Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Kuteyi Escapes Doghouse, Rescues Gannon's Perfect Week

One of my all-time favorite Golden Knights is Mitchell Smith, an impact player on Gannon's best-ever teams who was regularly described as "high flying" and "spectacular." The guy could jump out of the gym, hit from long distance -- I adored his one-handed release -- and occasionally would connect on mid-range jumpers with his opposite hand. But when Gannon fans reminisce about Smith, we often whitewash his career by forgetting about his defense. Or his lack thereof. During long possessions, Smitty would often drift away from his man, locating him only when he finished an uncontested layup.

One of my favorite players on this Gannon team is junior guard Kevin Kuteyi. Despite being Gannon's most consistent outside threat -- his 36 threes are the most on the team and he ranks second on the club at 11.0 ppg -- Kuteyi's time has been limited recently. In Gannon's 71-56 home win Wednesday vs. Clarion, he didn't see one second of action, receiving an all-too-familiar-to-me DNP-CD (Did Not Play - Coach's Decision). Three games before that against Slippery Rock, he started but played only three minutes. Guys who start and lock themselves in the bathroom during halftime still see more than three minutes of play.

Why the limited PT? Let's just say he's a lot like Mitchell Smith. If you watch closely, Kuteyi will occasionally trail his opponent when he's supposed to cut through the middle and then cut through the middle when he's supposed to be trailing. When you have a defensive-oriented coach like John Reilly calling the shots, those actions will earn you a spot on the pine no matter how many baskets you score.

Kuteyi was in the doghouse again Saturday afternoon at Pitt-Johnstown. He played just one minute during regulation time -- during which he committed two first-half turnovers -- before re-entering the game early in overtime when Tony Boykins fouled out. Despite all Kuteyi has accomplished this season (he made the Gary Miller Classic all-tournament team), you couldn't expect a kid who played just one minute the entire week to positively impact the team at this juncture. In fact, less than 90 seconds after Kuteyi took the floor, the Knights were trailing UPJ in OT by six, 74-68.

But after baskets by Ian Gardener and C.J. Asuncion-Byrd, the Knights trailed by only three with under two minutes to play. That's when Kuteyi stepped up, burying a left-wing trey to tie the game at 76. Just 30 seconds later, Kuteyi caught the ball on the right side -- in front of the coaches who played him only because they had to -- and without hesitation drilled a three that gave Gannon a lead it would never relinquish. Kuteyi screamed, the Gannon bench erupted, and, after surviving a Kuteyi turnover that nearly gave the game away, an imperfect team celebrated a perfect week with an 80-79 overtime victory.

I know standings-wise this game is meaningless and the win only really means we probably won't lose 20 games, but I still savor moments like this. Despite his reduced floor time, Kuteyi has remained enthusiastic and supportive of his teammates. It's great to see a kid like that get rewarded.

15 comments:

  1. Wasn't able to make game tonight due to work, but I see no Kutyei in use. Is he suited up? Is he in street clothes? Is he even on the bench? Sadly, as soon as I realized his name wasn't in the stats, I immediately checked the roster. Hes still there.

    Looks like Boykins had himself a game. Toupane did his thing and, despite woeful shooting, Byrd had some points too.

    How does Eisendorf play 20+ with no points? Obviously, scoring isn't everything and hes contributed elsewhere, but you're telling me he didnt even manage to get a foul called and get a point on a free throw? Did they defend him well? Or was he intentionally used as a decoy to open up others?

    Nice stat I noticed is with 3 mins left toupane only had 1 TO. Thats huge!

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  2. Nice win. Best start-to-finish game of the year. Not going to get overly excited ... Clarion is 2-11 outside the friendly confines of the Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium (where they are 9-1) and played like a 2-11 team most of the evening.

    Toupane and Boykins were terrific and scored something like 19 of our first 22 points. It certainly helped to hit some threes with 7 (GU has the fewest three-pointers in the entire PSAC). Gannon had 35 FT attempts to Clarion's 23.

    The last two wins were both foul-plagued affairs. This game had 47 fouls and 58 free-throws. The Slippery Rock game had 49 fouls and 55 free-throw attempts. Both teams got to the line a lot, but Gannon had more free-throw attempts in both. The offense seemed to be very aggressive tonight; they attacked Clarion's shot-blockers -- resulting in more FT attempts.

    I had this one as a win previously, so I'll stick to my 7-19 pick for now (possibly 8-18). Need to win two or three of the next five games in the softest-schedule part of the season.

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  3. Also a good night for the Lady Knights, scoring a win with a tremendous second-half performance while IUP was drilled by 20 at Mercyhurst. For some reason, the game started at 4:30 p.m. and the men played at IUP (much like we swapped the doubleheader with the Crimson Hawks last season). IUP men beat Mercy 68-66 on a jumper in the closing seconds to take control of the PSAC West.

    The women's game also featured a Clarion player with the last name of Polite picking up a fourth-quarter technical foul. Not exactly living up to her name.

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  4. Gannon transfer Brandon Domenick Leads All Scorers in Westminster’s Loss at Grove City.

    http://athletics.westminster.edu/news/2016/2/3/MBB_0203162438.aspx

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    1. good for him! I like to see former GU players do well elsewhere regardless of why they are no longer with the team.

