Gordon stays undefeated (seven straight) with 2-0 win over UNE in men’s soccer

Daniel Perez passes to Evan Crocker

Daniel Perez passes to Evan Crocker

Evan Crocker shoots

Evan Crocker shoots

Evan Crocker shot about to go past UNE goalie Aidan McParland

Evan Crocker shot about to go past UNE goalie Aidan McParland

Senior Andy Guthrie gets set for a penalty kick

Senior Andy Guthrie gets set for a penalty kick

(Biddeford ME) Gordon defeated UNE, 2-0, in Commonwealth Coast Conference men’s soccer on a sunny/cloudy/windy Saturday afternoon.

This was a battle between undefeated (at home) UNE and undefeated Gordon.

Second half goals by seniors Andy Guthrie and Evan Crocker separated the Scots from the Nor’Easters (3-2-1).

Junior transfer Bruce Gerberich made his first start in net for Gordon and had a relatively quiet afternoon making only three saves.

Gordon (7-0) seems to have successfully reloaded after last season’s remarkable 19-3 record that included a CCC title and a win in post-season tourney play.

Plenty of newcomers dot the Scots roster and Coach Derek Potteiger wasn’t shy about using them.  One GC fan told me afterwards, “I don’t even know who these new players are but every time one of them gets on the field you can tell right away that they can play.”

Gordon had three goals in the first thirteen minutes of the second half but only two of them counted.  The uncounted one counted for a while before the officials reconvened and ruled rightly that Gordon (Daniel Perez) was offsides when an “own” goal was scored by UNE.

Evan Crocker taken down by Scott Mitchell

Evan Crocker taken down by Scott Mitchell

Evan Crocker’s rush down the left side into the box drew a penalty on UNE defender Scott Mitchell at the 49:49 mark.

Senior Andy Guthrie took the PK and drilled it past UNE goalie Aidan McParland.  Andy is now 2-for-2 on penalty kicks.

Seven minutes later Goal #2 was disallowed by the Daniel Perez offsides.

Two minutes later Daniel Perez and Evan Crocker combined for a second goal that did count.  Daniel broke from left to right into the middle and passed beautifully to Evan breaking in (again) from the left.  Evan had time for a good look and was able to beat the UNE goalie with a low shot the goalie’s right.  This was Evan’s second goal of the season.

Daniel Perez offsides on near Gordon goal in the second half

Daniel Perez offsides on near Gordon goal in the second half

Gordon dominated the final thirty-one minutes although UNE had several long shots that could have been dangerous but didn’t turn out that way.

I was impressed with Gordon’s short passing game.  It was quick and it was accurate for the most part.

Defender Sammy Wilson also impressed me.  The sophomore from Christian Heritage in Trumbull (CT) was usually the last defender in front of goalie Bruce Gerberich.  Sammy decision making was excellent.

Gordon gets Eastern Connecticut next on Tuesday away.  GC defeated EC in the post-season in 2013.

UNE will be playing at Bowdoin on the same day.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Nathan Bilbie about to head

Nathan Bilbie about to head

Caleb Cole and Sean Goodrich

Caleb Cole and Sean Goodrich

Bruce Gerberich makes first start in GC goal

Bruce Gerberich makes first start in GC goal

Senior Adam King leaps to block a Caleb Cole pass

Senior Adam King leaps to block a Caleb Cole pass

Freshman Matt Jaeger looks to head

Freshman Matt Jaeger looks to head

Daniel Perez in close

Daniel Perez in close

Freshman Tim Andrassy (#4) looks to head

Freshman Tim Andrassy (#4) looks to head

action in front of the Gordon net

action in front of the Gordon net

Nathan Bilbie

Nathan Bilbie

Kristian Kasiguran surrounded by Tyler Garnick and Sean Goodrich

Kristian Kasiguran surrounded by Tyler Garnick and Sean Goodrich

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Gordon College Graduation – 2014

Packed house at the Bennett Center for the 2014 graduation

Packed house at the Bennett Center for the 2014 graduation

Carolyn Cassidy and Julie McClelland - two of the biggest GC basketball fans

Carolyn Cassidy and Julie McClelland – two of the biggest GC basketball fans

(Wenham MA)  I took in the 124th Gordon College commencement on a Saturday where there was rain when it started and bright sunshine when it was over.

This was the first rainy one I’ve been at.  That rain pushed the activities to indoors at the Bennett Center.  Logistical nightmare, no doubt!

