Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hey IUP -- Who's Your Daddy?

Even though Gannon outlasted #5 Indiana (Pa.) Saturday night in overtime, 61-56, I'm still not sure who is the better team. But I know for certain who is the tougher club and who's currently the boss of the PSAC West after winning the fourth straight head-to-head matchup between these programs. The Knights pummeled the Crimson Hawks on the boards, 41-20, and it looked a whole lot worse than that. A couple IUP fans screamed bloody murder the entire game (moron ... I mean, more on them later) over the physicality of the Knight forwards, but it was plain ol' rough-and-tumble PSAC West basketball between the blocks.

Indiana produced more three-pointers, free throws, assists, and steals than Gannon, but GU owned IUP in the paint. When Raphell Thomas-Edwards posted up and scored early on, the thought "feed him all night long" entered my mind. Thomas-Edwards  entered the game averaging just 9.7 ppg but ended the evening with game highs of 22 points and 12 rebounds. Indiana's best post player was Drake transfer Daddy Ugbede, who finished with 13 points in just 24 minutes of play. Initially I wondered why IUP coach Joe Lombardi used situation substitutions with Ugbede most of the second half and OT, inserting Daddy for offensive possessions and replacing him on defense. When IUP big Devon Cottrell fouled out with 1:48 left in OT, I learned the reason behind Lombardi's substitution pattern. Thomas-Edwards scored under the basket at 1:13 to give Gannon a 57-56 lead, grabbed a defensive rebound on Adam Blazek's first (and very timely) blocked shot of the year, then tipped in a Blazek miss at the 19-second mark to push the margin to 3.

Ballgame.

Gannon was so dominant inside, they corralled 17 offensive rebounds to Indiana's 16 defensive boards. Lombardi sounded bewildered and defeated in his post-game comments to the Indiana Gazette: "We had a problem with them last year and I thought we got a little tougher. But when a team doubles you up in rebounding, it’s not just that they got 20 more rebounds, they had two-thirds of the rebounds. We won six games in 2007-08 and I don’t think that happened then. We’ve always had a certain amount of toughness and focus in that area, and this is hard to believe. … It’s not only physical but a mental competitive spirit that I have to generate in some of our guys. Some guys show up with it on your doorstep, and some guys don’t."

This win doesn't vault Gannon into the Division II Top 25, the top 8 in the region, or seal the PSAC playoffs. Heck, I think Gannon will be an underdog Saturday when they host 5-2 Shepherd (W.V.). But it certainly was satisfying to go toe-to-toe with a DII and Atlantic Region heavyweight and best them for the fourth consecutive game.

Other thoughts on the Gannon/IUP game:
* If you don't understand the "Who's Your Daddy?" headline reference, click here for the explanation. It has nothing to do with biological parenthood, by the way. That would be weird.

* How about that crazy left baseline jumper by Girbran Smith that gave Gannon a 51-49 lead with 23 seconds to play in regulation? He not only had a player draped all over him but he was drifting over the baseline. A lefty taking that shot would have a 0% chance at scoring a field goal, let alone hitting the rim.

* I loved the game day program photo of Porter, so it's accompanying this post. Does that kid always have energy or what!

* I mentioned earlier the couple -- they were either husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend -- who supported IUP by whining at the officials all evening. OK -- that's a slight overstatement. They actually sniped for "only" 39 minutes and 56 seconds of the 45-minute game with statements like "#32 actually has 10 fouls but you called only 5!" when A'Darius Porter fouled out and "#0's pushing, #0's pushing, #0's pushing, watch #0! Why won't you watch #0?"

These fans took 5 minutes off at the end of the first half when Gannon's Tony Boykins committed an offensive foul, Gannon's seventh team foul, and the female fan shrieked, "One-and-one! We should be shooting! It's one-and-one! Ref! It's one-and-one!" I don't know if she got a look, a nudge, or a comment from her husband/boyfriend/scream buddy, but they shut up for the final five minutes of the half because you don't shoot free throws after player control fouls. If you're going to scream your head off at the officials, at least know the fundamental rules of the game! It would be like me going to a squash match and yelling, "That should be a counter drop! Why didn't you call a counter drop!"

My true advice to these fans is how about you don't scream your head off and actually enjoy the game -- and allow others around you to enjoy the game as well. I actually moved my seat from the stands to an open spot at the press table to get away from this obnoxious pair, but unfortunately the press table isn't located in Rhode Island. Several Gannon staffers seated by me repeatedly turned around in shock to look at the loudmouths. One person said to me, "I've heard enough stupid comments tonight to last a lifetime."

Moments after IUP's desperation three fell out of bounds with 4 seconds remaining, I turned to see how the pair of blabbermouths were reacting. I saw nothing except empty seats. Thank you for your support and have a safe ride home. God help the trooper who pulls them over for speeding.

