I'm pessimistic when I watch my team, always thinking the opponent is going to make a run to break the game open. It can be a miserable existence because some games I don't enjoy until the final 30 seconds. But as I watched more and more of the live video feed of Gannon's 67-62 win at #7 IUP Saturday night, I couldn't help but think, "Gannon is the better team. They're stronger inside, much better at the point, and competitive everywhere else. Gannon deserves to win this game."
Knights moved into sole possession of first and knocked off the Crimson
Hawks despite 12 Indiana three-pointers (to Gannon's 4) and turning the
ball over 18 times (to IUP's 15). Furthermore, reigning PSAC player of
the week Raphell Thomas-Edwards scored only 2 points in just 8 minutes
of play. Gannon wasn't hitting on all cylinders, but they still won --
and looked like the better team in the process.
Blazek was wonderful once again (15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4
steals in another 40-minute effort), but the Knights are far from a
one-man show. Multiple players have been stepping up, and this time it
was Roger Livramento. He entered the contest averaging just 7 ppg but
blistered IUP with a dream stat line: 32 minutes, 25 points, 6 rebounds,
9-of-10 from the field, and 7-of-7 from the line. And he wasn't just
lucky; Livramento was clearly the best big on the floor. Can somebody
please create a "Livramentomania" banner for senior night Wednesday?
would have thought 6 weeks ago when Gannon fell to 6-7 that we'd be
looking forward to the first regional ranking on Feb. 19? Speaking of
that, here's how the expected top-ranked teams in the region performed this week:
1. West Liberty - W vs. #5 Shepherd (106-97!), L at #8 Fairmont State
2. East Stroudsburg - W at Shippensburg, W vs. Bloomsburg
3. IUP - W at California, L vs. #7 Gannon
4. Charleston - W at UVa-Wise
5. Shepherd - L at #1 West Liberty, W vs. Wheeling Jesuit
6. Livingstone - W vs. #10 Johnson C. Smith
7. Gannon - W vs. Edinboro, W at #3 IUP
8. Fairmont State - L vs. #11 Glenville State, W vs. #1 West Liberty
9. Slippery Rock - L at Mercyhurst
10. Johnson C. Smith - L at #6 Livingstone
11. Glenville State - W at #8 Fairmont State, W at Urbana, W vs. Notre Dame (Oh.)
12. Mercyhurst - W vs. Slippery Rock, W vs. Edinboro
13. Lock Haven - L vs. #15 West Chester, L at Mansfield
14. Lincoln (Pa.) - W vs. Elizabeth City State
15. West Chester - W at #13 Lock Haven, W vs. Shippensburg
This week's #10 Johnson C. Smith at #6 Livingstone game has been postponed due to weather.
The Knights are in first now, but have to finish
the regular season strong -- no let downs like Lock Haven, 0-2 since
downing PSAC East leader East Stroudsburg last week.