My goal at the commencement was to get a final picture of the  seniors – Roy Ray, Shaun Roach, Alex Carnes, Luke Hamilton, and Park Thomas all members of this season’s CCC championship team.  I did get that done.  I also like to get pictures of their families too.  Didn’t do so well there………way too congested afterwards.

President Michael Lindsay

President Michael Lindsay

I loved the crowd and couldn’t help but wish that maybe next February the Fighting Scots could play the CCC championship game in front of many of them.

I also noticed that the 2013-14 championship banner isn’t in the Bennett Center rafters yet.

One of the memorable moments of this graduation was a medical emergency that happened when President Michael Lindsay was speaking.  The emergency staff was quick and efficient.  Later family members came back informing that the lady involved was okay.  I was pleased that President Lindsay did the role-model thing by taking the situation to God in prayer.  I can tell you, he wasn’t the only one in the crowd doing it!

I wish the players and their families well in the days ahead.  It has been a pleasure connecting with all of you.

Alex Carnes

Alex Carnes

Val Gin..........always serious!

Val Gin……….always serious!

Roy Ray and Shaun Roach

Roy Ray and Shaun Roach

The Rays

The Rays

Park Thomas

Park Thomas

Luke Hamilton

Luke Hamilton

Kevin and Linda Roach

Kevin and Linda Roach

Drew Hall - my dorm my freshman year (1959)

Drew Hall – my dorm my freshman year (1959)

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Williams takes out Gordon 81-63 in NCAA Division 3 Second Round

Williams defense tightened in the second half

Williams defense tightened in the second half

Daniel Wohl ends the first half with a layup

Daniel Wohl ends the first half with a layup

(Williamstown MA) For a half in the second round of the NCAA Division 3 tournament, you couldn’t tell the difference between the second-best team in New England (Williams) and (“Where is that school?”) Gordon.

As I watched the Scots build up a 12-point lead in that first half against Williams I thought optimistically, “We’re right where we were yesterday (Friday) with Babson.”

But what a difference the second halves were!  Babson went to all the things that had gotten them twenty wins in NEWMAC yet could never catch the Scots.  Williams, on the other hand, unleashed a deadly long-range attack after the break and caught Gordon in just two minutes and pulled away thereafter.

Duncan Robinson fires a three

Duncan Robinson fires a three

Williams (25-4) put together a 50-point second half and defeated Gordon, 81-63, on Saturday night at Williams College.

The game with the Ephs (rhymes with “chiefs”) got away from Gordon in a disastrous three-minute segment in which the home team tallied thirteen straight points.

The Scots (up 38-27) were trying to run out the clock in the last minute of the first half but instead gave up layups to Michael Mayer (13 points) and Daniel Wohl (18 points) before the break.  Daniel’s was a full-court drive that beat the buzzer.

But Gordon was still up by seven (38-31) and a similar second half by the Scots was certain to give the folks following the D3 tournament something to talk about.

Williams, however, wasted little time (two minutes) clearing the deficit from the books.  Freshman Mike Greenman struck from downtown three times and suddenly the Ephs had a 40-38 lead.

Jason Dempsey tied the score with a layup but thereafter Williams gradually separated from the obviously tiring Scots.

Alex Carnes puts up a three

Alex Carnes puts up a three

It was tough watching Gordon just-miss shots that had fallen in the previous seventy minutes of basketball.  Seventy?  I have to include the last ten minutes of the Nichols game.

Part of those seventy minutes of terrific basketball was a win the night before against the Babson Beavers. The Scots (18-11) broke new ground for the school and the Commonwealth Coast Conference with that upset.  Gordon had never won an NCAA tourney game (lost three previous tries) and neither had the CCC.  That’s all history now.

Nothing sweet about the loss but what was sweet was that there was time at the end for GC coach Tod Murphy to get his five seniors on and off the court to deserved congratulations.  They will be missed.

Impressive performance by Hans Miersma.  Matched up against NESCAC first-teamer senior Michael Mayer, GC’s 6-9 junior held his own.  Both players ended up with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Efficiency stat
Daniel Wohl 23 (18 points/6 assists)
Duncan Robinson 21 (16 points/7 rebounds/4 assists)
Hans Miersma 20
Michael Mayer 20
Dominic Paradis 16 (10 points/7 rebounds)

Williams 99
Gordon 65

Mike Greenman steals from Richie Armand

Mike Greenman steals from Richie Armand

The efficiency stat was most revealing in the second half.  Williams had a 62 while Gordon came up with a 17.  Ouch!

