Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Torrence-ial Downpour

Prior to Wednesday’s Gannon/Edinboro game, much of the attention was focused on one big man, 6-foot-9, 300-pound Bryan Theriot. After the game, an 86-63 Gannon runaway, the big man buzz was all about Golden Knight Algeron Torrence. In just 18 minutes off the bench, Torrence scored a career-high 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field and a 6-of-6 chart from the foul line. His three blocked shots not only thwarted Edinboro scoring threats, they provided momentum which sparked the Knights emotionally.

Compare that stat line with Torrence’s production in his three previous games combined: 2 points in 17 minutes. How much time do you think Edinboro coach Greg Walcavich talked to his team about Torrence in his pregame scouting report? I’m guessing basically zilch, which was completely reasonable. Then the kid goes out and dominates your team from multiple angles, showcasing abilities Gannon season ticket holders hadn’t seen until Wednesday.

When Torrence began his scoring blitz in the first half, I joked with my brother that the junior has one move. Catch the ball on the block, try to back down the defender (and hopefully not travel), fake to the right, spin back to your left (and hopefully not travel), explode to the basket, and bank in a short shot. Turns out the joke was on me because Torrence showed in the second half he could score in transition, above the rim, on the offensive glass, with a reverse layup in traffic, and from the foul line.

I don’t want to overstate the significance of this victory over a depleted Edinboro team, but as a Gannon fan you had to walk out of McComb Fieldhouse thinking the Knights are significantly stronger than what we’ve seen to date. Not only is Torrence now a legitimate threat off the bench but Adam Blazek, despite playing basically with one-and-a-half hands, looked stellar despite missing nine games.

Let’s not get too high on this win. As we’ve seen in the PSAC, your next game is the only thing that matters.

Knight Knotes:

* I’ve whined repeatedly on this website about TMT (Too Many Turnovers), so it seems only right that I heap praise on the Knights when they handle the ball well. GU committed only 8 turnovers vs. the Scots, fueling the 86-point output.

* If you had asked me before I looked at the box score how many points Darrell Blanton scored, I’d have said maybe 8. That may be the quietest 18-point, 8-for-10 performance I’ve seen.

* If Blanton was quiet, Scot guard Isaiah Price was loud, attempting 18 field goals (making 8) to get his 17 points. When Gannon opened its lead in the second half, Prince initiated Operation Chuck It, shooting the ball nearly every time he touched it. On many of those possessions, he didn’t even consider passing, either quickly launching a shot or immediately dribbling around the court before forcing an off-balance attempt.

* I can’t believe how well Blazek played with that contraption on his right hand. It clearly affected his ballhandling and passing, but his shooting – 15 points, 5-of-12 from the field, 3-of-6 on threes – was on target. I’d like to reaffirm my belief he should come off the bench for the forseeable future because of the mid-game spark he provides.

* With Torrence and Blazek going off, C.J. Oldham (19 minutes) and Oscar Macias (20 minutes) had their playing time reduced. But instead of sulking, the pair was cheering for their teammates during Gannon’s thundershower of second half point.

28 comments:

  1. Two pregame observations. That was the smoothest winter drive I've ever made to Edinboro. More importantly, Adam Blazek is in uniform, his right hand bandaged.

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  2. Did anyone see the smack talkin on the TV24 sports at 6 ????
    Boro players: "our guards are better our inside game is better" LOL
    Too bad their score wasn't better...garbage talk always comes back to bite you in the arse

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  3. Gannon's first turnover was over 15 minutes into the game. FINALLY.

    Couple things stood out, at least to me - Bench points: Gannon 43, Edinboro 4 (Yes, four.) ; Points in the paint: Gannon 50, Boro 26 ; Points off turnovers: Gannon 17, Boro 12.

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  4. Very impressive win. When they control the turnovers, their offense is very efficient and can score points in bunches.

    I called my buddy Clark Kellogg and he said that this Gannon team has "spurtability." They showed it in the second half when a four-point lead turned into a 20 point lead in the blink of an eyelash.

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  5. Just checked the play-by-play. The Knights had a 20-2 run in a span of less than 4 1/2 minutes. They scored on 10 of 11 possessions. Wow.

