If you're a Gannon season ticket holder, we're just two games into the home schedule and you've already gotten your money's worth. Saturday's agonizing triple overtime loss to Millersville, 75-66, provided 15 extra minutes of play while Sunday's 70-67 comeback win over Shippensburg gave us exciting action throughout and hope for an enjoyable season.
though the weekend wasn't perfect and our Knights are just 1-2 on the
campaign, I really enjoyed both games. If this was last year's team who
we expected to contend for the conference crown and host the PSAC
Tournament -- which they did, of course -- I'd be borderline panicking.
With so much on the line, last year was all about winning for the fans;
player development was an afterthought.
junior Matthew Dogan was an abysmal 4-for-21 from the field, but it was
great to see him firing with confidence Sunday on his way to a team-high
16 points on a 7-of-16 chart. Sophomore Isaiah Eisendorf, a force in
the paint all weekend, committed a mind-numbing turnover Sunday with under a minute to play and
Gannon up 4, his errant pass leading to a Raider layup with 47 seconds
left. Eisendorf responded moments later, hustling to grab an offensive
rebound then cashing in on a pressure free throw. Freshman Ian Gardener
didn't play even 1 of the 55 minutes of game action vs. Millersville and
was just 1-of-6 from the floor with 5 turnovers against Shippensburg.
But his lone field goal was a doozy, a two-hand tip dunk over a crowd,
showing the promise that will be fulfilled as this season -- and the
underclassmen -- continue to mature.
It's strange to be
staring up the standings at first-place Clarion (3-0) along with
Pitt-Johnstown and Edinboro (both 2-1), but let's ignore that. Heck,
ignore the standings and the Atlantic Region rankings the rest of this
season. Just enjoy the process.
Other thoughts from the start of the home schedule:
One thing I did not enjoy this weekend was the high temperature
inside the Hammermill. The bleachers were so warm they were borderline
uninhabitable, especially on Sunday. I actually had to move with my
daughter down to the second row of reserved seating during the Ship game
because her cheeks were so red from the oppressive Audi heaters. Many
other fans made comments to me about the heat, and several fans were
literally that -- fanning themselves -- all Sunday afternoon. I was
surprised by the inaction of the many Gannon administrators in
attendance who allowed their paying customers to tolerate that heat.
They could have turned down the thermostat or, if that wasn't working,
opened the windows at the top of the seats. If I was a new Gannon fan,
I'd consider not attending future games or wearing this to the next game. In maroon and gold, of course.
* Apparently the PSAC did not receive the NCAA memo
about the directive for officials to limit physical play this season.
Games were as rough-and-tumble as last year, especially on shots in the
* Gannon's shooting was so bad at one point vs.
Millersville Saturday that outside of Jean Yves Toupane the team was
shooting 11% from the field. My brother, who regularly works on the
Gannon stats crew, texted me during the second half, "Anyone not from
Senegal is 3-for-29."
* When Marauder Shawn Williams
hit the game-tying three at the regulation buzzer, it marked the
umpteenth time I've seen someone beat the clock with a trey in that
situation. Yet I can't recall a time a player was fouled, made his first
free throw, missed the second, his team grabbed the offensive rebound,
and tied the game. And this isn't me being Monday-morning quarterback.
I've been saying "foul him!" for years including the seconds before
* Junior transfer Kevin Kuteyi
has played just 37 minutes this season and is shooting only 33% from the
field, but he's already passed me on Gannon's all-time scoring list
with 17 points. With a half dozen more newcomers already seeing action this year, expect this humiliating trend to continue.