Saturday, January 28, 2012

"If It Starts Right ...

... it finishes right." If I had a dollar for every time I heard Bob Dukiet say that sentence, I'd have enough money to buy popcorn for everyone at the IUP game on Wednesday. Coach Dukiet's aphorism proved true during Gannon's 80-49 lambasting of winless Lock Haven Saturday. The Knights raced out to a 14-2 advantage at the outset and, much to the surprise of many GU fans, didn't hand over that lead.

I'm encouraged the GU defense continues to improve. I know LHU is hapless, but to hold any team without a field goal for 11 minutes and 25 seconds is impressive. Earlier this season when the defense was porous, I'd count to see if the Knights could get five stops in a row. I rarely got to three or four. Gannon just couldn't sustain a consistent defensive effort. Now they can.

PSAC Freshman of the Year Adam Blazek (yes, I've already given him the award) continues to excel, producing a stat line of 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Darrell Blanton (10 points, 9 rebounds) didn't have his biggest game of the year, but he was still productive.

I'm waiting for a third scorer to emerge on this team. Brandon Belt had 16 and Oscar Macias totalled 11 vs. Lock Haven; I'd like to see that more often. Let me state that a little stronger: the Knights will remain a .500-ish team until they establish a reliable third scorer to replace the injured Stephen Battle. I don't know if it's a matter of running some set plays for Belt and Macias or just waiting for these first-year Division II players to get comfortable, but they've got to get it done. Wednesday evening vs. IUP would be the perfect time for Belt and/or Macias to put together a second consecutive double-digit night.


  1. I know that it's hapless Lock Haven, but anyone else think that there's a chance that GU could drop this game today? I say definitely yes -- I'm scared to death of this one.

  2. Nothing would surprise me at this point

  3. All I've seen is the final score and it's a good feeling! haha

  4. Well a couple of comments that I noticed while at the game today. A. How in the world did Clarion about lose to Lock Haven? Lock Haven looked awful out there on the floor, couldn't make a shot or rebound at times if their life depended on it. B. Gannon honestly did not look very sharp out on the court, they played a bit sloppy and just didn't see to have their A game with them. C. I have never been to a game with such a lack of atmosphere in my life, was beyond dead.

  5. Dead isn't the word. The fans didn't even clap when LHU scored. They acted like they expected to loose. There were more people at the ladies game then men.
    Finally Ev, Jim and I outcheered, were more vocal and louder then the LHU fan base.
    GU knew we were there.

  6. Watching on the internet, I agree with the assessment that GU didn't play their best Saturday. However, they played a very workmanlike game, particularly on defense, and very methodically demolished the hapless (yes, that is the perfect word) LH group.

    Rumor on the street is that Battle WILL be back soon.

  7. How is it that Luis Leao from the Hurst who was out for the year is now back and had 15 points against Cal? Don't they know it's not nice to fool the NCAA up there on the hill?

  8. Sounds to me like Coach Manchel was trying to give some of his PSAC West opponents a false sense of security.

    Of course, if Battle DOES come back, maybe they could accuse Coach Reilly of the same tactics.

  9. Was Leao the one who was supposed to have torn his ACL? If so, that was the initial diagnosis, and then there was a brief article in paper a few weeks ago saying that after some rehabbing and re-evaluation he didn't fully tear it or something and that he would be able to return near the end of the season.

    Again, I'm not sure if that's the player the article was about, but from either Boro or Hurst, someone was originally told they tore their ACL and, in fact, they didnt'.

  10. Corey...Luis Leao tore his ACL last season. He dislocated his elbow this season.

    I had heard he had a chance to play in the playoffs. Lucky for MU (not MC anymore!!!) that he is back early. I think he is the best player in the conference.

    IMO Mercyhurst, with Luis back, becomes the team to beat in the West.

    Weird that Gannon is not automatically the "best" local college basketball team anymore...

  11. Ok, then the article was about him, but I must have misinterpreted about the ACL (they must have just mentioned that he tore it last season). It did say whatever he was "diagnosed" as it turned out it wasn't as bad as they thought.

    And I'm in total agreement with you, fauves. They were a very good team without him.. and now that he's back, even if he's not 100%, they are scary. When/If he gets to 100%, they could make a run through the NCAAs if they get some lucky breaks as well.

  12. I caught Cleve Wright's show tonight, and one quote in particular stood out. I don't recall the exact wording, but Coach made the point that he's "a big believer in not playing too many minutes." He went on to say that if the players are on the floor for too long, they "get tired, make mistakes, aren't in the right place on the floor" etc.

    That's a very dramatic departure from the philosophy in the GU men's program, where it is "impossible" to get tired. If I had to believe one coach, it'd be Coach Wright who consistently fields successful teams year-in and year-out.