Friday, November 25, 2011

Twilight Zone

The best word I can use to describe Gannon's 67-65 home opening loss to Daemen is surreal. Even for the opening introductions it was weird to see 4 guys in Gannon uniforms that you've never watched play before. And the only returning starter from last year, Stephen Battle, sported a mowhawk that made him look like a different guy. When the game started, the allegedly high-octane Knights sputtered against Daemen's zone. Instead of penetrating gaps, exploiting the high post, and knocking down threes, Gannon seemed to be on its heels vs. a 3-3 NAIA club who recently lost at home to 2-11 York University of Canada. (York lost an exhibition to Mercyhurst, 88-52, on Oct. 13.) Even more shocking than the outcome was that Gannon led the game for only 25 seconds. They played uphill all night against a team that has rarely threatened them in the past. And UPJ vs. Daemen in the Gary Miller Classic championship while the Knights play the consolation opener? Surreal.

I'm usually glass-half-full kind of guy, but it's hard to be anything but resoundingly disappointed with what happened at the Hammermill. I was surprised Gannon wasn't more effective against the zone. I believe Dmitry Martynenko is a good mid-range shooter, so why not put him at the high post where he could score or, at 6-foot-9, look over the defense for the open man? That could have allowed Darrell Blanton -- whose two-hand dunk at the 15:48 mark of the second half nearly dislodged an Audi rafter -- to work in the low post where he's an absolute beast. I'm also surprised that Brandon Belt, who seems to be the club's best outside shooter, got only 15 minutes and 3 field goal attempts vs. a zone.

But strategies aside, Gannon's offensive intensity wouldn't have effectively executed any gameplan. Coach Reilly said it best that the Knights didn't play with a sense of desperation until about 8 minutes to go in the game when they rallied from 12 points down. The defense worked hard all night, but I was shocked how often Gannon was beaten off the dribble. Daemen would patiently work the ball side-to-side for 25 seconds, drive by their man, get help from Gannon defenders, and then kick out to a teammate for an open jumper. If you can't stay between your man and the basket, you're going to allow your opponent to shoot 57% in the second half like the Wildcats did.

Sigh. I shouldn't be this crabby after one game. I guess there is one good thing about the loss. A 5:30 game won't end past my daughter's bedtime.


  1. maybe Gannon needs to play all their games on the road?! Yikes!

  2. hhhmmmmm.......I'll wait and see....I expected more

  3. Reilly must go. Now. This was Daemen. Daemen.

  4. I forgot to mention that after the 2-point loss to Daemen, 10 of Gannon's last 15 games have been decided by one possession or in overtime.

    And Walter, that's a little rash, don't you think?

  5. WoW! To hear that comment "Reilly must go. Now" is not surprising, considering the past of Gannon basketball, the Fans Love of the game and its program. like any successful program winning is expected. I Was able to watch it via the web, and what I saw, is a group that needs time th gel together, coaching gets you prepared, but the players got to do their part to get the, job done. And saying that..give this team some time figure each other out...Jim said it, Steph. Is the only returning starter, with 3 guys returning from last years squad (if I am correct)....mid season is what I am looking fwd to seeing, this team has heart and a never give in attitude...they will be a sight to see. So in closing, let the coach and his staff figure out who works well with'll all come together at the end.

  6. Daemen was by far the best team in the tourney. Gannon didn't have a great game, however, even if they would've there's no way of saying they definitely wouldve beat daemen. Despite the score, daemen crushed UPJ. A few mistakes is what kept UPJ close. I didn't get to see the Gannon/daemen game but from what I saw of them vs. UPJ they looked great! Also have to consider UPJ beat RWC by 12, I believe, and Gannon beat them by 20+.

    I don't think the one game is anything to go off of or to demand Coach Reilly's head. Also, for many of the players, it was probably their first time playing in front of that size of a crowd. I know they say those kind of things don't affect collegiate players but I'm sure it did. There was probably what? 300-600 over the weekend on the road trip and 1100+ last night? That's gotta be a little nerve wracking.