Saturday, December 15, 2012

Knights Win Tourney In "Uncomfortable" Fashion ... Again

I know I wrote just a few weeks ago that Gannon won the Gary Miller Classic because their defense made Daemen uncomfortable in a 65-46 victory. The Knights took it a step further in the Porreco Cup title game. Virginia State was downright distressed as GU suffocated them 67-42. As Golden 89 mentions in the comments below, the 42 points ties a 45-year old Porreco Cup/Gem City Bowl record for fewest points allowed. In the first half, Gannon allowed just 13 points; the Trojans didn't score their first field goal until 4:30 into the game and didn't hit double figures until 18:34 in.

Those stats are impressive, but they still don't do justice to just how flustered Gannon made Virginia State. Let me add some details that I observed sitting behind the Trojan bench:
1. During pre-game and early game timeouts, head coach Darryl Jacobs controlled the entire conversation. Halfway through the first period, two coaches and a reserve player desperately pleaded with the five on the floor to make something happen on offense.
2. On back-to-back possessions late in the first half, State rushed down the floor hoping to catch the Knights off guard before setting their defense. Instead, an alley-oop pass was thrown so high even a Bud Light Daredevil couldn't snag it and the ball sailed way out of bounds. The next pass, down the left sideline, skipped into the concession stand.
3. Even when a State player dunked to make the score 34-13, only 4 players on the Trojan bench could muster the energy to applaud.

The defense was as good as ever, but the most improved aspect of the Knights' game was their offense. Cup MVP Darrell Blanton was Superman Friday vs. Notre Dame (Oh.) with 26 points, 12 rebounds, and several resounding dunks, but his passing out of double-teams really opened up things Saturday. Blanton had only 12 points but a team-high 4 assists, leading to an 18-point outing for Oscar Macias and a 14-point night for all-tourney member Robert Wilson.

Speaking of Wilson, when the Knights are back in town after the new year, watch him hold his position on the defensive boards -- especially if you're a youth basketball coach. Wilson's form is textbook, and it's matched by his desire to secure the rebound. The junior transfer from Urbana didn't shoot lights out for the tournament (8-for-22), but he deserved to be on the all-tourney team for his box outs alone.

Speaking of the all-tourney team, I came across a comment on the Gannon Athletics Facebook page related to that topic. Here's what some guy named David Sheridan wrote: "I don't know who the idiots are that voted for the all-tourney team, but voting two players on from the 3rd place team was just plain stupid. Oscar had a great game tonight and deserved to be on the all-tourney team. Give me a call, and I'll be happy to vote and clue the rest in about how it should be done."

I agree with David that Macias was outstanding Saturday and deserved all-tourney consideration. But to call the all-tourney selection crew "idiots" and using the word "stupid" is completely uncalled for. But since David brought it up, let's do a blind statistical comparison between Macias and all-tournament selections Noah Cottrill and Kelsey Williams of third place West Virginia Wesleyan:

vs. Notre Dame (Oh.)
PLAYER A: 34 min, 26 pts, 10 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk, 1 TO, 11-of-15 FG, 1-of-1 3FG, 3-of-4 FT
PLAYER B: 31 min, 8 pts, 3 reb, 0 ast, 0 stl, 0 blk, 5 TO, 1-of-4 FG, 0-of-3 3FG, 6-of-6 FT
PLAYER C: 32 min, 31 pts, 9 reb, 3 ast, 0 stl, 0 blk, 2 TO, 10-of-14 FG, 8-of-10 3FG, 3-of-3 FT

vs. Virginia State
PLAYER A: 37 min, 20 pts, 10 reb, 1 ast, 0 stl, 3 blk, 5 TO, 8-of-13 FG, 4-for-7 FT
PLAYER B: 39 min, 18 pts, 5 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 2 blk, 1 TO, 5-of-10 FG, 4-of-8 3FG, 4-of-4 FT
PLAYER C: 40 min, 16 pts, 4 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk, 5 TO, 5-of-13 FG, 5-of-11 3FG, 1-of-2 FT

So, without applying any bias, which two would you put on the Porreco Cup all-tournament team? If you chose the guy with 46 points and two double-doubles (Player A - Williams) and the guy with 47 points and Porreco Cup record tying 13 three-pointers (Player C- Cottrill), then David Sheridan thinks you're a stupid idiot!

