Friday, January 14, 2011

End Of An Era, Start Of Something Special?

Well, that was probably the last time Lock Haven's John Wilson Jr. will coach at the Hammermill Center, a 70-43 shellacking by the Golden Knights. The Central PA school has already announced that Wilson's contract won't be renewed after the season. Today was Wilson's 150th road game as LHU boss, and guess how many he's won? If you said 20, that's too many. Wilson is now a robust 19-131 away from Lock Haven's Thomas Fieldhouse, a stunning win percentage of only .127. I hope you had a chance to witness Wilson's woes while you could.

While the Wilson Era is ending, could Gannon's high-energy, high-scoring, defensively suffocating second half today be the start of an uptick for the Knights? During halftime, when Gannon held a slim 30-28 lead, Jim LeCorchick and I talked on the radio about what's been nagging the Knights the past few games, and we couldn't put a finger on it. The Knights have seemed in general to be low confidence on offense and a step slow on defense. But in the second half tonight, I saw something I hadn't seen in a few games: smiles. When Kareem Brown checked in late replacing Kelvin Agee, they exchanged a few words and a smile. It was nice to see this team loose -- enjoying themselves in the midst of a game.

I'm a big believer that you need to have fun in order to play well, not the other way around. The best team I ever played on, the 1989-90 Golden Knights, had fun everywhere all the time. Senior Andy Adams laughed constantly -- except when he was exchanging elbows in the paint. Darryl Freeman, who I hope will be inducted into Gannon's Hall of Fame in the near future, constantly rode his teammates. He'd walk into the lockerroom and proclaim, "All right -- who am I gonna crack on today?" We even laughed after three-hour practices when Mike Crawford would dress into his street clothes faster than a superhero. And I haven't been to many comedy clubs, but I doubt they'd be funnier than Gerald Blanks in the Gannon cafeteria.

Let's see how the Knights come out in the first half at reeling Edinboro Wednesday night. Are they tight and shaking their heads when things don't go as planned? Or are they loose and enjoying the atmosphere no matter what the situation? What we see could set the tone for the rest of the season.

18 comments:

  1. If Gannon loses to Lock Haven, Coach Reilly, Viscuso and the rest of the staff should not be allowed to step foot anywhere near a basketball court for players of any age and all the players on the current team should be made to transfer to the Salem international cricket team with no scholarship opportunities of any kind. :-)

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  2. After the first half, I recalled that there was an opening in the 3rd & 4th grade basketball league at First Alliance Church.

    At least they righted the ship ... Any win is a good win.

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  3. Well we woke up in the 2nd half. Lock Haven is the worst team I have ever seen when it comes to making FREE throws.

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  4. I'm sorry, but for this game I am not letting the statement "a win is a win" apply. That was an absolute embarrassment by Gannon.

    A shellacking? Umm.. how about "Lock Haven shellacked themselves in a 70-43 loss at Gannon". Lock Haven out hustled Gannon for the first 30 minutes of the game! Why didn't we try pounding the ball inside more to Battle and Brannen? The only production from LHU was from behind the arc... 43 points they scored.. and i swear 39 of them were on 3's! Steve was really our only guy that looked like he wanted to win for the entire game... Claggett was right behind him. Brown was chucking up shots from 25 feet out or else driving in and practically handing the ball to LHU players. Agee looked like he wanted to be anywhere but on the court... Then when he went to the bench, he looked like he was upset about coming off (not shaking hands, shaking his head, head down, etc). Furno looked like he was 2 feet taller than their tallest player and yet still couldn't grab the ball after a missed shot.

    I know I'll get a lot of "feedback" because of my comments, but if this game was a sign of what's to come... I'm getting season tix to watch the youth team that played at halftime.

    This was by far not the performance I wanted heading into a road game at a local rival.

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  5. Corey: Your analysis was the most inaccurate information I've seen since 1987 when the Springfield newspaper headline erroneously claimed Eastern Montana beat Gannon in the Final Four.

    The most ludicrous is that Gannon was outhustled for the first 30 minutes of the game. From the 2-minute mark of the first half to the 12-minute mark of the second half, the Knights held Lock Haven scoreless. I don't think Gannon was lollygagging it during that stretch. Or maybe I had a bad angle.

    If you want to get more info on the Blessed Sacrament or OLC teams, you can go to their websites at www.BSerie.org or www.OurLadysChristian.com.

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  6. They shouldve held them scoreless the majority of the game. All they could do was shoot 3's; why were they open so many times? Lock Haven out hustled them; they just started taking more errant shots and Gannon finally started playing period.

    After the game I heard numerous people saying how boring the game was and how bad Gannon looked.

    Wednesday could end up being really ugly if Gannon performs like that again.

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  7. Relax, cc3. So GU didn't run up the score you had hoped for. Did you think there was any good reason to run up the score, maybe put up 100 points? No is the correct answer. That would be pointless. A win is a win is a win, and that was true of the women's team as well-not an impressive performance, but they got the W. (Aside-wondering why there hasn't been much comment on the women's team lately-they haven't exactly been dominating. Have all the fans of the Women's team disappeared now that they aren't going to go 37-1?)

