First, the prior season we had won the Mideast Collegiate Conference, the East Region, and advanced to the Division II Elite 8 in Springfield, Mass. That team lost only 8 games, and each one of them came after we put up a fierce battle, especially on defense. We were accustomed to winning or fighting to the end until time ran out for the losses. The other factor that made the Pace loss worse was that Gannon had never lost to the Manhattan-based school. The Setters (yes, that's Pace's lame nickname) talked every year about knocking Gannon from the MCC perch, but the results were never that. We'd beat them at the Audi, in New York, and then in the conference tournament whenever Pace got that far.
I distinctly recall after that Pace debacle standing in a dim hallway near the lockerrooms with my gear in a bag over my shoulder and slowly sliding my back down the cinder block wall until I hit the bottom -- just like our team had. John Reilly, then an assistant for the Knights, entered the hallway and we shook our heads because we knew what each other was thinking. Riles and I had seen more Gannon/Pace games than anyone else in the program at that point -- him as a coach, me as a fan -- and we were embarrassed for losing again that season, losing badly, and losing to stinking Pace.
Riles is of course now the head coach at Gannon, and I'm sure he's once again shaking his head in disgust as the Knights reached their lowest point this season. The year after winning the PSAC West, the PSAC tournament, and advancing to the NCAAs, Gannon dropped to 2-6 (1-5 PSAC, last place in the West) after a pair of humiliating losses this weekend:
- On Saturday, Gannon never led during a 79-70 system failure at Bloomsburg, who was coming off its worst loss of the season the evening before. Bloom was annihilated by 40 at home vs. Mercyhurst Friday, trailing 49-10 at the half, 63-14 with 15 minutes to play, before eventually succumbing 88-48. Less than 24 hours later, the Huskies led Gannon 20-5 and maintained the advantage throughout.
- Friday, Gannon was squashed by perennial PSAC doormat Lock Haven, 68-60, marking the first time in 25 games GU had lost to LHU. I share the sentiments of Golden89 based on his late Friday comment on this blog post: "Yes, Gannon lost to Lock Haven. I can't believe I just typed that." How about me? I author a blog for a team that lost to Lock Haven! The butt of many jokes on this site, Lock Haven is now a better program than we are. I can't believe I just typed that!
I don't know how much lower this can go but I know what happened the week after that Pace story I just told you. We traveled to Philly Textile and were murdered 70-50 ... which is why I never use the phrase, "It can't get any worse than this."