Saturday, December 3, 2011

America's (Least Boring) Team

At 3-2, Gannon doesn't have a scintillating winning percentage. But you're certainly getting your money's worth as a Golden Knight fan. Gannon's played only 5 games, but emotionally I feel like we're already deep into the NCAA Tournament. The Knights rallied at Millersville Saturday afternoon to claim a 98-97 win in overtime, meaning that 4 of Gannon's 5 games have been decided in the final possession. The difference in all three PSAC games has been 1 point. My heart has been pounding through my chest down the stretch of every game except the Roberts Wesleyan shellacking. At next weekend's home games, the maintenance staff might consider stocking up on defibrillators.

I paid the $7 to watch the Millersville game via the Internet, and it was worth every penny. (I hope they don't charge my credit card extra because the game went into overtime.) Here are some other thoughts on the contest:

* John Reilly said in his postgame radio interview that he wouldn't comment on the officiating. I think that's a nice way of saying it was suspect at best. I didn't have the best angle or video quality with the Internet feed, but it appeared to me the game was called too closely. The 64 fouls listed in the box score -- a whopping 39 against Gannon -- would seem to agree with me. Players would force a shot by throwing themselves into a crowd and get bailed out by a whistle. There was also a big non-call with just over 90 seconds left where a GU player took an obvious charge but with no call it led to open MU three-pointer.

* Gannon played the entire OT with a lineup of players under 6-foot-5. (Made me feel like I was watching the old Erie Wave of the WBL.) Forwards Dmitry Martynenko, Tanner Furno, and Darrell Blanton had all fouled out and Bubby Johnson didn't make the trip due to injury. But the Knights still got it done with a lineup I'm guessing Coach Reilly never intended using down the stretch.

* Reilly talked earlier this week in an interview with Jim LeCorchick about Oscar Macias needing to be more aggressive on offense. Macias responded with 20 points (13 above his average) on 6-of-11 shooting before becoming the 4th of 5 Knights to foul out of the contest. Macias hit a clutch pull-up 3 with 26 seconds left in regulation and two free throws at the 19-second mark to key Gannon's comeback.

* Macias wasn't the only one filling up the basket. Blanton has become ol' reliable on the stat sheet: 21 points, 10 rebounds, 8-of-15 shooting. Stephen Battle (17 points, 7-of-7 from the foul line) took over the game at times. And Adam Blazek plays with incredible confidence. He's always attacking on offense and doesn't hesitate to stick it in your eye if you give him any space. Blazek hit for 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting including 4-of-6 on threes. And he only committed 1 turnover. Not to jinx the kid, but can we give him Gannon's third consecutive PSAC Freshman of the Year award now?

* So, lots of kudos to hand out after this game. But the Knights still gave up 97 points to a team that was averaging 73 a game coming in and had lost 4 games in a row. Gannon's on-ball defense is dreadful. They continue to allow guards penetration all the way to the basket or at least into the paint for pull-up jumpers. Millersville, who looked comfortable all afternoon, shot 53% from the field. Gannon has to shore up this aspect of their game or else they'll be on the wrong end of too many games in the 80s.

* The Millersville video broadcast had no sound and it rarely showed the scoreboard, so you needed Gannon's radio feed through the WERG website to keep track of the score and situation. But someone at WERG cut off the hoops broadcast with a minute to go in regulation and opted instead for some smooth jazz lovey dovey music. Bizarre way to watch a crucial game. If you needed a reminder this isn't the upper echelon of the basketball world, this was it.


  1. Way to gut it out and get the tough road win GU!

  2. Didn't get to listen to game but watched the live stats on phone from 5 mins remaining through end of OT. Good comeback and strong win (hopefully didn't wear them out for tomorrow's game).

    Questions I have though:
    1. How early did Dmitry foul out? Seemed he missed a lot of the game.
    2. Why did Gannon have so many fouls? Tired? Getting beat (to the ball)? Needed to? I was shocked to see 3 players foul out and then 2 more had 4 and several had 3.
    3. What is up with Brandon Belt? By far the team's purest shooter and he's playing 10 mins a game. Anyone know? Not a hard worker? Attitude? etc. He scored the first 5 points of OT with a triple and a layup and the stat box flies up and says "for the game 5 pts, 1 reb, 1 ast). I'm thinking "seriously?" In a game like this you're not letting him fire away? Head scratching...
    4. Blazek? Real deal! Gannon is now what? 5 games in and the TRUE freshman is average still 15 or so a game? I'm not expecting that to stay that high all season, but not expecting it to drop too far either. Amazing! Hopefully he stays all 4 years.