30 comments:

  1. Anyone know why women are on road and were home? And then vice versa next go round with iup?

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  2. What was told to me was that IUP had no Saturday night games in the second half of the year. They called Gannon and asked if we would flip the December and February dates so they could have a Saturday night game in February. John agreed to the change but Jim did not so we have the current situation. I was told that it will never happen again.

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  3. Mercyhurst just held off Edinboro at McComb by 2.

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  4. GU women down 10 at half down at iup

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  5. Must have been a great game. I heard the last minute of regulation and OT; the crowd sounded loud, despite not a ton of people there. Great win. I'll take a John Reilly-coached team's mental toughness over anybody.

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  6. Were not gona get blown out by anybody but were not gona crush many teams either. Every game is gona be close. Blazeks block was great.

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  7. Fantastic win!!.....Smith hits another big shot!

    I've heard lots of comical comments this season already. Up at Mercyhurst, early in 1st half, several folks were moaning about the offense, and wondering "What are we going to be like next year without Blazek"?....This is in the first half of perhaps the 4th game of the year, and they are complaining about next season??? Hmmmm..........

    Gannon wins game in a fantastic finish, and there they are, arms folded, expressionless. (Opinions stated during the entire game rendered useless due to a win).

    I think offensively, like I stated before, things are slowly turning. If we could all wave a magic wand, and, have this team score 65-68 points per game, I like our chances against anybody.

    Onward to Shepard. If I remember correctly, they had two of the best guards we faced all last season on same team. Another key test for this squad! Again, the extremely difficult schedule turning into a positive for Gannon!

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  8. Is Adam Holm-Weber allowed to shoot at the basket? :)
    7 games 87 min 1 pt (foul shot) only 3 FG att
    To be a credible threat and possibly the point next year, he needs to get over his shyness.

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    1. Hmmmm....he is a freshman, playing with a game or two under his belt. Let him adjust a bit.

      He DOES pressure the ball on defense, though. He will be fine!!
      ---------
      How 'bout "NJIT" beating Michigan this past weekend?? Wow!

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    2. It doesn't look like Holm-Weber is allowed to shoot. The one three pointer he put up against IUP just missed landing on 7th St. Reilly yanked him out right after that and he never returned.

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    3. Holm-Weber does appear to be a solid player, however. He handles the ball well and passes well, defends well. If his instructions are to not shoot, that has to put a ton of pressure on him. When a shot does open up I can only imagine what must be going through his mind. Or anyone's in that situation. Marcus Jones is apparently under the same restriction judging by his stats. Reilly knows best. I sure don't.

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    4. Michigan does not want to play any team that has the word East in their title or that is from the East Coast... NJIT & Eastern Michigan... OUCH!

      Luckily, they're playing a West Coast team next... so they'll be able to get things turned around... at Arizona... chalk up a 3rd!

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    5. To tell a basketball player to not shoot going into the game is one of the most ridiculous things I've heard. That must be so damaging to that players psyche.

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    6. I highly doubt anyone is told NOT to shoot... they may not be in the game as a scorer, but I highly doubt anyone is told "you can't shoot the ball at all!"

      AH-W was taken out shortly after his airballed 3 pointer, however, Jones was already getting up to go check in before the shot was taken. When Jones came in, he made a BIG difference and was instrumental in the rally and the win in OT. I think Coach went with who was hot.. and Jones was hot. He didn't need to shoot.. he was creating opportunities for others. Like the assist to Blazek on the 3... 99% of players who grab a rebound under the basket are going right back up.. Jones got the rebound and 3 of the 5 defenders immediately crashed inside on him. Realizing it, he quickly turned and scooped the ball out to Blazek who was wide open for the 3. That is one thing Gannon needs with a struggling offense.. someone to create. Cleveland Cavaliers were not performing as they hoped... LeBron James started running the point for a while allowing Kyrie Irving to play the off guard. That's when the win streak. Kyrie's assists have went up since because he started creating offense rather than just taking it himself.

      No, I'm not comparing Gannon to the Cavs or the players to each other, just giving an example. I'm very hopeful with the possibilities Gannon has for this season.

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    7. Lots of hub-bub over the Adam H-W no shoot.
      I didn't mean it as a rub, notice the smiley face after my initial blog.
      Just a comment in 87min and 7 games he's only taken 3 or 4 att. I thought in the several games
      I saw him I thought he may have been open for a shot.
      Hey, what do I know? just a fan :)

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  10. Well it looks like I made the wrong choice on what game to go to. I was listening to the OT of the game on the IUP feed near IUP, crowd seemed into it pretty good. Am I right on that?

    That is a T-Shirt idea for the next matchup..IUP...who's your daddy?

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  11. John did say on a post game interview that some players are not in the game to shoot. I hope the other teams do not figure out who because it could make it a lot easier to defend Gannon.

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  12. I'm in the Charlotte airport on business and just ran into the Alderson-Broaddus team. They are on their way back after losing by 5 at DII power Central Missouri. The player I talked with said, "I don't know how we beat Gannon. You guys have a really good team." Small world ...

