Saturday, November 24, 2012

Knights Win In "Uncomfortable" Fashion

Bob Dukiet had a lot to say about defense, but there was one foundational principle he preached the most: "Make them uncomfortable." In their 65-46 drubbing of Daemen in the Gary Miller Classic championship Saturday night, the Knights made the Wildcats uncomfortable from the outset. The defending Miller Classic champs, Daemen entered this year's tourney averaging nearly 90 points per game. At the half, a clearly frazzled Wildcat team had scored only 15 points, committed 9 turnovers, and made just 7-of-24 field goal attempts including an 0-for-7 chart on three-pointers.

Heck, even halftime was arduous for Daemen. I walked by their lockerroom on my way to the men's room on the west end of the Hammermill Center, and the team was still congregated in the hallway. Coach Don Silveri, who spent the first minutes of halftime at the scorer's table pleading his case to the officials, loudly asked, "Who has the key to the lockerroom?"

Daemen doubled its scoring output in the second half, but finished the game making only 33% of its field goal attempts and 3-of-16 threes while turning the ball over 21 times. The anguish on their faces was evident. Dribblers couldn't get to the basket and outside shooters had everything contested. Forwards in the paint were swarmed by two, three, or four ballhawking defenders. The Knights were too big, too fast, too quick, too strong, too smart, too aggressive. And Daemen was too uncomfortable to compete.

If the folks at the scorer's table would have selected "Team Defense" as the tourney MVP, I wouldn't have had a problem with that. I'm also OK that Adam Blazek earned MVP honors even though he needed 13 field goal attempts and made just 1-of-7 threes to score 13 points. His 5 steals -- the team-high on a 14-steal evening -- helped keep Daemen out of whack all evening.

Other thoughts on the evening:
* For you pessimists who are still down on the Knights because of their sputtering offense, remember where we were a year ago after the Daemen game. I used the phrase "resoundingly disappointed" and I still stand by it. Now at 4-0 after a dominant victory over a team that was 8-2 coming in should make all Gannon fans feel good about this season's prospects.

* I love Gannon, but can I still feel bad for Daemen guard Casey Sheehan? A year ago, he lifted his team to the Miller Classic title and hoisted the tourney MVP trophy with a 24-points-in-just-23-minutes effort in the finals. Tonight he was scoreless in 18 minutes, leaving at the 14-minute mark with an injury to his left leg.

* Saturday might have been Oscar Mascias' best game in the Gannon uniform. Not only did he score 9 points on a 3-of-4 shooting chart, he was rarely beaten off the dribble by the quick Daemen guards. Mascias was a surprise starter this evening for big man Roger Livramento, who played just 7 minutes.

* I love how John Reilly gets everyone -- even guys who have been with his program for just a few months -- to sacrifice their bodies. Every Knight, even the new players, willingly take charges and get floor burns. One player (I can't recall who) hustled after a loose ball in the second half and landed in the lap of former Gannon great Mel Witherspoon. So, double kudos to Reilly for getting Spoon to finally take a charge!


  1. How the mighty have fallen. Virginia Union loses to Roberts Wesleyan, 66-59, in the consolation game.

  2. The turnovers this game are especially painful. I'm sitting behind the Daemen bench, and a GU crosscourt pass sailed out of bounds and hit me in the left ear.

  3. I may be adjusting my expectations upwards a bit with the team. Overall, they played a brilliant game on the defensive end, and did just enough on the offensive side. I want to see a couple of games to get a better feel of the team, but there is potential there.

  4. And on the one play that you mentioned, it was Darrell that dived into Mel I believe.

  5. Kudos to the Knights! What a nice two nights of hoops. I do have a question about the attendance. 930 seems a little low to me. Especially considering it was a tournament and the first look at the Team this year. I realize the students are on break--still a little underwhelming. I'm not trying to be negative, just asking.

