Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Trying Victory

All season long, we've credited Gannon for its effort (especially on defense) and lamented its offensive output. Tonight Gannon registered a season-high for points in its 68-54 win vs. Clarion tonight, but it was anything but a smooth ride getting there. Against Clarion's pressure defense, Gannon committed a mind-numbing 25 turnovers, oftentimes on successive possessions.

In fact, after both teams kicked the ball around 25 times in the first half (14 turnovers for GU, 11 for CU), they combined for 4 more in the opening 39 seconds of the second stanza. As Golden89 pointed out in the comments section of this post, the teams combined for 45 turnovers, 45 fouls, and 45 free throw attempts. When the Gannon coaching staff breaks down film from this game, I suggest they imbibe a few of these to make it more enjoyable.

One of the most fascinating aspects of tonight's game was Gannon's lineup. Freshman guard Adam Holm-Weber, who played just 30 minutes over the first 5 games and had yet to score, got the start and played 38 minutes. He didn't leave the floor even when his right leg cramped up during the second half. Jean Yves Toupane missed the last two games and didn't play the first 27 minutes vs. Clarion, but he played the final 13 and hit double digits with 10 points. Former starter Tony Boykins was one of the final Gannon players to sub in, but because of aggressive play on offense, he totaled 10 points and 16 minutes.

Matthew Dogan, a starter during the Gary Miller Classic where he logged 30 and 35 minutes a game, played just 3 tonight. Starter Raphell Thomas-Edwards only played 12 minutes. Foul trouble reduced his playing time, but Reilly decided not to reinsert him in the lineup late in the second half because Toupane was effective. And the way A'Darius Porter was rebounding -- 16 boards, 8 of them on offense -- there was no way he was going to sit on the bench for extended minutes.

Reilly's basic game plan seemed to be he was going to throw everyone on the floor and go with whoever was getting the job done. If you charted his substitution pattern, it would look like a Jackson Pollock painting (that's the image accompanying this blog post, for you non-humanities majors). A pattern may develop eventually, but for now the 3-4 Knights are in scramble mode, trying everything -- and certainly trying hard -- to develop consistency on offense.

Other thoughts and observations on the Gannon/Clarion game:
* I wrote this before the game: Clarion enters tonight's PSAC contest averaging 77.8 ppg and 16.8 offensive rpg. I'm not one for predictions, but I'll go out on a limb and take the under on both those statistics vs. Gannon. The Knights are ranked #2 in the country in defense, allowing only 54.3 ppg. Gannon held the Golden Eagles 23.8 points below their scoring average and limited them to just 7 offensive boards.

* Gannon murdered Clarion on the glass, posting a 41-22 advantage. Porter was an absolute monster inside. When I came home from the game, my wife was watching Wolfman on the SyFy channel, and I thought is was FOX 66 local news highlights of Porter going after a loose ball. If there's a hoops version of Marshawn Lynch in beast mode, Porter's got it.

* Gannon wasn't the only one using an unusual lineup. The Golden Eagles announced Ralph Naples as a starter despite him playing just 4 minutes in the 4 prior games. Naples ended the game having played only 5 minutes while registering 2 fouls and 2 turnovers. (Side note: Who was the last guy named "Ralph" to play at the Audi? I don't know either.)

* I give the Clarion team an A for effort tonight. I don't agree with their helter-skelter gambling defense, but at least they are trying. Past CU teams showed up at the Hammermill and left their desire for the game on the bus. First-year coach Marcess Williams preached intensity and energy the entire game.


  1. Strange to not see Dr. Ron Righter on the Clarion bench.

  2. Shocker in Indiana. Mercyhurst 65, #7 IUP 62

    1. So you're saying there's a chance...!?!

  3. Teams combined for 45 turnovers, 45 fouls, and 45 free throw attempts.

    Not an aesthetically pleasing game, but a win is a win.

  4. I wonder if they are calling for Joe Lombardi's head down in IUP land......

    Indeed, a different, much more intense Clarion team than the few previous years. I think they will give a few PSAC teams some trouble throughout the season. Bumps, bruises and scars, we sit on top of the PSAC West standings.

    Smells like a mid to low 50's battle Saturday night. It would be nice to have a pep band show up to get things goin' at the Audi! (I know....wishful thinking.)

  5. West Chestar had a player named Ralph Hegamin on their roster from the 2007-08 to 2009-10 and he apparently one of the better players in the PSAC. Alas, does not appear to have ever suited up for a game in the Hammermill Center as the Knights did not play WCU in the 08-09 & 09-10 schedule rotations.

  6. University of the Sciences, who lost at IUP by a 60-58 score on Nov. 29, won last night at Division I Drexel. So let's track this:

    * Kutztown beat Mansfield
    * Mansfield beat LeMoyne
    * LeMoyne beat Gannon
    * Gannon beat Mercyhurst
    * Mercyhurst beat IUP
    * IUP beat Univ. of Sciences
    * Univ. of Sciences beat Drexel
    * Drexel beat Southern Mississippi
    * Southern Miss beat Troy
    ... so Mansfield is better than DIs Troy, Drexel and Southern Miss

    1. I'm hearing University of the Sciences has a potential All-American on their squad. Cannot verify this for sure, however.

      Come to think of it, so do we!!

      Hypothetical score: Gannon 59 University of the Sciences 56............

    2. actually, Kutztown is better than D1's Troy, Drexel and So Miss AND Mansfield...

  7. Jim: Another way of looking at is Mercyhurst 65 IUP 62 = +3 beating them on their home court +3. Gannon 46 Mercyhurst 44 = +2 beating them on their home court +3. Therefore Gannon should beat IUP by 11 plus home court +3 = 14 points.

    1. no, Gannon should start with a 14-0 lead!

  8. Update from Gannon SSID (Super Sports Information Director) Dan Teliski:

    "The NCAA just released an updated statistical report. The Gannon men's basketball team is now No. 1 in the country in scoring defense (54.3) according to the latest NCAA Division II statistical report released this afternoon. Gannon opponents Le Moyne (57.5) and IUP (57.9) are listed third and fourth."

    This might mean the Gannon/IUP final tomorrow will be 37-35. In overtime.

  9. Replies
    1. Great suggestion. I'll send an email to Gannon Hall of Fame official scorer Rick "Stats" Klapthor to see if he can make that happen.