Saturday, February 15, 2014

Knights Shock #7 IUP, But Don't Call It An Upset

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."

The 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.

Adam 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?

Who 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.


26 comments:

  1. Just saw this on the PSAC website ...

    Congrats to former Gannon volleyball player Karen (Fetsko) Hjerpe for being named Athletic Director at Cal. I interviewed her for a story in the Gannon Knight student newspaper back in 1990, and she was one of the most enjoyable people I ever sat down with.

    http://www.psacsports.org/news/2014/2/13/GEN_0213141631.aspx

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    1. I've gotten to chat with her several times over the past few years in some of Cal's trips to GU, and she is still very personable and appreciative of her time at Gannon.

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  2. Anthony Lytle haunted his old team this afternoon, hitting a shot just before the buzzer as Mercyhurst beat Edinboro, 62-60. Only 309 fans in attendance for the local rivalry.

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    1. You have to be more specific Jim, seeing as how Lytle has played for nearly every team in the PSAC west.

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    2. That made me laugh out loud. Well played, Mr. Willow.

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  3. Good news. Lady Knights post 73-64 win to keep pace with EUP, which downed MU by 3. Boro half game lead for West.

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  4. WOW!!!! What a win! I am both stunned and thrilled. Did not think that we stood much of a shot, especially after IUP built an eight-point lead in the second half. I really didn't think that GU could play from behind against the Crimson Hawks (and never getting too far behind was the big reason behind the home OT win in January).

    If my memory is correct, Gannon went on a 30-12 run to go from a 42-34 deficit to a 64-54 lead. That was some of the best execution on both ends of the floor that I've ever seen from a Gannon team.

    Who would have thought this was possible on January 8, when we were 6-7 and the temperature outside was -10? Amazing.

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  5. Hate to say I told you so but I told you so, Gannon would beat IUP on the road.

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  6. Unbelievable...unbelievable. At 6-7 I viewed this season as almost a loss cause. I would like to take back my words now. Just got back from IUP, that place was LOUD during the game. Credit to the guys for playing thru their struggles early in the 2nd half and finding a way to win! Rogario played the game of his life.

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  7. So pumped about this win! This team went from fans wanting their coach fired to becoming one of the hottest teams in all of Division II. Insane. Lets get these two wins and win the PSAC West. Who would of thought.

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  8. Anybofy know what the traffic's like on that "Dump Reilly" website now?

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    1. I heard some angry IUP fans have started a site called PromotePiotrowicz.com, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lose Lombardi Inc.

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  9. Here's the link to an excellent writeup on the Gannon/IUP game from the Indiana Gazette. It includes observations by Reilly about Gannon's success I hadn't seen in print before.

    http://www.indianagazette.com/news/indiana-sports/iup-mens-basketball-golden-knights-silence-hawks,19343074/

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    1. You did not include the hyperlink arrrrrrggghhhhhh

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    2. The Blogger program doesn't allow hyperlinks in the comments section. You can either copy and paste the URL I pasted or just go to www.IndianaGazette.com. It's on the newspaper's home page right now.

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  10. To the members of the Gannon faithful who travelled to the game, a big thank you. I am certain it helped both teams secure their important wins and remain in the thick of things.

    To members of the mens and womens teams, you made all of us proud in your efforts. To win both down there is an outstanding accomplishment.

    To ALL Gannon fans, Wednesday is the last regular season home game; in other words, SENIOR NIGHT. Let's show up loud and proud to honor the seniors and continue to support both teams in their pursuit of PSAC crowns and beyond.

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  11. Interesting, we have not heard from the supposed creator of that website in 3 or 4 weeks. I hope his health is OK...(he was in hospital).

    But, in any case, he is messing a heck of a run.

    I have no axe to grind with Coach Lombardi at IUP......even though he has been a fan favorite in the past on this site to take over the Gannon position.

    Having said that, he got out-coached badly last night. Gannon out-hustled IUP on every 50-50 play, it seems. Not only that, but, his "gamble" to go offense/defense with ex-Cheney guard Norfleet blew up in his face with the called 3rd foul mid 1st half. It's almost as if he was in panic mode attempting to deal with Gannon's stifling defense. In other words, he KNEW that he needed Norfleet in the first half after the called 2nd foul. The game was closely called anyway, I thought (wrongly) Norfleet would be benched for the rest of the half after that 2nd foul.

    That strategy backfired badly for Coach Lombardi.

    Also, fans were instructed to keep totally silent until IUP scored their 10th point. Only then were they instructed to begin screaming uncontrollably.

    Playing right into Gannon's strengths, I don't think IUP scored their 10th point until the 13 minute mark (or thereabouts) in the first half.

    Regarding Livramento, I'm calling last evening one of the best games from a Gannon big man since the Summors era. One shot was missed the entire evening, and truthfully, I don't even remember it. He is flat-out tougher than any IUP big man. His touch from 8 to 10 feet has been incredible all year. IUP was helpless to defend him, and, the looks on Coach Lombardi during the game confirmed it.

    The thing about this Gannon team (and a lot of Coach Reilly's teams) is that they are not pretty. And, in an over-used cliché this time of year, oftentimes they do NOT pass the eye-test.

    It doesn't matter. Game in and game out, they force teams out of their own comfort zone. And, most importantly, they are playing their best basketball at precisely the right time in the season. As fans, that is all we can ask for.

