1. Edinboro big man Bryan Theriot was playing again after injuring himself a month ago vs. Gannon. The Knights have never been able to handle the 6-foot-9, 300-pound Theriot.
2. Algeron Torrence, who scuttled the Scots with a 24-point performance in January, was expected to be sidelined for the rematch. He was in street clothes once again.
3. Edinboro had a 6-2 road record, much better than their 4-5 conference mark at home. They clearly like a hostile environment, and Wednesday night was expected to be the most hostile crowd the Fighting Scots had seen all season.
4. We were thrilled Gannon won two road games last week, but the Knights didn't put up 60 points in either of those games. If you take the 69-56 loss at Slippery Rock into account, GU had scored in the 50s three of their last four games. The Knights have been winning games, but you couldn't call them "hot."
5. This was Gannon's first game of the year with a national ranking, which is oftentimes the kiss of death.
All of those factors came into play Wednesday night -- well, maybe #5 is a figment of my imagination. With the 260-pound Torrence sidelined, Theriot registered a healthy 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and snagged 10 rebounds. The loud crowd seemed to energize Edinboro. The Scot guards were comfortable in the first 5 minutes of the game and then the entire second half, while Gannon's offense frequently sputtered, stalled, and forced contested jumpers.
All is not lost, but the chance to host the PSAC tournament is. GU is now two full games behind first place IUP, and the chances of the 15-3 Crimson Hawks losing two games on their remaining schedule (@ Mercyhurst, vs. Edinboro, @ Slippery Rock, vs. Lock Haven) is as thin as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. If Gannon's offense doesn't start clicking, second place in the West and an NCAA bid will be out of their reach.
As bummed as I am about the loss, I can't end this post without talking about Darrell Blanton's first half dunk that still has Gannon fans buzzing.
My description won't do the dunk justice, but from what I recall, Robert Wilson drew the attention of the Edinboro defense and possessed the ball in the left short corner. As Blanton cut from the free throw line to the middle of the lane, Wilson fed him a bounce pass on the move. Blanton took one giant step, soared above the entire Scot defense who was trying to recover from covering Wilson, and crushed the rim (and Scot Bobby Davis) with a right handed thunderbolt.
My question is was that the greatest Gannon dunk you've ever seen? It's certainly worthy of consideration. After talking with some longtime Golden Knight fans and racking my brain, here's a list of memorable dunks that Blanton is competing with:
* A Tanner Furno full-speed flush at Slippery Rock. I didn't see it, but many who did said their jaws hit the floor when it happened.
* I can't recall against who, but Josh Morgan caught the ball on the left wing, pump-faked his man out of the way, then soared down the lane for a ringing one-hand stuff.
* Mitchell Smith's two-hand dunk vs. Millersville might not have been physically amazing, but being in the NCAA regional finals against the #1 team in the country gives it bonus points.
* Derrick Price pulled off a 270-degree dunk on the right baseline in the Porreco Cup final against eventual national champ Virginia Union.