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.
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.
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.
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
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!