Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Closest Blowout Ever

I'm assuming that only diehard Gannon fans read this site, so you already know that the Knights took down PSAC East-leading Kutztown Wednesday night at the Hammermill Center, 76-61. But if you didn't know the final outcome and I shared only these stats from the game, tell me if you thought the Knights got a W or an L:
* Gannon gave up a 10-0 run to open the game
* Late in the first half, with four starters on the bench with foul trouble, Gannon gave up another 10-0 run
* KU guard Tynell Fortune lit up the Knights for 25 points, 10 above his average
* KU small forward Tyler Brooks crossed over his defender repeatedly, leading to 15 points
* Gannon's Raphell Thomas-Edwards played only half the game and was limited by a heavily bandaged right hand
* Starting point guard Adam Holm-Weber was scoreless on the evening
* A'Darius Porter was 2-for-7 from the field, having a couple of his shots blocked and another miss so far wide left, I thought I was watching a Florida State/Miami football game on ESPN Classic

Can you believe that's part of the recipe for a 15-point victory? The game was tight until the final minutes when Gannon caught fire from the field and broke open a very entertaining game.

The difference in the game was simply Gannon's defensive intensity in the second half. In the opening period, Kutztown hit 50% of its field goals and scored 34 points. That's not a ton, but by John Reilly's standards it was too many. Talking with my brother at halftime, I noted that Kutztown looked comfortable playing against Gannon's D. They moved the ball side-to-side, beat guys off the dribble, and hit shots from a variety of angles. Bob Dukiet, who imbued his defensive philosophy upon Reilly, absolutely detested when opponents would get comfortable and would let his team know about it if he sensed one iota of comfort.

Gannon frustrated Kutztown so badly, two of their players nearly came to blows during a time out. Fortune and Anthony Selby had to be separated by their coaches after exchanging words at close range. Coach Bernie Driscoll spent the majority of the full timeout calming down Selby away from the huddle before allowing him to sit on the bench with his teammates.

I wasn't surprised to read in the paper today Girbran Smith's quote: "We had a bad start, but coach gave us a good talk and we focused in during the second half." In the first 18 minutes of the second half, Gannon had KU ballhandlers on their heels and allowed only 19 points. I couldn't believe when I looked at the scoreboard with 2:30 to go and Gannon was up 16.

Let's hope we all have the same feeling Saturday night vs. Edinboro.

Other observations related to the Golden Knights and Golden Bears:
* I heard this great story after the game. One of the officials arrived at the Hammermill right after tip-off because he was behind that 18-car pileup on I-80 Wednesday. To make sure he didn't miss any more of the game than he had to, the official pulled up in front of the Hammermill, gave his keys to a ticket taker, and asked her to park his vehicle. Officials get a lot of boos, but this gentleman deserves credit for his commitment to his profession.

* Tynell Fortune had a monster game -- 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting -- but his night could have been bigger. First, the 88% foul shooter inexplicably missed 5 free throws. Second, coach Driscoll subbed out Fortune with just under 4 minutes to play, and he rotted on the bench as Gannon pulled away. That move made no sense to me.

* I know this is a little thing, but little things are important. Tony Boykins played only 9 minutes which is typical for the junior transfer. I'm sure if you asked him, he'd feel he should play more. But the guy isn't sulking or playing selfishly. On one of his first possessions of the game, he swung the ball to Adam Holm-Weber on the right wing, set a back screen for Smith, and pointed to his back with his right thumb, imploring Holm-Weber to chuck a skip pass to Smith. That's what happened and Smith drained the wide open three.

* I'm an old man now, so I usually don't enjoy when teammates script fancy pre-game handshakes. But seeing Brit Thomas-Edwards drop to one knee and be knighted by Rich Austin during the introductions made me laugh. Kudos for creativity.

3 comments:

  1. Great win tonight ... Kutztown is a strong team. Also nice to score 76 points. It's fun when this team gets into an offensive flow.

    Congrats to Adam Blazek for becoming the all-time steals leader ... His 198 steals ranks ahead of now-second place Butch Warner. Anytime you can best Butch Warner in anything, it's an accomplishment!

    A few fun notes:

    Gannon was on the wrong side of TWO 10-0 Kutztown runs (one to begin the game, the other to end the first half) and still won by 15 points. That's hard to do.

    Gannon didn't give up its first offensive rebound until Kutztown snared an offensive rebound on an air-ball with 1:40 left. That's even harder to do.

    Most promsing -- Gannon committed a season-low nine turnovers. GU can win a lot of games by keeping turnovers to single digits.

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  2. Where is everybody? Shoveling snow?

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    1. LOL.....Try'n to stay warm !!!! When will Jones become the starting point????
      See ya all tonight....Go Knights !!

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