The most optimistic Gannon fans entered this week hoping that the Knights, seemingly ranked #11 in the Atlantic Region, could position themselves to sneak into the NCAAs as an eight seed. More realistic fans thought that with Gannon already slotted as the PSAC West second place team, John Reilly should use this week's games like exhibitions, resting his starters and gaining experience for his bench. And everyone was in agreement that with Gannon facing struggling Edinboro and skidding Slippery Rock, the Knights should come away with at least one win no matter who earned minutes.
Instead, we got none of the above.
Gannon wasted double-digit leads both games, collapsing in the second half Wednesday at home to Edinboro, 78-77, before getting shoved around at Slippery Rock Saturday, 71-67.
The bench scored only four points at SRU, two field goals by hustling
freshman Hans Burwitz who hadn't scored since Jan. 6. But that was
better than Wednesday's bench production: 10 combined minutes played with zero shots attempted. I mean Edinboro's Jaymon Mason scored four points on one possession during the Scots' surge Wednesday night. Sigh.
thing about college basketball is that the season is so long you can't
fake who you are. After 25 games, the Knights are neither good or bad;
they're just fair. At times they're brilliant on offense, but too often
they commit a flurry of turnovers or can't create a good shot. On
defense, they'll clamp down on their opponent for spurts then other
times (see Edinboro Wednesday) let their foe get comfortable and score
I'd go as far to say Gannon is essentially
a .500 team who willed/scrambled their way to an improbable eight-game
win streak in the middle of the year. Think of where Gannon would be if
there were ties instead of overtimes in PSAC play. Instead of being
16-9, the Knights would sport a record of 11-9-5 ... which is
essentially a .500 team (and a soccer team at that).
My biggest fear now is that
with Gannon losing four of its last seven, they Knights are off track
heading into the season finale and postseason. Let's hope in a week they
don't waste the opportunity to get well against Mercyhurst.