    Since we turned our calendars to 2013, the Knights have broken the 80 mark in four of five games. Who would have ever thought that we would use the words "John Reilly-coached team" and "offensive juggernaut" in the same sentence?

    And let's give Gannon's defense credit, the most points GU has given up all year is 72 (in the IUP loss). And Cheyney was the only other team to crack 70 and a lot of that was in garbage time. This is a very good defensive unit that will be tough to beat of the offense can keep clicking.

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  6. Surprised to see blazek back. I don't mind blazek playing but he should never be on the court without jabs or Emmit as along as he has that cast

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  7. Loved the way GU played Wednesday, but I would caution those taking this performance as a signal that GU is emerging into a national contender based on beating Edinboro.

    I thought that was the worst Edinboro team that Walcavich has ever put out there, particularly after Theriot (who averages 20 ppg)got hurt. They only had 9 players dressed, none of whom besides Theriot had any inside presence. They jacked up a lot of 3's in the first half (desperation?), and their defense only created 8 TO's (despite GU averaging over 20 TO's a game) and allowed GU to shoot over 50%.

    Great win, but I wouldn't start buying Final Four tickets yet. 'Boro wasn't that good, particularly without Theriot(who scored 16 in just 20 minutes-it helped that he went out).

    As for Blazek-I thought 27 minutes was too much, particularly when the lead ballooned over 15 pts. In fact, I thought all the starters played a little longer than they needed to.

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    1. you're preaching to the choir man. The starters always play too much. For what reason was there that Wilson and Blanton needed to play 38 and 34 minutes, respectively. Or Blazek 27 minutes in his FIRST game back after missing NINE GAMES after SURGERY and playing with a CAST!?!?!?!

      I was pleasantly surprised to see Torrence play 18 minutes and go nuts for 24 points.

      Although, with the exception of my Blanton, this game did go against my theory of correlation between mins played and TO's committed. Blanton had 3 TO's in 34 mins and Oscar had 3 TO's in 20 mins as well as Wilson 1 TO in 38 mins.

      I agree that there's no reason to put them in the top 25, however, IF they can play more of the style that they did against Boro, that could be lethal. Edinboro definitely wasn't the Boro squad we're used to seeing, but at the same time GU got their work done and did it almost perfectly. Hate to see anyone get injured, but GU took advantage of it (which in some past games they haven't taken advantage of a player subbing out, etc).

      Based on the mins and stats, I'd say it's a safe bet that Adam will be replacing Oscar in the lineup. However, i would still rather see the 5 they have no remain intact. If Oscar goes out and is on fire, then Blazek will just add fuel to the fire and that offense is deadly. If Oscar is off, then Blazek can help pick it up. However, I don't think Macias plays as well off the bench (maybe it's a warm up thing, or sitting too long etc) but you start Adam and he gets in foul trouble and you bring in Oscar and he's off... you only have 4 players playing (or 3 players depending upon if Jabs is scoring).

      Obviously it's Coach Reilly's decision and he will do what's best for the team, but I'd like to see things remain as they are and Blazek be the "super-sub" as Jim stated.

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    2. They win by 23 and still you complain, it doesn't matter if the boro is down, if history has shown anything its that the rivalry games vs boro and Hurst are always close regardless of records. Enjoy the win for crying out loud.

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    3. You can enjoy the win, however, I go with Bill Belichik's statement (I'm not a Pats fan)

      "Even if you win by 100, score on every possession, shut out your opponent, pick off every pass, force them to fumble every run and it puts you at 16-0 there's always room for improvement. Maybe rather than an interception, it should have been a sack for a loss. Maybe on a fumble, it should have been returned not just picked up. There is always room for improvement, no matter the outcome of one single-game. Unless you are the last team standing and celebrating with the final trophy, it can always be better".

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    4. Good lord Corey, that's no way to live. I agree you always look to improve but there's a limit to how much criticism needs to be levied after a 23 pt win over a rival.

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    5. All I know, is look at what his Patriots have done in his time there... I'd say he's made it a "way to live"

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  8. Tremendous win.

