Sunday, December 2, 2012

News Flash: You Can't Win If You Don't Score

It doesn't take a John Wooden or a Dean Smith to figure out that a sputtering Gannon offense cost the Knights today against East Stroudsburg, 52-46. I'm not going to overreact and crush the team or the coaching staff, and I'm not going to press the panic button even though PSAC West favorite (and defensive dynamo) IUP is Gannon's next opponent. The Knights simply need to get better offensively. I don't know what the answer is -- I haven't seen the team for one minute in practice -- but here's what I'm guessing the coaching staff has to choose from:

1. Add some wrinkles to the new offense. A half dozen games into the season, the Knights have averaged only 67 ppg primarily because their half court game takes time off the clock and produces too many turnovers (just under 20 a game). Think about it: if the guy dribbling across midcourt quickly puts up a shot, your chance of a turnover is basically non-existent, but your shooting percentage will be pathetic. The Knights, who are hitting 48.5% of their field goal attempts, need to find a happy medium between quick shots and too many passes. All five players on the floor need to look to make a play at times instead of just looking for another player on the perimeter to pass to. The coaching staff could help by adding in a few quick hitters while the new motion offense gets up to speed. I think I still have Tom Chapman's playbook somewhere in my basement ...

2. Gain offensive confidence. In the four games I've seen this year, Adam Blazek, Darrell Blanton, and Alvin Tucker look like the only three Knights who are confident they'll make a positive play when they have the ball. The other players frequently look side-to-side or seem to be just "running the offense" instead of executing the offense while looking for or creating cracks in the defense. An example is Gannon's point guards. Jabs Newby is strong and quick and I think could wreak havoc one-on-one. But from what I've seen he hasn't penetrated quite as often as he could, and when he has he's looking pass first. I'm not saying he has to be All-American Javar Cheatham and finish in the paint, but Newby could channel his inner Camara Mintz to muscle inside and get to the foul line more often (only 14 times in 155 minutes of action). Backup PG Brandon Emmitt has a great-looking perimeter shot, but it seems like he uses it only as a last resort. He's attempted only 8 three-pointers this year (making 4), an average of 1.5 per game. Last year at Erie Community College, Emmitt averaged about 5 three attempts a game. I'm not saying Emmitt should engage in Operation Chuck It and shoot at will, but I'd rather see him shoot an open 20-footer early in the shot clock than some of the attempts Gannon was forced to take today.

3. Develop the bench. Today was a glaring example of the bench not putting enough points on the board. In 51 combined minutes, GU's subs tallied only 7 points (Tucker 4, Emmitt 3). Against Kutztown they contributed only 9. This lack of production is partially a byproduct of little playing time for the reserves, but they could still contribute more when they're on the floor.

The upside to this problem is that it's early. There's tons of time to start running the new offense better, to gain confidence that you can play on this level, and for individuals to improve their skills. Lots of teams are dreadful on offense this time of year -- just ask Georgetown and Tennessee, who played an ug-ug-ug-ugly 37-36 game last week. Fans need to be patient with this team. And this team, who is brilliant defensively, now needs to make strides on offense.


  1. Well as expected, Reilly has reverted to his ways of over-using the players in the second half.

    ESU made 29 substitutions in the second half. Gannon? Only 7.
    Take a look at the stats for yourself and count up all the 'sub-ins':

    It's just a repeat pattern over and over.

  2. A couple other stats that jump out: 12 turnovers in the 2nd half, including all 4 of Blazek's TO's for the day, 3 for R.Wilson and 2 for Blanton. Who logged the most minutes on the day? Blazek, Wilson and Blanton.

    ESU had 9 players who played over 10 minutes. Gannon had 7.

    Gannon shot 55% in the first half, 36% in the second half.

    Gannon has good players, they are just getting no help from the coaching staff.

    1. substitutions, particularly in the last 15 minutes of the second half were utterly baffling. you feel for this team significantly - the talent is clearly there...

  3. 8:23. For the last 8:23 of the game, GU didn't have a single FG. In total the only points during that time were two FT that Blanton made with 6 minutes and change left. If you tell me before the game that GU gives up only 52 points on defense, I would have bet you my next paycheck that GU wins. Can't win games often going 8 minutes without a FG.

