Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blazek's Binge Boosts GU Into Second Place

For fans of a Division II club like Gannon, road games like Saturday's 65-53 win at Clarion are strange to stay in touch with because you can't stay glued to the TV for every play. There's the radio broadcast and live stats, but you get pulled away from them by real life. Around 9:00 p.m. when I went upstairs to tuck my daughter into bed, the Knights were clinging to a three-point lead, 42-39, with just under 8 minutes to play. By the time I came downstairs to my tablet and refreshed the live stats, the Knights were in command by 10, 55-45, with just over 4 minutes to play and coasted the rest of the way to the 12-point victory.

While I was saying "good night" to my daughter, Adam Blazek was saying "lights out" to the Golden Eagles. The super sophomore keyed Gannon's streak that broke the game open. Blazek had a hand (pun intended) in all of Gannon's 13 points during that stretch: 
7:52 Blazek field goal, GU 44-39
7:25 Blazek layup and free throw, GU 47-39
6:07 Macias three off a Blazek assist (after a Clarion three), GU 50-42
5:34 Blazek three, GU 53-42
4:19 Blazek layup (after a Clarion three), GU 55-45

Over 32 minutes into the game, Blazek had posted a pedestrian 4 points. But during that 3 1/2 minute blitz, he accounted for 10 points and the Knights sealed their 12th win in 13 games, their 7th win in 8 road contests.

With a record of 16-3 overall and 10-3 in the PSAC, Gannon is guaranteed to post its best record in four seasons -- 14-12 (12-10) last year, 15-11 (6-8) in 2010-11, and 13-15 (8-6) in 2009-10. Would you have predicted that before the season? Would you have picked an .842 winning percentage after Blazek broke his hand in December?

Gannon's victory sets up the PSAC Game of the Week Wednesday night at Slippery Rock. Both teams are tied for second place in the West with 10-3 marks after SRU stumbled this afternoon at Edinboro, 62-59. The Rock is reeling after blowing a 54-43 lead late at the Boro despite EUP missing big man Bryan Theriot once again. The Knights were nearly in a three-way tie for first after this evening's PSAC action. Indiana held on for a 57-54 home win vs. Mercyhurst, nearly losing an 18-point second half lead to the Lakers.

The line between the men and the boys in the conference is becoming clearer. IUP, Gannon, and Slippery Rock rule the West. Edinboro and Mercyhurst, each 7-6, are three games behind third place while also-rans Cal (6-7), Clarion (3-10) and Lock Haven (3-10) will fight for the final playoff spot. In the East, Stroud (12-1) West Chester (10-3), and Millersville (9-4) are feasting. Cheyney is three games back at 6-7, but the Wolves are ineligible for the league playoffs due to a self-imposed probation. So three of these pathetic teams will make the PSAC playoffs: Bloomsburg (3-10), Mansfield (3-10), Kutztown (2-11), and Shippensburg (2-11).

Final note: If you haven't seen this video featuring Darrell Blanton's dunks from this season, check it out right now. He's a rare combination of intense, athletic, and consistent in his performances. And it's just plain fun to watch someone nearly break the rim off the backboard.


  1. Side note: GU recruit & future star Matthew Dogan of West Middlesex poured in 42 points last night. Hopefully, a bright future is in store at Gannon!

    1. In other words, he scored as many points Friday night as the entire Mercyhurst team did Wednesday at Gannon.

  2. Boro men just beat slippery rock, just another example of a decent team beating a bad opponent, er, wait....umm...

  3. Trademark defense and enough offense. As I said before, if this team can get 65 points in a game, they'll be tough to beat. Last year's GU team would have lost a game like this by a score of 53-50 or something like that. G

    Our free throw streak ended with a thud (11/19), but we'll take a 12-point conference road win. Only ten turnovers helped.

    No matter the quality of opponent, division road wins are always things to be happy about.

    I like how this team takes care of business. To quote Gerry Burbules Vensel (whose 1992 GU volleyball team will be inducted to the GU HoF this Saturday), to have a good season you have to avoid the "stupid losses."

  4. Jim I don't know about .842 winning % BUT I did post this:
    BEERMAN November 12, 2012 at 9:09 PM
    "I know its early but I'm drinkin the Kool-Aid"

  5. I don't think anyone is going to say that that win was a piece of beauty. However a win is a win. Very good news with SRU losing, however GU needs to play better against SRU in order to win on Wednesday.

