Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Composed Knights Bash The Boro

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 right play.

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 momentum.

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 game.

* 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 floor.

* 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 this week:
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.


  1. Here's an update on the performance indicator standings that were mentioned awhile back.
    RANK Team Region Conference Record Win% P.I. O.W% O.O.W%
    10 West Liberty Atlantic Mountain East 18-1 94.74% 16.05 43.02% 54.16%
    12 East Stroudsburg Atlantic Pennsylvania State Athletic 20-1 95.24% 16.05 42.29% 50.72%
    15 Indiana (Pa.) Atlantic Pennsylvania State Athletic 19-2 90.48% 15.81 43.76% 51.86%
    38 Charleston Atlantic Mountain East 15-6 71.43% 14.62 54.33% 51.67%
    56 Shepherd Atlantic Mountain East 16-6 72.73% 14.05 48.14% 52.65%
    60 Livingstone Atlantic Central Intercollegiate Athletic 13-6 68.42% 13.74 48.21% 50.99%
    65 Gannon Atlantic Pennsylvania State Athletic 14-8 63.64% 13.64 55.06% 48.50%
    75 Fairmont State Atlantic Mountain East 13-7 65.00% 13.40 51.19% 52.05%
    82 Slippery Rock Atlantic Pennsylvania State Athletic 15-7 68.18% 13.23 46.56% 51.02%
    84 Johnson C. Smith Atlantic Central Intercollegiate Athletic 13-8 61.90% 13.19 48.91% 49.53%
    87 Glenville State Atlantic Mountain East 13-8 61.90% 13.05 51.06% 50.84%
    91 Mercyhurst Atlantic Pennsylvania State Athletic 12-9 57.14% 12.95 54.32% 48.60%
    95 Lock Haven Atlantic Pennsylvania State Athletic 13-7 65.00% 12.90 48.20% 48.41%
    97 Lincoln (Pa.) Atlantic Central Intercollegiate Athletic 15-7 68.18% 12.86 43.80% 50.51%
    97 West Chester Atlantic Pennsylvania State Athletic 15-7 68.18% 12.86 43.56% 50.42%
    99 Wheeling Jesuit Atlantic Mountain East 13-8 61.90% 12.81 49.02% 51.41%
    103 Fayetteville State Atlantic Central Intercollegiate Athletic 12-7 63.16% 12.74 45.26% 50.79%
    Gannon is currently 7th. So we do have a shot at the big dance. Can't afford to lose to Boro, UPJOHN, and clarion. 3-1 in our last four games and were in. But looking at the rankings we have a shot at moving up as high as 5th.

  2. I thought last year's 22-7 team was an NCAA caliber team. And, I think this year's team is as well.

    We simply have to play 'em one game at a time and see what happens. I have viewed the last month's games as playoff games anyway. So far, so good!

    Bring on the 'Boro!

  3. if we could manage to sweep the season and finish 4-0 (starting tonight)... I honestly see almost no way Gannon wouldn't make the NCAA playoffs. They would have to lost first round of PSACs by about 75+ points haha

    If they go 3-1 (with the loss being @ IUP), I would think making a solid run to the PSAC semis should be good enough, but making it to the championshiop would secure a spot. But who knows. I hate regional rankings... Especially how the first set comes out with like a week left in the season!

  4. Note on former GU players

    Stephen Battle, Bubby Johnson and their sixth-ranked Florida Southern College Mocs lost it's second straight road game to fall to 19-2 overall and 8-2 in SSC play. The first loss was Jan 29th with an OT letdown at Rollins. Then they followed that up with a blowout win at home and then an embarrassment at Barry, 94-76.

  5. Good win. I have to give props to Reilly. This team was 7-7 and people wanted him fired, including me, but Reilly and his team have come up clutch being on the hot seat. Won 9 of our last 10, second in the psac west, and currently 7th in the region. Great job bouncing back after a slow start to the season. If we beat IUP on the road we should definitely be a lock for the ncaa(assuming we get it done vs UPJ and Clarion). For the psac playoffs I would much rather have to play mercyhurst than slippery rock. MU beat slippery rock so the chances of that happening seem a lot more likely. But again props to Reilly and his staff and this team.

    1. Yup, we've gone from 14-12 at best to a decent shot at an at-large bid.

      Pretty straightforward win tonight. The EU 8-0 run at the end of the first half made it a little more interesting that it should, but the result was never in doubt. Not that Edinboro put up much of a fight, but it was nice to see the offense clicking. And when was the last time TWO Gannon players had double-doubles in points / rebounds in the same game. RTE and Porter both had double-doubles.

      Game on Saturday will be huge. We'll have to play our best and it may still not be enough. I bet most of us expected a month or so ago that we'd be fighting for a PSAC bid and not for first place. Hope that it will be streamed on-line. Does anyone know?

    2. Repeating: After last year's 22-7 team, I don't know the parameters of what goes into any type of at-large bid. Hopefully, BIG win(s) over IUP and the Rock would help the cause, but, who knows??

      Gannon simply wore Edinboro out last night. Credit must be given to the superb condition and strength of this entire team. Honestly, is any PSAC team any tougher than this one in terms of being purely physical?