  4. Man, that was frustrating. Another GU offense that goes completely silent down the stretch.

    Basically, ESU won the game with a 9-0 run in the last 6:23. Nine points in 6:23 is a pace for 55 points per game, so it wasn't exactly an offense explosion by ESU.

    I really want to believe that this year will be better than last year, but after this afternoon's performance, I have a hard time convincing myself that it will be.

  5. reilly isnt going to switch up any offense because nothing has changed in all the years hes been here

  6. Well I guess we should throw in the towel on this team. It's December 3rd, we only scored 46 points and we only made 7 subs in the second half. Obviously it was the players who got this team to 5-0 and the coaches just wanted to screw up all of the fun. Good Job Reills and Viscuso. I'm sure the team never shoots in practice either, how can you go the last 8 minutes without a field goal. The people who post this nonsense are a disgrace to the program. When the team was 5-0, no one was posting because there was nothing to complain about, now everyone has all of the answers. Go to practice and make some suggestions since you all are smarter than John Reilly.

  7. I won’t respond to allegations of commentors being a disgrace to the program.

    However, I am a little puzzled fact that nobody was posting when the team was 5-0: Let’s check the actual post counts:

    After game 1 (win) 10 comments
    After game 2 (win) 27 comments
    After game 3 (win, but poor performance) 0 comments, but game next day
    After game 4 (win) 19 comments
    After game 5 (win) 5 comments, but game next day

  8. Golden--if you go back and read the comments, about half of them actually apply to THIS Gu Basketball team..There are comments about Slocum, Steph Battle, Transfers,Pep Bands...Then when Gannon loses, here we go killing the coaching staff.

  9. I'm sure the team will learn from this loss...they were not going to go undefeated, so let's not get wacky.
    However, if this is the "NEW" offense, I would suggest going back to the old one. This is a great defensive team and I think they can be a lot better offensively.
    Give em a chance...Keep it up guys !!!

  10. It seems like the offense is relying too much on three guys. The Knights need contributions from more players coming off the bench. And where are TJ, Rogerio and Algeron? Surely they are good enough to provide some quality minutes. Maybe a more liberal substitution pattern would have helped on Sunday.

  11. It's the 1st week in December, can we lay off the pitchforks into each other? Even with the tough loss yesterday, this team appears to have a lot of talent. Defensively this team is great. The offense needs some work, but I think even during the Gary Miller Classic some of those probably thought the same thing. Here's the question to ask. Would we rather been dealing with improving the offense in December, or in Feburary? Got plenty of time to get the offense into a good flow.

  12. It's as if some posters are actually waiting for a loss.

    Well, not quite, but, it sure seems that way.

    This team is 5-1, playing some of the best defensive basketball I've seen in years.

    Once the spacing on the floor is figured out, the offensive rhythm will begin to flow.

    I'm guessin' Macias will increase his offensive output starting with the next doubt, he has been spectacular on the defensive side of the ball so far this year.

    A few kinks here and there (that will be worked out)....coming out of the box at 5-1 is an excellent start.

  13. It's not just a loss ... it was a loss was eerily similar to quite a few losses last year. Nobody's ready to jump ship ... it's was very uneasy seeing a loss similar to years past.

    EW -- The trouble with not having our house in order in December is the fact that these December crossover games count just as much in the league standings as the February games do. In years past, the league games didn't "count" until mid-January, so teams had time to get their house in order. I hate that fact as well, but it's a fact nonetheless.

    The upside is that it's still early, but since the silly decision to count all cross over games was made, teams that are clicking early are in an advantageous position as far as plaoyff positioning. An early December swoon could cost the Knights playoff home games. And don't forget that the West champ hosts the PSAC semis & finals this year. Again, not panicking -- but I won't want to see a team with this much potential have to dig out of an early hole all year.

  14. Golden89,

    My point was if we are going to struggle (which none of us want) I would rather have it early when it can still be corrected and adjusted instead of late in the season when the bed is made so to speak.

  15. This clip will make you feel better about Gannon's offensive woes. It's not THIS bad:

    1. Just got an email about this video from a Gannon fan: "This guy had as many points in that sordid shot attempt as Gannon had in the final six minutes against Stroudsburg."

  16. Just received this press release courtesy of Gannon SID Dan Teliski:

    Mountain East Conference Files with NCAA

    Wheeling, W.Va. - The 12 institutions that announced the formation of the Mountain East Conference in August have officially applied for approval to begin competing as the NCAA's newest Division II conference in 2013-14.

