Saturday, December 1, 2012

Now That Kutztown Is Out Of The Way ...

I'm glad Gannon wasn't looking past Kutztown today, because I was. The Golden Knights pounced on the now 1-5 Golden Bears at the outset and never looked back on their way to a 67-56 victory at the Hammermill. This sets up the first real test of the season: 4-1 East Stroudsburg, the 2012 PSAC playoff champs and NCAA qualifier plus this year's PSAC East favorite, at undefeated Gannon (5-0). Stroud handled host Mercyhurst today, 67-62.

Should the Knights win, they will take control of the PSAC West because -- make sure you're sitting down -- league favorite IUP fell today at Cheyney, 64-60. The Wolves were picked dead last in the eight-team PSAC East, but are now tied for first at 1-0.

I'm too distracted about Sunday's showdown to assemble a cohesive article on today's win, so I'll just offer some random thoughts and observations:

* Gannon won today's game in the first five minutes, racing out an 11-point lead (the final margin) by causing 7 Kutztown turnovers. Oscar Macias, Adam Blazek, and Robert Wilson all hit threes during the game-opening spree.

* If the Knights had lost today's game, the headline to this article could have been "(Free) Throwing It All Away." Gannon ended the game 12-for-24 at the charity stripe, but only because of a late-game free throw hot streak by Darrell Blanton. The two teams combined for a dismal 3-for-11 chart in the first half, GU 2-for-7 and KU 1-for-4.

* Wow -- I still can't believe IUP lost to stinking Cheyney. That leaves only two perfect teams in the PSAC, and both of them are from Erie County. Edinboro moved to 4-0 today with a 66-65 win at Mansfield. Scot Bryan Theriot hit a hook shot with 10 seconds on the clock for the EUP victory.

* Kutztown wasn't bad, but they had no answer for Blanton. The senior carried Gannon with 27 points and 8 rebounds on 10-of-12 shooting from the field. And I thought the Gannon guards still could have done a better job of feeding Blanton in the post.

* In back-to-back games like this weekend, many coaches choose to stretch their bench in the opening contest. Not John Reilly. Four Knights logged 30 minutes or more (Blanton 33, Blazek 32, Wilson 31, and Macias 30) while former starter Roger Livramento and fellow big man Algeron Torrence each played just four minutes.

* I've heard and seen a lot when I sit behind the opponent's bench, but I experienced two firsts today. During an early timeout, Kutztown point guard Micah Fraction asked me for a towel. He must have known how good I was at that when I suited up for the Knights. At the start of the second half, longtime Golden Bear coach Bernie Driscoll turned around while taking off his sportcoat, made eye contact with me, and offered me a stick of gum. I said no; he was in a much more stressful situation than I was. I'll bring my own gum Sunday, Gannon's biggest game of the early season.

5 comments:

  1. This team has potential. Blanton played like a beast, mind you he has played like this quite often during the past year. If the defense can consistency keep teams under 60 points a game, GU is going to win many games this season. I am not sure that offensively we could keep up in a shootout, but if it is a low scoring game, I like our chances. The free throw shooting does need to improve though, that can kill a team in close games.

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  2. It would have been really scary if they mistook you for 2009 player Stephen Dennis.

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  3. One more thing ... The last time Gannon played East Stroudsburg in early December was in 1991. Like Sunday's contest, both teams entered the game wiht lofty records. Anyone remember the result of that game?

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    1. I believe it was Gannon 100, Stroud 53.

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  4. I'm still stunned about IUP...
    I think the poor shooting is due to early season jitters and will work itself out. Free throws will come around as well. Blazek and Wilson are both high % season FT shooters. I am a bit disappointed in the excitement level, I really expected this team to utilize their speed more. Seems like every play is so slow which is great because so far it is working but there are some seriously athletic young men out there and the pace is somewhat uncomfortable to watch for a lack of better description. I was ready for this season to be packed with fast transitions and high energy quickness. Whatever works just a spectator's view there nothing more. Looking forward to tomorrow! Go Knights. IUP lost to Cheyney???

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