Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mission Distraction

Gannon's enamel-grinding 59-48 loss to IUP has put me over the edge. I mentally can't handle the mounting disappointing losses, especially at the Hammermill. I know many of you feel the same way. To help all of us keep our sanity, let's try distracting ourselves from this latest loss:

* By popular demand, here's an update on former Knight Bobby Bossman. Someone just emailed me this complimentary article about Bossman.

* Jerry Slocum is having a solid year at Youngstown State. On the surface, a 12-10 overall mark and 7-5 league record aren't impressive, but the 7 Horizon wins are the most in school history and the Penguins still have 6 conference games remaining. Click here for the YSU schedule/results.

* We used to talk a lot on this site about the dreadful Hilbert and Salem International women's basketball teams. How are they doing this year? Hilbert is 3-17, allowing 64 ppg while scoring 43, a vast improvement from prior years. (Though they did just lose at Medialle 55-21 in front of 38 fans.) Salem is in a similar sinking boat with a 3-16 mark. They're being outscored 66-46 with the worst loss at Northern Kentucky, 75-19.

* My new team to keep an eye on is the Lady Knights of Crossroads College in Rochester, MN. Their website lists them with 0 wins in a lucky 13 games this season. It even lists them as losing their alumni game! Their site doesn't list scores, but I managed to track down a few: 80-15 vs. Faith Baptist Bible College, 75-15 at Moody Bible Institute, 62-22 vs. Emmaus Bible College, and 53-20 at Faith Baptist. They even lost 93-21 to now 1-15 Crown College. Can we get them in the Porreco Cup next year?


  1. Let's start something fun here. Over/Under margin of victory/loss tonight of 4 points? I feel like going under.

  2. I'm hoping we win by 10-15. We will see!

  3. I believe Coach Reilly's target for turnovers in a game is 12. The Knights are already +4 in that category and it's only halftime. Pretty bizarre to see a field goal attempt differential of 36 for IUP to Gannon's 19. Let's see if the Knights can get more shots up (and in) during the second half and pull this one out.

  4. Not at game but looking at stats it looks like blazek and macias are literally doing nothing but turning the ball over and rebounding. At least Brandon is scoring.

  5. I need a hug after watching that game....or a strong drink. I can't believe what I was watching. If you tell we that we hold IUP to under 60 and we lost by double digits, I would say that you would have been nuts. Adam Blazek was jacking up shots thinking he was some combo of Jason Kidd and Larry Bird. Missing foul shots like it was going out of style. This was a PAINFUL loss.

    I guess on the plus side, it looks like the women are starting to show that they are going to be a special team in the near future.

  6. Another dismal loss in what is turning out to be a dismal season. IUP did not look like a top-15 team nationally -- they were very beatable. Or maybe they just shot poorly in the first half and should have been up by 15 at halftime.

    Anyhow, with seven games to play, the Knights stand tied with three teams (Boro, Cal) at 8-7, one game behind fourth-place Slippery Rock. Beating Cal and Boro (who supposedly is w/o Theriot) are almost musts because we'd lose any tiebreaker against those two teams. And winning the 2/22 game at SRU will likely become pivotal. Losing one of those three would likely be curtains on the season.

    Then beating Lock Haven (almost a sure thing) would give us four of our last seven.

    If we can get those four, then one more win (home vs. Leao and Mercyhurst University, @ IUP and @ Clarion) would almost surely lock up a playoff spot. And we may not need one of those.

    It's still doable and the fact that this team seems to have soooo much potential makes me believe that it can be done. Maybe that's why this season has been so disappointing, because it seems like we have the talent.

    And I respectfully disagree with EWensel about the Lady Knights. They are showing that they can be a special team THIS year. What a big win over a high-quality opponent. I sat withing hearing distance of Cleve and all it seemed like he could say as his team was running their offense was "Good, good, good, okay, good." It seemed like they were doing everything he wanted them to do.

  7. Well I thought that before tonight, that if the guys went 6-2, that they would be safe for the playoffs. At this point their margin of error is getting smaller and smaller. Varying on how the next two games goes, they may be basically dead to rights so to speak. They have the potential, they just can't seem to finish.

    And as far as the Lady Knights, I guess I am trying to not expect too much. For how young they are, they really played great tonight, that was how you beat a top 20 team. If they can play like that against the Boro, they can beat them for sure. They got the special factor with that team, I just think another year of seasoning and it could be unbelieveable

  8. Anyone still think that the GU men's team isn't tired? Their performance today was a textbook example of a tired team. IUP authored a sub-par performance (Sanders 3-14? Was he sick or under the influence?) and GU couldn't come close to taking advantage.

    Even TJ Wilson seemed to be running in mud. Martytenko, and to a lesser extent, Furno looked to be unable to play more than a minute or two without needing a rest. Starting guards 1-17 from the field, 22 turnovers as a team, surrendering way too many second shots, another sub-40% field goal percentage. And so on...

    I really feel bad for the players, as they had nothing to do with creating this situation. The sad part is that, at this point, there's nothing that can be done about it. With all the injuries, the depth which was once a strength has become a major liability, although I still think that it wouldn't hurt that much to put Tucker in there and Carty could certainly play more so that everyone, particularly Blazek, could get a rest here and there.

