Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sticking To The Script

Just like you, I'm busy with work, family, holidays, and basketball, so I need to develop a time-saving plan that allows me to engage in all my activities and still blog about Gannon hoops. I think I have a solution.

I've created a template which I should be able to use for the rest of the season. After four games, the most recent a 55-54 nail-biter over Alderson-Broaddus in the Gary Miller Classic consolation game, Gannon has established a script from which they rarely deviate. For each game I'll use this template and simply strikethrough the words that don't apply to this particular game. I'll add a handful of Knight Knotes at the end for extra details about the contest. Here we go ...

Once again, Gannon scored in the 50s, and that led to another mind-numbing, frustrating loss which will most certainly tick off the GU faithful who are still paying attention but managed to pull out a pulsating win because of their ultra-aggressive, man-to-man defense. The Knights suffered through another stretch where the offense bogged down, this time scoring just zero one two three four five six points during a seven eight nine twelve fifteen thirty-nine minute stretch. It seems like Gannon has decent individual players who should be able score, but every so often today tonight they handled the ball like it was on fire, and lost their aggressiveness and settled for 40 passes or 100 dribbles each possession, drop-kicked the ball into the concession stand and forced themselves into low-percentage attempts as the shot clock wound down.

Yes, I'm happy with a win, of course I'm ready to jump into the bay after another narrow loss. As former coach Tom Chapman was fond of saying, "I'd rather have an ugly win than a pretty loss. Don't fire howitzers at the backboard, Roddy. Get off the floor!" I'm not sure how many more of these games I can take. It's kind of sad when I was elated that Gannon didn't mistakenly puncture the ball on their opening possession scored 32 points in the first half, but that's the state of the team this year. This club is special on defense, which hopefully will carry them to more wins in low-scoring contests keep future teams in the 40s so we can win a game by double-digits for a change.

Knight Knotes:
* Of course I root for every Gannon player, but it was especially gratifying to see Matt Dogan hit all 4 of his field goal attempts. He entered the game just 4-for-18 from the field, but helped bust the A-B zone with a trio of long-distance shots in the first half. Watching Dogan's grandmother pump her fist after every make made my Thanksgiving weekend.

* Gannon was more prepared for the Battlers' zone Saturday than they were LeMoyne's extended 2-3 Friday night. Against the Dolphins, GU basically swung the ball wing-to-wing until the shot clock ran out. Gannon gave A-B several different looks -- including dribble penetration -- which led to relaxed, open shots for the Knights.

* The next time Alderson-Broaddus plays at Gannon, maybe they should just turn the ball over on their final possession. Against the Knights in the 2009 Atlantic Region Semifinals, A-B's Terrell Eargle missed a last-second three on the Hammermill Center's north hoop as Gannon advanced, 67-65. Saturday, Stuart Clark missed a three-point attempt on that same basket as GU survived by a point. No wonder moments after the game A-B head coach Greg Zimmerman looked as if he heard the Grinch actually did steal Christmas.

* The announced crowd for the game was 502, not anywhere close to what Gannon officials were hoping for, but you couldn't expect much more for a 5:30 consolation game. I had to race from my daughter's basketball practice to the Hammermill and still arrived several minutes into the contest. If you're wondering what the Audi looked like when I walked in, here you go:


23 comments:

  1. A much more enjoyable game to watch and not bec they won, oh..., I don't know it seemed like they really wanted to win and one could feel it in the stands.

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  2. Our starting line-up should be
    Jabs
    Blazek
    Tee
    Thomas-Edwards
    CJ

    Dogan, smith, and emit should then be cycling the minutes at the guards while Porter and Livramento back up the forwards. I think if we go 9 deep like that we will have more endurance for the end of the game. Players need to look to score. They pass alot which seems to be a good sign unselfishness but could also be a lack of confidence offensively. Better showing versus AB.

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  3. Good thing that Jabs hit the clutch shot with 1:45 to go so that we scored five points in the past nine minutes. Had we been held to three points in the last nine minutes, we'd be 1-3.

    The group in attendance was quite pleased with the Knights' defensive effort.

