Richie Armand and Udoka Obiora graduate with the class of 2016

gg-A6-R-in-linegg-A4-U-in-line(Wenham MA) Julie and I took in the 2016 Gordon College graduation on sun-filled Saturday.

We attend this event primarily to get one last look at the seniors on the Gordon College men’s basketball team.

This year’s seniors were Richie Armand and Udoka Obiora.

Both players contributed to the ’15-16 Scots off the bench.

Richie was a passionate presence on the court and a fan favorite.  Richie hesitated to shoot but never hesitated on defense.

gg-A15-U-near-standgg-A17-R-near-standUdoka was easily, in my opinion, the most improved player on the team.  This season he handled the ball better, could get points around the basket, and blocked plenty of inside scoring attempts.  I had many pictures this season of Dokes rejecting shots.

I go to get pictures of players but can’t resist taking other photos as well.  I recently acquired a long lens and it was a big help in several of the long-range shots included in this entry.

We wish Richie (Education major) and Udoka (Economics and Business major) God’s blessing as they venture into the “real” world.

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

Class of 1966

Class of 1966

Julie with the Bretons

Julie with the Bretons

Malia Marstaller

Malia Marstaller

Julie and Ivy George

Julie and Ivy George

Noah Szilagyi

Noah Szilagyi

Herman Smith and Michael Lindsay

Herman Smith and Michael Lindsay

Dale Pleticha

Dale Pleticha

Dick Stout and Bert Hodges

Dick Stout and Bert Hodges

gg-A16-flower-girl

Val Gin

Val Gin

Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith

Moises Park

Moises Park

Ravi Zacharias

Ravi Zacharias

gg-A20-R-afterwardsgg-A19-U-afterwardsgg-A18-crowd-waits-for-graduates

 

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Endicott ends Gordon’s season 86-76 in the CCC first round

Richie Armand guards Kemahl Walker (22 points) on the baseline

Richie Armand guards Kemahl Walker (22 points) on the baseline

Plenty of support in the stands for the Gulls

Plenty of support in the stands for the Gulls

(Beverly MA) On a night when the #2 seed (Wentworth) and the #3 seed (Eastern Nazarene) were upset, Endicott (#4 seed) kept it from happening to them as the dispatched Gordon, 86-76, on Tuesday night at Endicott.

The Gulls win earns them a Commonwealth Coast Conference semifinal match on Thursday night in Dudley (MA) versus #1 seed Nichols.

Endicott (16-10) had a win over the Bison in December and a loss at home to NC in late January. Endicott is the defending CCC champion.

Limited room to operate in for GC's Garrisson Duvivier

Limited room to operate inside for GC’s Garrisson Duvivier

The #5 seed Gordon team struggled big-time against the top four seeds (Nichols, Wentworth, Eastern Nazarene, and Endicott) during the regular season ending up with just one win against seven losses.

It was erratic offense that doomed the Scots tonight against Endicott.

For sure the Endicott stars were out in full force. Sometimes you wonder about players getting chosen for All-CCC teams. You ask the, “How did they get there?” question. With EC tonight, their three members on the ALL-CCC teams (Max Motroni, Kemahl Walker, and Daquan Sampson) all showed up in force.

Max Motroni (21 points) covered by Jaren Yang

Max Motroni (21 points) covered by Jaren Yang

Let’s get the Efficiency Chart out here to prove my point:

Kemahl Walker 23 (22 pts/5 reb/4 assts/3 steals)

Max Motroni 21 (21 pts/5 assts/0 turnovers)

Drew Sawyer 17 (10 pts/5 reb)

Sam Johnson 16 (10 pts/15 reb)

Daquan Sampson 15 (15 pts/8 reb)

Endicott 103

Gordon 78

There’s no way Gordon wins this game with just one player in the top five!

