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