Gannon's Adam Blazek capped a perfect college career at Edinboro's McComb Fieldhouse Wednesday, leading the Knights to a 66-61 nailbiting victory. The all-everything guard can forever brag that he never lost on the road to his archrival and that he stuffed the stat sheet each contest as well:
Freshman (2/8/12): W 77-73 OT 26 points, 8-for-15 FG, 4-for-4 3FG, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 40 minutes
Sophomore (1/16/13): W 86-63 15 points, 5-for-12 FG, 3-for-6 3FG, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 27 minutes
Junior (1/18/14): W 71-59 18 points, 4-for-10 FG, 3-for-6 3FG, 7-for-7 FT, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 1 block, 40 minutes
Senior (2/4/15): W 66-61 20 points, 5-for-12 FG, 2-for-3 3FG, 8-for-10 FT, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 38 minutes
an average of 19.8 ppg sparked by 12-of-19 shooting on threes. He
doesn't have quite that many assists, but the ones he produced are done with
flair. Maybe you recall his right-handed, between-an-opponent's-legs
pass last year (photo evidence here).
I certainly hope you saw Wednesday night his 35-foot BB in the first
half -- a cross between a bowling trick shot with reverse English and
skipping a flat stone on Lake Erie -- that split a double-team and led
to a Gannon layup attempt.
Blazek was also spectacular on
defense as well. Boro freshman Jaymon Mason torched Gannon with 21
points when the two clubs met Jan. 10, but he scored only 14 Wednesday,
and nearly all of those occurred during stretches where Blazek wasn't hounding him. As
GU official scorer (and Athletic Hall of Famer) Rick "Stats" Klapthor
pointed out to me after the game, Blazek stayed on Mason's left arm all
evening, keeping him from getting into his normal shooting stroke. Even
if you sat at the top of the McComb bleachers,
you could see that Mason was frustrated -- and that Blazek is one of
the all-time best Edinboro opponents to play in that gymnasium.
* For those of you who forgot John Reilly can coach ... check out on the game tape
how his tactics were the difference down the stretch vs. Edinboro. Go
to the 3:50 mark first. Gannon is up 62-61 with 21.5 seconds left and
has just missed three consecutive free throws. One of Reilly's
strategies on Gannon free throws is to have the forwards "X," which
means instead of just stepping into the paint where they can be boxed
out easily, they cross to the other side of the lane. A'Darius Porter
and Raphell Thomas-Edwards execute that move perfectly. They both get
free as the ball caroms off the rim, Porter tipping the miss to
Thomas-Edwards. Blazek followed with two free throws to push the margin
On Gannon's next defensive possession (at the
4:45 mark), Reilly has Blazek jump in front of Mason as he advances the
ball, causing him to change directions, and shades Jean Yves Toupane
over to disrupt the ballhandler as well. Mason loses control, Toupane
dives on the floor, and GU calls timeout. The next defensive possession
(at 5:22) the scheme is even more noticeable, and Mason turns the ball
over again. Say what you will about John Reilly, but there's no argument
he's one of the finest defensive and rebounding coaches in small
* Helping spark Gannon's offense
Wednesday was an adjustment to their typical hi-lo set. Usually when one
forward catches the ball at the elbow, the other Gannon forward posts
up on the strong side low block. But against Edinboro, the forward
posted on the weak side, allowing the high post an open lane to the
basket. In a tight game like this one, that move was a difference-maker.
Goal #1 when attending a game at McComb is for the Knights to win, of
course. Goal #2 is to make sure your winter coat, hat, and gloves don't
fall through the bleachers. I accomplished both goals Wednesday. Those
who didn't may still be stuck in Edinboro waiting to fetch their
old Fighting Scot logo
that used to grace center court at McComb. Not only was it unique, the
sword marked the spot where I saw the longest non-desperation basketball
shot, a Steve Moyer bomb from nearly 40 feet away. Now at midcourt is a giant letter "E,"
which couldn't be more dull. Though I noticed when you sit on the
scorer's table side of the court, the "E" upside down looks like a "3"
which could actually be a tribute to Moyer's long distance feat.
* To cap off this Ode To Blazek, the senior guard was named to the Capital One Academic All District First Team for the second consecutive season on Thursday. The journalism communications major has a 3.66 GPA. Maybe next year I can retire and he can take over this blog?
UPDATED 2/5/15 at 11:15 PM: I just received this note from Gannon SID Dan Teliski: "Great piece by WPXI in Pittsburgh on former Gannon basketball standout Tyler Stoczynski's team starting their three-year manager with Down Syndrome who scored the game's first basket." Tremendous!