That sixteen for Dominic was his best number this season.  It is not hard to imagine the freshman getting more minutes in 2014-15 and perhaps even better numbers.

The Gordon support at the two tourney games was truly at the friends-and-family level.  Unfortunately, GC was on winter break.  Williams’ break is in two weeks and they had close to 1000 students cheering them on during their two wins.

Williams has four losses.  They lost their opener by a point to Southern Vermont.  The other three losses?  All to Amherst.  The Ephs could get another chance with the Lord Jeffs if they reach the Final Four.

Next up for Williams is Albertus Magnus of New Haven CT.

Julie and I enjoyed the 2013-14 season with our Gordon family.

Box from the game

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Hans Miersma gets a block on Taylor Epley

Hans Miersma gets a block on Taylor Epley

Hans Miersma defends Michael Mayer

Hans Miersma defends Michael Mayer

Hans Miersma gets two over Daniel Wohl

Hans Miersma gets two over Daniel Wohl

Taylor Bajema in the lane

Taylor Bajema in the lane

Looking for a rebound

Looking for a rebound

Roy Ray

Roy Ray

Alex Carnes

Alex Carnes

Park Thomas

Park Thomas

Shaun Roach

Shaun Roach

Luke Hamilton

Luke Hamilton

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Gordon defeats Babson 76-68 in NCAA tourney opener

Alex Carnes (20 points) shoots from in close

Alex Carnes (20 points) shoots from in close

Park Thomas hit six free throws in the final 39 seconds

Park Thomas hit six free throws in the final 39 seconds

(Williamstown MA) It was a shock to some and a surprise to the rest of us.

But there was Gordon winning their first round game in the NCAA Division 3 men’s basketball tournament, 76-68, over Babson on Friday night at Williams College.

No Commonwealth Coast Conference team had ever won a first round game before the Scots (18-10) got it done.

Gordon trailed the Beavers (20-7) in the early going, 10-6, but then went on a game-turning 15-1 stretch to get up by ten (21-11).  That lead would get larger (32-16) but never smaller than five (70-65) the rest of the way.

The 15-1 separator segment was driven by three’s (Park Thomas, Shaun Roach, Dominic Paradis) and three jumps shots by Alex Carnes.

As you can see, the points were coming from everyone.  The Beavers chose not to press until late in the game giving Gordon plenty of time to run what has become an excellent half-court offense.  Yes there were 19 turnovers but there also were plenty of high percentage shots turning up.

Hans Miersma sets up inside

Hans Miersma sets up inside

In the hard-to-top second half, Gordon made a remarkable 11 of 15 shots attempted.  The Beavers made runs to within six twice late in the game but the Scots responded with layups (Alex Carnes & Hans Miersma) to push Babson back.

Anyone at Williams sweating this one out in the final minutes will rave about Gordon’s foul shooting.  Terrific!  The team shot 19-for-21 in the game.  Park Thomas made all ten of his in the second half including six straight in the last 39 seconds.

Alex Carnes (20 points) topped the efficiency chart.  The 6-4 senior carried Gordon in the first half with thirteen points on 6-for-9 shooting.

Alex also spent time defending Babson’s Joey Flannery.  Joey was the ROY and POY in the NEWMAC this season.  Joey heated up in the second half and ended up with 17 points and 9 rebounds.

Joey Flannery

Joey Flannery

Watching Joey Flannery put up a lot of shots late reminded me of the Nichols game in which the Bison turned their scoring opportunities over to Ryan Sheehan.

Efficiency chart

Alex Carnes 22

Joey Flannery 19

Hans Miersma 18

Jason Dempsey 14

David Mack 11

Gordon 85

Babson 52

The Scots will play the host team (Williams) tonight.  Only some were shocked when Gordon defeated Babson.  Almost everyone will be in that state if the Scots find a way to defeat the 24-4 Ephs.  One player certain to require special attention will be Williams’ Mike Mayer.  Mike is 6-9/240 pounds and put up a 40 in Efficiency (25 points/15 rebounds) in last night’s Ephs’ win over Mitchell.