    I stayed for the championship game ... it was interesting to watch Wheeling Jesuit score seemingly at will against Lemoyne's zone.

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  4. Offense at some point is going to have to open up a bit. If not...this has the potential to be a long season. Defensively the team is great...but with the current offensive pace....GU's defense has to hold teams to 50 points or so a game....a tough task to do every game.

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  5. Everybody is taking about the GREAT defensive effort. I don't see it. This coaching staff is supposed to have a vaunted man-to-man defense. Both LeMoyne and AB shot well over 50% from the floor and Gannon gave up countless layups making their two big men appear to be All-Americans. Any team can run the clock down to close to zero every possession thereby shortening the game. I don't see either great defense nor do I see and offensive plan. It is a shame because it appears that we have talented kids that looked handcuffed.

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  6. Sticking to the script can also be used for all of the responses from followers for past couple years. I have been following the blog all along but haven't had anything to say that hasn't been said already over and over. I am saddened that I have gone to the dark side with so many others on this blog. No floor leadership and that stale offense is boring to watch anymore.

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    1. Hell hath frozen over!

      (In jest of course).

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  7. The first part of this post is easily the most creative, possibly the funniest one that you have ever put together, Jim. Congrats.

    As for Saturday's game, Did anyone else think it was odd that Talley, who I thought did some good things on Friday, didn't play a second?

    Other than that, that game was much like each of their games this year. Good hustle and hard work on defense, limited success in what they were trying on offense. IMO, AB gave up a little early on their zone. GU made a lot of their shots early vs. the zone, a feat that has not been common this year. I would've bet that some misses were coming, but I guess the AB coach didn't want to take that chance. It would've worked if not for Jabs's burst of aggressiveness on O.

    As for the inability to control the other team's post players, this could be a season-long problem. As hard as their main post players play and as physically strong as they are, they are both relatively short to play the position. The LeMoyne post was a giant at 6'11" who could move and understood how to get open in the right places on the court to get easy scoring opportunities. The AB guy, not near as tall but equally strong, was also clever at getting open against the overplay in the post, and he appeared to be playing just as hard, if not harder, than the GU players guarding him. Lack of height in the post could be a problem all year.

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    1. I was sitting behind the Gannon bench for the A-B game and saw the coaches make a great adjustment. Adam Kline (#34) kept getting easy baskets by slipping screens instead of setting a pick-and-roll or picking-and-popping. Gannon stopped hedging on screens partway through the second half, and A-B never scored on that play again. Great mid-game adjustment and great execution by the Gannon bigs, particularly Porter and Thomas-Edwards. I know Kline scored 24, but GU limited him down the stretch, with one basket and free throws coming after offensive rebounds.

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  8. Post game interview coach stated that Talley had something that needed cleaned up before he plays again. Coach declined to state any details.

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  9. Enjoyed your post, Jim. Sad to see the picture. Remember when you had to hustle to the Audi to get there early to buy a ticket because they might be sold out? But we still have the coach of the year and 22 more games from the '50's, err, in the 50's, to look forward to. Love the players. It's not their fault.

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    1. A coworker said to me today in regards to the attendance Saturday, "I heard you went to Gannon and a Mercyhurst game broke out."

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    2. Jim, I had to leave the game early on Saturday...right before tipoff I did a hand count and counted about 200 people in attendance. The Mercyhurst reference is good timing for this weekend.

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  10. We all saw a potential break-out game for Jabs Saturday night. As the players grow and get used to each other, I expect the scoring to slowly improve.

    Gone are the days of early "tune-up" games to help Gannon jump to a 5-1 or 6-0 start like many years in the past. Let's all accept that fact........and get ready for a brutal fist fight down at The Rock Wednesday night.

    It will be an early biggie.......like all the games out of the box this season.

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  11. I'm quite torn at this point. In seasons past after the first few games I was either very hopeful of what could be (last season), expecting the worst (a few of the seasons) or just anxiously awaiting to see how it played out because I had no opinion one way or the other, but the team showed "signs of life" which made me want to lean towards a good season (sometimes it happened, sometimes it didn't).