    They all are, especially on the "West" side of the league ledger.

    Pressure defense and quick, long shots doomed the 'Boro. Losing Theriot didn't help things, either.

    Looks like his legs simply don't support his body. Having said that, he is a pretty imposing D-2 player.

    Keeping Blanton/Wilson in (Blanton, 8-10??) helped the cause.

    Ditto Blazek playing the minutes he did. He has been practicing well, and, obviously, it shows.

    All good.

    The meat of the schedule lies just ahead!!

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  9. Like all of us, Walcavich was also wondering why Torrence hasn't played more prior to last night. I loved his quote in the Times, which was a direct shot at Reilly -- he said "The amount of scoring he gets is kind of tied into the amount of minutes that he gets. There aren't too many of them sitting on the bench and scoring too much." Great quote! Torrence absolutely destroyed Edinboro. It's hard to understand how Reilly had only played him 8 minutes a game before last night. He should be starting over Oldham, and playing at least 20 to 25 minutes a game.

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    1. While I agree that Torrence was very impressive last night and has been consistently more impressive than CJ, I disagree about him starting over CJ. I still stick with my opinion that the 5 starters they have now should remain the starting 5 (even if certain starter only play 10 mins a game here and there). CJ may not be a huge stat producer, however, he seems to really help the team "flow". The 5 starters have developed a game style that is very beneficial for them and play in a very unique way that only they can do. As soon as Torrence or Tanner or Brandon, etc. come in the "team flow" changes to adapt to that player. Although Torrence does seem to fit in more than some of the other subs when he's in the game, I think the starting 5 should be there for the remainder of the season and anything past that. Plus, think about the nightmare it'd be for coaches to prepare their teams "Alright, this is what we're looking at with Jabs, Oscar, Wilson, Blanton and CJ... Blazek comes off the bench and we need to watch this with him as well.. oh, and if Coach Reilly decides to play torrence and Furno we need to watch them as well. Also, he may play Brandon and TJ Wilson." With this team, despite the obvious ones, it literally is any player can go bananas on the scoreboard at any point in time.

      Remember, after this season (not that I'm not still focused on this season haha), Gannon has to replace Macias, Blanton, Tanner and TJ (Dmitry and Tucker are graduating as well, but they and even TJ obviously aren't at the top of the replacement list). Gannon has two freshmen guards coming in already so the biggest place is gonna be Blanton and Tanner (and TJ). I'd like to see Torrence off the bench, behind CJ and Blanton so that next year, hopefully, him and CJ will be a dynamic duo inside.

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  10. The nice thing about this team is that all members care less about playing time for themselves than we do.

    With that attitude in mind, "being ready" is important.

    Last night, Torrence answered the call. We all know that on any given night, any one of 6,7, or 8 players can answer the call. (Didn't Tanner blister "the Rock" a few years ago with a monster night??)

    Indeed, the bench roots for the players out on the court more than any Gannon in several years.



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  11. Everyone makes good points here. My observations regarding last night were, why was Adam playing at all. We were lucky it was Edinboro and clearly their worse team in awhile. Adam could not cross over dribble and had issues with passing. If we played SRU or IUP their defense would have forced alot of turnovers. Going from 24 to 8 turnovers in one game is great on our part but clearly playing against some bad defense.
    Tanner was the surprise to me, I can't remember a time something really upset him, almost funny. Kudos to R.Wilson for containing that situation. As for R. Wilson and Blanton playing so many minutes IMO coach leaves them in to keep things moving with the substitutes. I would like to see the bench played more, these guys are connecting like a really great team but morale can decrease when people sit the bench when we are up by 15-20. There is clearly some talent on that bench that they are not recognizing, CJ for example.
    I feel horrible for the women. That was a tough loss.

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  12. That is CJ for example meaning he barely played and now he starts.