    The MEC's formal application, signed by the presidents of all 12 institutions was hand-delivered to NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis on Friday along with all supporting documentation.

    Pending approval from the NCAA, the new league's charter members include: Concord University (W.Va.), Fairmont State University (W.Va.), Glenville State College (W.Va.), Notre Dame College (Ohio), Shepherd University (W.Va.), The University of Charleston (W.Va.), The University of Virginia's College at Wise (Va.), Urbana University (Ohio), West Liberty University (W.Va.), West Virginia State University (W.Va.), Wheeling Jesuit University (W.Va.), and West Virginia Wesleyan College (W.Va.)

    The MEC Board of Directors, composed of the presidents of the 12 institutions, voted unanimously to move forward with the process of forming the new regional all-sports conference during a November meeting at Fairmont State University.

    The Board approved the selection of West Liberty University president Robin C. Capehart as Chair of Board of Directors and unanimously supported the appointment of Reid Amos as the league's first Commissioner upon the recommendation of the MEC's Committee of Athletic Administrators (CAA).

    Amos, currently Vice President of Broadcasting at West Liberty, had been serving as recording secretary and spokesperson for the conference in addition to working as a liaison between the CAA and the Board since the decision to form a new league was reached.

    "Reid has nearly two decades of experience with NCAA Division II athletics and has successfully led many initiatives, particularly in the areas of conference development and media enhancements," Capehart said. "In fact, he is currently serving as Chair of the NCAA Division II Men's Golf Committee. In addition to his long-standing business relationships with many of our members, Reid has provided excellent leadership for all of us throughout this process and we have every confidence he will continue to do so as we forge ahead on this new path."

    Amos is excited about the opportunities which lie ahead for the MEC and its 12 charter members.

    "We are very pleased to have presented our credentials to the NCAA seeking to become the 25th Division II Conference," Amos said. "The MEC will value providing a quality experience for its student-athletes in a highly competitive conference. Our institutions are committed to moving forward as a model conference guided by NCAA standards which enable our best programs to rank among the nation's best. With the great athletic history of our institutions, I am honored to be named the first Commissioner of the Mountain East Conference by our Board of Directors as we move forward into a bright future."

    If the MEC is approved for competition in 2013-2014, the league would meet the NCAA requirement for conference championships in 16 sports: men's and women's basketball, baseball, men's and women's cross country, football, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, and women's track and field, and volleyball.

  17. Some sad news I received via email: "A part of Gannon basketball history left us last week. George Shickler, who played basketball at Gannon for one season in the mid-1940s, died on Thursday. Shickler is listed in Gannon's press guide (even though his name is misspelled as Schickler) as earning a letter and scoring three points in 1945, which was Gannon's first basketball team. He died less than one month short of his 89th birthday."

    Also, Tim Quinn, a longtime Gannon basketball fan and MYAA leader, passed away on Friday, Nov. 30. Being a Gannon hoops fan was mentioned in his obituary in the Erie Times.

  18. Interesting story ... We'll see how this affects the Atlantic Region ... my bet is that it'll be the super-size PSAC, the MEC, and the CIAA.

    What of the rest of the WVIAC? Seton Hill and UPJ are going to the PSAC as we all know. Alderson-Broddaus (of the 2009 classic NCAA second round), Davis & Elkins, and Ohio Valley are going to the new Great Midwest Athletic Conference. By the way ... they are joining our old WVIAC buddy Salem International and their women's basketball team in this new conference.

    This leaves poor ol' Bluefield State as the only WVIAC team without a home in 2013-14. Maybe they'll get picked up by the Big East.

  19. Let's see, lots of talent, great defense, good rebounders, can't handle the ball, can't shoot and an anemic offense. Sound familiar? Every team but one that Reily has had here had the same MO. It would be nice if they could work out the kinks early in the season, but history says it only gets worse. I hope it doesn't happen this time, but I'm not optimistic. It already looks like more of the same.

