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.
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.
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.
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.