  6. The Knights continue to be among the region's best in terms of total wins and winning percentage. Here's the region's top 12 teams as of today (with their current national ranking in parentheses):

    West Liberty 17-1 (#4)
    IUP 15-2 (#9)
    East Stroudsburg 15-2 (#26)
    Gannon 16-3
    Winston-Salem 15-3
    Livingstone 14-4
    Fairmont St. 13-4 (#31)
    Slippery Rock 13-4 (#39)
    St. Aug's 13-6
    Johnson C. Smith 13-6
    Millersville 13-6
    Charleston 12-4

  7. Findlay's 81-game winning streak for conference home games came to an end a couple weeks ago ... against lowly Tiffin.

    Dragons Defeat Oilers 57-55

    The University of Findlay men's basketball team shot only 22.2 percent (14-of-63) from the floor in a 57-55 loss at home to Tiffin University on Saturday, Jan. 12. The loss gives the Oilers a 10-4 record on the year with a 7-3 mark in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).

    The Oilers, who saw their 81-game home winning streak against conference foes come to an end with the loss, fell behind by a score of 30-22 at the half as they converted only 4-of-30 (13.3%) attempts from the field. They out-scored the Dragons by a 33-27 margin in the second half, but finished the game by hitting only 6-of-32 (18.8%) shots from behind the three point line.

  8. So I'm trying to think... have we had the privilege of seeing a more exciting player than Darrell Blanton?

    The kid is guarding people usually a good 3-4" taller than him (not to mention the weight difference) and he finds ways to get blocks, he gets steals, he gets assists, he puts up double digits consistently (and if he doesn't hit double digits, it's usually because he didn't need to), his dunks keep us in awe, he hustles up and down the court, he lays his body on the line game in and game out, he dives to save balls (so do other Gannon players though too) and then more!

  9. I just received this email from Gannon SSID (Super Sports Information Director) Dan Teliski. Good news is if you finish in the top 4 you get a home playoff game. I'm glad we can pencil in playoff games for both Gannon men's and women's teams:

    Just wanted to touch base and remind everyone of the new PSAC Basketball Tournament format as we head down the stretch run. The tournament has been expanded from the top four teams in each division to the top six teams. The top two teams in each division will receive first round byes.

    Saturday, March 2 – First Round
    #6 plays at #3
    #5 plays at #4
    #1 and #2 have first-round byes

    Tuesday, March 5 – Quarterfinals (there is no reseeding)
    6/3 winner at #2
    5/4 winner at #1

    Men’s Final Four will be hosted by top remaining seed in the West.
    Women’s Final Four will be hosted by top remaining seed in the East.

    Friday, March 8 – Semifinals (there is no reseeding)
    6/3/2 East winner vs. 5/4/1 West winner
    5/4/1 East winner vs. 6/3/2 West winner

    Saturday, March 9 – Championship Game
    Semifinals winners

    1. At this point, I got the Women's team in Pen for the home playoff game. As far as the regional rankings, I am highly interested to see where both teams are at. The GU Women I believe are going to be #1 in the Atlantic. The guys I think will be ranked, the question is where.

    2. My guess is that the guy's are looking at a 7/8 ranking but wouldn't be shocked to be 9/10

  10. Michigan just moved to the top of the Division I polls today. The last time Michigan was #1 in the country was 1992, 20 years ago. What was current Michigan coach John Beilein doing back then? On Jan. 31, 1992 his LeMoyne basketball squad lost at Gannon by 16, 63-47.

    DII national rankings are due out tomorrow. I'm hoping Gannon will make its first appearance in quite a while.

    1. I don't think we'll see them in the top 25, but hoping for an "others receiving votes" acknowledgment!

  11. I'm convinced that Darrell Blanton stands no taller than 6'3".

    Go Knights!!!

    1. I think 6'4 is legit. Wilson and Macias are 6'3 and Jabs is 6'2 and Blanton is definitely a good inch or so taller than them. And I wouldn't put Jabs at any smaller than 6'0 because he definitely has a few inches on Blazek (listed at 6'0) and that would put Blazek at about 5'7

  12. Top 25 polls were released. Gannon not in top 25 and not even receiving a single vote. Iup is 8 and east stroudsburg is 20.

  13. After reviewing NCAA team stat leaders and then comparing to DII polls, I am even more convinced that the polls mean nothing. Gannon should be ranked.

    Hope to see many GU fans at the Rock tomorrow night!