Well, that wasn't the way Gannon wanted to kick off PSAC West play -- an anemic offensive performance in a 65-45 loss at Indiana (Pa.). I only saw the second half of the game because that's when the IUP web TV broadcast started working. Coincidentally, that's when the wheels came off Gannon's offensive machine. The Knights trailed just 34-30 at the half, but scored a measly 15 points in the second half (thank goodness Kelvin Agee hit two threes in the final minutes). Gannon shot just 23% over the final 20 minutes (6-for-26). And you thought it was cold outside.
Gannon runs a motion offense that seems to have worked just fine this against average-or-worse teams, but against the good ones like IUP, the offense seems very predictable and ineffective. Tonight the ball rarely entered the post and the ball movement and screens produced very few good opportunities for Gannon. Almost everything came off dribble penetration with the shot clock winding down. The result was oftentimes an off-balance, contested midrange jumper or a layup attempt among a crowd.
Gannon fans can't feel too bad giving up 65 points to a team that finished second in Division II basketball last year and returns almost every key player. But I'm guessing Gannon Hoops followers will get a pit in their stomach after seeing these numbers:
L vs. IUP -- 45 points, 31% FG, 4-of-15 on 3-pointers, only 15 points in the second half
L vs. Cheyney -- 36% FG, 0-of-4 on 3-pointers, only 26 points in the first half (while allowing 45)
W vs. Wayne State -- 61 points, 42% FG, 4-for-14 on 3-pointers, only 25 points in the first half
L vs. Urbana -- 24 points in the first half, 36% FG in the first half, 5-for-17 3-pointers
L vs. Central State -- 30 points in the first half on 38% FG, 7-for-24 3-pointers for the game
I'm concerned that quality opponents have figured out Gannon's offensive pattern, and the result is low percentage shots for extended periods of time. I'm hopeful the coaches will adjust and make some changes that throw the defense off balance and get the Knights more open looks during the second half of the season. I'd like to occasionally see some designed double screens for Agee and Brown, isolation plays (like 4 players on the baseline) for Agee and Clagett, high-low post play, back doors, and quick hitters like that. I'm not saying ditch the motion offense. But I think the Knights need more variety when they have the ball. Or they'll be handed more stinging losses like the one they suffered tonight.