Kemahl Walker gets in the air looking to pass around Jake Hart and Sam Johnson

Kemahl Walker gets in the air looking to pass around Jake Hart and Sam Johnson

The scoring lapses were the real killers. The biggest two were in the first half. Minus the two of them the Scots would have been around at the end of the game with a good chance.

Let’s review the two droughts.

First one – Gordon got off to a surprisingly good start. EC missed and missed and missed and Gordon was up 9-3 at 15:28. Three + minutes later the Scots are still at “9” while EC had put twelve unanswered together to lead 15-9. Gordon missed three 3’s and added three turnovers during EC’s 12-point run.

Give GC credit, they got enough consistent offense together to close to within one (29-28) with 2:29 until halftime.

The rest of the way? Second scoring drought. Zero points for Gordon. The Scots missed all four shots they took. Meanwhile, Daquan Sampson riled up the crowd, estimated at 1200, with a dunk, 2 free throws, and a 3-pointer.

Daquan Sampson (15 points) finishes

Daquan Sampson (15 points) finishes

The math would suggest that there were six first-half minutes in which the #5 seed from Wenham did not score a single point. Those were the minutes that cost Gordon the game.

The Scots trailed by ten (38-28) at the half.

Not insurmountable. Plenty of time left. A big second half by Sam Johnson (10 rebounds/8 points) and four 3-pointers got GC within six (74-68) with 3:47 remaining. A couple of stops and some steady offense would make things very interesting. Didn’t happen. The next six points belonged to the home team (tip in’s by Taylor Rioux and Stephen Basden plus two Max Motroni free throws). Is anyone blocking out?? That run of six points put the lead back to twelve and this one was history.

The reality that the season was over settled in on the 12-point lead. Then it was a matter of getting GC’s two seniors (Richie Armand and Udoka Obiora) off to one last ovation. That got done.

Udoka had a wonderful final game making all five shot attempts. He also had a block. No question in my head that Udoka was the most improved player on the team. He and Graham Tienhaara played well enough to enable GC coach Tod Murphy to rest the inside starters Sam Johnson and Garrisson Duvivier.

Udoka Obiora block Kemahl's shot

Udoka Obiora blocks Kemahl’s shot

Richie always looked to pass first. Nice to see him take the ball to the basket and then later take a steal in for a layup. Nice comeback for him this season after getting what looked like a career-ending injury last season.

There will be plenty of experienced players returning for the 2016-17 season. Gordon (12-14) should be highly regarded on paper with all those returnees.

Things I liked about this year’s team in no particular order: (1) rebounding – With the graduation of Hans and Jason I was fearing that teams would own the boards against Gordon. Not so. The combo of Sam & Garrisson turned out to be the best rebounding two-some in the CCC. (2) handling pressure – The Scots still had plenty of turnovers but most of them were in the half-court. Good passing kills pressure, not dribbling unless the defense is man-to-man. Most teams avoided pressing because Gordon could handle it. (3) pre-game dunking – I liked watching it. Many of the young reserves were good at it and it gave them a good chance to show off their athleticism.

Richie Armand

Richie Armand

Udoka Obiora

Udoka Obiora

Things I would like to see improve: (1) front-court passing/dribbling – Way too many turnovers. The ball needs to get inside but the passer and the receiver have to EACH do their part to make it happen. (2) the 3-point shooters have to perfect a second shot and also figure out how to get open – Eric Demers (7-for-last 29), Noah Szilagyi (4-for-last 24), Jake Haar (4-for-last-16). That 3-point shooting will improve if there is the threat of another shot. Trust me! (3) inside accuracy – Too many missed layups. Maybe it is fear of getting a shot blocked? Make the layup or get fouled.

The Scots finished the season losing four of their last five games. But even in the losses Gordon has been competitive. They have been supportive of each other on the court and on the bench. It has been a treat for me to photograph the action and attempt to describe it as well.

God bless Richie and Udoka. The rest of you? Get in the weight room and hone up your skills on the court. And please, don’t neglect the academics!

