Friday, February 18, 2011

I've Got That Crummy Feeling Again

It's hard to succinctly explain how I feel after Gannon was eliminated from post-season contention with their 53-50 loss at Cal today. I'm not shocked at the road loss because the now 4-8 Knights have won only 33% of their PSAC West games this year. What I am shocked about is how deeply disappointed I am that next week's games are absolutely meaningless. I was really looking forward to scoreboard watching and setting up a potential do-or-die finale against Clarion a week from today. And, heck, if the Knights had won 5 in a row heading in the league playoffs, then why couldn't they make a run with nobody dominating the PSAC this year? Imagine how cool it could have been if this team sneaked into the NCAAs.

Instead, Gannon will be playing out the string for the first time in three seasons. I guess it would be easier to accept if this team wasn't very talented or had been getting routed most of the season. But with the flurry of close league losses this year you can't help but melt your brain thinking "What if?"

I'm writing this post more than two hours after the end of the game, and I still feel as low as I did when the Knights lost in the Elite 8 two years ago. Devastated. Disgusted. Perplexed. At least the situation gave me the chance to explain the meaning of "bummed" to my 5-year-old daughter. Maybe tomorrow we'll talk about the definitions of "dismayed", "crestfallen", and "chagrined."

I'm sure everyone connected with the program -- players, coaches, administrators, and fans -- will wonder all off-season what could have been if ________ (fill in one play from any of Gannon's incredibly disappointing league losses). That's a pretty crummy feeling.

27 comments:

  1. Well hopefully we sent out the building on a losing note, and not to jinx anything, but I believe that if GU finds a way to win on Saturday they are going to win the last 2 at home. The team seems to be coming together and clicking at the right time.

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  2. Maybe they'll reenact (cant recall his first name) White's shot high off the glass (that Keith Danzy supposedly partially blocked) to give top-ranked and heavily-favored Cal a one-point win in the final second of the 1994 NCAA east regional after James Clark's short jumper put GU up by one.

    One of my favorite (and probably underrated) stretches of basketball in GU history ... days before, Leo Nadal's three with less than a second remaining gave Gannon a one-point win over Millersville at the HC. Two one-point NCAA games three days apart ... doesn't get much better than that. Dukiet's upstarts played incredibly well against Cal and almost pulled it out days later. It was fun watching the Cal-U fans go from overconfident to extremely respectful of how GU was playing to nervous beyond belief to relieved.

    Also, Hamer Hall is one of three venues to host a Gannon / Edinboro game. Edinboro lost in the game before the GU / Cal thriller, so GU beat Edinboro in the regional third place game that is no longer played today.

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  3. I'm stuck at an airport, so I have too much time on my hands ... The Cal / Salem game is beyond belief. Cal led 30-15 with just over a minute to go in the first half. Then Salem went on a little 4-0 run to end the first half before exploding for 62 in the next 20 minutes. It's amazing how the last minute of the first half can set the tone for the second half. A 11 point lead at halftime feels much different from a 15-point lead.

    Salem went 0-4 on threes in the fist half to 8-11 in the second.

    Actually, Cal-U scored the first four points of the second half to take a 34-19 lead. Salem then proceeded to score at least one point on 27 of their final 34 possessions. The Cal defense must have taken the rest of the game off.

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  4. Sounds like it may take about 5 hours or so to finish both games, based on the announcers. Is there a record for the longest amount of time needed to play back to back men's and women's games?

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  5. Mercyhurst just lost at home to Slippery Rock, 81-70. That's a big blow to the Lakers hopes to host the PSAC tourney as the West's #1 seed. They are now tied with IUP in the loss column with 2. The Hurst has two road games left in the regular season -- at Edinboro and at IUP. If they don't turn the tide soon, they may even put their NCAA bid in jeopardy.

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  6. Dang it with the Mercyhurst news, I was hoping that they would get to host, especially if we do get the 4 seed. Hangover after the loss to us perhaps?

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  7. And the last minute of the game about sums up our season perfectly. Can't win many games shooting 30% or so from the foul line. Just can't find a way to win many close games this season. And now aren't we eliminated from the playoffs with this?

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  8. Tough loss ... though GU shot 15/22 and Cal was 9/17 from the FT line. A percentage of 68% is not great, but not horrible.

    MC seems to have quite a few tank jobs at the end of February. Maybe it's happening again.

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  9. Just saw on the stats ... GU 17 turnovers, Cal 7, giving Cal an 8 steal to 1 edge.

