I apologize to my former English instructors at every level of education, but "more better everything*" is the most accurate description I can give of Gannon's 66-48 beat down of Edinboro Saturday night at the Hammermill Center. (I will explain the asterisk later.) Gannon clearly had the better game plan, the better starting five, the better bench, better rebounding (a 50-29 advantage), and the better unit overall not just when you match up individual talent but also in terms of cohesive play.
The Knights rarely gave up an uncontested basket,
but the Boro allowed several, most notably to Gannon reserves late in
the first half when the Knights bolted to a 12-point lead. One of the many contrasts in team play
came midway through the second half. Edinboro had just hit a three to
cut the Gannon lead to 8, and A'Darius Porter was trapped between the
left block and the baseline. Marcus Jones smartly cut from the right
wing to the right block, where he finished a wide open layup. On the
ensuing possession an Edinboro big man was in a nearly identical
position, but instead of hitting a teammate for an easy bucket, the
Knights executed on their defensive rotations and Blazek deflected the
pass out of bounds over the baseline. Edinboro eventually missed a three
on that possession, giving the Knights the opportunity to stretch the
Offensively, Gannon was relaxed all
evening despite a 1-for-9 start. They knew if they worked the ball from
side-to-side, the Boro defense would eventually break down, resulting in
an open perimeter look or opportunity in the post. And if the Knights
missed, no big deal. GU scooped up 14 offensive rebounds on the night.
from an attitude perspective, there was no comparison between the two
clubs. Gannon always plays with fierce intensity no matter the score or
who has the momentum. The Scots started off high -- 5 quick points got
everyone wearing red and black fired up. But as Gannon exerted its will,
Edinboro lost all its energy. Coach Pat Cleary frequently exhorted his
players with a simple direction: "Run!" When leading scorer Henri
Wade-Chapman (20.6 ppg) missed a wild layup late -- he was an abysmal
2-for-17 on the night -- he stood on the baseline for a couple moments
before jogging back on defense. Look at the Gannon roster and tell me
which player you think would do that. I'd say "none of the above."
Knights have won 9-of-10 and face big tests next week at Pitt-Johnstown
and vs. Cal, who just had a 4-game win streak snapped Saturday vs. IUP.
The Knights have a chance for a special season. The Scots do not.
about the asterisk: I think the only advantage Edinboro has over Gannon
is freshman Jaymon Mason. Give the smooth-shooting lefty the PSAC
Freshman of the Year award right now. I haven't seen a player of his
ability since, well, Jaymon's father Tyrone Mason laced up his sneakers
at Edinboro in the mid-90s. Mason had 21 points and 0 turnovers against a
ballhawking Gannon defense. At this pace, he will be one of the
all-time great Fighting Scots.
Other observations from the local rivalry:
I am officially old. I interviewed Tyrone Mason for my SportsLook
magazine and now his son is at the college level. And I played against
Cliff Beck when he was at Blessed Sacrament (I'm a proud Sacred Heart
grad), and his son is on the EUP roster as well. I'm now a full
generation away from being a has-been.
* Qunn Lee
Yaw isn't just a backup forward for Edinboro; he's also the designated
yeller. A couple times during the game, the coaches called out a set
then turned to Lee Yaw to ask him to lend his booming voice to the
* Stat shot for you: Gannon held Edinboro 31
points below its scoring average of 79.0 ppg. The Scots outrebound
opponents by +6 per game, but they were -21 vs. GU. The Fighting Scots are now 7-1 on weekdays and 0-7 in weekend games.