Friday, November 23, 2012

Gannon Performs Blunderfully In Roberts Win

Even if I could, I wouldn't watch a second time Gannon's 66-45 home opener victory over Roberts Wesleyan in the first round of the Gary Miller Classic Friday. The Knights committed a whopping 29 turnovers against just 14 assists. GU was a dreadful 1-for-6 (16.7%) on three-pointers but that was actually a better percentage than Roberts, who was 2-for-16 (12.5%). Gannon's opening night jitters actually lasted all night, the team never finding an offensive rhythm. I won't take time to check this on the play-by-play, but I'd be surprised if the Knights scored on consecutive possessions. It sure didn't feel that way. The coaching staff was even off its game a bit. Darrell Blanton committed his fourth foul at the 9:40 mark, but play started before the Knights could substitute for him. At least six possessions took place -- Blanton swiping at a ballhandler and attempting a blocked shot on two of them -- before Gannon's leading scorer got to the bench.

So the game was filled with blunders but it was wonderful at the same time. After nine months away from the Audi, it was great to see again: Adam Blazek dribbling while sliding on the floor, a la the Harlem Globetrotters; Blanton dunking after a series of quick passes, which caused Roberts to abandon its half-court trap; T.J. Wilson attempting to front a guy four inches taller, then hurling himself into the front row to save a loose ball; and coach John Reilly flailing his arms during timeouts, imploring his squad to get a stop and a rebound.

I'm not panicking over this performance because it was just one early-season sloppy November basketball game. I like all the new players. Roger Livramento (10 points, 6 rebounds in just 15 minutes total and just 4 minutes in the second half) is long, battles hard, moves well, and has a nice shooting stroke. Robert Wilson (8 points, 6 rebounds) didn't post big numbers, but you can see that he's strong, aggressive, and possesses a wealth of offensive gifts. Brandon Emmitt is a nice backup point. He's quick, can handle, and shoots jumpers like you'd teach at a basketball camp. Starting PG Jabs Newby is quick, strong, and quite the ballhawk on defense.

All that said, these talented players wearing maroon and gold need to perform better Saturday, or Daemen (an 82-66 winner over Virginia Union) will head back to Buffalo with their second straight Gary Miller Classic championship trophy.

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