    Can't afford to give the home team 10 more possessions. And steals generally lead to easy baskets.

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  10. A few end of game comments:
    1)Agee hurt and out of game with 9:52 remaining. 2)Brannen fouled out with 27 sec. remaining. 3)Gannon turnover with 15 sec. remaining. 4)Cal gets offensive rebound off a missed free throw with 14 sec. remaining. 5)Battle missed 3 pointer at buzzer.

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  11. As disappointed as we may all be we also must look at the many positives (and potential positives for next season) that came from this season (as compared to last offseason when we didn't know if Gannon would even have a team due to all the players leaving! *sarcasm*)
    1) no one left during the season for any reason.
    2) everyone seemed to get along and cheered for their team; whether they were a starter, on thE bench or Dennis Rumph.
    3) our offense was MUCH better than last season and our defense continued to improve throughout the season.
    4) (pending they stay) We have two outstanding players for 3 more years in Agee and Battle.
    5) if furno can get a bit more weight (and get his hands and brain on the same page) he definitely has the potential to be a factor in any playoff runs in the next 2 years.
    6) despite all the grief Coach Reilly took last season about recruiting, I believe this season he proved that he and his staff can recruit. Ala Clinton, Claggett, Battle, Agee. Clinton still has 2 more years. Also we have 3 redshirts, who knows what they could end up being.
    7) I've heard rumors that Gannon recruited a "6'7 jumper with inside presence". No idea the truth behind it but maybe it'll be a guy who can come in and quickly calm the sting of losing Brannen.
    8) Gannon has a core in place and if they can just get a few necessary pieces they could end up being a really good team based around the core. (I.e.- a true center, a consistent three point threat, possibly a better ball handler). Maybe the guys they currently have will improve greatly and fill these gaps.

    Disappointed? Yes! As much as last season? No! Did last offseason become very depressing? Yes! Am I definitely excited to see what happens this time around? YES!!!

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  12. Isn't this the last year of Coach Riley's contract? If so,will he be re-signed?

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  13. According to Gannon Rumor mill,which is one of the best in college basketball, the coach has at least one year remaining, maybe two. So my guess is the coach is staying. Let's see if the players stay also.

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  14. Comments on comments-

    -Good question on Reilly's contract. Anyone know for sure? Since he is completing his sixth year, would that mean his contract is running out, since GU typically does 3 year contracts? Or did he get some kind of extension after the success of the 2008-09 team?

    -The way this season has gone is what you would expect for a team as inexperienced as this one is. When you start 2 frosh and a sophomore (and a second year junior with limited starting experience), you're going to get what we got-spurts of brilliance, long stretches of inconsistency, moments of disaster (like Battle dribbling off his foot at a key moment vs Cal) and a lot of close losses. While we fans have a tendency to expect so much more, the sheer reality of the matter is that, after starting with so many new players for a second consecutive year, there would be transition issues and the season would become a learning experience, which Reilly sensed when he gave up on the ill-fated Kareem Brown experiment halfway through.

    -GU may need a better penetrator that can draw defenders and dish to open players (who, incidentally, need to move to open areas when their man leaves them to defend the penetration, which GU's current bigs do NOT do well-they have a tendency to stand and watch), but they do NOT need a better pure ballhandler. Piotrowicz and Clagett are both more than acceptable in that position.

    -It is imperative that Reilly recruit an inside player 6'7" or taller that can make a significant impact on offense in the paint next year. That will open things up for the shooters and for the players who can drive to the hoop. Brannen's play vs Mercyhurst was exemplary, but he was far too inconsistent (whether his fault or not-how can the kid get only 5 shots vs. Cal after as well as he shot it Wednesday?) this year to give them what they needed.

    -Hate to single out one kid, but I don't think Furno's struggles are completely talent-related (anyone who saw last year's Slippery Rock game will agree that he has the potential), but rather he is like a golfer who thinks about his mechanics so much that he can't make a good swing. In Tanner's case, he seems to take a second or so to think about what he should do when game situations arise, and by the time he figures it out, the moment has passed and it's too late. He has to get better at reacting to (not thinking about) what's going on and do the right thing. I'm told he's an engineering major, and that thought process is great for that discipline, but not so much on the court. It wouldn't hurt him to develop a consistent 12 foot jump shot, either. He does also need to get stronger, particularly in the lower body so he doesn't get shoved right out of the post as he was so much this year. Get busy in the weigh room, big guy.