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  13. Losses last week to Mercyhurst and Gannon dropped IUP from 5th to 23rd in the NCAA DII national poll. The only other Atlantic Region team ranked it #1 West Liberty. Listing among "Others Receiving Votes" were GU opponents Alderson-Broaddus and LeMoyne.

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  14. Well no cupcakes for the Knights that's for sure.
    Some of these other teams have sched not only D3 but even some CC teams. Yuk!
    What a crappy way to pad your W/L record with all these puppies.

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  15. Gannon's 2015 Hall of Fame class includes two basketball standouts: Kelly Moyer and Mike Runski.

    ** Kelly Moyer '92, '98M (Women's Basketball/Softball) was a two-sport athlete at Gannon, graduating as a four-year letterwinner in basketball and softball. She ranks second all-time at Gannon in three-point field goal percentage (.459), 11th in field goals (499) and 14th in points (1,186). Moyer sat sixth in field goals and points upon her graduation.

    The Linesville, Pa., native drilled 67 career three-pointers. Her .578 three-point field goal percentage (26-45) during the 1990-91 season remains the best single-season mark all-time at Gannon. Moyer's .453 career three-point field goal percentage (34-75) ranks sixth all-time at Gannon.

    Moyer was named Gannon's Female Student-Athlete of the Year as a junior and senior. Her softball exploits were as impressive as basketball. Her 16 pitching victories rank 14th all-time at Gannon. Moyer produced a 1.20 earned run average in 13 games as a junior, equaling the seventh-best single-season ERA in program history.

    ** Mike Runski '89 (Men's Basketball) was a four-year letterwinner (1983-87) for the Gannon men's basketball team. The forward was a three-time All-Mideast Collegiate Conference (MECC) selection, landing a spot on the first team as a sophomore. He helped Gannon record four 20-win seasons and a 95-32 record during his collegiate career. The Golden Knights qualified for the NCAA Tournament all four years.

    The New Kensington, Pa., native was part of the Gannon Hall of Fame 1986-87 team that won the NCAA Division II East Regional and advanced to the NCAA Division II title game. Runski ranks second all-time at Gannon in games played (126), fourth in rebounds (872), sixth in blocked shots (93), eighth in free throws made (304), ninth in free throw attempts (431), 10th in field goals made (547), 10th in field goal attempts (1,080) and 11th in points (1,422).

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  16. Ok, it's been awhile but...as for the Comments about shooting, who's allowed etc.. I love this story i remember hearing Pat Riley tell about his time at Kentucky.
    in his Sophomore or Junior season, down one UK calls timeout and Rupp sets up the play, ball in Riley's hands, shot set for Louie Dampier. After Dampier comes off the series of screens covered, Riley decides to take the uncontested shot from the top of the key, and misses.
    In the locker room after the game Rupp goes off on Riley... when he's done Riley says "but coach I was open!", to which Rupp replies, "Riley, you @#$%@ there was a reason you were open!"

    The lesson, shooting is NOT an equal opportunity endevour, some rebound, some screen, some pass

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    1. Exactly. It's even in the nba. Watching cavs game and Shawn Marion puts up an ugly shot. The commentator right on point says "well Marion's not here for his offensive output as has been seen. He can give you a few points a night on a good night. But man can he play defense. Earlier (Coach) Blatt said shawns not here to score... He's here to protect. We've got 4 other guys that are out there to score"

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    2. Problem is that when a team makes it clearly obvious that certain guys wont shoot, it makes it harder for the scorers to get open or get a clear shot. The defense can sag off the 'non-scorers' and clog the lanes for the scorers.
      Back in the Javar Cheatham era, other GLIAC teams knew that Cheatham was not going to shoot jumpers, so they laid off of him. They rather let him beat them with a jumper then give the opportunity to blow past the defender to the hoop. Cheatham obviously made up for it with his pure speed, but this year's team doesn't have another Javar.
      hat Shawn Marion example doesn't apply here because if he doesn't shoot, then the Cavs have LeBron, Kyrie, Love, Waiters, etc. to shoot. There's no LeBron on the Gannon squad. It's beyond me why the coach of a Gannon team that struggles to score already would willingly take one or more players out of the offensive mix and essentially play 4-on-5.

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    4. All fair comments and questions, but, let's all agree that indeed a slight turn in our offense production is underway. I'm liking the slow increase on shooting percentage from the inside that has been taking place during the last few games. (Thomas-Edwards most recent example).

      There have been at least 15 shots from 3 point range that have been more than halfway down, that simply didn't go in. The law of averages will soon turn that tide.

      Hopefully, a decent STUDENT turnout for tomorrows game.

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    5. Wasn't this week finals week? If so most students are gone already.

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    6. Nope. Next week is finals week. So everyone will be studying for funals

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    7. Finals. Damn iPhone. Students as a whole don't show up either way.

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