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.