Saturday, December 7, 2013

Problems Clear, Solution Not

Before I sit down to write each post, including this one after a cataclysmic 58-54 home loss to an unremarkable Mercyhurst team, I check out the comments section to see how my fellow Gannon fans reacted immediately after the contest. I usually try to share a different perspective or more detailed insight to spark further conversation. But Golden89 and Ewensel have nailed what ails the Knights and my feelings after this devastating defeat.

Golden89 wrote: When (A'Darius) Porter finished his and-one to put GU ahead, 40-28, I thought ... "We're coming off a great road win, now the offense is clicking ... maybe we've turned things around." Um ... nope. What followed was a sordid stretch of offensive basketball that we're sadly growing accustomed to. Let's see here. Turning to my trusty play-by-play, below are the results of the GU possessions since Porter made the free-throw for the 40-28 lead:

Turnover, turnover, missed shot, Three-pointer by Talley, turnover, turnover, missed shot, missed shot, turnover, turnover, turnover, turnover, turnover, Newby jumper (after two offensive rebounds), missed shot, turnover, turnover, missed shot.

Voila. A 40-28 lead becomes a 52-45 deficit. If you're scoring at home, that's 2 for 10 from the field with 11 turnovers over the course of 14 minutes and 21 seconds of unwatchable basketball.


Ewensel said (please note I made some edits/corrections because my parents were English teachers): I feel this deja...deja...deja vu. This team CAN BE a dangerous team if they score more than 60 points...but with how awful this offense is at times...they are a very average team. It is just so frustrating...at 40-28 I thought GU was going to have a double digit win. Awful offense for the last 15 minutes of the game. 

Those observations are factual, and the feelings mirrored exactly what Jim LeCorchick and I said during the broadcast.

So what now? How does Gannon get out of this rut? The coaches are going to watch this game film -- do you think they're going to see something radically different than what's written above? A couple weeks ago after the conclusion of the Gary Miller Classic, I half jokingly wrote a "script" for each Gannon game going forward. Take a moment to read that script right now and tell me that isn't exactly what happened vs. Mercyhurst.

The question is what to do about it. As everyone I've interacted with at the Audi has said at some point this season, if this team can sustain their defensive intensity and be just halfway decent on offense, they are a borderline NCAA team. But right now the Knights are 2-2 in conference play and a meager 3-3 with two of those Ls coming at home. They haven't made the adjustment or improvement yet, and a quarter of the 26-game season is nearly behind us.

I'd say the good news is that GU's next four games are at home, but the Knights have already suffered two home losses. I said that already, didn't I? Maybe that's a sign we've put everything we can on the table at this point.

UPDATED 12/8/13: Apparently there is much more to say about this game. My co-workers who graduated from Mercyhurst are sending me emails like this: 
I think Jim Roddy should be the play by play guy for all future Mercyhurst/Gannon games. Thanks for the good luck charm. Carpe Diem!!! Go Lakers! P.S. I think the Knights just turned it over again just now...

It's going to be a long week.
 

17 comments:

  1. Jim you made an interesting comment during the game - "I feel like were right back in the lemoyne game". Good point. If you're asked to commentate, decline the offer in the best interest of the team's luck :-) (kidding... somewhat haha)

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  2. Emmitt's intentional foul in the second half on Oengen was the turning point. That got Merchyhurst fired up and there was no looking back as the Lakers went from 12 down to 8 up. Gannon still had a chance down 4 with the ball and 46 seconds to go but inexplicably ran 24 seconds off the clock before Mercyhurst inexplicably fouled Blazek who then inexplicably missed the front end of a one on one. Could be the iron man starting five got tired at the end. They played almost the entire second half. Only four Knights scored. Yikes. Is that a new Gannon record? Probably not going to help Coach's chances of repeating as PSAC Coach of the Year. But like Coach likes to say, "our system works." You betcha.

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  3. When Porter finished his and-one to put GU ahead, 40-28, I thought ... "We're coming off a great road win, now the offense is clicking ... maybe we've turned things around." Um ... nope. What followed was a sordid stretch of offensive basketball that we're sadly growing accustomed to. Let's see here. Turning to my trusty play-by-play, below are the results of the GU possessions since Porter made the free-throw for the 40-28 lead:

    Turnover, turnover, missed shot, Three-pointer by Talley, turnover, turnover, missed shot, missed shot, turnover, turnover, turnover, turnover, turnover, Newby jumper (after two offensive rebounds), missed shot, turnover, turnover, missed shot.

