Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Awesome! Gannon 57, #7 IUP 55

I'm still so nerved up from Gannon's pulsating 57-55 win at #7 IUP tonight that I can only offer disjointed observations on tonight's game that I watched via live video feed.

* As ewensel says in the comment section of this post, that is the biggest Gannon win in years. Not since capturing the PSAC championship in 2009 have the Knights knocked off a legitimate NCAA heavyweight in a relevant contest. What makes this W all the more impressive is that for three-quarters of the game, Gannon was clearly the better team. Only GU's dreadful 12-for-28 (43%) free throw chart kept this game close.

* Gannon's aggressiveness from the outset established the right tone and is the reason we're all beaming now instead of bawling (or irrationally bashing the coaches). Instead of picking up the ballhandler a couple steps beyond the three-point line, John Reilly extended his defense to at least midcourt and occasionally full court, even with a late-game lead. In past Gannon/IUP games, we've seen the Knights forced to trigger their offense from 30 feet away from the basket and their ballhandlers dribble backwards instead of into the paint. Tonight, the Crimson Hawk guards were the guys on their heels.

* This might seem strange based on his stats (23 minutes, 2 points, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, and a grade school-like 0-for-4 from the foul line), but I think tonight's #1 difference maker was Gannon PG Jabs Newby. I don't believe he was on the floor at all during the 7-minute stretch when IUP's 21-3 blitz -- which included a 15-0 spurt -- turned a 35-24 Gannon lead into a 45-38 Indiana advantage. When he was playing, Newby pressured his man, not allowing open shots, dribble penetration, or post passes. And when IUP tried pressuring Newby, he'd increase his aggressiveness and blow past his man, creating scoring opportunities and drawing fouls. When IUP punched, Newby would punch back harder. There was a stretch late in the first half where the game action lasted for over three minutes without a stoppage in play. I watched Newby for most of that time, and he didn't take his foot off the gas for a second. The "Jabs Factor" was huge tonight. They don't win this game without him.

* Some stats of note: Gannon turnovers -- only 12. Rebounds -- Gannon 37, Indiana 29; the Knights had a near 2-to-1 rebounding advantage in the first half. Second chance points -- Gannon 17, IUP 3. Gannon shot better on threes (5-for-9, 56%) than they did on free throws (12-for-28, 43%). GU was 4-for-13 at the line in the first half.

* Before tonight's stunner, Indiana was 24-1 at Kovalchick Arena including 11-0 this year. This was their first-ever PSAC loss in their new digs.

* Gannon just beat the #7 team in the country ... on the road. I bet the bus ride home is a thrill. I'd be admiring the box score the whole way home. In fact, I'm going to go look at it again now.

* I received a text after the game from a Gannon fan who said, "This more than justifies Reilly's post-Lock Haven tirade." I agree. This was by far the most intense I've seen the team this year. They were energetic on the ball defensively, on the boards, and even on the bench. Instead of just checking out of the game and sauntering down the bench, players were enthusiastically fist-bumping each other.

* Steve Piotrowicz can't get a break, can he? He was the starting point guard for the Gannon teams that struggled mightily at IUP the past few seasons. Now a first-year graduate assistant at Indiana, he's again on the losing side of this rivalry. I've known Steve, a longtime diehard Gannon fan, since he was a scrappy fifth grader at Our Lady's Christian and hustling for the Erie Red Storm AAU team. This was the first time I've ever wanted "his team" to lose. I wonder who his dad was rooting for tonight? Larry Piotrowicz is one of GU's most faithful supporters.

* I stand corrected. (Click here for details.) Should I go back and change the article's headline?

* I agree completely with mccoy's comment below that Gannon's attitude has to immediately switch to, "Don't sleep for Cal." Tonight's win means nothing if the Knights don't take care of business Saturday against the Vulcans, who won at Edinboro tonight, 73-72.


  1. Great start!!!! Doesn't seem to be a very 'hostile' environment.

  2. We have to start making free throws

  3. This 1st half is what this team is capable of when they get off to a good start. Need to play like this for another half and they will have a HUGE HUGE HUGE win.

  4. Shocking that he's getting completely outcoached.

  5. (Grabs hat, throws it at computer screen) Still plenty of time at least to settle the ship. The GU Women were down in the 2nd half tonight also.

  6. How does an IUP guy get that wide open?

  7. GU WINS...GU WINS...GU WINS! Biggest win for the team in years. Finally beat one of the best tonight.

  8. Great win! I mentioned before blazek would be the difference. Way to fight back. Can't sleep for cal this team has to come out firing like they did today. If gannon can win out, win the psac and have west liberty lose late gannon has a slim chance of hosting the region. If gannon makes thier free throws that's a 8-10 point win. Still a great win.

  9. Gigantic win!

    Go Knights!!!!

  10. Was out of town today and followed the games on the live stats on the way home. Kudos to my coworker for taking the wheel while I immersed myself in the live stats on my phone.

    Significant win for many reasons. Big one for the regional standings and greatly enhances at-large NCAA status. Big win for league standings, and a decent shot at a bye and hosting a second-round game. Big win for confidence, beating a good team on the road and stopping a 22-game home winning streak. And significant for beating a good team despite a (gulp) 11/26 showing from the free throw line.

  11. I too noticed Iup had thier run while jabs was on the bench. I'd like him to go to the basket more because he is an excellent athlete and his just as big if not bigger than most of the players that will guard him. He's also clearly our best on ball defender.

  12. Nobody believed #453 and I that this year would be different. Would have been a 17 point win with better free throw shooting.