Macias was outstanding -- he's playing his best ball ever in a Gannon uniform -- but you can't deny the Wesleyan duo deserved trophies for their tremendous performances. If you disagree, then I think you're ... entitled to your opinion.


  1. The word on Alvin Tucker's injury is broken leg and out for the season. Too bad -- loved his work ethic and intensity.

  2. Dominating defense today! Gannon tied a Porreco Cup record with fewest points given up. The record was set in the first Porreco Cup (then Gem City Bowl) in 1967.

    The lack of turnovers helped big-time in the first half as well. It's amazing how much easier offense is if you get a shot up on most every possession.

  3. Way to go Knights--two big wins. But, can somebody please explain to me how the Bayhawks can get over 3,000 attendance and Gannon only manages 800 plus? I don't live in the Erie area and can't understand what the draw is. Is the product that good or is it just great marketing?

    1. Marketing and a liquor license.

      Exact figures were 3754 for the BayHawks and 763 for the Gannon game. And ALL the BayHawks games are shown live online ( ). Even caught part of last nights game on my smartphone.

  4. Memo to GU fans:
    1. The Bayhawks had 3 separate promotions going on last night. It's what they do to get folks into the arena.
    2. The compelling story line of last night's Porrecco Cup final was.....?
    3. It's Christmastime; parties, gatherings, etc. See #2.
    4. The students are on break.
    5. Less than stellar numbers is a surprise?
    6. See #2.

    It seems to me that the wailing and gnashing of teeth continues with the same refrain, and the tired responses from people like me are also the same. There are options that the university can take (more on-campus marketing, more community involvement), options the fans can take (show up, or not; accept the fact that GU hoops [the team, not the blog]is no longer the only game in town; continue to support the team, etc.). Great tournament title. Merry Christmas.

  5. As I was once told, can we "stop beating a dead horse"?? How about talking about the Gannon win? Maybe Blanton as MVP, and Wilson on All-tourney team. How about CJ? I think he did a great job moving the ball inside and looking for Blanton. OR the fact that this rather big, athletic team we played didn't score for how long?

    Great night for the Knights and the Gannon fans. Gannon is 7-2! I like it and this team seems to be coming together. The unselfishness of these players to get the ball to the next best shot is great. I was happy to see Corey get in and Dimitry back on the floor even if it was just for a few minutes.

    Go Knights!!

  6. Looking forward to the two road games coming up. The Knights need a couple of strong performances in order to win. Hopefully they can keep the momentum going.

  7. I thought the Porreco Cup was moved up was because Christmas-New Year's is a mandatory quiet period. Div II schedule for Dec 28 - 4 games, Dec 29 - 43 games, and Dec 30 - 37 games.

  8. Dennis,

    I believe that the dead period starts Thurday and goes thru the 26th.

    On a side note, highly impressive game from GU on Saturday. Whenever you can hold a team to under 45 points in a given game, that is generally a very damn good sign. If they can play like that consistency, this could be a hell of a season.

  9. I, for one, am glad the the Knights didn't have to face WVWU in the finals and VSU took care of them for us.

    GU certainly could best WVWU, but it certainly wouldn't have been as much of as a cakewalk that last night's game was. They have two excellent players and are extremely well-coached.

    Dennis -- good call on the number of games on Dec 29-30. For comparison purposes, how many D-2 games were there on December 14 and 15?

