Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Look Of A Winner

Quick question for you: Can you name one game from the past two seasons (since the Knights advanced to the Elite 8 in 2009) that was a better performance for Gannon than Saturday's 94-75 drubbing of Shippensburg? Feel free to look at the results from 2009-10 and 2010-11 before answering that question, but I don't think you'll find a decent answer.

Now I'm not going to clear my schedule for the weekend of the Division II Elite 8 (which is March 21-22 & 24 in Northern Kentucky, in case you were wondering) because Cheyney and Ship weren't exactly top-flight teams. But you had to like the offensive firepower and efficiency the Knights displayed this weekend. Against Ship, Gannon shot 56% from the field, 42% on threes, and committed only 5 turnovers while handing out 26 assists. Five players hit double figures ... and whodathunk the center position would lead the way with 30 points and 18 rebounds on 14-of-18 shooting. Dmitry Martynenko broke out with 18 points and 11 boards while Tanner Furno jumped off the bench (literally) for 11 and 7 while making 6-of-7 from the field.

Compare Gannon's offensive numbers for this year vs. last season:
PPG: 85.2 ppg vs. 70.5 ppg (+15.3)
FG%: 51.1% vs. 45.9% (+5.2%)
3FG%: 40.9% vs. 33.9% (+7.0%)
FT%: 75.2% vs. 70.2% (+5.2%)
Assist-to-TO ratio: 1.2-to-1 vs. 0.89-to-1 (+.31)
Offensive rebounds: 14.5 rpg vs. 10.5 rpg (+5.0)
Games scoring 80+ points: 6 of 8 (75%) vs. 5 of 26 (19.2%)
Games scoring 90+ points: 3 of 8 (37.5%) vs. 1 of 26 (3.8%)

So the Knights are shooting 5% better and even when they miss, they're likely to grab the offensive rebound for another scoring opportunity. That will get you a higher scoring total and eventually a higher win percentage that last year's 15-11 mark.

Even with the two lopsided victories this weekend, defense still has to be a concern for John Reilly. Dribble penetration by Ship led to the Raiders being comfortable on the perimeter and connecting on 9-of-16 threes. The defense was the best it's been all year these past two games, but it has to improve even more if the Knights want to make a postseason run.

Knight Knotes:
* Check out the photo galleries from this weekend's games by clicking here (GU vs. Cheyney) and here (GU vs. Ship). Pic #41 of the GU/Ship set is tremendous -- Stephen Battle's soaring dunk in the second half. Kudos to Joe Mattis for his camera work.

* Be sure to weigh in on our effort to give Darrell Blanton a nickname he deserves. Blanton lived up to his billing as the King of Jammermill Saturday with a 20-point, 9-rebound, high-energy effort.

* Though Gannon is off for 18 days until the Porreco Cup, the Gannon Hoops staff will still be working. We'll talk about some Knights of years gone by and would like to hear your thoughts.

UPDATED 12/12/11:
Thanks to Gannon Hoops follower JRD who emailed me this photo of former Knight Kyle Goldcamp on Cleveland Cavaliers media day. Very cool to see him in an NBA uni. I'm saving this photo for my 5-year-old daughter to show her that hard work pays off. For more info on Goldcamp in the NBA, click here to read the press release from Gannon. I think Goldcamp might have a future in The Association because I heard when he transferred from UPJ, he did a live show on their campus radio station and said, "In this fall, I'm going to take my talents to Presque Isle and join the Gannon Knights."


  1. Quite a weekend for Gannon hoop fans as Darrell Blanton brought his Peach Street Pandemonium Aerial Ballet to the Jammermill Center. Joining the Gannon Cannon at the dunk buffet were Stephen Battle, who had a Mohawk Tomahawk Special, and the Towering Furno who feasted on a hearty helping of Rebound Putback Jam.

    The Knight of the Living Dunk also put his defensive credentials on display with an insane upper atmosphere block that broke at least two of the laws of physics. Charges are pending.

  2. Haha. Nicely done Walter!, nicely done.

  3. Has there been any update with Bubbys status? Redshirting?

  4. Heard inside word. He will Red Shirt

  5. Probably the best for both parties... Didn't see him playing a ton this season (especially if Dmitry keeps progressing.. On Friday, he had 3 rebounds in the first 90 secs of the game and then showed his offensive firepower on Saturday) + Tanner seems to be progressing back from his injury as well. Additionally it'll give him a year to learn the system and be full strength next year (take Blanton for example.. I know he came in with some tout last year, but I don't remember anyone saying he was anything like THIS. So his redshirt year could've really helped him "get" Coach Reilly's systems and methods and this year all he had to do was come out and play

  6. Jim, in my impression of the 2 or 3 games I've seen thus far, one of the reasons for the defensive issues that you have so correctly pointed out is that GU is playing defense differently. The past 2-3 years, they have not been using an extraordinary amount of on-ball pressure, instead sagging off and making the ball handler pass the ball more often. This year, they ARE pressuring the ball a lot more closely, and, as you'd expect when you do that, they are getting beat off the dribble. Compounding the problem is that, for the most part, their help defense in the paint has been somewhere between inconsistent and non-existant.

    The other reason for the increase in their defensive average is on offense. The past 2-3 years, there was a lot more walking the ball up the court and taking shots much later in the shot clock than there has been this year. This year, it seems like they have been pushing it at the opponent's defense a lot harder and shooting earlier in the clock.

    Statistics would seem to bear out this theory. This year, GU is averaging 63.8 FG attempts per game, as compared to 53.4 last year (I find an 18% increase significant). Meanwhile, GU opponents are averaging 26 FT's per game this year as opposed to 19 last year (36% increase) that points to a more aggressive defense. Interestingly, GU's FT attempts are down from 22 per game last year to 19 per game this year. I guess these FT numbers could also be a result of having played more conference games on the road than at home(or perhaps some shaky officiating in both places).

    Just what I see, of course

  7. WALTER: I agree with GU BBall -- well played!

    COREY: I've heard nothing on Bubby. My guess will be they'll play it by ear to see how his foot heals and, even if it does, see how much they need him this season in case Martynenko or Furno get hurt. No reason to announce anything now.

    OBSERVOR: Good points. I agree there are more possessions per game, so the opponent's score will be higher. My concern is what's happening each possession with too much dribble penetration leading to foul shots (as you pointed out) or open threes for the opponent. The first two games the Knights picked up full-court man. This past weekend they picked up at half-court more often than not.

  8. Regarding Bubby Johnson, John Reilly said in his weekly radio interview with Jim LeCorchick that the Knights would like to redshirt Johnson but they need to look into it. Johnson's played 20 minutes in 4 games this year which typically falls within redshirt guidelines (I think) but that isn't a slam dunk. My understanding is that Bubby's boo-boo is a foot stress fracture. He was in a walking boot at this past weekend's games.

  9. Not that it was a surprise, but Goldcamp got cut from Cavs training camp. It was fun just to see him in warmups the first preseason game though!!