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  13. To really put into perspective the kind of night Torrence had last night:

    15 GAMES PLAYED SEASON AVG (prior to Boro):
    8.6 MPG; FGA-M 1.73-2.8; FTA-M 1.13-1.47; 4.6 PPG 2.53; RPG; 0.2 APG; 1.07 T/OPG; 0.2 BPG, 0.27 SPG

    VS. BORO
    18 MIN; FGA-M 9-14; FTA-M 6-6; 24 PTS; 5 REB; 1 AST; 0 T/O; 3 BLK; 2 STL

    NEW SEASON AVG (incl. BORO)
    9.18 MPG; FGA-M 2.19-3.5; FTA-M 1.44-1.75; 5.8 PPG; 2.69 RPG; 0.25 APG; 1 T/OPG; .38 BPG; .38 SPG

    PPG up 1.2, RBP up 0.16; APG up 0.05; T/OPG down 0.07; BPG up 0.18; SPG up 0.11

    Incredible!

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  14. I don't think that one good game from someone should cause a shakeup to the starting lineup. Torrance may have had a good game for a variety of reasons -- one of the bigger ones is that his game just matches up well against Edinboro's style. It's similar to the women's team against Edinboro ... I don't think that the Boro necessarily the better team; but no team's style exploit's GU's weakness than Edinboro -- they don't handle pressure defense well and it takes away their three-point shooting ability.

    Maybe this is the start of something great for Torrance, but let's see how it plays out before we start changing the starters around. I agree very much with Corey that it seems like this team has quite a few players who can go off on any given night. I'll add that Coach Reilly has done a great job this year at finding those matchups that cause guys to play well and exploiting them throughout the game.

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    1. I agree with you about the game-by-game matchups! Coach Reilly, and staff, have done a tremendous job of finding the game matchup. I feel that also speaks volumes about some changes the coaching staff has made... rather than sticking with just the starters, they've went with the 5 that are playing the best when it counts. I know we've all stated our opinions on the starters playing time (myself totally included), but when the bench players are put in and produce they're given the chance (exception one game when torrence put up #'s in the first half and didn't touch the floor 2nd half).

      Stick with the starting 5 that's there now and utilize the bench and I think this team may surprise even themselves...

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  15. That was about the best game that I have seen the GU Men play in years. Have to be thrilled with how they played AS A TEAM

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  16. 8 TURNOVERS !!!!! Thats what I was talking about! I've always thought Torrence had very good ability....glad to see him get more minutes...I was also happy to see CJ get more minutes the last few games...both make the team MUCH better and gives GU a DEEP bench...hopefully they can find enough minutes for everyone.

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  17. The AD's name is Mark Richards.
    There are so many wonderfully inteligent people on this blog who have all the answers. I'm sure they would have no trouble convincing Gannon to buy out coach Rielly's contract and inserting themselves as coach.
    Then we would win NCAAs every year.
    Everyone would then be so happy even the Islamo-facists would convertto Christianity.

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  18. Break In!!!

    Georgia Tech, at Duke, leading 26-22 with 1:23 in first half.

    Four Duke coaches are screaming at the players on the floor.

    Amazing.

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  19. Good grief. We're 13-3 and we're still sniping at each other like eight-year olds. For the sake of blog civility, I hope we win on Saturday.

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  20. Just received this email from a Gannon fan:

    Point no. 1 - Torrance scored 18 points against IUP. He is a good low post scorer and good free throw shooter, but you can only play five at any one time.

    Point no. 2 - Mercyhurst's next three games: at Slippery Rock, at Gannon, at IUP.

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  21. Obviously, in Wednesday's game,, Torrance had a good matchup vs 'Boro considering their lack of bigs with any bulk and he is too quick for Theriot to guard. So, viola, Reilly used him in the right situation and it paid off. Against IUP, their bigs weren't strong enough to deal with Torrance defensively, either (and it probably helped, as it did Wednesday, that there wasn't much of a chance or a need to prepare for him based on his lack of PT/production in the past). Against other teams with a strong but faster inside player (particularly now that teams have seen what he can do) he may not be as effective.

    Finding matchups that work to your team's advantage is what coaching at every level is all about. It is not something Reilly seemed to pay that much attention to in the recent past, preferring instead to put the same team on the court and have them do the same thing (play good strong, man-to-man defense and just enough offense). Perhaps he is seeing the light or perhaps new additions to his staff are helping him do so.

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