Today's blog post is sponsored by the number 2, thanks to Gannon's frenetic 56-53 win this evening at California (Pa.). The number 2 represents:
** Gannon wins this week on the road.
** The number of Gannon road losses this season through 10 games, a scintillating 8-2 mark.
The number of opponent three-point attempts at the end of regulation
that missed which, had they connected, could have sent this season into a
** The number of points my 7-year-old daughter scored on her team's first possession at her Upward
basketball game this morning, Evelyn's first field goal of her life.
She followed that up to 2 more baskets. (Sorry -- that has nothing to do
with Gannon basketball. I'm just a very proud daddy.)
importantly to the GU program, the number 2 represents where the Knights
stand currently in the PSAC West, all alone there thanks to Slippery Rock blowing an 18-point lead during their 60-57 loss at Mercyhurst this afternoon.
Here are some more thoughts -- not sponsored by the number 2 -- related to today's game:
The Knights (19-4 overall, 13-4 PSAC) control their own destiny to earn
a first round bye in the league playoffs. And with just one loss by IUP
(14-3 PSAC), GU could earn the right to host the conference tournament.
Were you thinking this was possible after Gannon fell to 1-2 and last
place in the league after their second consecutive home loss on Dec. 8 to IUP? I sure didn't.
Great factoid from Gannon SID Dan Teliski's post-game summary: "Gannon
picked up a rare win on Cal's home floor. The Golden Knights entered the
contest 1-7 all-time at Cal, including 5 straight setbacks. The
program's only victory ever at Cal was an 86-71 verdict during the
1954-55 campaign." All that is true for games played there vs. the
Vulcans. But Gannon did win a game at Cal's Hamer Hall on March 12,
1994, when the Knights bested Edinboro 75-66 in an NCAA regional
* It's great that senior Tanner
Furno, the PSAC Freshman of the Year and a former Gannon starter, is
ready to play when asked. With Darrell Blanton in foul trouble, today
Furno led the Knights in scoring with 12 points and 6 rebounds in 24
minutes of play. He could have been sulking after seeing just 8 minutes
of floor time Wednesday night, but instead responded with maturity.
California starters Keith Lowe and Quentin Harding were averaging a
combined 27.5 ppg entering today's game, but Gannon held the pair to
just 15 points on 5-of-27 shooting from the floor in 74 minutes of play.
Shut down defense like that is what earns you wins on the road.
You know why you should never bet on sports? Gannon shot just 28.6% in
the first half (8-for-28) and then were a blistering 65.5% (15-of-24) in
the second half. Same guys, same opponent, same gym ... radically
* Slippery Rock is now 0-2 in Erie County this season
after today's three-point loss at Mercyhurst. SRU collapsed down the
stretch at Edinboro on Jan. 26 when they lost to the Scots 62-59. When the Rock visits Gannon on Feb. 27, you'd have to make the Knights a three-point favorite, right?
We are now just 11 days away from the first official regional rankings
of the season. My best guess/hope is that 19-4 Gannon will be in the top
5 along with West Liberty (22-1), East Stroudsburg (18-2), IUP (18-3),
and Winston-Salem (17-4).
* Maybe this week was payback
for all the gutwrenching, heartbreaking, exasperating close losses the
Knights have suffered the past three seasons in the PSAC West. Let's hope next week, with home games vs. Edinboro and Clarion, isn't payback for our good fortune this week.