Saturday, November 21, 2015

Enjoying The Process

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.

Even 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.

On Saturday 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 paint.

* 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 Williams' heroics.

* 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.


  1. Totally off the post topic and this is not a slam against anyone, just a general frustration point for me.

    I really was hoping, with this being his senior year, that Cory Bailey would see more game action and less of the concession stand traffic.

    I don't think the kid has played maybe 15 total minutes in his three year career (and a lot of the 1s that are in his MIN column can't be counted as many were actually less than 30 seconds).

    I understand that Gannon is rebuilding retooling reworking adjusting adapting etc to all the new players as well as the coach staff and the new rules and I get using the exhibition demolitions to mix in players to see what they have. I dont get why Cory couldn't have played a few mins vs Pitt and at least 7 vs GW.

    I've seen the kid in practice and scrimmages and he busts his tail to be there - and has been nicely rewarded as being named a team captain. I just wish that reward would extend to the court.

    Im at least hoping that if the season is a bust, he gets the statt and some decent PT on senior night.

    Again, im not calling out the coaching staff with this or blaming anyone - just my opinion.

  2. Can't believe that GU lost at home to a weak Millersville team. Not yet panic-time, but things will have to turn around or it will be a tough season. Did not expect anything close to a PSAC championship, but this game didn't give me much hope. Hope it gets better. And it figures that we've got to suit up tomorrow on the heels of a triple-OT game where two of our players played all 55 minutes in a very warm Hammermill Center (can anyone turn the heat down just a tad?)

    Anyhow, I did not realize until now that today's game was tied for the second-longest in school history (only the famous 6OT game against Youngstown State in 1966 was longer). This was Gannon's third triple-OT game in school history, the first ever at the Hammermill Center; the only other two other 3OT games were at Central Connecticut State in 1970 (L 50-49) and at Alliance in 1961 (W 101-100).

    Also -- Millersville made only 5 out of their first 32 three-pointers (one was the one that sent the game into OT). Then they made three in a row in the third OT. Basketball can be cruel.

    1. Turn down the heat and turn down the 185 decibel music that deafeningly screams though PA system. The Hammermill isn't a bar.

      The game was painful to watch, despite great effort by the players.

  3. Another case of the "North End Flu".

    How many 3-point daggers have opposing teams made to win, or, tie a game against Gannon with clock winding down over the last 6 or 8 years??

    Matt Dogan: 55 minutes on a foot that was broken early this summer. Fantastic effort by him, and the entire team as well

    Everyone is having trouble with 30 second shot clock. Lots of open shots/looks were passed up. This will improve as season continues.

  4. Wow!

    Once we all check was has taken place in the PSAC West this weekend, we can all conclude this was a gigantic win.

    If this heat keeps up, Kevin Reynolds (AKA Fanman) will want to play the Slippery Rock game outside.

    1. I can bet my life on the fact that I am not nor do I even know Kevin Reynolds, but that's ok.
      He must be a great guy for you to think he might be the one and only original GU Fanman.
      Ha Ha :)

    2. I call him that because for each game up here, he constantly complains about the heat in the Audi... to the point that he brings his own fans to the game (not people, actual fans!!!)

      Either that, or, he directs Gannon to place large fans in the hallway underneath by the locker rooms. He is, as we all know, quite a character. His antics alone are worth the price of admission.

  5. IUP a 10 point loser at home (to West Chester), Rock a loser.. AT HOME... TO LOCK HAVEN...; mercyhurst bests Kutz a day after they handled Boro and Mansfield beat Hurst... Millersville goes and loses to Clarion.

    As long as Gannon doesn't have any more of the Clarion results.... they could be in this again this year!

  6. Good call about this weekend's results. Last year, the West was 36-18 against the East in crossover games. Last weekend, with all games being played at West locations, the divisions split (9-9). Maybe the west is a bit down this year compared to other years.

    On the women's end, the West was its usual dominant 15-3 against the East over the weekend (Gannon's loss was the lone west loss on Sunday ... basically lost a game to the entire field).

    Something needs to be done about the heat. It was quite uncomfortable at court level, but it was absolutely unbearable in the bleachers. There seemed to be no air movement ... the air had a stagnant feel.

  7. It was great to see some offensive execution on Sunday. The East teams don't play defense as well as some of the west teams, but a John Reilly coached team is hard to beat when it's executing the offense. Hope that it continues this weekend.

    Speaking of teams that execute offensively, West Liberty won a road game at Urbana tonight, 133-95. WLU has broken the century mark in all five of its games this season. Their first two games were wins against PSAC foes, a 49 point drubbing of Mansfield, and a 34-point rout of Cal.

    And no matter how bad things get this year with our Knights, we can all be thankful that we aren't following the Salem International women's basketball team that pushed its losing streak to 45 this weekend with a loss 38-point loss at Findlay. SIU's last win came in January 2014, a 20-point home victory against Kent State University at Tuscarwas (that's a real school). KSU-T currently has seven players on its roster and is coached by a realtor.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  8. Congrats to former Gannon coach Jerry Slocum on win #700. He certainly did not take any shortcuts to reach this milestone!