Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Winter Just Got A Little Bleaker

Even the hardiest of Erieites has to admit the last couple months have been a struggle weather-wise. We're leading the country in snowfall, but we can't play in the white stuff because of high winds and that darn polar vortex. I'd love to drown my sorrows in basketball, but Gannon's 62-59 loss Wednesday night at sub.-500 California (Pa.) felt like a snowball to the face for Golden Knight fans.

Instead of starting the second half of PSAC West play on a roll, now 6-3 GU is already staring up at 7-2 IUP and mediocre Mercyhurst (11-8 overall). I can't say much about a game I didn't see, but I can say the result is exceedingly disappointing.

When you look at the stat sheet, you really can't be angry at Gannon. Their shooting percentage wasn't terrible (43%), they committed only 12 turnovers, and they once again outrebounded their opponent (35-27). They did hit on only 9-of-15 free throws while Cal cashed in on 15-of-17. If you flip those percentages, the Knights win going away.

Now GU must turn its attention to Seton Hill. The Griffins have lost 3-of-4 despite recently adding a 7-footer to their lineup, and I'm sure their only win wasn't impressive, right? Last Saturday SHU won at Cal by 10, 56-46. Sigh. Maybe I'll go shovel some snow to cheer myself up.


  1. This is huge tonight. The Knights need to win tonight and Saturday for next week's home contest against Slippery Rock to have maximum meaning.

  2. Of note: Cal has been playing better as of late. Hopefully, home court will be negated somewhat by dismal attendance in a gigantic gymnasium.

  3. This could be another trap game due to the bye we had this past weekend. We were on a roll, hopefully it can keep goin.

  4. Death, Taxes and Blazek taking the last key shot. From 35 feet. While being covered.

  5. A bit of Cheer SRU just lost to Clarion by one point 87 - 86
    Clarion hit a 3 with 1 sec left in OT.


  6. This loss stings.....negated (somewhat) by big Clarion win.

  7. Well this one may hurt for a while. A win tonight would have kept status queue at least. GU just lost must of their margin of error when it comes to getting at least a 1st round bye in the PSAC Tourney.

  8. Well now Gannon is really in sole control of their destiny. Had they won last night, they could've "afforded" to lose to IUP and SRU and still be in contention for at least second place. Now, losses to any of their opponents is essentially a loss that could knock them out right then and there.

    Tough loss to an all-in-all below average team that overachieves at home and, with the exception of their win at IUP, is horrendous on the road.

    Wasn't sure what made Gannon change their game style from the first half. First half they shot well over 50% FG and were 0-1 from 3FG. Second half they chucked up I believe 15 3FGs only making I believe 4...? And shot well below 50%. Seemed like first half strategy may not have been a clear cut W, but at least had them leading the majority of the half and tied at the break.

    Also, i have to disagree with a previous comment, Blazek cannot really be criticized for taking a shot in a crucial moment. He's the best shooter on the team so really there's no one else I'd go to besides him. Not blaming game on Brandon, but his missed FT hurt as well. He makes both of those, cut it to a 1 pt game, foul Cal U immediately. Get ball back with 6-7 secs left and try to make something happen. Although CJ has made threes before, he's not really the first go-to guy I'd pick when it comes to a three point shot.but when there's 3 secs left or whatever there was, whoever has it has got to take the shot and CJ did.

  9. Why can't he be criticized for taking a 35-footer (as described by Sean Amicucci) while apparently being well guarded? And the coaches again revert to the same old play down the stretch. Same ol' same ol'.

    1. I meant criticized for the loss because of the shot. He literally had no other options. No one else was open and he attempted to drive but couldn't. So he made his move and got a good look a the hoop and shot. He was well guarded, which prevented him from doing anything besides the 3, but the shot itself was a good look.

    2. That's where coaching comes in to help draw him up something besides a 35 foot shot

    3. I would want Adam taking the last shot every day of the week...and twice on Sunday. His shot was looking DAMN good during the game, he had 2 or 3 3s that for whatever reason went in and right back out. Just wasn't GU's night last night.

  10. Lots of quotes from Jerry Slocum and a few compliments of him in this article shared with me by Gannon fan JRD.

  11. What happened to Smith? Only 3 shots?

  12. We all know Blazek has hit big shots during this entire stretch run. I don't see any need to second guess last night's attempt at the end of the game. When it's all said and done, he'll be first team, All-PSAC. From what I've heard, it was a decent look, with decent space created. Earlier, he had 2 big shots that were half-way down, that barely missed. Any team would be comfortable with their 1st team All-leaguer taking the final shot.