    Bring on Clarion in what hopefully will be a packed Senior Night at the Audi!



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  12. Gu last regular season game is the 22nd. If gu finishes in the top 2 of the West they're next game wouldn't be til March 4th. That's a long time between games. SRU MU and IUP all play thier last games on the 26th and two of the three would playa playoff game on March 1st. With how well GU is playing that layoff between games could really hurt us.

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  13. Yeah, GU should send a Jimmy Fallon-style Thank You card to the geniuses in theIUP promotions department that decided to run the "Silent Night" promotion on the occasion of the pivotal Division game of the season. I can hear the meeting now "Let's see. Does anyone know how we can take our largest-ever crowd compketely out of the game for the first part of the game? I have it-let's tell the crowd not to cheer until we score our 10th point. What a great idea."

    I thought that helped set the tone for the game and allowed GUto get into their comfort zone. When IUP's bigs decided they didn't feel like working hard enough to defend GU's relentless inside game, no number of 3's from the Hawks could make a difference. I thought GU's intensity and effort far outshone a rather lackluster IUP effort, and that, along with GU's more physical play, was the difference.

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  14. Updated performance indicator rankings. GU is tied for 5th with Shepard.
    RANK Team Region Conference Record Win% P.I. O.W% O.O.W%
    12 East Stroudsburg Atlantic Pennsylvania State Athletic 22-1 95.65% 16.17 41.79% 50.59%
    15 West Liberty Atlantic Mountain East 19-2 90.48% 15.90 45.35% 53.43%
    21 Indiana (Pa.) Atlantic Pennsylvania State Athletic 20-3 86.96% 15.30 44.80% 51.67%
    39 Charleston Atlantic Mountain East 16-6 72.73% 14.73 53.23% 51.88%
    49 Shepherd Atlantic Mountain East 17-7 70.83% 14.08 50.37% 52.01%
    49 Gannon Atlantic Pennsylvania State Athletic 16-8 66.67% 14.08 55.27% 48.53%
    64 Livingstone Atlantic Central Intercollegiate Athletic 14-6 70.00% 13.65 48.25% 50.97%
    78 Fairmont State Atlantic Mountain East 14-8 63.64% 13.36 53.43% 51.05%
    81 Glenville State Atlantic Mountain East 15-8 65.22% 13.30 47.90% 51.56%
    83 West Chester Atlantic Pennsylvania State Athletic 17-7 70.83% 13.25 43.40% 50.27%
    86 Mercyhurst Atlantic Pennsylvania State Athletic 14-9 60.87% 13.22 53.74% 48.62%
    91 Lincoln (Pa.) Atlantic Central Intercollegiate Athletic 17-7 70.83% 13.13 43.24% 51.07%
    101 Wheeling Jesuit Atlantic Mountain East 14-9 60.87% 12.83 50.54% 51.12%
    106 Slippery Rock Atlantic Pennsylvania State Athletic 15-8 65.22% 12.74 47.50% 51.21%

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  15. This is what I like about this team, you never know which player is going to add a little extra to the mix. Go Gannon Go.

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  16. Some national ranks of note:
    (Mens)
    Metro State and former Great Lakes Gannon foe, Drury, remain #1 & #2 respectively.
    East Stroudsburg cracks the top 5 at #5 (moving up from 6th)
    High-octane West Liberty dropped out of the top 5; moving 3rd to 6th
    Former GU'ers Stephen Battle/Bubby Johnson and their FSC Mocs moved up 2 spaces to #8
    IUP dropped out of the top 10 for the first time this season; 7th to 12th
    Former GLIAC foe, Lake Superior, entered the poll last week for first time this year at #20 and moved up two spots to 18th
    Lastly...
    Former GLIAC powerhouse, Findlay, is slowing crawling back to the ranks as they are now the second-highest of other teams receiving votes.

    (womens)
    Bentley and Colorado Mesa, both 23-0, remain #1 & #2, respectively
    Gannon only fell 2 spots, 3rd to 5th, after their not-so-pretty loss to Boro
    Speaking of Boro, they are finally getting some recognition as they are now the 5th highest team under other teams receiving votes (they are 38 points away from cracking Top 25)
    Fellow PSAC'er, Bloomsburg, jumped 4 spots to 16th
    Both Wayne State's dropped: NE team 3 spots to 8th while the MI team 2 spots to 21st

    Lastly, with nothing to do with rankings, wonder how many times it's occurred that a GU women's player and men's player both eclipsed 1,000 points in the same season and both as underclassmen...? Congrats to Blake and Blazek on great careers that are far from over!

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    1. Oh, also, did the Ashland women have all seniors the year they were tremendous? Because they aren't even in the top 50 for D2 Women's and are barely relevant in the GLIAC.

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  17. Good to see our friend Everett Wensel on the front page of today's local section wearing his favorite colors, maroon and gold.

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  18. Everett was at his best down at IUP during both games!

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  19. So I would assume that on the IUP Crazies twitter feed when they were picking fun of "the kid with his face painted and wearing a silly hat", it was probably EW. It was interesting though... any talk of him ceased with about 7 or so mins to go in the game.... (there wasn't much to begin with, but things trickled in here and there; totally ceased at about the 7 minute mark). Then someone else added a comment with about 30 seconds to play "I'd rather be wearing face paint and a silly hat as a fan for the winning team rather than be a fan of IUP right now".

    NICE! Atta boy, EW! Keep it going!

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