Sunday, December 18, 2016

Highway Robbery

Tom Wilson, Steve Setlib, and Laney Prioleau were in both a Grinch-like mood and a spirit-of-the-season giving mood this Sunday before Christmas. They're the three referees who more or less stole a victory from Gannon and gave it to #13 Wheeling Jesuit today, 65-63, in Wheeling, W.Va.

I know that's a strong statement, but how else can you explain a foul shot differential of 33-1 over the first 36 minutes of the game? Gannon was whistled for 27 personals while WJU committed only 11 (allegedly). And it's not like Gannon just hung around the perimeter all afternoon. I watched the live video, and the Knights fed the post and attacked the basket from the opening tip. But maybe the worst call of the day came with just under six minutes to play when big man Evan Phoenix, being harassed to the right of the lane, had the ball knocked out his hands and into the Gannon bench. The sideline official immediately pointed Gannon ball, but the baseline official intervened and overruled. John Reilly rarely complains to the officials, but he nearly came out of his maroon golf shirt protesting this one.

I believe officiating rarely makes a difference in the outcome of a game, so you've probably noticed during the eight years I've published this blog, I've hardly talked about the referees. But today was different. The officiating wasn't just slanted; it was obscene. The Knights outplayed the Cardinals for most of the afternoon but couldn't overcome a final free throw differential of 5-for-6 vs. 23-for-35.

When a Jerry Slocum Gannon team suffered a narrow home loss to #2 Findlay late one season, I recall the coach saying during our post-game radio interview, "This is Gannon University. There are no moral victories." Today's game might be the exception because if you edited out the foul shots and asked any hoops aficionado to watch, they'd say Gannon was the better team. The Knights raced out to a 16-2 lead (before 5 consecutive fouls were called against Gannon) and matched up well with now 8-1 WJU.

Where Gannon struggled the most -- and most surprisingly -- was on the glass. GU was outrebounded 42-38, allowing a shocking 17 offensive rebounds including two key boards in the game's final minute. Things might have been different if Damon Miraud, the team's leading rebounder this season, hadn't been disqualified with five fouls at the 7:04 mark.

This sets up an interesting holiday break for Gannon. A 5-4 record and the first losing streak of the season will feel like coal in the stocking, but the Knights can take solace that they can compete with anyone in the region.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good Knight!

10 comments:

  1. So is the game at 1 or 2? Gannon says 2pm however clicking on the live video link WJU says 1pm.

    Guess I'll just try checking it a little before 1 :)

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    1. Scratch that WJU now displays 2pm

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  2. GREAT effort but out referee'd by WJ.. Can you say HOMER?

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  3. Rough Monday for the PSAC West. IUP lost at home in OT to #2 Fairmont State which is nothing to be ashamed of. But Mercyhurst lost by 5 to now 1-10 Roberts Wesleyan. The Lakers blew a 14-point lead with 12 minutes to play. Talk about bah humbug.

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  4. Ouch. Mercyhurst started their Christmas break a little too early.

    Two commenters on the Atlantic Region message board who are neither GU nor WJU fans watched the webcast of Sundays game and came to the same conclusion that Gannon was robbed. It's good to see this ... regardless of how objective we think we are, we certainly watch Gannon hoops games through a colored lens. This validates our assertions of the one-sided officiating.

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  5. Today is the three year anniversary of the Hammermill Center fire. Thankful that is was discovered before it got too out of control. It could have been way worse.

    Merry Christmas to all!

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    1. Merry Christmas! The only thing we need catching fire is the Gannon offense.

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