(Dudley MA) Nichols can play!
The Bison blitzed Gordon in the first half and then held off the Scots late with free throws to earn their second Commonwealth Coast Conference victory, 78-72, on Saturday afternoon.
Maybe it was the noon start, but the Scots (2-5 and now 1-1 in the CCC) reacted poorly to first half pressure. Nichols (5-3) turned up good looks and ran a 7-5 lead to 24-8 over a five minute stretch.
Coach Tod Murphy was forced to pull starters just to get better matchups against the small but speedier Bison. Nichols led, 42-27, at halftime.
The scary thing about that halftime lead was that Ryan Sheehan (CCC first-teamer) had only five points in the first half and Nichols still led by fifteen.
The Bison maintained that lead (51-36) 4+ minutes into the second half. Then Gordon started to chip away at the Nichols advantage.
Believe me, “chipping” was the best they could do since the 3-point shot was not there (1-for-11) in the second half.
Nichols struggled with their shooting as well, going 6-for-24 in the second half.
It took the Scots almost ten minutes to whittle that 51-36 spread to a very much more manageable 58-54 with 5:37 left.
Hans Miersma (16 points) had three straight baskets, including a dunk, during the 18-7 Gordon run.
The Scots, however, were never able to get within one possession the rest of the way. Missing 3′s and some free throws certainly hurt their chances.
Gordon was forced to foul and Ryan Sheehan (Remember him, five points in the first half) seemed to always have the ball when the fouls were given. The 6-4 senior canned 11-of-12 free throws in the last five minutes sealing this one for the Bison.
Ryan ended up with twenty-three points. He is currently in 3rd place on the all-time Nichols scoring list with 1746 points. With at least seventeen games left, Ryan is 185 points out of 2nd and 270 points out of first. You have to like his chances of getting to the top.
Hans Miersma (6-9) was a matchup nightmare for Nichols with only one player at 6-5. So the Bison tried everything to keep Gordon from setting up a half-court offense. It worked well in the first half but Hans had 11 rebounds and 13 points in the second half.
Junior Joe Gallant had a strong all-around game for Nichols with 8 points/8 rebounds/5 blocks.
The size mismatches enabled GC coach Tod Murphy to play Dominic Lauture and Richie Armand together. Not sure about their offense but they have the quickness to play some serious defense.
Let’s blame it on the noon start and the lighting in the Nichols gym. I recall five air balls. Two were on Gordon 3-point attempts. The three others were on free throws. Five in a college game!
A bit of an ominous pattern has developed so far in the Gordon season. The Scots (2-5) have won both home games and lost all five road games. I guess the good news from that is that the next game is at home Saturday (Lesley 3PM).
Pressure was part of Gordon’s problem in the early going. I would also credit Nichols for some well-run backdoor cuts that set up layups. The Bison have gotten much better at getting Ryan Sheehan the ball. Ryan had only nine points the last time Gordon visited Dudley.
Hans Miersma 28
Ryan Sheehan 21
Joe Gallant 19
Taylor Bajema 12
Park Thomas 12
The lighting at Nichols would be a nightmare for even a real photographer. At least those folks know how to compensate. I’m learning. I finally decided to shoot from a low angle after getting some very unimpressive results
standing up. Sure enough, there I was down low as Ryan Sheehan and Chris Johnson came sliding my way. There was a collision and they got up worried about me, thinking that they had knocked me down. They hadn’t but I appreciated their concern.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)