  6. Gannon is usually 1 or 2 in ave home att going back through the GLIAC. Here are som recent #s.
    2009; GU 1754 Cheyney 821
    2010; IUP 1107 GU 1035
    2011; Cal 1124 GU 1091
    2012; IUP 1435 GU 1282

  7. A Gannon fan just wrote me and said: "Tom Chapman used to refer to Mike Runski as the hub of the wheel. I seem to feel the same way about Robert Wilson."

  8. Video highlights of the Gannon/Daemen game are now online. Fast forward to the 2:18 mark for a Jammermill highlight.

  9. Dc70; That attendance number seemed highly inflated to me. I did a quick count on the opposite side for where I was seated and counted around 270 people give or take 10%. This means there were around 700 people on my side and I really doubt that. Gannon has to make up their mind if they are going to promote Gannon's sports programs. We USE to be the only show in town not any more and if you want to draw fans you need to PROMOTE not just sit back and expect people to show up.

  10. Bob I absolutely agree with you. Gannon can no longer sit back, throw the doors open and expect the people to flock in. Promotion is the key--especially with the students. There are so many other entertainment options available to them. The old days are gone forever. I'd be interested to hear other ideas on how to promote Gannon Basketball.

  11. Bob -- I am told that the attendance is the clicker count of the people who take tickets. It is not inflated.

    Not sure which side you sit on, but there are way more fans on the east side (across from the benches) of the Hammermill than the west side.

    Nice win last night. In their two home games, GU has combined to give up a paltry 29 points. Daemen was on the way to tying Northern Kentucky's record of 38 points in a game until they erupted for eight points in the final minute of garbage time.

    Great defense.

  12. Great win, great defense, great teamwork. We haven't seen a team work so well together and it showed at the end when the team had their arms around each other. That says alot. We have a great bench and more exciting team to watch. I thought it was super that there seemed to be a buzz in the air with a few minutes left in the game that the fans enjoyed it more than just a win. Surely fans talking about the game will bring in some more.


  13. So far, so good!!

    I opined last year the potential difference Robert Wilson will make to this team.

    Granted, it is early.....but Wilson adds a dimension of athleticism and, more importantly, added toughness to complement Blazek. I'm guessing that before it is all done, both will be 1st team all-PSAC players.

    Nice move to start Macias. He provides added defensive pressure out front.....I thought Daemon's legs were shot during the middle of the second half the other night.


    How difficult is it to obtain a pep band for the home games?

    ...just wonderin'

  14. In this day and age, I'd be surprised if they were able to scrape together a student pep band. Way less young people playing instruments these days and, as has been obvious in the past few years, not all that many students are interested in attending their school sporting events these days. Besides, I'm not sure you'd be able to find a moderator willing to volunteer to put such an effort together. Since it's unlikely there's much money in the budget for something that may be looked at by some as superfluous, I'd say the chances are slim.

    Out of curiosity, 453, what benefit do you think that having a pep band would bring to the games?

    IMO, if GU had crowds composed of a much higher percentage of students like most big D-1 schools have, there might be some value to a band creating a more raucous atmosphere. However, at GU, the more mature, lower-perecentage-of-students following isn't going to get all pumped up by a pep band. What happens on the court is the only thing that will get a GU crowd going, and we all know it. I don't see where having a band would help.

  15. Gannon has announced another signing. A 5'9" point guard from New Castle (PA). I'm sure Jim would like to elaborate on that subject.

    Regarding a pep band, I seem to recall in the past the pep bands were from local high schools.
    They seemed to add a lot to the overall atmosphere. But, clearly somethings are needed to promote Gannon home games.

  16. Hopefully the new marketing position will also include sports in her area of responsibility.
    I too recall seeing a pep band. It added a lot and I'm sorry its gone.

  17. GUMBY!!!! definitely!!! i miss that green thing!

  18. I'm thinking a pep band would simply provide some degree of added atmosphere to the games.

    If this team continues the rest of the season like I think they will, everything will take care of itself on its own.


    The Boro: Relevent this year??.....smells like their best team in years, although, as we all know, it's still early...