      Sounds like he got the concussion concerns worked out, which is extremely great to hear!

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  5. Easily the most solid game of the year. Inch for inch, Boykins packs as much hustle as anyone. I also thought Matt Dogan made some key plays that made a big difference.

    After the first game at Clarion, I "penciled" them in as a team capable of winning 18 to 20 games this season. Not only is something missing from them, but, Gannon out-hustled them from the start.

    A very nice team effort last evening!

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  6. Just watched the recap video of last night's game and it confirmed that Kutyei is still on the team and was in uniform. What it also confirmed, though, is that regardless of the reason for him not playing - it didn't cease his enthusiasm and encouragement of teammates. After Toupane's dunk, Kutyei was one of the first two people (other being Gadson... no brainer.. kid is always hyped up!) to come out and "celebrate" with Toupane. And it was a sincere enthusiasm by Kutyei, not a forced "you're my teammate so I'm doing this because I'm supposed to" kind of thing.

    Love to see that!

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  7. RIP: Coach Ted Haluch.

    A provider of many Audi memories.

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  8. Don't look now, but Gannon is on a winning streak. Did anyone really think Wed be able to say that this year?

    What a great team game and to see some players from where they started to where they've come to now... amazing. Some of Mateys assists today were absolutely beautiful. I will gladly eat crow for my remarks earlier this season about not seeing what the big deal about Gardner was... he played like a seasoned senior tonight. I reiterate my remarks about Kutyei from earlier in these comments - he was on the bench for at least 25+ straight minutes and then comes in to an OT game down by 6 and nails 2 threes, one with a guy about 6" taller than him in his face. Boykins played another solid game.

    I playingly put the over-under on Gannons road wins at 1.5 and took the under as I thought they're only win away from Mill would be at Lemoyne. They have a definite chance at the over now.

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  9. Big road win against one of the better teams in the PSAC! Teams that are circling the drain are incapable of an effort like Gannon made today. They mail it in and go through the motions.

    Next game at Seton Hill now essentially a play-in game for that final playoff berth. I envision another great road effort.






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  10. Nice win ... Did not see the game, but kept up on the live stats. Impressive to come back in overtime despite the loss of Eisendorf and Boykins to fouls. This pretty much assures that we won't lose 20 games and makes 8-18 a likely landing spot to me (win Cal, split SH, Lemoyne, lose at SRU and Mer).

    I can't quite see how the Seton Hill game is a play-in game for the playoffs. Gannon (5-13) is behind three games in the loss column to the two teams (SHU, SRU both 7-10) that are tied for the sixth and final playoff spot.

    Remaining PSAC schedules:
    Seton Hill: Gannon, Cal, @Mer, @Boro, IUP
    SRU: @Cal, IUP, Clar, GU, @UPJ
    GU: @SHU, Cal, @SRU, Mer

    Slippery Rock seems to have the easiest road to the six-spot. The absolute best that Gannon can do it get to nine wins. Slippery Rock can get to nine wins by winning at Cal and home against Clarion who is 2-11 on the road. I don't know what the tiebreaker is, but SRU has a good shot at 10 wins with their game at Jekyll & Hyde UPJ.

    I suppose that today's win keeps us on the outskirts of the playoff discussion. It's going to take a pretty big effort down the stretch, and it still may not be enough.

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    1. The mindset is that each game going forward is approached like a play-in game for potentially making the playoffs. That's how the team made it through this UPJ game.

      The foul situation was overcome by the best total team effort of the season.



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  11. I just saw box score for first time and while I know he played a good game and looked the best he has all season - I didnt realize how good of a game Matey actually had.
    Matey 33m, 5p, 3r, 9a, 0to, 3stl

    2 things re playoffs
    1) I think its more realistic to say if we beat Hill then the game vs rock could essentially be a play in game. Big ifs, possible but big ifs
    2) imo 6 is way too many teams. Top 4 from each. 1W hosts 4W, 2W hosts 3w, ditto with east. Higher seed out of remaining 4 hosts semis and final.
    I get its a money thing, but even if Gannon gets the 6seed more money will probably be lost in travel and lodging than will be made in fans and concessions.

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    1. I really think that we'd have to run the table to have any shot a the playoffs. With seven wins and two games in which SRU will be favored (at Cal, Clar) and one toss-up (at UPJ), Rock is a good bet to get to nine wins even with a home loss to Gannon.

      Division I leagues let everyone in the playoffs. Lots of Division II conferences let everyone in the playoffs as well. PSAC used to be four per division, but expanded to six when divisions expanded to nine teams. I don't think that anyone is getting rich off these playoffs ... likely a financial loss, but it's good for teams to have a shot. I like six.

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    2. "89" Your analysis is probably spot-on.

      I'm liking the effort and attitude into this final stretch. Looking ahead, even without the new recruits (which is progressing....) this team has 2 impact Seniors for next year, a promising Junior who gets better every game as of late, and two dynamic Sophomores.

      Hopefully a year from now, all of us fans will look back to this successful week as a major turning point.

      Would love to have the home loss to SHU back, hoping we get revenge Wednesday.

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