I'm dividing my reaction to Gannon's 68-65 home loss to Mercyhurst into three sections:
VEXED: I'm not sure if this is the most frustrating, exasperating season in Gannon basketball history or if it's the collection of the most exciting, pulse-soaring games I've ever witnessed crammed into four months. This was now the third consecutive game I've watched in person where on my ride home I didn't need to turn on the car heating system because my nervous energy kept me warm in 30-degree temperatures. Gannon Hoops is supposed to be a stress reliever for me but this year it's been a stress inducer pretty much every single game. Look at the GU schedule and see how many enjoyable, win-going-away games they've had (7) vs. nailbiters/losses (15). If John Reilly wasn't such a good guy and this team wasn't such an admirable bunch of hard workers, this strange campaign would almost be comical because of its absurdity.
HEXED: Daemen shoots 57% in the second half and Gannon's potential game-winning shot at the buzzer misses. West Chester rallies from 7 down late to beat the Knights in OT. Seton Hill's Oliver McGlade finds nothing but net after he chucks one up from midcourt at the end of the second overtime. Edinboro storms back from 13 down to win. A Gannon turnover while holding the lead (and the shot clock off) haunts them at Mercyhurst. Up 11, GU loses to surging Slippery Rock. The Knights watch as Chad Tipton's three in the final seconds gives Cal a one-point win. Wednesday after trailing by 17 to Mercyhurst, Gannon rallies within two and gets a steal with 17 seconds left, only to be whistled for traveling. And what do you think happened on Darrell Blanton's game-tying attempt when the Knights trailed by three? In-and-out. Of course.
WHAT'S NEXT: This team will play hard. They'll annihilate Lock Haven Saturday. They'll compete at Slippery Rock and IUP. On Feb. 25, Gannon's season will officially end, and everyone will be disappointed. Some of us will lash out at the coaches; some will lash out at each other. I'll have to delete some comments. Several fans will support the team and look forward to next year. We'll scratch our collective heads over an 8-7 home record. We'll wonder who will come back. We'll watch other teams in the playoffs, gnash our teeth, and wonder if we'll do this for a third year in a row.
Note: You're probably wondering what that photo is at the top of this post. It's what was leaning against my office door this morning at Jameson Publishing, my employer for the past 13 years. If you look closely, it's a dust pan with the Gannon pocket schedule on it. I didn't have to ask anyone where it came from. Dave Lanahan, a former standout at North East HS and Mercyhurst College basketball player, made me the gift to commemorate the Lakers' sweep of Gannon this season. I deserved it. Dave can pour salt in my wounds, but he can't take away my career 10-0 record vs. Mercyhurst when I suited up for GU. Unfortunately, that's all I got these days ...