Game box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Dominic Paradis gets a shot

Dominic Paradis gets a shot

Alex Carnes shoots from long range

Alex Carnes shoots from long range

Jason Dempsey gets fouled

Jason Dempsey gets fouled

Eric Dean chases a loose ball

Eric Dean chases a loose ball

Kenny Ross

Kenny Ross

Richie Armand passes

Richie Armand passes

Park Thomas drives

Park Thomas drives

Hans Miersma free throw

Hans Miersma free throw

Shaun Roach shoots three

Shaun Roach shoots three

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Gordon takes the CCC title 69-65 with remarkable comeback against Nichols

Gordon College: 2013-14 Commonwealth Coast Conference basketball champions

Gordon College: 2013-14 Commonwealth Coast Conference basketball champions

Ryan Sheehan (24 points) drives

Ryan Sheehan (24 points) drives

(Dudley MA) The Gordon men’s basketball team was on the doorstep of, “Better luck next year,” and, “Have a safe ride home,” in the second half of the biggest game of their Commonwealth Coast Conference season.

Gordon trailed, 56-39, with 10:32 left against Nichols, the best shooting team in the CCC, in front of very noisy Bison crowd.

The Scots had lost to Nichols twice during the regular season.  Ryan Sheehan (Nichols’ top all-time scorer) had already scored sixteen points in the second half.

Have you gotten the point that Gordon was in very serious trouble? Okay, then let’s move on.

The amazing Scots rallied from near-death to the CCC championship in a remarkable final 10 1/2 minutes.

Hans Miersma (15 points) spins into the paint

Hans Miersma (15 points) spins into the paint

During the memorable final stretch anything that could go right for Gordon did while, simultaneously, Nichols had few answers to the Scots’ surge on either end.

The Scots heated up big-time making eight-of-twelve shots including four 3’s.  They also sank nine of the biggest ten free throws of the season.  And the best stat yet?  ONE turnover.

That turnover stat was significant because going into the final 10 1/2 minutes the Scots already had twenty-one of them.  In fact the first question most Gordon folks had at halftime was, “How many turnovers did we have?”  The answer was “fifteen!”

Gordon was able to generate one point-producing possession after another while Nichols (averaged 78.9 points per game) struggled to score.

The Bison (22-6) could produce only nine points shooting just 2-for-14.  Sam Horning’s two 3-pointers were the only connections from the field that Nichols had.  Ryan Sheehan added three free throws.

Gordon (17-10) put together streaks of twelve and eight unanswered points to pull even, 62-62, with 2:41 left in someone’s season.

Shaun Roach launches a three

Shaun Roach launches a three

In the 12-point run, Shaun Roach had a three, Richie Armand made two free throws, and Hans Miersma added two layups and three free throws.

Hans earned the last two free throws after getting fouled by Joe Gallant.  Joe went out with five fouls and 6:24 left.  In the process Nichols lost their best defender against 6-9 Hans Miersma.  That would cost the Bison later.

Sam Horning’s two 3’s stabilized Nichols for the moment giving the home team a, 62-54, lead with 4:48 remaining.

But Nichols couldn’t hold that lead because Alex Carnes, with family (from Arizona) and fiancé looking on, went on his own 8-point run.  Alex (2nd team CCC) drilled two 3’s, had a steal, and drove in for a tying layup (62-62) with 2:41 left.

Park Thomas looks for an opening

Park Thomas looks for an opening

Ryan Sheehan and Park Thomas both converted two free throws so the score was still tied (64-64) with 2:17 left.

In Nichols next possession, Ryan made only one of two free throws but the Bison now had a one-point lead.

Alex Carnes then missed a three and Chris Johnson had a turnover (steal by Jason Dempsey).

I referenced earlier that Nichols defender Joe Gallant had fouled out.  Next Gordon possession Hans was able to get an entry pass and spin in for a short soft hook to put GC in front, 66-65, with 1:09 remaining.

Plenty of time for Nichols to do something.  Ryan Sheehan (defended by Alex Carnes) was able to work his way in close to the basket.  However, Hans Miersma, who is now Gordon’s all-time shot blocker, rejected Ryan’s shot and controlled the ball.  Ryan fouled Hans immediately with thirty-nine seconds left.

Hans gave the Scots a two-point lead (67-65) making one of two free throws.

Still plenty of time for Nichols to pull out a win.  Gustave Koumare drove on Park Thomas and missed a contested layup.  However, Gustave got his own rebound and was fouled by Park with six seconds left.