    That was a game that the GU players knew they wouldn't lose under any circumstances. Pretty hard to get really excited to play a team like that. They proved their point in the first 10 minutes of the second half. After 3 straight tough road games, cut them a little slack.

    If anything, I would've liked to see more of the bench for a little more playing time, just to reward them for their work in practice.

    You also know full well why LH got and made so many 3's-it's GU's defensive philosophy to take away the inside shots and dare the opposition to live and die with the 3's.

    You're right that GU would get pounded if they play like that vs. Edinboro, but I doubt that they will.

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  8. I wasn't looking for them to run up the score.. However, with the little # of points we did score, Lock Haven scored about 25 points too many. I understand the live and die by the three... however, if that's all they're going to shoot.. make them TRY to get the ball inside to allow our inside guys to get some defensive work in.

    Yes, the 2nd half was much better, but it didn't make up for the horrendous first half.

    That game needed to be a "statement game". A statement game to say "Hey, we may struggle at times but we are going to give you our all when we play you".. rather than the statement I got which was "Hey, we just play to the level of our opponents". Which would then explain why we've lost some of the games we've lost.

    Now to agree with you - the reserves should've played much more than they did. Woodbury played a 1+ minute in the first half then didn't reappear until 2+ minutes left.

    RE: the women... not much really to talk about there. They are kind of in the same phase we are.. rebuilding and it's a struggle. I think we talk about that enough for the men.

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  9. Real Catch 22 for the Knights, there, cc3. If they HAD played their guts out and whacked LHU by about 65-75 points (would 105-30 have made you happy? How about 92-18?), you would have said, well, sure they looked good, but it was just Lock Haven. So they would be damned if they did, and you're damning them now when they didn't. Can't win that one.

    For the game, they gave up barely more than a point a minute. In the second half, they gave up only 15 points in 20 minutes. As far as I'm concerned, that was more than acceptable defense. Did you expect them to hold LH to 18 points (I did the math for you)? Don't be ridiculous. Given LH's talent level and the size of their players, that wouldnt be playing basketball, that would be bullying. Why would Coach Reilly push them to do that? it would only make him look bad for running up the score.

    A statement game can only be played against a quality opponent. Beat a quality opponent on their home floor or upset a heavy favorite on your floor. Shoot better than 50% in the process, hold the opponent to 33% shooting, only give up around 50 points in the process. THOSE are statement games, not killing yourself to run up the score against a bunch of intramural players being coached by a lame duck who doesn't seem to know that much about coaching or just doesn't care anymore.

    Sorry, under no circumstances would beating LH by ANY margin be considered a statement game. Would you rather have them wear themselves out winning by 60 points Saturday and show up flat on Wednesday in Edinboro? Please.

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  10. I know from experience that the only guys who truly get jacked up for a mid-season game against a 1-11 team were benchwarmers like myself. It's only human nature.

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  11. Well there's no reason for any of the benchwarmers to get excited for any game because they'll be lucky to see the floor 10 more mins this season.

    And I don't care who you're playing, coaches always "prepare" as if it's Duke University stepping on the floor. It had nothing to do with the score (besides that LHU scored way too many on wide open 3s). They couldve won by 200, but if it came after a performance like that I'd still be unhappy.

    And by statement game I meant to kind of show that were at the same level as other quality teams (which by looking at the GU and Hurst box scores against LH on paper it's safe to say were not even close). A statement game that you're referring to wouldve been winning at IUP. If they bear IUP at Gannon, then it's "home court advantage". Now that's a catch 22.

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  12. Give it up, cc3. Comparing box scores means nothing. Quit trying to measure GU's level of ability against teams they haven't played by how they both did against a common opponent.

    It doesn't work that way.

    A win is still a win. End of story.

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  13. I'm with g74, give it up cc3 b/c I got it ... you don't like the coaches or at least how they are running the program; nor do you like the offensive sets, nor the defensive strategies and dislike most of the players ... got it. Your comments are the same grind and is getting very old.
    If the coaching job comes open at GU, you should apply for by your comments, you would be a very successful coach that secures and retains only the top players, always have the right play, a defense so good that teams can hardly score against, and players that play at the top of their game each and every contest.There would then be no need for this blog for there would be nothing to complain about ... er ... other that about Jim! :)

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  14. While my view of the game on Saturday is not as cataclysmic as CC3's, I do have to say that the Gannon offense failed to impress at all.
    Too many times they were just standing around without the ball.
    Why GU didnt take advantage of the size mismatch in the paint is confusing. Yes Brannen scored in double figures, but I dont believe many or any of those were him posting people up. How far can this team go without a guy down low who can have his back to the hoop, post someone up and go up for the score? Brannen seemed alot better at that last year than he is this year.
    Furno still seems too timid in there. And would someone please buy him some stick-um?