    My problem to date early in this season is that I've not seen "signs of life", but I'm torn because we're 2-2 and have "competed" in every game (i.e. - no blowouts or close scores that were just late junk points). I really feel I've not seen anything, offensively or defensively, that makes me go "wow... they could end up being pretty good", but I've also not had the "oh dear Gumby this is going to be a long season". Problem with that, though, is I've not even had the slight notions of "they have a chance" or "it'll be an off season". I would like to say I'm "in the middle", but it's more like I'm "in the middle" of the "middle".

    Expecting to see a possible lineup change or two in the upcoming weeks. A starter or two have been tremendously outshined by their sub off the bench.

    Mixed opinions on Jabs. Doesn't have a great shot, but has tremendous ability to drive the lane and lay it up or pass it off for an easy dish (doesn't do it often though). Has great ball handling skills, but sometimes looks "lost" on the court (lost being not sure what to do with the ball when he has it.. almost panic mode sometimes). Has the flare and makes some passes that many others couldn't do, but also throws it a foot over CJ's head occasionally.

    To me, Dogan has been what you would expect of a Freshman who's first collegiate game was a conference rival. Have heard people compare him to Blazek's freshman year... can't do that. If Dogan came from Prep or Blazek from West Middlesex... yes, you could compare somewhat. But they don't and you can't. Blazek had some freshman struggles, but overall was brilliant and took the honor of FOTY. Dogan has that chance and ability. That is one thing I will say "we're only 4 games in" to. Kudos to Dogan for FOTW honors.

    The newbies (no, not Jabs' family) haven't really shown me much to go off of. Porter, Raph, Smith, and Tee have all been consistent, with not one outshining the other. Would like to see Porter or Raph really kick it up a notch and become the inside force they need. It's not always about height, as Blanton showed the past 2 years. He was 6'6 or 6'7, but went toe-to-toe with the "big boys" because of his athletic ability and Gannon's help defense. If Porter or Raph can even get to 40% of what Blanton was on defense and Gannon's help defense is given a chance to... well, help... team could be dangerous.

    And I will agree with most of the commentators on here that even though GU's defense will be atop league leaders for majority of season in many categories... nothing spectacular has stuck out. Jabs has his intense on ball D, Blazek the same + the quick hands for steals, CJ creates the mismatch and has pretty quick hands for a big guy, Dogan has been good and Porter/Raph have held their own the best they could. Janson, from LeMoyne, was going to have his way with just about anyone Friday. As highly as I regard Blanton as a defender, I don't think even he would've been able to do much more than anyone else did. He was just "in the zone" that day. You'll have that.

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    1. Good points - one correction Blanton was listed (and I believe that it is true) at 6'4", not 6'6" or 6'7".

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    2. Janson was in the zone b/c Gannon refuses to play a zone... zing! ;)

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    3. Section B - thank you for that correction; he was listed at 6'4, 200.

      So, even moreso, that tells me it's not all about height... Blanton was able to handle most of the big guys last year.. and he was 6'4. Reason? He was athletic! And athletically smart! (he may have been academically smart as well, that I wouldn't know so that was not meant to be a dis on him academically).

      Yup - like the quip. And while I will agree with most that I'd at least like to see them switch it up once in a while to play zone D, against I'll reference last year and Blanton. Straight man-to-man and Blanton held his own against much bigger guys with help D.

      This team just needs one of the bigger guys to establish himself inside offensively and defensively and then get the "help D" to more effectively help. They need to gel and learn. Fortunately, it's early in the season still... unfortunately, it's all "big" games the whole way.

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  12. Can't make the trip to SRU. Find the game video on the SRU web site
    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/slippery-rock-football
    I know it reads football, but the ladies start at 6PM and the men at 8PM.

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    1. yes. ustream is free live video site (similar to YouTube but livestreamed)

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  13. Add note. Access through SRU WBB or MBB sched pages, ck on video.

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  14. Break in!!

    #8 ranked Wisconsin (men) scored only 25 points in the 1st half at Virginia!!!!

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