    Voila. A 40-28 lead becomes a 52-45 deficit. If you're scoring at home, that's 2 for 10 from the field with 11 turnovers over the course of 14 minutes and 21 seconds of unwatchable basketball.

    Actually, Gannon had two possessions while holding a 40-28 lead. Score on both of them and you've probably delivered the knockout blow. Instead, we had to leave the Hammermill after losing to Mercyhurst.

    The sad things is that GU had a chance to back up Wednesday's nice road win. Now this loss at home undoes all the good of Wednesday and we're sitting at a 3-3 record. It appears that this team cannot close games -- second straight late game meltdown; we had just enough of a lead against SRU on Wednesday to hold on.

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  4. I feel this deva...deva...deva vu. This team CAN BE a dangerous team if they score more than 60 points...but with how awful this offense is at times...they are a very average team. It is just so frustrating...at 40-28 I thought GU was going to have a double digit win. Awful offense for the last 15 minutes of the game.

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  5. GU had a chance to make believers of some of the "old breed", but alas,
    they just couldn't drain the steam out of the Lakers. Where's the problem?
    I don't know, that's why the coaches get paid.

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  6. Didn't get to watch or listen to the game but I it is very frustrating. I was impressed with Wednesdays win over slippery rock, but to then lose to your rival at home with all those turnovers is frustrating.

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  7. Life in the PSAC West: Seems, at first blush, as if everyone is going to beat each other into a pulp....with the last man standing


    That being said, (once they get completely acclimated with each other), I like this team's chances....which may take a few more games. Discussed before, gone are the days of 5 or 6 "tune up" games before the meat of the season begins.

    Hence, another close loss.

    The positive?? We all know this team will, all other things being equal, be in position to win each and every game on the schedule, going forward. No team, as well as their fans, like losses. Yet, I think these will prove to be positive experiences as the season progresses. Time will tell.

    As for the fan mindset after the loss at Seton Hill: Ask IUP about Seton Hill.

    Life in the PSAC (wild, wild) West.

    I think we'll be OK..........

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  8. The end of last week wasn't a total loss for Gannon fans because of this info released by the university about their athletic hall of fame. Congrats Stats!

    Rick "Stats" Klapthor '79 will be the 2014 Distinguished Service Award recipient. Klapthor has been a fixture at the Gannon Basketball Press Table since 1975 and is in the midst of his 39th season as Gannon's official scorer with a three-year hiatus from 1988-90. He worked his first game on November 29, 1975, a game which the Gannon men's basketball team defeated Walsh 93-62. Klapthor has scored a total of 736 men's games prior to the current season, beginning the 2013-14 campaign with a current streak of 390 consecutive games since missing his last game on November 20, 1994. He added women's games to his job duties beginning in 2000.

    Known affectionately as "Stats" due to his knowledge of all players and numbers throughout the years, Klapthor has also traveled to numerous road games to work for both teams on his own budget. Since his retirement from the Postal Service on August 31, 2012 after 25 years of service as a mail handler, he attended almost every road game last season to keep the scorebook for the Gannon basketball teams.

    The Erie, Pa., native has served under men's head coaches Ed Sparling (three years), Dick Fox (six years), Tom Chapman (five years), Bob Dukiet (seven years), Jerry Slocum (nine years) and John Reilly (nine years). He graduated from Gannon College in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in Accounting. Klapthor was part of the final graduating class of Gannon College before it became a University.

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    1. Thanks for pointing that out.

      Congrats to Stats on his well-deserved induction. Nobody in college basketball is better at what he does than Stats is at keeping the scorebook.

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  9. Agree that the intentional foul call on Emmitt was the turning point, but I disagree vehemently with the call and was supported in that judgement by 2 veteran basketball officials I ran into on Sunday that saw the game and felt the same way. When you foul a player on the arm, no matter how hard, you are deemed to be making a play on the ball and it is NOT an intentional foul. It was not immediately called that way by the official making the call until after the fouled player's (and Coach Manchel's) violent reaction to it. And, incidentally, where was the technical foul for his confronting Emnmit and continuing to try to confront him? Both calls were botched. That was simply a hard foul on the ball and #3's reaction should have resulted in a technical.

    Having sad all that, it probably wouldn't have made a difference if that play would have been called correctly. Although it did fire up the Hurst players, it was likely that GU was going to melt down anyway. This happens whenever they get to the point in games where they try to milk the clock on each possession, which happened earlier in Saturday's game than usual, when they had the 40-28 lead. IMO, under those circumstances, they run their offense but pass up good (maybe not great)shot opportunities early in the shot clock in an effort to run the clock down to almost nothing before attempting a field goal. Unfortunately, their offense doesn't lend itself to creating quick shots, and only one or two players are any good at all at creating their own shot. So, almost every possession is wasted, as illustrated by the rundown in Golden and Jim's posts, with 11 turnovers and dreadfully few good shots. They simply aren't any good at playing that way, and until they stop doing it or become better at it, this will continue all season.

