Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Good Loss

This will be the only time I don't fret after a Gannon defeat and the only time I use that headline all season. The Knights hung with Division I Siena all evening, eventually falling by 11 points, 74-63. I said before the game, "Nobody would have a right to gripe if Gannon suffered a 20-point drubbing. And if they are competitive with the Saints, that would be an additional boost of confidence for the GU faithful."

Consider my confidence boosted. As the graphic here shows, Gannon played the Saints evenly for the first 15 minutes and then didn't get blown out once they fell behind. Looking at the stat sheet, Siena didn't rely on substitutes, with its starting guards playing 37 and 30 minutes, and its starting forwards logging between 22 and 27 minutes.

The Knights spread around the playing time with seven players seeing at least 21 minutes of action. That's what I look for in an exhibition game: who is getting the playing time -- especially among the newcomers -- and who did not see the floor at all. It was no surprise that the senior foursome of Adam Blazek (31 minutes, 18 points), Raphell Thomas-Edwards (27 minutes, 15 points, 5 turnovers), Girbran Smith (22 minutes, 7 points on 2-of-8 shooting), and A'Darius Porter (21 minutes, 5 points before fouling out) got PT.

The fifth starter was junior college transfer Tony Boykins (25 minutes, 3 points, 4 assists, 3 turnovers). Also receiving significant playing time were returning sophomore Matthew Dogan (22 minutes, 4 points on 2-for-7 shooting, 4 turnovers), St. Bonaventure transfer Jean Yves Toupane (21 minutes, 9 points, and a team-high 7 rebounds), and redshirt freshman Marcus Jones (16 minutes, 0 points).

Newcomers who did not play include juco Jon Dogbo and freshmen walk-ons William Gadson and Gabriel Adersteg. I'm not sure if Dogbo is hurt or redshirting, but now we can all begin to speculate. The only real playing time surprise to me was senior Rich Austin getting only 8 minutes. I thought he'd be in the rotation to spell Porter and Thomas-Edwards from the get-go.

So I'm all zen about this game. Maybe I'm just conserving my energy for next weekend when the Knights open the regular season taking on NCAA participants Glenville State (WV) and Charleston (WV). Things are going to get real real quick.

PSAC Notes: As I was writing this post, I checked the PSAC web site to see how other conference opponents fared in their exhibitions this weekend. I nearly spit out my garbanzo beans when I saw that PSAC West patsy Edinboro ran DI Miami (Oh.) off the court today, 71-60. The only Boro newcomer to score double digits was General McLane grad Jaymon Mason, so it's not like this was a radically different lineup from last year's club that finished a miserable 3-13 in the West.

Respectable losses included IUP falling at South Florida, 77-72, -- the game was tied at halftime -- and Shippensburg's close call at Duquesne, 72-69. Ship outscored the Dukes 15-4 in the game's final 6:41.

UPDATE 11/10/14: As we discussed on the Gannon Hoops blog earlier, the stepfather of freshman Isiah Eisendorf is nationally syndicated sports columnist Norman Chad. Chad writes about his family frequently, and on Saturday penned a column about his stepson playing Division II basketball. John Reilly is quoted in the article, and Chad has some great observations about Erie, including this one: "Erie is a lovely town, particularly if you have a wood-burning fireplace and thermal underwear." Click here for the complete article.


  1. Siena is loaded. All starters back who won 20 last year. They are expecting to get back to the NCAA tourney this year. A 20 point lose would not be bad anything better would look very good.

  2. Blazek led all scorers with 18
    GU loses by 11 in a 74 to 63 contest.

  3. Clean up the turnovers and you have a different game. Siena scored 40 points off of turn overs.

  4. Replies
    1. Agreed. My favorite line was this Reilly quote: “I’ve made a living out of making people do things they don’t like to do.”

  5. Doesn't seem real that the season starts next week, go Knights!

    As usual, Norman Chad is full of laughs. Good read!

    1. Next week? Season starts in less than 48 hours!!!


    Revealing interview by Jim LeCorchick with John Reilly. Some nuggets:
    ** The Knights will redshirt 3 or 4 players. Specific names weren't given.
    ** Starters will be seniors Blazek, Smith, Porter, and Thomas-Edwards along with junior Tony Boykins.
    ** Blazek had "a couple teeth dislodged" during the exhibition at Siena and had oral surgery upon his return to Erie.
    ** Gannon scrimmaged Behrend and Ashland before traveling to Siena.