    -All in all, IMO, this was a foundation season. 2 freshmen started and gained invaluable experience. Both look to be potential superstars at both ends of the court. 2 point guards with complementary skill sets return, as does a big that COULD become an important supporting player. As cc3 said, with the right additions (inside scorer-penetrating point guard-good shooting 2 guard/small forward), things could be a lot better next year. Remember, as the old saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day.

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  15. Good input Gannon!

    Coach Reilly did sign a contract extension, however, I'm not sure if it was after the first good season they had or the second great season they had. I do remember him signing the extension though because it was also when he was intervied for the coaching position down South. (Northern Kentucky? something like that that was close to home... and remember it then turned out the school had a lot of problems on and off court that were brought to light, etc.)

    Now I don't know when the contract ends but I'm 99% sure he has AT LEAST one more year. Also, with the way this season went, if this were to have been his "contract year" that would've been the headline of every article any time they lost (especially after they were eliminated from playoff contention). Even if this was his last year on contract, I don't see GU getting rid of him. He showed some upside this year with the team, but also if he was let go think of what we'd have to go through AGAIN with finiding a new coach. It'd be a "nationwide" search, several interviews, and by the time someone is hired it'd be near impossible to get good recruits (ala Coach Reilly's first year). If he were to be let go, I think it'd be a midseason move, interim head coach, search for a coach and then get it settled.

    But, again, I don't see him going anywhere for a while. Time will tell! We all have to be positive!

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  16. also re: Furno...

    the kid is talented! No doubt about that! It's his lack of weight that enables other bigs to push him around and take him out of the game as well as his inability to consistently catch the ball that kills him. A few more pounds and a few jars of stick'um and he'd be a 16 points a game player! :)

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  17. Coachcorey: I firmly believe that Furno is trying to put on some weight, just based on seeing him at the cafe, it isn't from a lack of trying, he may be one of those people who have the super fast metabolism and has difficulty putting on weight. Just a theory on that. And the team that we have right now IS CLOSE to being a damn good team, just missing a piece to the puzzle, the core of the team is quite good, just need to find the piece to help it click, which was mentioned above.

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  18. Liked how Springer-Williams played and this Tucker kid that red shirted is supposely pretty good. IMO GU has a good back court. Definitely need a couple front court guys as being noted above to fill in the 4 and 5 spots. Having two would allow Battle to play the 3 spot, IMO a better position for him than the 4 spot. IMO B/C of Furno's size, he's better at the 4 spot but true 6-9 players don't come along often and he has always played the 5 spot. Probably remain at the 5 spot ... so eating and lifting should be his mantra.

    May be Jim can determine Coach R's contract status with the AD??

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  19. Gannon74...good post, you summed it up nicely and I would agree with yours and cc3's assessment of GU's needs for next year.

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  20. Well ... this means that Saturday is "The Last Game of the Season." Hate it when that happens. Hoping that we at least went into the Clarion game with a chance, even an outside one.

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  21. By the way, to be clear, although Furno could use a little bulk to lower his center of gravity, I would much rather see him bulk up and increase his weight in the weight room instead of the cafeteria.

    Just sayin'

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  22. Tonight's IUP @ Lock Haven make-up game didn't start until 9:45 p.m. due to weather conditions. In the women's game, IUP defeated LHU 73-32. IUP should have no trouble regardless of who gets off that bus, whenever it comes.

    And what does Lock Haven get for their troubles? A matchup at IUP on Wednesday!

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  23. I was looking back over old posts..

    who did Red shirt besides Tucker.. Who was a two year starter at a solid D-II?

    What ever happened to Blanton? RS?
    Is Severance still @? RS?

    inquiring minds would like to know

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  24. Eisemen, Tucker, and Blanton all red shirted. Tucker is fr DII Fla Tech. Tucker and Blanton are JR's.

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  25. Alvin Tucker (D2 FL Tech), Darrell Blanton (JUCO) and John Eisenman (Mercyhurst Prep frosh) are the three redshirts.

    At the past few games, however, I've only seen Tucker and Eisenman with them and no sign of Blanton. Maybe sick...

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  26. GUBB, sorry didn't see your post that had already answered the redshirt question!

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  27. Severance never came here, as far as I know. I haven't seen much of Blanton lately, either. I know academics have been an issue for him in the past-I hope that isn't a problem for him going forward.

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