If Mirabello returned to call Gannon's games for just this week, he could have proclaimed, "The Cardiac Kids from Peach Street have done it again!" again. The Knights wasted a 17-point second half lead Tuesday against California (Pa.) before winning in overtime, 93-88, and one-upped themselves Friday night, blowing a 19-point lead to Seton Hill before rallying to win in double OT, 83-73.
While frittering away big leads isn't fun, I have to say I found both games incredibly entertaining and enjoyable. The Knights give maximum effort every possession -- John Reilly wouldn't have it any other way -- and who doesn't love rooting for that?
I also enjoyed that these games produced situations and results I've never seen before, despite being glued to basketball games every winter for the past three decades:
- Check out Matthew Dogan's stat line from Friday: 31 points (a career-high), 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 0 turnovers. But the most eye-popping numbers to me were his 25 field goal attempts -- he averaged only 6 FGA per game as a junior -- and a remarkable 48 minutes played.
- Zay Jackson actually played more than Dogan, never taking a break and logging an Adam Blazek-like 50-minute evening ... after playing 44-of-45 minutes against Cal. Jackson had career highs of 29 points and 10 rebounds against the Vulcans, and for the week he committed only 1 turnover in 94 minutes of action. Have you ever seen a stat line like that before?
- SHU's Spencer Casson entered the game as the leading shot blocker in Division II play (3.8 bpg), and he nearly doubled his average by swatting away 7 Gannon field goal attempts. But the kindly listed 240-pound junior became so exhausted he was literally walking down the floor in the second overtime as the Griffins set up their offense.
- Seton Hill started the game a paltry 1-for-12 from the field and finished the first half 1-for-8 on threes. They started the second half burying 5-of-6 threes and finished the period 13-of-24 from the field. The wheels fell off in overtime as a clearly fatigued SHU shot just 2-of-12 including 1-for-5 on threes. Despite Seton Hill using their bench more liberally, Gannon was the fresher team in OT.
- Maybe that was because Joe Fustine played 10 minutes against SHU, all of them in overtime.
- Or that Marcus Jones, listed as a 6-foot-2 guard in the game program, played 9 minutes of overtime at power forward after just 6 minutes of action during regulation. I was joking with folks at the scorer's table asking, "How many times has this unit played together in practice?" I can't picture Coach Reilly saying, "Yeah, were going to go with Joe at the 5, Marcus at the 4 ..." without everyone in the gym scratching their heads.
- And I haven't even mentioned that against Cal Jimmy Berger played 42 minutes and produced 14 assists, and then followed that with a 48-minute, 8-assist performance against Seton Hill. There's another "never seen that before!"
The Knights better have more spark than me today. They have a three-game week upcoming at Pitt-Johnstown (Mon.), at Edinboro (Wed.), and vs. Clarion (Sat.) which will determine the trajectory of this season.