    I certainly hope I'm wrong, but I will be very surprised if GU can turn things around at this point. Maybe the retutn of Battle will help, but...

  9. Blazek and Belt played a full 40 minutes. Blazek was just 1 of 12 in shooting, while Belt did very little in the 2nd half despite having a very productive 1st half. So what does this tell you?

    By the way, how about Riley making a comment in today's Times about Indiana players Smith and Sanders having been there five years, when in fact he hasn't had a player who has played FOUR years under him. Not one in his seven seasons. Might he be a little envious?

    1. Blazek MADE his last shot, fatigue isn't the problem.

  10. "We've had a chance to win every game." - Reilly. The now accepted standard for excellence at Gannon. Just a chance to win, not actually win and succeed.

    Anyone notice the difference in energy levels between GU and IUP during the pre-game introductions yesterday? IUP was bubbly and bouncing around as a team, all smiles. Gannon looked the deadest I've ever seen them, in fact it looked like they just got back from a trip to the morgue.

    Sure seems like the symptoms of a tired, nervous team guided by a drill-sergeant coaching staff. But hey, they have a chance to win every game.

  11. Unfortunately, we will be talking about who's leaving and who’s coming WAY TOO SOON.
    I really had high hopes for this team this year. I thought with their athleticism they could really go far.
    I'm really disappointed in the big guys. I had hopes that Furno would turn it around and I thought Martynenko would be a bit better than he has shown.
    Their defense has definitely improved as they have learned the system.
    Hopefully they stay and with a year under their belts we can be talking about a different subject next year.

  12. ***Their TEAM defense has definitely improved as they have learned the system.
    Hopefully they(players)will stay and with a year under their belts we can be talking about a different subject next year.

  13. Take a read of this story in The Gannon Knight about Steve Piotrowicz's injury. He suffered his 6th(!) concussion, ending his career.

  14. If Battle is ready, my suggested line up:

    5 - Dimtry/Furno subbed in and out every 4-5 minutes. Sorry, TJ at 6-1 playing post gives too much advantage to the opponents in the post and at 6-1 is not an offensive threat. TJ is much better at the 3 or 4 spot where he can rev up his "motor". Coach states that height doesn't matter in the post but I disagree. Ex. IUP's 11 offensive rebounds in the first half, many over TJ. If either T or D in the line up, it at least gives the impression of having a post threat and we match up better with their bigs. If the opponents put in a smaller 5, then TJ is fine.

    4 - Blanton

    3 - Battle

    2 - Belt

    1- Adam

    Macias is struggling a change is needed. Macias, TJ, and Carty can sub for the 4 thru 2 positions. Belt or Carty can spell Adam at point for a very brief time. When Johnson is back he can sub for either the 4-5 spot. Not sure what is up with Tucker - must be in the dog house since he hasn't played much in the last couple of games and I predict will be the first to leave the program at seasons end.
    Also would like to see, as many have suggested, a regular vs. whenever sub strategy

    Re Steve, hope he has a full recovery and wish him well once he graduates. I'm sure the Hammermill will rock with appreciation for him at senior night.

  15. glyph - agreed with the line up... Macias has been merely a spectator over the past few games. Belt is at least putting up some #'s. Maybe bring Macias come off the bench will light a spark in him.

    One change I might like to see, regardless if Battle is ready or not, Wilson starting at the 3. You're 100% correct that he can't hang with it at the 4/5 spot because he's only 6'1 (even though I think he weighs as much as Dmitry and Tanner put together in muscle). he's got a great vertical, as does Belt, Blazek and Blanton. But that vertical won't help when you have to jump and use the vertical and the other guy just stands there and already has the ball. I'd prefer to see Dmitry start at the 5 and Tanner sub in (for some reason just like Tanner coming in off the bench; he has that "energy" when he comes in that can often turn the team attitude around if needed or keep lifting it up).

    At this point, I've already wrote this season off (hate to say it) and I'm just hoping we don't have to worry about reading a laundry list of additions for next season...

  16. I don't mean to pile on the coach or the team but I have to say the timeout, down by 10 or whatever, with 19 seconds left was really irritating to me.

    And this isn't the first time this has happened.

    I believe a timeout was also called in the Clarion game when they were up big.

    What's up with that?

    I also may be in the minority, but I don't think GU being tired has anything to do with this disappointing season.

    Other then players hemmoraging the program, what I have observed, this year and during Reilly's entire tenure is that he plays 2 ways, regardless of the opponent...and that is an agressive half-court man and a "motion" offense predicated on reading the defense and making a lot of passes for an easy shot.

    Both are great and very effective.

    But there's NOTHING else. No press. No trap. No set plays. No zone. No double teams. If we needed one basket, in a close game I do not have confidence that this coaching could "draw" up a play that would result in a bucket.

    Whereas opponents that we play often run multiple sets, morph in and out of different defenses, etc etc etc

    So Reilly's system can work great, but there is not another wrinkle in it...and when we get "figured out" or just need to change it up a bit...I'm talking just a couple of minutes here and there, GU doesn't seem to have anywhere else to go...

