I said in a previous post that we Gannon fans had a better chance of seeing God than Clarion winning at the Hammermill Wednesday, and for once I proved to be correct. The Golden Knights completely outclassed the Golden Eagles, 71-54. I'll say more about the game later, but wanted to look ahead for a little bit first.
Studying the first regional rankings with Gannon holding the #6 spot,
it seems to me that if Gannon wins at UPJ Saturday, at home in the PSAC
Quarterfinals, and then on a neutral court for the PSAC Semifinals,
they will for certain earn an at-large NCAA berth. Lose Saturday and in
the quarters and they are done. Any other variation of wins and losses
puts them on the bubble at best.
I still can't believe
the NCAAs are a possibility. In January, I was lamenting to a friend
that the winters in Erie are tough and a good Gannon team gets me
through, but that would have to wait until next year. I couldn't have
been more wrong. Ten wins in 11 games later, I just realized there's a
6-foot snow drift in my front yard. Where did that come from?
Random thoughts on the game:
The Gannon Pep Band played the national anthem Wednesday, causing every
Gannon fan I know to ask, "We have a pep band?" They played the anthem
then didn't stick around for the game. Are they redshirting this season?
* Clarion did not secure its first rebound until 5:38 into the game. Gannon had 8 by that point in the contest.
Because of the early advantage on the boards and the scoreboard, I
commented to Jim LeCorchick, "Blazek might get a rest tonight and play
only 39 minutes," to which he responded, "A rest for him is
39-and-a-half minutes." Blazek played 38 minutes and 18 seconds.
How can your team trail for most of the game by 20+ points, lose by 17,
but still have 4 timeouts left at the conclusion of the game like
Clarion did? Not sure I've ever seen that before.
* I also
had never seen an opposing coach complain to an official after his team
benefited from a call. After A'Darius Porter was whistled for a
ticky-tack trraveling call in the second half, I believe I overheard
Clarion coach Dr. Ron Righter say sarcastically to the referee who made
the call, "Way to keep them honest." The official looked completely
puzzled after hearing that.
* It was great to see
Gannon honor Kirsten Reilly for her service to the team for the past 9
years. The only downside was that is made me feel incredibly old to hear
she's attending college next year. I recall meeting her as a toddler
after one of Gannon's NCAA basketball games in Owensboro, Ky. when John
Reilly coached Brescia. I'm sure John his wife Donna are proud of their
hard-working, straight-A daughter.
* Senior Night gives us
a chance to reflect, and I had two observations related to that. First,
the public address announcer's description of Jen Papich's career
highlights took longer than the actual playing time of my four-year
career at Gannon. Second, Adam Blazek's 17 points in the first half
eclipsed my four-year career point total of 14. I may have stunk as a
player, but least I had fun!