The chance to tie was still in play but Gustave missed both shots and Luke Hamilton got the rebound on the second miss and was quickly fouled.

Luke Hamilton (11 points) about to put Nichols down by four points with five seconds left

Luke Hamilton (11 points) about to put Nichols down by four points with five seconds left

The Gordon senior had taken only eleven free throw tries during the entire season…….but Luke had made ten of those tries.  He added two more “made’s” to his season and sent Nichols down by four points with five seconds left.

Sam Horning made a desperate attempt to get back three of the points but missed and the GC celebrating began.

Getting the conference championship gives the Scots an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.  Gordon played in that tournament in 2006 (Utica) and 2010 (Middlebury) getting eliminated both times.  Gordon’s opponent and the site of the game should be known tomorrow (Sunday).  The game will probably take place at the end of the week.

The win over Nichols takes away some of the sting of last year’s loss in the same game at Curry.  Watching the Colonels celebrate while Gordon team members looked on was rough.  But on this day it was Gordon’s turn to celebrate their improbable win as the Nichols fans headed for the exits.

Hans Miersma goes for the block against Ryan Sheehan

Hans Miersma goes for the block against Ryan Sheehan

The efficiency stats reveal the obvious; Hans Miersma had an awesome game.  The GC junior had his 13th double/double of the season in the biggest game of the season.  His points and block in the last minute were crucial for the Scots.

Efficiency stats
Hans Miersma 24
Park Thomas 15 (13 points/8 assists)
Ryan Sheehan 14 (24 points)
Sam Horning 11 (14 points)
Jason Dempsey 10 (8 rebounds)
Alex Carnes 10 (11 points/4 assists)

Gordon 80
Nichols 63

All eyes are on the 3-point attempt of Alex Carnes (#4)

All eyes are on the 3-point attempt of Alex Carnes (#4)

What backfired for Nichols in the last 10+ minutes was opting to be more deliberate as well as taking off the press.

Gordon’s last CCC championship was in 2010 when they defeated Curry, 56-54, at the Bennett Center.  Brady Bajema and Greg Walker (both from that championship team) were on hand for this one.

The crowd was loud and in the gym very early.  There were late arrivers who couldn’t get in.

Coach Todd Murphy has now led two Gordon teams to conference titles in five years.  If he keeps up the good work, maybe someday he’ll get his first CCC coach-of-the-year award……….that’s the sound of sarcasm you hear dripping!

Luke Hamilton lines up a three

Luke Hamilton lines up a three

Luke Hamilton reached double figures for the fifth time this season.  I wondered why he was smiling as he took the two most important free throws of his GC career with five seconds left.  His mother explained it to me afterwards, “He has a good sense of humor!”

Things I knew before the game that made me optimistic: (1) Gordon had won eight straight road games, (2) Gordon had been to the Big Game last year and Nichols had never been to a championship game, and (3) Nichols had struggled to win three of their last four games.

Box from the game

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge if you click on them.)

The celebrating begins

The celebrating begins

Richie Armand and Christian Horton

Richie Armand and Christian Horton

Gustave Koumare breaks free after a steal

Gustave Koumare breaks free after a steal

Sam Johnson goes for the block

Sam Johnson goes for the block

Ryan Sheehan shoots over Luke Hamilton

Ryan Sheehan shoots over Luke Hamilton

Matt Langadas controls a rebound

Matt Langadas controls a rebound

Hans Miersma and Shaun Roach celebrate afterwards

Hans Miersma and Shaun Roach celebrate afterwards

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“We’re going to the ‘ship”

Jason Dempsey registered a career-high 18 points against Wentworth

Jason Dempsey registered a career-high 18 points against Wentworth

Park Thomas reached 1000 points in his last game at the Bennett Center

Park Thomas reached 1000 points in his last game at the Bennett Center

(Wenham MA) “We’re going to the ‘ship,” the Gordon faithful chanted as time ran out on Thursday night at the Bennett Center.

Yes, indeed, Gordon is back in the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship game after defeating Wentworth, 66-55, in a rematch of last year’s semi-final matchup.

The setting to settle the 2013-14 CCC champ will be held in Dudley (MA) at the home of the #1 seed Nichols Bison on Saturday (2PM).

Last year the Scots were at jam-packed Curry (1100 spectators) for the CCC championship game.  Gordon fell behind early in that one and never could find a way of catching up and ended up losing, 69-63.