    After last year's 7 loss season, we've learned pretty much that the 6-7 loss area is pretty much where the NCAA draws the line on bids (except league winners). As Jim has noted before, a loss last night probably closes the (small) window we had on getting an NCAA bid......unless we win the league playoff.

    No news here: the playoffs have already started for us. If we keep Smith in the line-up (I think last night was the first game he was in real foul trouble since he has been starter), this team can beat anyone (and everyone).

    They will have to.

    Don't count them out just yet.

  13. Looking at the stat sheet for the first time -- what sticks out to me:

    GU outshot Cal 55% to 37% in the first half, but the game was tied.
    In the second half, Cal shot 55% -- we're one of the national leaders in FG percent defense, so our defense wasn't as strong.
    Cal was 15/17 on FTs, we were only 9/15. We are in the top 20 nationally in FT percentage, so we did not play up to our strength.

    Smith took only three shots. As a mid-year insertion into the lineup, he probalby snuck on some teams scouting reports. Not any more.

    Oh well, it was a tough, but not a devastating loss. Conference road games are always difficult. But it does close some of the margin for error. We have to at the very worst, split with SRU and IUP to have a shot at second.

    1. Didn't watch/listen/follow the game (I could on the CalVulcans youtube channel but no interest). Curious how it was that Gibran fouled out THAT early? Why was he even in the game w/ 4 fouls? Seems that he's had the best 3-point shot the last 8 games, and I'd want to make sure I have him as a shooter - or oh, I don't know, perhaps Tee Talley.... oy.

  14. While listening to the game it sounded like California changed their defense at half and also had the big man back in the middle. This forced us outside and we seemed to have no adjustments to off set their changes. I don't blame Blazek for firing up a 35 footer I blame the coaching staff that is all he had available. Where is a play to free him up?

  15. For all the Blazek taking the last shot proponents, can you please name other times that you can remember that strategy working, other than the tying bucket vs IUP?

  16. For all the people who think that Gannon even has a SHOT of the Atlantic Region, I really do feel bad for you - your bubble will be burst. Here's how the NCAA D2 modified tourney selections:

    Based off that, someone did a ss breaking down all of D2 men's teams ( & how it would shake down in the Atlantic Region.

    Atlantic Region:
    West Liberty
    East Stroudsburg
    Indiana (Pa.)
    Johnson C. Smith
    West Virginia Wesleyan
    Fairmont State
    Slippery Rock
    Glenville State
    Lincoln (Pa.)
    West Chester
    Elizabeth City State

    That's 16th (and 100th overall in D2, mind you). Gannon men's basketball...middling with the mediocre.

    Unless the men were to run the table to get the automatic berth, and manage to beat East Stroudsburg on their home court (and likely that would be in the semi-final round), there's no chance there's NCAA playoffs - again.

    1. to agree with your analysis as it has been my thoughts for the last month. Although the team has had a nice run, the idea of them making the NCAAs was more or less a pipe dream. My reaction hasn't changed over the past couple of years......the men's program is in a cycle of being mediocre. Rather that is the coach's fault, funding issues, lack of Administration support, I really do not know, but the program certainly is spinning its wheels and getting no traction.

    2. One thing that I notice ... Lots of teams in the top 10 have 6-7 losses. Someone is going to make the NCAA's this year with at least 8 losses, probably nine. Gannon is only 0.7 points away from the eighth spot.

      Gannon is 16th out of 42 teams.

    3. Also look at the ranks of the teams Gannon won/lost in Atlantic

      Team Win/Loss (Rank Nationally)
      CalU W/L (189)
      Seton Hill L (132)
      SRU W (81)
      Hurst L (91)
      Shepherd L (39)
      Mansfield W (284)
      Lock Haven W (113)
      Bloomsburg L-OT (173)
      ESU L (7)
      WCU L (85)
      Cheyney W (299)
      Clarion W (293)
      IUP W-OT (20)
      Boro W (240)
      UPJ W (172)

      so going by that, they really only have 3 "bad" losses in Region. The others are teams that are right around them or way above them. And some impressive wins.

  17. Mediocre, horrible, excellent, whatever... it's still a good time. Yeah the turnover-laced losses are a headache and the last second losses are paralyzing, but that's part of the game. Just as the upsetting losses to subpar teams and the upsets of nationally ranked teams are. Regardless of what the records are, vs. Hurst and Boro are always entertaining.

