You can interpret the above headline two ways after Gannon's gut-wrenching, confounding 70-62 loss at Edinboro tonight:
1. Optimist: "The second half was a wake up call. After shooting just 22% in the first half, committing 14 turnovers, scoring only 17 points and giving up some open threes and dunks, the Knights came to life. Maybe they'll learn from this and play faster and extend their defensive pressure the rest of the year. This could be an excellent learning experience for the coaches and players."
2. Pessimist: "Can somebody please give these guys a freaking wake up call before the game instead of at halftime? How many road games do we have to endure where they get down by 17, feverishly rally to get within a possession, and then let the game slip away? We're 14 games in the season and have followed this pattern like a half dozen times. Can the booster club buy 15 giant alarm clocks for the players so they'll wake the heck up already!"
Other thoughts on the game, from a hopefully less schizophrenic perspective than the comments above:
* I was happy to see Gannon make offensive adjustments in the second half. Instead of just running the motion offense, GU set double screens for Kelvin Agee and tried isolating Travis Brannen inside. As a result, they scored 45 points, hit half of their field goal attempts, committed only 5 turnovers and got to the free throw line 15 times in the second stanza. If Gannon can do that for 40 minutes, they'll ... you know how I was about to finish this sentence, but I'm tired of typing it after nearly every game this season.
* I'm not going to take the time to break down the first half play-by-play, but Gannon hit 5 of its first 8 field goals and then had a 1 for 20-something stretch for the next 15 minutes of the first half. It was excruciating to watch.
* You're not going to win many games when your off guards go 2-for-15 -- Agee 1-for-7, Danard Crouch 1-for-6, and Kareem Brown 0-for-2 -- and commit 8 turnovers.
* Stephen Battle continues to impress me. While rest of his teammates struggled tonight, he was consistently excellent: 19 points on 7-of-11 field goals and 5-of-5 free throws, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, only 1 turnover in 35 minutes. His only real flaw of the night was an ill-advised three-pointer ... and then the kid scrambled to corral the offensive rebound. He's a special player.
* Take away Battle's 7-for-11 performance and the Knights were 14-for-59 from the field for just 28.5%. Yech.
* Stephen is still not the best Battle to play at McComb. Former Scot Land Battle continues to have that distinction. (Note: Any time I have a chance to mention "Land Battle", I'll take advantage of the opportunity.)
* Don't ever question Danard Crouch's commitment to the team. Right before a second half media timeout, Crouch badly dislocated the pinky finger on his left hand. Those sitting behind the Gannon bench had a clear view of it, but most turned their heads away in disgust. Crouch couldn't even bear the sight. He walked directly to trainer Danielle Mignemi and told her, "I broke my finger. My finger's broken." To undislocate a finger -- I'm sure that's not the correct medical term -- you have to really grab the sucker to force it back into place. Kudos to Brian Zimmerman, a physical therapist and the son of Gannon Assistant Athletic Director Doug Zimmerman, who came down from the stands to do the heavy lifting with Crouch's finger. As he was doing so, Mignemi grimaced while holding Crouch's right hand; you know it's bad when the degreed athletic trainer is wincing. After that painful experience, Crouch got the finger taped up and checked back into the game moments later. Again, don't ever question Crouch's commitment. I see that Danard's a senior Business Management major. Can somebody forward his resume to me please?