Nichols (22-5) squeaked by Salve Regina in overtime tonight to reach the CCC basketball championship game for the first time ever.  The Bison have two wins over Gordon this season.

Hans Miersma blocks the shot of Derek Mayo

Hans Miersma blocks the shot of Derek Mayo

Versus Wentworth (12-15) in the CCC semi-finals, the Scots never trailed.  Hans Miersma opened the scoring with a dunk and Gordon was off to dominating performance around the basket.  On this night, Gordon would register twenty-eight points in the paint.

Wentworth resisted the urge, most of the night, to try getting to the basket.  They settled for jump shots and 3-point attempts.  They had only eight points in the paint the entire game.

The Leopards hoped to control tempo, make outside shots, and keep the ball away from 6-9 Hans Miersma.  The visitors from Boston got the last one done but not the other two.

However, by defending Hans with 1+ defenders, WIT opened the way for 6-7 Jason Dempsey to see single coverage.  Jason was able to collect a career-high eighteen points including thirteen in the second half.

In his final game at the Bennett Center, senior Park Thomas reached the 1000-point plateau with a free throw late in the game.

Jason Dempsey was 8-for-9 shooting free throws

Jason Dempsey was 8-for-9 shooting free throws

The eye-catching thing for me in the game was the Gordon foul shooting.  It was an amazing 25-for-29.  Jason was 8-for-9 while Park was 8-for-10.  Maybe those free throws flow a bit easier when your team never trails and leads by as many as twenty points in the second half.

The Scots (16-10) broke open an 8-5 lead with nine straight points.  Hans had two inside scores while Park had a fancy layup and Alex Carnes nailed a 3-pointer in the Gordon run.

Gordon led, 31-21, at the half.

That lead would grow to a comfortable twenty (49-29) with 10:39 left on a how-did-he-do-that tip by Jason Dempsey.

Jherson Colon (20 points) gets a layup

Jherson Colon (20 points) gets a layup

But Wentworth didn’t drive to Wenham to be blown out.  They had upset ENC two days earlier and they had defeated Gordon at the Bennett Center in early January.  Over the next six minutes the Leopards put a 16-6 run together and with 4 1/2 minutes left trailed by only ten.  A couple of three’s by Scott Moran paced WIT in their comeback.

The Leopards were within nine (57-48) with 2:57 to go in somebody’s season.  It was nervous time in Wenham.

Junior Taylor Bajema, however, followed with two huge plays to douse WIT comeback plans.  First he snagged an offensive rebound and turned it into an old-fashioned 3-point play.  Then Taylor had a steal that led to two Park Thomas free throws.  When those plays were done Gordon was back in command (62-48) and on their way to the championship game.

Sam Johnson draws a charge on Ronnie Turner

Sam Johnson draws a charge on Ronnie Turner

Best player on the floor?  Derek Mayo.  The Leopard senior ended his career with another terrific stat line: 10 points/9 assists/7 rebounds/5 steals.

Efficiency stats
Derek Mayo 21
Taylor Bajema 15
Jason Dempsey 15
Hans Miersma 15 (11 rebounds)
Jherson Colon 14 (20 points)

Gordon 82
Wentworth 58

Box from the game

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Jherson Colon tries to get past Hans Miersma

Jherson Colon tries to get past Hans Miersma

Alex Carnes tries to get open

Alex Carnes tries to get open

JohnMichael Fragnoli goes for the block against Hans Miersma

JohnMichael Fragnoli goes for the block against Hans Miersma

Luke Hamilton grabs a loose ball

Luke Hamilton grabs a loose ball

Taylor Bajema (#2) heads in for a key offensive rebound late in the game

Taylor Bajema (#2) heads in for a key offensive rebound late in the game

Park Thomas and Jherson Colon

Park Thomas and Jherson Colon

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Gordon ousts Roger Williams 78-59 to reach CCC semi-finals

Hans Miersma moves in for second-half dunk vs Roger Williams

Hans Miersma moves in for second-half dunk vs Roger Williams

Jason Dempsey gets one of his career-high twelve rebounds

Jason Dempsey gets one of his career-high twelve rebounds

(Wenham MA) For the second Tuesday in a row, Gordon used a strong second half to dispatch Roger Williams.

The stakes were much higher this time around as Gordon’s, 78-59, win over RWU gets the Scots to the Commonwealth Coast Conference tourney semi-finals on Thursday night (7PM) back at the Bennett Center.