    In that vein, also IMO, their lack of offense dictates that Talley play more, despite the turnovers, because he does force the opposition to closely guard someone besides Blazek. Hurst players were all over Blazek, even when they played that sneaky matchup zone. In man, they played "no-help" on him, and it's likely that the man guarding him would have followed Adam into the bathroom had he run off the floor and gone in there. You need someone else to be a threat, and Talley provides some semblance of such a threat.

    I liked Porter's more aggressive approach on offense, but it pretty much disappeared when GU started to milk the clock. It's too bad that Newby doesn't look to be more aggressive on offense when he has the chance. I would think he would be difficult to guard on drives to the basket because of his size, speed and leaping ability.

    Lastly, one of the problems in playing the Hurst is that they play such a unique defense that almost no other team plays and is impossible to duplicate in practice. It's tough to learn to play against it when the only opportunity to do so is in games. They make a lot of teams look bad, and with GU's obvious struggles on offense, it makes the game unwatchable at times (as has happened many times before. Remember last year's game @ MU? UGH!) to the impartial basketball fan and unbearable to GU fans.

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  10. To date, it does seem how Adam scores greatly influences the outcome of the game:

    Calf. - 20 pts, won
    Seton - 7 pts, lost
    LeMoyne - 17 lost Was 6-18 from field and 2-10 from three
    Ald-Brd - 10, lost
    Slippery pebble - 26, won
    Mercycurse - 6, lost.

    One player does not make a team and it is early in the season, however, scouting GU shows this to be a tendency, therefore, good strategy for pebble's coach to shadow Adam. If I was coaching against GU, I would do the same. Observer is right, others need to score consistently so defenses can not hedge on one key player.

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  11. I don't think that the intentional foul was the turning point. Gannon had come up empty on seven of the eight previous possessions, including four turnovers. Our offense was well on its way to operation shutdown.

    I also failed to mention that GU had a nearly seven minute scoreless stretch in the first half (15:49 to 8:59). The Knights had nine consecutive empty possessions, in which they shot 0/7 from the field with five turnovers.

    So take the 6:50 of the first half and 14:21 of the second half and you have 21 minutes of completely inept offensive basketball. And we STILL LOSE BY ONLY FOUR POINTS.

    But it's not like these offensive lapses are an aberration because they happen every game. It seems so simple -- avoid the major droughts. But these scoreless stretches are becoming so commonplace that we're becoming hardened to them. Sigh.

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  12. You have a smart friend. Why he ever went to Mercywurst, I'll never understand. That said, I listened to you and Jimmy L while at the game and I must say you did a fantastic job. I also believe Sean Ama.... does a great job.
    Sorry to say I think Jimmy L has become a little stale as late. He spends more time in the past then I do. Even though he's younger then I, I don't want to continuously hear about Joe Blo from East in 1969. Many listeners are younger and don't care or have no idea about Joe Blo from East high school in 1969.

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  13. Good point, GU Fanman. Still like Jimmy for lots of reasons but, yeah, a lot's happened since 1969. Wouldn't it be interesting to know how many listeners were born after 1969? Or how many new fans have been added to the Gannon fan base since Coach Reilly took over the men's basketball program?

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  14. I swear, some fans still have the mindset that Glen Summors is going to come out of the tunnel and join the warm-up line and starting power dunking to rev the crowd up (like prior to a big game against YSU a lifetime ago).

    ....all while Tom Chapman is making his rounds in the upper deck of the Audi.

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    1. How did you tap into what I dream about every night? :)

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  15. Dunking was banned by the NCAA during Summors' entire Gannon career. So no one ever got to see Summors power dunk in a Gannon game or a Gannon warm up line. The only game at the Audi in which we had the thrill of seeing Our Hero dunk was the then annual post season SOS all star game. Dunking was allowed and Summors in 40 minutes made up for 4 years of lay ups. He scored 43 points, mostly on insane monster jams off of feeds from Kevin Porter (NBA). The SOS game was for graduating seniors, most of whom were Division I players. And yes #453 we do understand Summors and Chapman are not coming back. Why does that bother you? Should UCLA fans not be allowed to talk about John Wooden? Lew Alcindor?

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