    I feel like we're strategically at a disadvantage.

    Am I off here?

  17. thefauves1 -- I agree. Other coaches make adjustments at half time or on the fly while Reilly makes none. Or maybe if he does they are subtle works of genius invisible to the naked eye. Is that why Gannon blow second half leads? Because the other coach adjusts and Reilly plays with blinders on?

    Your observation about the time out thing at the end of games is also on target. It's a Reilly trademark. I would hope he's using the time to apologize but I doubt it. I stand down there on that end of the Jammermill near the end of the bench sometimes, and I have to say that Jeremy's description (in his Feb 2 comment up above) of Reilly and Viscuso as the "drill sargeant coaching staff" is the best and most accurate portrait yet of this dynamic downer duo. Thanks for that one!

    Gannon would do well, it seems, to investigate the possibility of hiring one Joe Lombardi as its next coach, whenever that might be. Lombardi lost to graduation (that's when a player attends the school for four years and has to leave) most of what he's had to work with the last couple of years (national player of the year Daryl Webb, super guard Thomas Young, their space eating center from a year ago and the 6-9 all-conference lefthanded kid whose name escapes me) and yet here is IUP right back on top of the PSAC this year. Remember when Gannon used to do stuff like that? And, all IUP has, really, is two great guards (Smith and Sanders) and a bunch of no-name defenders. But they're 16-3. What's Lombardi's phone number?

    I heard some comments after the IUP game that IUP doesn't look that tough, and I don't disagree. But they took down the Knights by 11 in the Knights' house. So if they aren't all that good, what does that make Gannon? Is the correct answer (A) a mediocre team in a mediocre conference (B) a talented team with a coach better suited for NAIA (C) a team whose players are not as talented as they initially appeared or (D) an exhausted group of disgruntled players comparing notes on which university they'll be enrolling in this fall?

  18. If GU could hire Lombardo I would totally support that move.

    But in today's world, unfortunately the GU job has to be looked at as a step down from the IUP job with there brand new facilities and their winning tradition.

  19. Agree that something different in the starting lineup might shake up the team in a positive manner. Macias is the obvious weak link right now, and starting Battle in his place would obviously help. However, I've been told they are trying to bring Steph along slowly instead of throwing him right into the 40 minute club.

    One of the things I don't agree with is TJ Wilson moving to the 3. I love his hustle and his energy(which seemed surprisingly absent Wednesday vs IUP for some reason), but he doesnt have the necessary ball skills or shooting range to play the 3. He is going to sink or swim at the 4, and the coaches have to hope that he can survive in the paint through position, strength, and hard work.

    It would be nice if Martynenko or Furno could start at the 5, but the big Russian is incapable of playing more than a couple minutes without tiring. I have seen him holding/rubbing his back and having it treated by the trainer on several occasions, and I suspect he is playing through an injury to his back that is limiting him. As for Furno, as many have said, he is simply too physically weak to play effectively, and his inability to even catch the ball consistently, never mind scoring, makes him an offensive liability.

    The weak spot at the 4/5 is a problem for which there is no available solution at this time. The coaches just have to run those 3 guys in and out next to Blanton and hope for the best.

    As for Blazek, his weaknesses as a point guard (not his natural position) are really becoming obvious now that he too has worn down. His shot selection, never really great (earlier in the year, he made a lot of what some would consider borderline low percentage shots), has deteriorated as his energy reservoir wanes. If you watch closely, he doesn't pass the ball up the floor along the sidelines as he should (and did earlier in the year), instead choosing to dribble all the way into the frontcourt, often denying the wing players easy opportunities that might be available if they got the ball earlier before the opposing defenders get back in place(possible partial reason for the lack of offense?). Also, his passes into the post are often difficult to catch and don't always get to the post player in the best position. Most of this is due to inexperience and to him not being a true point guard. Again, this is a problem without a currently available solution. I do agree that 3-4 minutes of rest here and there would help his game and avoid having him wear down any further than he obviously already has. 32 or 33 good minutes would be better than 40 shaky ones.

  20. As Jim LeCorchick said on the radio yesterday....WE ARE STILL TAKING ABOUT GANNON! He said I've been in this business along time and if 'Hurst or Boro where in the position Gannon is in, nobody would care...nobody would be calling in. Losing is still not an option...unfortunately by the sound of some of John Riley's radio broadcasts "competing" in games is good for him. ITS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE GANNON FAITHFUL.

  21. The article that Jim has attached on Bobby Bossman never mentions him playing for Gannon. The fact that he has placed 20 student athletes in Division I schools with full athletic scholarships, and 22 in Division II, including Clarion's terrific freshman Winfield Willis, who is their leading scorer and scored 20 against Gannon, but has sent nobody to Gannon, shows you his feelings for his former school. Shouldn't coach Riley be making an all-out effort to get on the good side of Bossman, and possibly receive some players from him, rather than him helping our opponents?

  22. Bossman didn't play for Coach Reilly at all (correct)? Also considering Bobby was one of the biggest busts Gannon has had, don't see why anyone would have considered to go through him. But I don't see Gannon "recruiting" that way.