The surprise opponent on Thursday night will be #7 seed Wentworth.  The 12-14 Leopards had lost three straight, been beaten twice by Eastern Nazarene, but still found a way to hush the Lions, 81-78, tonight.

The #3 seeded Scots (15-10) would have been playing ENC in Quincy if the Leopards had lost but now Gordon gets a second home game in the CCC tournament.

Freshman Josh Syska

Freshman Josh Syska

The undersized Hawks (10-16) lived from long range in the first half in this CCC quarterfinals matchup.  Freshman Zac Campbell (he had 22 in RW’s win over GC on January 22nd) and Josh Syska were a nifty 6-for-6 from beyond the arc in the first half.  The visitors only trailed, 36-32, at halftime.

In the second half, however, the Hawks struggled mightily to get points.  Meanwhile, Gordon found high percentage offense from many sources.  The Scots shot a sizzling 65% in the second half.

Gordon’s four-point halftime lead (36-32) had expanded to eleven (47-36) six-plus minutes into the second half.

The game-deciding segment followed.  The Scots ran nine straight to get up by twenty (56-36) with 11:57 left.  The keys to this crucial run were a layup by Sam Johnson, jump shots by Alex Carnes and Sam, plus a Shaun Roach triple.

The best RWU could do the rest of the way was to get within twelve (70-58) with four minutes left.  But the Gordon trio of high percentage shots, defense, and rebounding kept the Hawks from making a serious run at the lead.

Shaun Roach fires a three and Roy Ray on the bench signals it

Shaun Roach fires a three and Roy Ray on the bench signals it

The most notable final stat was Gordon’s 41-19 rebounding edge.  That “19” was a season-low for an opponent.  Jason Dempsey led the rebounding Scots with a career-high twelve rebounds.

Again no Chris Bardwell for Roger Williams.  The talented freshman has a concussion.  He was in uniform but not allowed to participate.

Hans Miersma had six points and two quick fouls in the first half and played only five minutes.  In the second half, the first-team CCC selection stayed out of foul trouble and added ten points and two blocks.  Hans was once again named the CCC’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Park Thomas (11 points) had his best game stat-wise in the last three weeks.  The key to his improved play, in my head, is the assists-to-turnovers number.  Over the last five games the CCC’s third teamer has 37 assists and only 13 turnovers.

Park Thomas and Ryan Palumbo

Park Thomas and Ryan Palumbo

Taylor Bajema (10 points) did a nice job defending Hawks point guard Ryan Palumbo.  The Scots were taller at every position and had shot-blocking Hans Miersma lurking in the lane.  The Hawks were forced to score from long range and that only worked for them for one half.

Efficiency stats
Hans Miersma 18
Ryan Palumbo 17 (13 points/6 assists)
Josh Syska 16 (16 points/7 rebounds)
Park Thomas 16
Zac Campbell 12 (13 points/3 assists)

Gordon 111
Roger Williams 38

Josh Syska (formerly of St. John’s Prep in Danvers) was able to draw another offensive foul on Jason Dempsey.  It looks as if some pretty serious embellishment was on display to me.

Sophomore Richie Armand gave GC coach Tod Murphy five assists with no turnovers.  He also made his second three of the season.

I got home in time to watch the end of the Endicott/Salve Regina game.  With the score tied very late in the game, a Salve turnover is followed by a wide open three from the corner by Lachlan Magee with four seconds left.  The Gulls’ shot misses and they are very slow to get back on defense.  Salve breaks away 3-on-1 and gets a foul call at the buzzer.  Scott St. Lawrence makes the second of two free throws to win the game.  That free throw ends my hoped for scenario of Gordon/Endicott in the finals at the Bennett Center on Saturday.  I am now willing to settle for Salve being with us at the Bennett Center on Saturday afternoon.  We’ll see how things work out.

Alex Carnes made second team in the CCC.  Ryan Palumbo was on the second team as well.

Box from the game

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Joseph Henry and Luke Hamilton look for the handle

Joseph Henry and Luke Hamilton look for the handle

Ryan Palumbo looks to pass

Ryan Palumbo looks to pass

Andrew Wasik and Richie Armand

Andrew Wasik and Richie Armand

eyeing a rebound

eyeing a rebound

Dominic Paradis heads for the hoop

Dominic Paradis heads for the hoop

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