid who showed up at Reilly’s door completely unrecruited. To my knowledge, he isn’t even a scholarship player. He’s 5’9” tops, and gives a maximum effort every night out. He’s currently GU’s leading 3 point percentage shooter, and his free throw percentage is 72%. He has collected the second-most defensive rebounds on the team (by one rebound-and he’s missed one game and 10 minutes of another). His impact on the team has been apparent when he’s not in the lineup. He missed the first Urbana game while ill, and GU lost by 9. Against Central State, he played despite having been off for around a week, and GU barely lost on the road to a Central State team that has proven to be very competitive. He missed the last 10 minutes of the second Urbana game when he suffered a possible concussion, and a 13 point GU lead narrowed to 2 by the end.

    As for Claggett, this is his first year here, and it’s apparent that he is adjusting to a style of play that I would bet is markedly different than he played in junior college, particularly the intensity and physical nature of the defense. His jumper isn’t much of a weapon yet, but he looks strong, quick, and willing to work hard.

    In my opinion, this team is progressing nicely. The defense looks to be improving with each game. Do I expect them to duplicate the accomplishments of the 08-09 team? Not by any means. Could the point guards play better? Sure, but everyone on the team could play better, too. You cannot expect the pg’s to do something they aren’t capable of doing. Could their play be a problem down the way(whatever that means) ? Of course, but, so could Brown’s and Crouch’s inconsistent shooting, Agee’s turnovers, Brannen’s foul trouble, Furno’s occasional inability to catch the basketball, and so on. This team is a work in progress, and I don’t think the play of the point guards has been any more “ordinary” than anyone else on the team (i.e.-Agee was 2-11 from the field with 5 turnovers Thursday. I’d say that was pretty ordinary). So, in my opinion, your criticism of the point guards is unfounded at this point in the season.

  18. The biggest problem with Gannon's point guards so far is their inability to distribute the ball to open people. In the Porreco Cup, Piotrowicz and Clagett had just 5 assists total the entire tournament, 2 to Piotrowicz (1 in each game) and 3 to Clagett (1 in the first game and 2 in the second). That is just 5 assists out of 46 baskets total that Gannon scored in both games. For the year, Piotrowicz had just 14 assists (2.3 in 6 games) and Clagett 13 (1.9 in 7 games), for an average of just 3.8 per game from both of our point guards together. Thankfully, Agee (22 assists), Brown (15) and Crouch (19) have made up for it with 56 assists between them (8.0 per game). You need more than that from your point guards. That is Gannon's glaring weakness at this point in the season.

  19. If GU had a traditional offense where the PG had the ball the majority of the time in the half court offense, you'd be right. However, if you watch the offense closely, the PG's function is primarily to get the ball over half court, then, from that point on, the ball is shared nearly equally among all the players.

    This is something I noticed back in the 08-09 season. As good as Lindsey was, he only averaged 4 assists per game and I couldn't figure out why until I watched more closely. Most of the entry passes into the post are made by the wings while the bigs alternate posting up. Much of the time, the PG starts the offense by passing the ball to a wing, cutting through to the corner, then popping back out to reverse the ball to the other side of the floor to allow the wing-post action to start over. If you look back at Reilly's teams, you see that assists have always been spread out among all the players instead of being concentrated in the PG position.

    GU doesn't set ball screens for the PG or run screen-rolls. There are no backscreens to get cutters open or double screens to get a shooter open. None of the bigs are the type of players that are going to go back door for a lob-dunk. GU rarely looks to run off opponent's misses, so there are very few fast break opportunities to enable the PG's to distribute the ball. These are all typical chances for a PG to rack up assists that GU doesn't use much, if at all.

    Additionally, if you didn't notice, the definition of an assist at this level is far more stringent than in the NBA. If the receiver of a pass dribbles even once or fakes before scoring, there is no assist given. You don't see teams with 37 assists every game like in the pros. Even back in 08-09, GU only averaged 18 assists per game on a bigger, much better shooting team.

    This is one of those situations where only looking at the stats doesn't tell the whole story. You have to look a little deeper. It'd be nice if the PG's had more assists, but they don't have the ball enough in the right situations to do so.