There were several highlights -- dunks, steals, putbacks, and fast breaks -- during Gannon's 71-54 shellacking of Edinboro Wednesday night. By far and away my favorite were two possessions 10 minutes into the first half with Gannon holding just a 20-15 lead. EUP's Jonathan Logan had pulled his team within 5 on a breakaway slam, and the Scots were feeling good. On the ensuing Gannon possession, Will Marrow knocked the ball away from Adam Blazek, who then recovered the ball with about 15 seconds on the shot clock. As Blazek reset the offense near mid-court, Marrow talked a dumpster full of trash -- jawing and shaking his head at Blazek, daring Gannon's best player to make a move.
Unfazed, Blazek ran the offense, got the ball
back between the circles, and drained a three over Marrow as the shot
clock expired. Blazek jogged back on defense and had a few words for
Marrow when they met near the three-point line. Seconds later, A'Darius
Porter deflected a pass, Blazek scooped it up and hit another three over
Marrow, pushing GU to a 26-15 advantage. After Edinboro called timeout,
Blazek looked for Marrow whose head was down and shoulders slumped
walking back to his huddle. Blazek didn't say anything this time. He
didn't need to.
That's an example of the composure
shown by the Knights and was a major reason they annihilated the Scots.
Instead of Blazek losing emotional control and forcing a play when
Marrow dared him, the junior guard read the defense and executed the
Here's another example of Edinboro losing
its poise and the Knights remaining calm. The Scots got back in the game
with an 11-0 run that stretched from the end of the first half to the
beginning of the second. But that streak ended when (literally) Fighting
Scot guard Jonny Marsh was whistled for a ridiculous intentional foul
at the 19:21 mark. Marsh grabbed Blazek by the leg and lifted it a good
two feet off the ground. It was a senseless play that stopped Edinboro's
The Knights are focused every minute of
every game mainly because of the discipline John Reilly demands. Up 22
late in the second half, you might think Riles would lean back in his
chair and accept a couple sloppy plays. Instead, he was shouting one of
his players off the ball, "Get in a stance! Get in a stance!"
I don't know if Gannon will win Saturday's epic PSAC West showdown at IUP, but I know they'll be ready to compete.
Other thoughts related to the game:
* I don't think anybody predicted the Knights would win 9-of-10 games. But here we are.
I'm not sure whether I should compliment Mercyhurst or chide Edinboro
about this stat. Against the Lakers, Gannon secured only one offensive
rebound for the game, zero in the first half. Versus the Scots, the
Knights corralled 18 offensive boards, 8 in the first 8 minutes of the
* Former Gannon opponent Urbana is 0-22 this season.
When I shared that stat with a co-worker who is a coach and former
player, he said, "Can you imagine what their practices are like this
time of the year?" I'm guessing Edinboro's aren't much better. The Scots
made a slew of fundamental mistakes Wednesday on both ends of the
* Or maybe their practices were like the Cleveland Cavs with Andrew Bynum. What a mess.
As McCoy details in the comments section of this post, it appears
Gannon is in the mix to be ranked in the Atlantic Region's top 10 when
the poll is released Feb. 19. Here's how the teams have fared so far
1. West Liberty - W vs. #5 Shepherd (106-97!)
2. East Stroudsburg - W at Shippensburg
3. IUP - W at California
4. Charleston - DNP
5. Shepherd - L at #1 West Liberty
6. Livingstone - DNP
7. Gannon - W vs. Edinboro
8. Fairmont State - L vs. #11 Glenville State
9. Slippery Rock - L at Mercyhurst
10. Johnson C. Smith - DNP
11. Glenville State - W at #8 Fairmont State, W at Urbana
12. Mercyhurst - W vs. Slippery Rock
13. Lock Haven - L vs. #15 West Chester
14. Lincoln (Pa.) - W vs. Elizabeth City State
15. West Chester - W at #13 Lock Haven
This week's #10 Johnson C. Smith at #6 Livingstone game has been postponed due to weather.