Wednesday, November 18, 2015

(Not So) Great Expectations

Gannon was trounced tonight in its season opener, 67-46, by perennial PSAC West second-tier club Clarion, but I'm trying to find the silver lining to what happened. Ummmm ... give me a minute.

Well, it wasn't the worst season opener in Golden Knight history. Remember the lid lifter six years ago that produced the headline, Gannon loses to Urbana. At home. By 30.? I do. It was the ugliest start to a campaign I ever witnessed. Wait -- so there's another positive. Because this game was played on the road and streaming video has yet to reach Clarion County in 2015, I didn't have to witness 26 turnovers, 40 missed field goals, and the previously 0-2 Golden Eagles shooting 64% in the second half.

I'm not shocked the Knights lost this game. Gannon's heart and soul -- and pretty much the entire production on both ends of the floor -- graduated earlier this year, and new players typically need time to adjust to John Reilly's defensive scheme. Combine that with Clarion being much improved under second-year coach Marcess Williams and having played two close regular season games this past weekend, and the formula was brewing for an L.

A year ago when I was adding the 2014-15 Gannon schedule to my calendar, I penciled in the dates all the way to the Division II championship, and I was figuring how I could make travel plans to the Atlantic Region finals that would conflict with an industry conference I was scheduled to attend in mid-March. But this year I hesitated before even adding the NCAAs.

I'm not saying this year's team is destined to be to the West what hapless Cheyney is to the PSAC East but our expectation can't be that a cast of mostly new players will repeat as conference champs. Let's hope home games this weekend vs. Millersville (64-53 winners at Mansfield tonight) and Shippensburg (2-1 after falling 85-61 at East Stroudsburg) get this season on track.


  1. Jim!

    "Rubes" told me you threw one down on "Smitty" in practice one afternoon!!!

    Just kidding!! He says "Hi"!!

    Go Knights!!!

  2. Well...HERE WE GO !!!!!! LETS GO KNIGHTS!
    new season is finally here

  3. Down 25-21 at the half. Our style of play is immune from rule changes designed to increase scoring.

  4. That sure wasn't pretty. Not going to win too many games shooting 29% with 25 turnovers. And when was the last time a team shot 58% against us? Clarion even shot less than 50% from the line.

  5. What's the over/under on games where we score less than 50?

  6. Well our offense picked up just about where they left off last year... unfortunately our defense didn't.

  7. Jim - another positive.. Dogan netted 10 pts, 4 boards, 1 steal, 1 ast and 0 tos in 27 mins. He shot a lackluster 3-9 overall (but I'm impressed he hoisted up 9 shots!)but was 2-4 from both 3fg and ft line.

  8. Good Thoughts.
    Well at least the ladies looked good.
    The Clarion FB team turned out much the same as SRU's FB team does to harass our team.
    Gannon men were consistent, they all had Maroon & Gold uniforms and they recognized a basketball.
    Wait... I'm working on more.

  9. Well, one ray of light is that many of the 26 turnovers were unforced. I think that with more game experience, this area will improve rapidly.

    The team played hard, but, the early 2nd half swoon was just too much to overcome. It's readily apparent that Clarion is a vastly improved, excellent shooting team (And a major player didn't even suit up.)

    Wishlist: Wishing for a few "tune-up" games prior to a league opener on the road versus a tough opponent. Present day scheduling eliminates that. Essentially, three very tough league games right out of the box in 5 days. Buckle up!!