  10. Is this a Gannon Hoops blog or Gannon University Marketing Blog?

  11. 1) I thought that the dead period was Dec 20-27...
    2) I too was a bit miffed that Oscar didn't make the all-tourney team. I do not think the voters are "idiots", but was disappointed with it. Yes the two kids from WVW had better stats than Oscar, but if you notice they also had more production in a blowout game than in the game they won by 1 point. Oscar only had 8 pts vs. ND but played stellar defense and was a huge key in many of their runs. In the championship, Oscar was the man. I don't think that two players from a 3rd place team show make all-tourney team either. Regardless of how great your stats are, you finished 3rd so that kind of dims the stats. But, regardless, the people who are on the team deserved their spot and Oscar did deserve it as well, but Gannon fans know he was the big man on campus this weekend.
    3) Any idea what Emmitt has been wearing Blazek's #5 uniform? I noticed it in the first game Blazek sat out and thought maybe it was just a temporary thing, but he's worn in all 3 games that Blazek has missed. This wouldn't be a sign that Blazek is.... out... for a lot longer than we think... is it..?
    4) very, very, VERY pleased with CJ's start. Nothing outstanding or jaw dropping, but probably the most solid play of a "big guy" in the past few years. Now, if he can continue it, and better yet improve upon it, he could be crucial down the stretch.
    5) On the note of getting rid of one of the tourneys and having 2 Indy games... I respectfully have to disagree (not saying it's a bad idea though). If they had 2 Indy games I'd be afraid of it being one of the Penn State-100 point win universities or some other D3 or very low, no-name D2, NAIA team. At least the tournament gets SOME names in it; not so sure that a simple independent game would do the same.

  12. Now that we are thankfully back to basketball, Oscar did have a great night, what a bummer for him. Jim, I agree R. Wilson's box outs are textbook. If he didn't get the rebound he certainly had something to do with one of his teammates getting the rebound which never shows up in the box score. Although not shooting well (yet) he makes a tremendous difference on the floor in many areas. Keeps the offensive flow moving and he does a nice job getting the ball to the big guys in the middle. I was actually sitting at the game wondering if anyone else was noticing his rebounding efforts too.

  13. Great observation on Wilson's box-out ability. I still believe he is a 4-5 game difference-maker if on last years team, giving the team 18-19 wins last year.

    Now that he is aboard, we can all see what a fine addition he is to the program. I believe his best offensive production lies just ahead.

    I liked his tip-out on the north end on a rebound he couldn't quite get. Last years team came just short on plays like that with him not being able to play. In a super close game......well, we know all about those!!!!

    Great weekend! Some of the best defensive basketball I've ever seen.

  14. Regarding Emmitt -- I heard that my friend's brother knows Brandon Emmitt's cousin and he said that he heard from a reliable source that Emmitt threatened to transfer unless he got some other number than 4 because he feels like Coach Reilly treats him like a four-year old.

    That would be more fun from a message board standpoint, but I am told that the real reason was that his uniform was somehow damaged in the laundry and he borrowed Blazek's uniform for the tournament.

    And apparently Emmitt's family didn't get the message in time because they all donned matching sweatshirts that clearly read GANNON 4.

    1. You know somebody is repeating the first part of your post right now and treating it as gospel.

    2. HA HA HA HA HA as soon as I got to "cousin said he heard from" I was just about on the floor in tears laughing.

      Good one, sir! - hats off to you!!!

      I am glad, though, that it wasn't a sign that the person usually wearing #5 may not be returning for a longer period of time than expected...

  15. Virginia State was not that great of a team. They had bad shooters for the most part and they were not that athletic. The low scoring by the Trojans was not just the result of the Gannon defense; it came from a talent disparity as well.

  16. Jeremy -- The talent disparity certainly shone through in Gannon's defensive performance. When a Division II college team scores just 42 points, it's pretty obvious that they weren't firing on all cylinders offensively. But the Gannon defensive effort, beyond the talent, had a lot to do with it. As Blogger Jim pointed out, Gannon made them uncomfortable from the outset and VSU did not react well.

    Or to put it another way ... there have been 184 games played in the history of the Porreco Cup (or Gem City Bowl). The 42-point effort by VSU tied the record for fewest points in a game.

    I agree that VSU was not that great of a team. Heck, WVWU was probably better. But you play against the team that suits up against you ... and if you give up nine points in the first 18 minutes, you're probably doing something right defensively.

    1. and VSU scored what 64 or so points the game before vs WVWU? So as they were not the best team, they did prove they could score more than 42 points in a game.

  17. Just received this email: "Next year’s dead period is Dec. 23-29. The dead period in 2014 is also during the original Porreco Cup late-December time frame. So, there will be zero teams playing on December 29 the next two years. And I highly doubt any team will play on the 30th with the previous seven days off before that."

    1. too bad they couldn't get something worked out and have it just after New Years (Jan 3-4 area). Be a nice start to the new year before getting back into PSAC play.

      Porreco's New Year Kickoff Classic ... first thing that came to mind. But something along those lines