      Looks like any swoon IUP may have been in is now gone. Consider Saturday's game as a playoff game.


      Overheard: Boro (ladies) consider Elite-8 to be THEIR home court. Let's hope the next game, if there is one, has a different outcome.

    3. I know that Boro, as a whole, is upset with the situation. (From what I've heard Mercyhurst is as well, just not making a fuss over it... understandably).

      Edinboro feels it should be "Erie" hosting the Elite 8, not just Gannon. Which is what it actually is, but Gannon is the big team tied to it. I can kind of understand Edinboro's stance, however, with as much as Gannon did to help get it... they should be tied to it.

  6. Hurst ousts Rock and IUP clobbers Cal. Yikes! Pretty tense up top.

    GU v IUP game is beyond BIG now!!

  7. IUP made sure the didn't lose to Cal again, blasting the Vulcans by 38 last night at Cal

  8. wasn't at the game (followed stats online).... watched the highlights though.. on the one play, did Livramento throw down a one handed slamma jamma? Or did he just lay it up emphatically, having to maneuver around the defender?

    You can't really tell in the video because of how quick it moves and doesn't catch the whole thing. It appears he throws down, but given the crowd reaction (or lack thereof) I'm thinking he just laid it up. Anyone answer this for me?

  9. Renting a van and heading south with a group guys to cheer on our ladies and the men of GU.

  10. All of IUP's recent home games have been streamed live on tne internet and there is a link on the Mens Basketball home page that appears to indicate that Saturday's game will be shown there as well.

    As for Gannon hosting the Elite 8, any other school that is unhappy about it doesn't know how the process works. At every level of NCAA playoff, there is a host school that has put together a bid to host, which includes everything from selling tickets to providing manpower. In this case, Gannon, not Edinboro or Mercyhurst, entered the bid, won the hosting rights, and is overseeing putting the tournament together. So, the other local schools can complain if they so desire, but Gannon IS hosting because tgey've been doing and will do all the work.

  11. Observor: You are correct. The way I understand it, Gannon submitted the bid, put up the staff, the preparation, the organization, the work, put together sponsors, funds, etc. Edinboro and Mercyhurst didn’t submit the bid and have done nothing as part of the event.

  12. I don't understand Edinboro's position at all. What exactly do they have to get upset about? Gannon submitted the bid, Gannon is running the event, and Gannon has cash on the line in case ticket sales are lower than expected. All they have to do is show up.

    I can certainly see the opportunity that Edinboro has ... who wouldn't want the Elite Eight 20 minutes from your campus? I'd be thrilled at the opportunity they have (or that Gannon gave them). Why do we have to draw the line at Erie County? ANY school within a couple of hours of Erie should be thrilled. For example, I bet that Ashland or Cal will draw a nice crowd if they make the Elite Eight. Should we say that Western Pennsylvania is hosting the Elite 8?

    Look at the crowd that Emporia State drew in 2010 when they beat us and won it all. They had a nice crowd and it was almost four hours from campus.

  13. Remember McWurst held the ladies D1 hockey Frozen Four. It was all their work. They didn't get in and it was still a huge success. I was at that one as a sports fan.
    Also att Spingfield, Mass when our men went and trips to both Lady Knights runs in ST Joe, Mo & San Antonio, Tx. The Erie Ins is about twice the size of either women's tourneys. There are enough fans in this area to make it a success. Think we can get 3K without GU and 4K+ if we make it.
    Its really a great event as each team will probably do a school visit or charity work along with time for maybe a day at Splash Lagoon. will be a great time for all.

  14. I thought the context of the comment I heard is that Edinboro (ladies) are simply using the Elite 8 in Erie as a rallying point for THEM.

  15. I had heard that Boro has put bids in before and rejected, so Gannon getting it set them off. I don't know the validity of it, but that was what I had heard and the reason why Boro was upset about it being boasted about Gannon.

  16. McComb Fieldhouse is a pit. IUP & Cal u are way better. So was ( I Believe it was held at St Mary's college
    arena) in San Antonio and the St Joe's Civic Arena seats @3200. (hosted by SW Mo St)
    The boro wanted it, Ha ha. One hotel in the area all fold-up wooden seats. The NCAA biggies aren't coming to a large high school gym. If the boro held it at the EIA ok but not in the pit.

    1. I believe that was the plan for Boro.. to have it at Erie Ins Arena. I don't think anyone from any of the 3 local schools are naive enough to believe their gym could host it haha

    2. I also would assume that any past Boro bid was for then-Tullio Arena. The Elite Eight is typically in an "arena" setting. The newly refurbished Erie Insurance Arena was great timing for Gannon's bid.

      But it would have been great if Boro hosted Elite 8 in Erie in 2010 or 2013. :-)

      Heck, if support is great for the women's Elite Eight, it could only help a future bid for the women's Elite Eight (or a men's Elite Eight)


    This is what the GU Men are going to be in for from the IUP fans tomorrow. I know there are going to be a handful/a few Gannon fans traveling down for the game tomorrow. If the GU Men beat IUP tomorrow, it may be the MOST satisifying win as a fan that I have witnessed in person.