No, the headline isn't intended to quote Tom Hanks from the movie Castaway. It's what I believe Mansfield head coach Rich Miller muttered to himself the whole bus ride home after Gannon junior Robert Wilson torched the Mounties for 29 points as the Knights cruised to an 88-64 victory Saturday night. Just under 15 minutes into the game, here's how the stat lines looked:
* Mansfield: 12 points, 4-for-30 FG
* Wilson: 14 points, 5-for-5 FG
the first half, when Gannon raced to a 46-28 lead, Wilson tallied 19
points on 6-of-7 shooting including a 4-for-6 chart on threes and
3-for-3 from the foul line. Wilson went off in part because Mansfield
doubled-down on the Gannon post players early and often. The result was
often turnovers (GU had 24 for the game, 14 in the first half) but when
the Knights did move the ball, it resulted in open perimeter looks.
now 11-2 overall and 5-2 in the PSAC, can be scary good at times,
especially when Wilson and Oscar Macias (14 points, 5-of-8 FG) are on
target. They will get their looks if opponents keep doubling Darrell
Blanton on the blocks. And if clubs let Blanton go one-on-one, expect
him to have some monster nights to go along with his monster dunks.
the first semester games, Wilson appeared to be pressing, trying too
hard to play well. That can work on defense, but players can't be
uptight when they have the ball. Against Mansfield, Wilson was a cool
customer. For example, he allowed himself to get frustrated for just a
split-second after a hard Mountie foul, but quickly gathered his
composure then walked down the floor to hit his free throws. He's
influencing his teammates as well. T.J. Wilson tried arguing a
second-half foul call against him, but Robert Wilson pushed him away
from the official, told his teammate to calm down with a slap on the
shoulder, then beckoned the Knights to huddle up. John Reilly loves that
stuff, and so should all Gannon fans.
The Achilles' heel
for this Gannon team appears to be playing with TMT: Too Many
Turnovers. The Knights are averaging a staggering 18.7 per game, and
that's before they've faced the heart of their PSAC West schedule. At
11-2, you'd think Gannon would be thumping opponents in every statistical category.
That's the case for shooting percentage (49.6% vs. 36.7%), three-point
percentage (35.3% vs. 30.0%), free throw percentage (74.8% vs. 64.9%),
rebounds (38.2 rpg vs. 28.5 rpg), assists (189 vs. 146), blocks (40 vs.
31), steals (99 vs. 85), and of course points (70.9 ppg vs.56.9 ppg).
However, GU has committed 243 turnovers while opponents -- despite an
aggressive Gannon defense -- have committed only 212.
Wilson isn't the only Knight who's playing more relaxed. Jabs Newby was
brilliant this weekend with 11 assists vs. Bloomsburg and 10 points and
8 assists against Mansfield. In the first semester games, Newby was
content to "not screw up." He'd bring the ball over the timeline, throw
it to the wing, and then move the ball side-to-side. Against the
Mounties he not only moved the ball well, he made some spectacular moves
to the basket and finished them strong. His fake behind-the-back pass
before finishing with a right hand layup in the first half thrilled the
* I felt bad for Mountie coach Miller, and
not just because after every road game he has to go back to Mansfield.
It was obvious he stressed doubling Blanton in shootaround, the morning
walkthrough, and in his pregame chat. Then on Gannon's first two
possessions, Blanton scores on the left block then with a half-hook on
the right block. Miller quickly called a 30-second timeout and reminded
his team what they heck they were supposed to be doing.
The Knights' next three contests are on the road (1/11 at Cheyney, 1/12
at West Chester, 1/16 at Edinboro). One stat I'll be interested to see
after the next home game (1/19 vs. Cal) is attendance. The last four
games at the Hammermill have drawn fewer than 1,000 fans. When's the
last time GU attendance registered only three digits for four
* Something to ponder this week:
Whenever Adam Blazek returns to action from his broken hand, how about
Gannon uses him in a Jose Davis super-sub role? Davis was a hotshot
guard for Edinboro in the late 80s and did all his damage off the bench.
If the Scots started fast, Davis came into the game to make them even
better. And if the Boro struggled, Davis would pop off the bench and
give his club a spark. I think Blazek could handle this role, and him
being a super-sub wouldn't hurt the confidence of any current starter.
(Robert Wilson photo courtesy Gannon University and Joe Mattis.)