  20. Obviously some people expected a perfect season. Briefly looking through the previous posts there was not one post about "same, old, same old" until they lost. What a bunch of band wagon fans. Reilly got your DI transfer with Jabs, previous All-State signee Rob Wilson and new all State player just signed, He brought in some height, Tanner will graduate with 4 years at Gannon, I am assuming so will Blazek. There was no mass exodus (we beat that topic to death). No one is injured from lengthy practices, there is a different offense, and more hustle. Not sure if I covered all the complaints that I have read but that should do it. I would love to jump on an IUP blog and see what they wrote about their team after a loss to Cheyney. I wonder if they think the season is a total loss already? If you don't like Reilly's coaching apply for the job. The Athletic dept may just think your credentials are better suited for the position. Bottom line....they lost a game. The end of the world is Dec. 21st so Reilly will be gone anyway and there will be even less fans at the games. For the rest of us, Good Luck Knights! Keep moving forward.

  21. Memo to "FFRO"

    You forgot the complaints about assistant coaches yelling too much. (!)

  22. Although the assistant coaches DO seem to have lightened up on their constant yelling somewhat, I'm not sure that the Knights are witout injury concerns.

    I noticed that TJ Wilson is sporting a pretty elaborate tape job on his shooting wrist, and I have heard TJ is playing through an injury that will require surgery. I have also heard a rumor that another player has sustained a fairly significant injury. I guess we'll find out on Saturday.

    So, I don't think the statement that "No one is injured" is completely accurate. When those injuries were sustained is somthing we'll likely never know, but they apparently do exist.

    Otherwise, adapting to the nuances of the new offense and Stroudsburg's physical, suffocating defense were the problems on Sunday, Way too early for major concern, although I do wonder about the propensity to play such a small lineup most of the time.

  23. Adam injured his finger in the game Sunday. During Coach Riley's Radio Show Wednesday he stated Adam was being evaluated that day and the extent of the injury was more serious than he thought when it occurred. Also, Tanner is still recovering from ankle surgery.

  24. Tanner was injured in a game LAST year, from what I hear TJ hurt himself screwing around and Adam injured himself in the game, Dimitry sustained a concussion from a practice. All have nothing to do with length of practices. How many knee surgeries has the kid from Mercyhurst had?? Wow they must practice really long.
    I will agree with the small lineup being an issue especially against IUP however I think Gannon is athletic enough if they actually speed up the game and make some transition points instead of slowing EVERY single play down (hence the low scores) they can be effective. The talent is certainly there. The West Virginia games didn't "sound" like they were very slow and they were higher scores and the scoring was much more well rounded with 4 starters with double digits the one game.

  25. Observor- that is "no one is injured from lengthy practices"

  26. Who said anything about the length of practices? I haven't seen that pop up anywhere since last season. I know I haven't mentioned it since.

    But, as long as you keep bringing it up (and to play devil's advocate for a minute) how do we know that TJ's injury (even if originally sustained while "screwing around") wasn't made worse by something that happened at the end of a "lengthy practice"? Do we know for sure that Blazek's injury didn't start out as something that happened at the end of a "lengthy practice" and he took a hit during the game Sunday that made it worse? Same with Tanner. If Dimitry indeed got a concussion in practice, that is the second such injury a GU player has sustained during practice within a half season (January 2012-November 2012), which is WAY over the normal statistical averages.

    We don't, and won't ever know what actually happened and when. The point is this coaching staff has been known to run their players to the point of exhaustion (which isn't an injury concern as much as it is a lack of energy concern)in practice on the day of a game, so it's something that will always be in the back of everyone's mind. Statistics show that the vast number of practice injuries happen near the end of practice when players are tired physically and their minds tend to wander when they are more fatigued.

    However, YOU, ffroo (sorry, Jim, I know we aren't supposed to be attacking each other)) are the only one really continuing to beat that dead horse this season, so let's see if that isssue will go away if you quit mentioning it, shall we?

  27. One of the things that frustrates me more than folks using this forum to poke each other in the eye is rampant speculation based on little or no data. Both have been happening today.

    I call truce. Beat IUP.

  28. Everyone,

    It's the season of giving. Let's all hope GU gives IUP a good old fashion butt whipping. For crying out loud, if Cheyney could beat IUP, GU can handle them.

  29. Food for thought ...

    Since there is both an Indiana University in Pennsylvania and it is called IUP, shouldn't the Indiana University in Indiana be called IUI?

    1. Great point. Sometimes IUP is listed as Indiana (Pa.). So the D-I school should be Indiana (Ind.).