    Obviously I want them in the tournament as much as the next person, but I also like seeing the potential. We knew after last year there would be some growing pains with Blanton, Furno, Oscar, TJ and Rob Wilson gone. They are showing the potential and are only losing Jabs, Brandon CJ and Roger to graduation. If anyone were to "leave" I would guess Talley and/or any of the red shirts so nothing major there (and that's nothing against Talley... but he's not playing so it's not taking away anything). Also, look at Roger. He was in same position as Talley last year... he came back and, for me at least, about quadrupled expectations! Talley could do the same.

    Like Mark Cuban said when he addressed a protesting group of disgruntled Mavs season ticket holders "If you have a continuing problem, then quit continuing to come back".

    1. If it was a good time, Corey, people would be at the games. They're aren't. And they're pretty quiet. The game vs. IUP was the loudest I've heard that gym for a men's game in years. And still not as loud as NUMEROUS women's games in the same span. It's not fun seeing no scoring, seeing sloppy inbounds plays at the end of close games, predicting that the opposing team would get off a shot at the end of games b/c of turnovers.

      As for your comments about quit coming back, you just proved a lot of peoples' point around here - since, well, people don't come back anymore. I don't stay for men's games. It's so disheartening to see what the program has become. I only stay in support of the students, when I do.

  18. And the latest from the "Any Given Day in the Atlantic Region" department:

    Previously undefeated West Liberty goes down against 4-11 Notre Dame (OH). Yeesh.

  19. I agree that it would be nice for GU to make the NCAA's and it WILL be extremely difficult to get there this year.

    As for the issue of GU basketball, I also follow both programs for entertainment purposes. I really enjoy when they do well and make the playoffs, but I go fro the entertainment value. Would I still go if they weren't competitive? Hard to say, but I'd like to think I would.

    As for the Atlantic Region, did anyone notice that West Liberty lost to Notre Dame of Ohio (yes, the one from Ohip, not the one from Indiana) by 2 @ home last night. WL scored 14 points in the last 2 minutes of the first half to lead by 10 (57-47) then suffered through a dismal second half where they shot 14% below their first half percentage and only attempted 2 free throws (after shooting 11 in the first half) and managing just 30 points in the second stanza. Every coach in the Region will want a look at that tape to see what ND did to stop the mighty Hilltoppers, but I'm guessing they may have stopped themselves somewhat. The only thing the box score shows is that ND didn't try to match WL in a three point shooting contest, hoisting up just 14 while WL attempted 39. ND only played 6 guys and limited their turnovers to only 10 against the WL full-time full court pressure. Maybe taking care of the ball and getting good shots is the way to go against WL. I still make them the Region favorites, given that they'll likely play the Regional at home

    1. I'd like to see GU/WLU play. I wouldn't expect a win, but I would anticipate WLU not playing "their" game. Gannon's D and overachieving rebounding mixed with their slower play I believe would give WLU fits. If they chucked up 39 threes (unless they made at least 30 of them), you'd have to give Gannon benefit of the doubt they're getting the rebound and limiting WLU scoring chances. I could see a game in the 70s... 77-74 kinda thing.

    2. I was really hoping for this last year when we had a shot to be the 8-seed. Tournament jitters, plus a defense that they haven't seen before (particularly after playing in the up & down WVIAC) could have made for a v-e-r-y interesting game. Not that it would have been my prediction -- they could just have easily overwhelmed us with a barrage of 3's like they did for everyone else, but it's too bad we didn't get a shot.

  20. Let’s also not forget that there are 42 teams in the Atlantic Region.

    In the Great Lakes (now Midwest) region, there were fewer than 30 teams (just the GLIAC and the GLVC). Ten-loss teams get at-large bids in the Midwest.

    The Great Lakes was a much easier region to make the NCAA’s, but harder to get through because of the powerful teams at the top. It’s much harder to get a bid in the Atlantic, but an easier region to get through if you get in.

    1. That's not true. The GMAC is also a part of the Midwest region, a conference which has 10 teams currently. So the Midwest Region has 40 teams, with 2 conferences with automatic bids. Meanwhile, the Atlantic Region has 42 with 2 conferences with automatic bids, and the MEC not.

  21. I wonder if plans for a website to fire the West Liberty coaching staff are in the works.

    1. If they had lost the same games that Gannon has, there's no doubt. People are IRATE about the loss.

  22. Here's some great news. Glad to see him excelling on the court and in the classroom:

    Gannon's Blazek Named to Capital One Academic All-District First Team; Moves to National Ballot for All-America Consideration

  23. It's time to congratulate Blazek, Batts and Papich, these three student athletes exemplify what college athletics are all about.