  13. I'm not going to go back and reference when it was, but I believe I said last week sometime that a GU win @ IUP was possible IF the Hawks played like they did vs. Mercyhurst and GU played well. (Except for the Slippery Rock game, IUP appears to be a team that is just trying to play good enough to win. Certainly NOT one of their more talented outfits.)

    Except for GU's FT's, that is exactly what happened. GU deserves the credit for their work on D, even though I thought IUP got a lot of good looks that they just plain missed. Many of their misses were short. They looked like the tired team last night, not GU.

    That game obviously was huge for GU-they absolutely needed that one to prove they can beat the best. Now they have proved they can do so, and, better yet, on the road. Quite the confidence builder, I'm sure.

    Could be good for IUP, too, as they look like a team that needed a kick in the butt to get back on track. Should be interesting to watch how the C-Hawks react in their next game.

    I, too, was surprised at how docile the IUP fans seemed. Maybe that's the downside of having such a huge facility-not as much atmosphere. If the place isn't packed, it almost sounds (and looks) like the fans that ARE there are merely watching.

  14. what's the over under on someone blaming practices that are too hard for our poor free throw shooting yesterday. It must be killing our "fans" who seem to bask in the glow of close losses to "good" teams and chirp loudly after resounding wins versus "mediocre and weak" opponents. Figure its only a matter of time before someone says we would have won by 15 if we hadn't been so out coached.

  15. Way to go Gannon men and ladies! Let's not let down at California.

  16. Earlier yesterday evening, I ran into a Gannon season ticket holder quite by accident.....he snarled at me and said "Ready to go listen to Gannon (men) get pounded???"...

    Sidebar: He's the same person whom I referred to a month or so ago who stated "It's going to be a long season" (in the negative sense). we are, indeed the "morning after" the men's program's biggest win since the Elite 8 year.

    Point being: There is a mindset around town, and yes, sometimes on this blog, WAITING for this team to stumble, giving everyone a chance to bash the coaching staff for everything from yelling too much to practicing too hard.

    All well and good.

    The mindset of this team is THE NEXT GAME. Every member is well aware of the type of team Cal is: Capable of beating any PSAC team on a given night.

    Let's all enjoy this season.

    And yes: Saturday's post-game reaction set up the intensity of last night. I don't think last night's result would have been possible without the Lock Haven postgame "gutcheck". Note Jimmy here echoed exactly what the coaches felt.

    This team is good. They haven't forgot all those close losses from last year, either. If last season somehow sets up a terrific run deep this year, it may have been worth all the pain.

    Check that: Last year wasn't fun for anyone!!!...But, this team has LEARNED from all of that.

    Hypotheticals aside, I'm of the opinion that this team would have beaten IUP at home WITH Blazek healthy....and, at worse, would have a record of 20-2.

    Kinda makes all the 5th grade criticism on this board seem a bit comical to me.

    Anyhow..gotta now focus on a dangerous Cal squad.....nothing is ever easy.

  17. One person's "5th grade criticism" or "irrational bashing" of the coaches is another person's honest critique and analysis. Sorry that some folks can't handle any analysis or discussion that does not include all glowing positives.

  18. How about for a day or two, let's think on the positive side here? GU got a HUGE win last night, they are 18-4 and have the potential to finish the regular season at 23-5 or 24-4 if they win out. They are in very good shape for an NCAA Tourney birth and perhaps can do some damage in the PSAC Tourney as well.

    1. Double AMEN! Enjoy the ride. We could always be in this situation instead:

    2. At the moment we got the GU Men who can make a run if they can play how they did last night (Minus foul shooting) and we got the GU Women who are on their way to possibly hosting the NCAA Atlantic Regionals again. Get the popcorn ready, gonna be a fun ride!

  19. Go Knights (both teams), lets put the pressure defense all over Cal.

  20. Hey Jeremy, no problem!!..this is an open forum created by Jim Roddy for all of us.

    One has to feel pretty darn positive about last night's win though, no??

  21. Interesting quotes from the Indiana (PA) Gazette's writeup on the game:

    "We didn't bring enough energy," IUP senior point guard Anthony Wells said. "We were so excited for a big game like Slippery Rock and didn't bring the same mindset tonight."

    "Our energy in the first half was not where it needed to be," IUP senior guard Scooter Renkin said. "We picked it up in the second half, but we still had lulls in our energy, and obviously we got beat on the boards again, and that can't keep happening. We're better than that."

    "We had pretty good practices Monday and Tuesday," IUP Coach Joe Lombardi said, "but today at the shoot-around I told them they looked sluggish. They didn't have the same energy and communication they usually have. … I'm sure they respected Gannon, but certain times during the course of the season you just don't find the right amount of energy you need to play properly."

    That's the same theme as Coach Reilly's Lock Haven postgame comments. Basketball people know if you lack energy, your club is on the verge of collapse.

    For the complete story, copy and paste this link:

    1. IUP gave Gannon no credit for the win in that article.

  22. I received this email from a Gannon fan who wanted me to share it with you:

    Did you see Kansas head coach Bill Self’s comments after his team lost last night? They are fifth in the country and 19-3 after last night’s loss to TCU which was 0-8 in league play. Kansas is having a great year. And Self said afterwards … "It was the worst team that Kansas ever put on the floor, since Dr. Naismith was there," coach Bill Self said. "I think he had some bad teams when he lost to Topeka YMCA and things like that in the first couple years. But for the first half, there hasn't been a team play worse than that offensively."

    Good thing certain bloggers on your site weren’t Kansas fans. Self wouldn’t know what he is doing and the world is coming to an end.