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  15. Gannon74 -- Good points in your Jan 17 post. Not that they plan it this way, but sometimes coaches like a flat performance against a bad team like the first half against LH. It gets the team's attention much more than a 50-point win would have.

    Gannon still wins easily, and the coaches have something to hold over the players' heads ... a tangible result of bad play ... "If you don't come out hard, even a crappy team like Lock Haven can beat you."

    Again, not that the coaches planned the game that way, but these performaces can be blessings in disguise. You would think that the chances of a flat performance against Edinboro is a little less.

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  16. GUBB - No idea where you got all that from but I have no problem with the coaching staff or how they run the program. They had no bearing on how poorly Gannon played most of the game vs. LHU. I'm quite sure Coach Reilly didn't say to Agee "the guy you're guarding has hit all 3's, so just leave him wide open and let him shoot as much as he wants.. if he misses go for the rebound and if he makes it, oh well!". That could also be the reason for why Agee was pulled out of the game in the 1st half and Coach Viscuso laid into him as Agee just rolled his eyes.

    I don't care what any of you have to say or if you care what I have to say.. the point of this blog is express our feelings about the game (while keeping it clean and appropriate). That's what I did... Gannon looked quite pathetic all-around for the most of the game. I don't care if they came out in the 2nd half and held them scoreless for almost the first 10 minutes of it... they had a measly 4-point lead at halftime because LHU was shooting wide open 3's and all we did was shoot 3's. We didn't attempt to go inside most of the time and just let Agee and Brown fire away from 23+ feet for most of it. That's the players... we know Coach Reilly's philosophy is defense and a solid team offense. Brown and Agee were both sat down for periods of time and Coach Viscuso and the other assistant coach both laid into them at times.

    Nothing against coaching staff at all.. everything against the lack of passion Gannon showed. I understand LHU is horrible and you know that you can probably make one free throw and win the game 1-0, but you still have to show passion and a want to win. I don't care if they are playing the Hilbert or Salem International women's teams.

    My question is what if Gannon would've played as they did and somehow LHU came alive in the second half and just went off. LHU ended up winning the game. Are y'all s comments gonna be "oh well, LHU played really well.. it's just one loss... we'll rebound against Edinboro, etc blah blah blah".

    Yeah didn't think so...

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  17. "Yeah didn't think so..."

    What does that even mean? What are you, 12 years old?

    OK, cc3, I have been holding back for 4 days now, but I can't any longer.

    SHUT UP ALREADY!!!!!!

    You have been crying because GU didn't beat LH as badly as Mercyhurst did. You have ignored comments from individuals that have played at this level (Mr. Roddy for one), coached on several levels, and followed GU hoops for years, that implied your comments were incorrect. But you can't let it go.

    There was no way that LH was going to win that game (You knew it, I knew it, everyone in the building on Saturday knew it, the players and coaches on both teams knew it), so your logic is flawed. That renders your argument useless.

    Secondly, if the gods of basketball intervened and somehow, with the help of an earthquake and a hurricane that rendered all of GU's players unable to continue, LH DID win, I can assure you that NO ONE who pays any attention to GU basketball would've excused their performance in any way, shape, or form, so your statement to that effect is even more ridiculous. You're trying to put words in our mouths. so that argument is useless as well.

    GU's players saw LH and they did what they had to do. Sorry that it didn't satisfy your high standards so that you can compare scores with Mercyhurst. Herman Edwards once said, "You play to win the game". They did. Anything else, particularly your precious box scores, is unimportant. END OF STORY.

    Why don't you go back to figuring out whether Urbana or Central State is better based on their schedules? You should have about 10 more games of data to analyze there.

    GEEZ!!!

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  18. 1) Let me go back to the statement I made... I'm expressing opinions/feelings... not arguments. You are all the ones making them into arguments. You disagree with me, that's fine. You are the ones not letting it go by continuing to argue an expressed non-argument (aka feeling or opinion)
    2) All of you, especially you gannon74, put words in people's mouths. I made a comment about Gannon's play and then GUBB said I was unhappy with the coaches and their ability to run the program. Definitely not what I said or meant.
    3) Being a coach, I don't believe in the statement "a win is a win" unless you just played horribly and won the championship.. then yes, that win is a win. The goal is to improve each game and show improvement. Against a basement team in LHU, Gannon showed no improvement; besides the fact they won (but it wasn't a road game so not really a big deal there either).
    4) If you don't agree with what I say or like what I say, then you have two choices a) don't comment on it and ignore it or b) comment and express your disagreement and expect another comment. Just because you guys don't agree with something or don't like something or are "annoyed" doesn't mean I have to care... I'm going to respond
    5) I lost any respect I had for you when you quoted Herm Edwards... the biggest joke of a coach behind Rex Ryan and Jim Mora. But I'll go ahead and stoop down there with ya and my quote will be about the way I feel about Gannon's past few performances... "PLAYOFFS?! YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT PLAYOFFS?! PLAYOFFS?!" - Jim Mora

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