Saturday, November 19, 2016

What A Difference A Zay Makes

The Gannon debut of junior transfer Zay Jackson was a nightmare for him and the Golden Knight faithful. Jackson, lauded as a lights-out shooter, connected on just 1-of-14 field goals, including 1-for-8 on threes, and made only 1-of-3 foul shots to total 4 points in 33 minutes. Oh, and the Knights lost at previously winless West Chester, 73-63, Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday, we saw* a brand new Zay with Jackson erupting for 23 first-half points on 8-of-10 shooting (5-for-7 on threes), leading Gannon to an 81-48 shellacking of Cheyney. (We didn't actually see it because Cheyney hasn't embraced live-streaming video like the rest of the Western world.) Jackson took only one shot in the second half but still ended with a game-high 26 tallies.

Jackson's weekend reminded me of Adam Blazek's home debut and bounceback game in 2011. In a stunning 67-65 loss to Daemen, Blazek was just 1-for-8 (1-for-4 on threes) in 29 minutes of play, causing some GU fans to question if the Prep product was capable of playing on the DII level. Well, Blazek roared back in a big way the following evening, scorching Roberts Wesleyan for 23 points -- 14 of them in the first 4 minutes of the game -- as Gannon raced to an 86-61 win.

I'm not saying we should pencil in Jackson as a future All-American and surefire PSAC Player of the Year. I'm actually saying just the opposite: we need not rush to extreme conclusions based on one or two season-opening games.

Though we are permitted to be a little excited about the weekend performance of super sophomore big man Evan Phoenix. The 6-foot-9 transfer from Division I Central Connecticut State looked skilled and athletic against West Chester (27 points, 11-for-17 FG) and stuffed the stat sheet at Cheyney with a Glen Summors-like 19 points and 19 rebounds in 39 minutes. On video, he resembled former Gannon great Zaid Al-Khas, who was also a DI transfer (from Buffalo).

I can't wait to see this team in person -- and we won't have to much longer. See you Friday at the Hammermill for the Gary Miller Classic!

20 comments:

  1. Despite the loss I can at least say this team gives me some hope. They eliminated the TO problem 2nd half, we have some major stud players (couldn't say that last year) and a big contribution to the loss was poor FT and 3PT shooting (which hopefully with time and practice can be corrected). They have to get used to each other and I'm sure what they had today isn't a definite starting line up. So I'm not throwing the towel in after the first game....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gannon made a rare appearance close to home today so I made the hour trip to West Chester. They didn't seem to shoot any threes. The team is young and will only get better. I was impressed with Evan Phoenix so long as he stays out of foul trouble.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Think you meant they didn't make any threes haha definitely shot them as they finished 1-14.

      Delete
  3. So just realized no aooearsnces by Kerr or Fustine (which may remain that way because if they were going to redshirt last year one night think they may this year), Naseem Hadrab (you'd think a 6'9 kid would get a few mins to showcase), Jair Green (as I think about it he may not be eligible until the second semester?!?!...) but the biggest one Ian Gardener.... I really thought he'd get some PT. Not necessarily starter, but if dogan didn't start I had him and Gardener as my first off bench. Maybe we'll learn more vs. Cheney.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Agree with not panicking over one loss ... West Chester has been a tough out for us at their place even for the teams that made the NCAAs. I just hope that this team can get off to a better start than most Reilly teams. It's tough to always have to dig out of a hole every year.

    Congrats to the volleyball team on their PSAC championship last night ... a sweep in three tightly contested games. It was an entertaining game with an enthusiastic crowd that included about 150 or so students. Having students in attendance really adds to the atmosphere. And having play on the floor to draw and keep the students into the game sure helps.

    Ladies down to Cheyney by one at the half. Would be a disaster for them to drop to 0-5.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Women pull out first win of the year ... men up 40-19 at half. Zay has outscored Cheyney all by himself. Looking like a sweep!

      Delete
  5. Update on a couple ex-Knights from Le Moyne Saturday

    Syracuse, N.Y. – Junior forward Isaiah Eisendorf (Los Angeles, Calif./Springbrook (Md.)/Gannon) registered 20 points to lead the Le Moyne College men's basketball team to a 73-60 come-from-behind victory over Pace University on Saturday afternoon in Northeast-10 Conference action at Ted Grant Court.

    Eisendorf, who tied his collegiate career best, scored 11 of his points in the first half, while finishing the contest with nine rebounds. Junior forward Daniel Kaigler (Syracuse, N.Y./Bishop Ludden/Gannon) recorded his first double-double as a Dolphin with 12 points and 10 rebounds, including 10 points and eight rebounds in the second half.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Another "alum" update. Kevin Kuteyi and Chowan are 2-0 with the senior scoring 14 points in each game. In today's 85-82 win vs. Davis and Elkins, Kuteyi played all 40 minutes and made 5-of-15 shots.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well, the days of opening up with Daemon, Wilberforce, or Westminster and 5 other straight home games are long gone. I think we "held serve" with a split.

    What I have seen from watching a practice is what took place today: A relatively young, athletic team that will only get better as they obtain more game experience.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The Las Vegas NHL team stole our nickname. :-)

    Good comparison to Zaid Al-Khas. Zaid was one of the most underrated Golden Knights (Gannon, not Las Vegas) that I have seen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, underrated.

      Just think: He is only a sophomore. I'm excited about how he will develop, given the two great games under his belt, already. (a Goldcamp-type?.....I think so.

      Also, the couple of times I've seen Jimmy Berger, I am reminded of Corey Knight.

      Delete
  9. Golden: Based on that info, I predict the Vegas team will have the top defense in the NHL. And they'll lead the league in rebounding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And probably penalty minutes as well

      Delete
    2. And they will abandon the concepts of "lines," especially in the third period The same five skaters will be on the ice until they drop.

      Delete
  10. Thanks Mr Eldringhoff...as you can see, we ARE enjoying Evans play. If you have anymore like him please send them along as well !!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Rough outing for the Lady Knights ... lose to #3 Ashland 97-44. Worse loss since Pitt-Johnstown beat the Judy Saurer-coached Gannon team, 113-58 in January 1990.

    It was the worst home loss since December 1976 (the third year of the program) when a Judy Saurer-coached Edinboro team edged the Lady Knights by 98 points (120-22). Rona Nesbit showed up on campus the following season.

    Here's hoping the men can fare a little better in 2016-17.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I fear the women could make the men's last season look respectable.

      Delete
    2. As respectable as 7-19 can be.

      Delete
  12. Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Hope you and your families have a great day !
    See you tomorrow night for a Golden Knights win !

    ReplyDelete