Boxscore from the game

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

Stephen Basden

Stephen Basden

Drew Sawyer and Jake Hart

Drew Sawyer and Jake Hart

Jake Haar guards Max Motroni

Jake Haar guards Max Motroni

Kemahl Walker (First Team ALL-CCC)

Kemahl Walker (First Team ALL-CCC)

Sam Johnson and Garrisson Duvivier eye a rebound

Sam Johnson and Garrisson Duvivier eye a rebound

Loose ball

Loose ball

Taylor Rioux cashes in a rebound

Taylor Rioux cashes in a rebound

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Scots down Curry 88-72 and now get Endicott in the CCC first round

(Amesbury/Milton MA) It wasn’t unexpected but it was necessary to earn the Scots a fifth place finish in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

Gordon (12-13) defeated winless Curry, 88-72, to close out the regular season schedule.

The win separated the Scots from Roger Williams, which lost to Wentworth, and secured 5th for the team from Wenham. Roger Williams held the tie-breaker against Gordon.

Curry (0-25) has had season-long struggles at both ends of the court. That pattern continued today as the Scots had plenty of good looks and the Colonels trailed by twenty, 49-29, at the half.

Things didn’t change much in the second half although the GC personnel certainly did. The starters minutes were less than usual as everyone in a Gordon uniform saw action.

The Curry roster included only nine players and one of them was their lone senior, Tim Flanagan, who collected twenty-six points while playing the entire game.

Efficiency Chart

Garrisson Duvivier 23 (16 points/8 rebounds)

Sam Johnson 22 (14 points/13 rebounds)

Paul Preziosi 20 (17 points/12 rebounds)

James Pina 19 (18 points/12 rebounds)

Jake Hart 15 (8 points/6 assists)

Tim Flanagan 15 (26 points)

Gordon 103

Curry 67

Boxscore from the game

If you’ve taken the time to read this far you may wonder, or already know, about Tuesday’s opponent in the opening round of the CCC tournament. It’s our “friends” down the street in Beverly. Yes, a third try against the Endicott Gulls.

Game time is at 5:30PM on Tuesday. Why so early? The EC girls’ basketball team is also opening at home in the tournament.

When I realized that it was Endicott again I looked back at my coverage of those two losses (75-60 and 80-73) to the Gulls.

Similar patterns emerged in both games: good first half and weak second half. Endicott pulled away in each second half because the Scots’ offense hit dry spells and Endicott’s didn’t.

The last meeting (a week ago) was particularly tough because in a 7-point loss the Scots missed ten of eleven 3-point attempts in the second half.

In the first loss, Gordon points from the inside vanished in the second half.

Either one of those deficiencies will spell trouble on Tuesday night. However, if the outside shooting is consistent then things will open up inside. If the inside game is productive there will be openings on the perimeter.

Can the Scots bring that sort of game to Beverly on Tuesday night? I believe that they can. If they can stay close the pressure builds up on the home team down the stretch and then anything can happen.

We can certainly look at this year’s GC men’s soccer team for inspiration. They ended up playing the #1 seed Gulls at Beverly in the CCC championship game and brought the league trophy to Wenham with an exciting win.

I have always believed that any win over Endicott is special. It’s like a Red Sox/Yankee thing to me. To win on their court in a tournament game would be extra special.

I would expect that there will be plenty of GC support on hand come Tuesday night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Garrisson Duvivier gets career high 34 points in tough 95-91 loss to #1 Nichols (21-3)

Senior Udoka Obiora

Senior Udoka Obiora

Senior Richie Armand

Senior Richie Armand

Marco Echevarria (Clutch free throws and a steal late in the game.)

Marco Echevarria (Clutch free throws and a steal late in the game.)

(Wenham MA) Nichols has lost once in November (Franklin Pierce), December (Endicott), and January (Western New England).

February’s loss hasn’t happened yet although Gordon made a terrific run at doing just that tonight at the Bennett Center.

The Bison (21-3), however, did prevail 95-91 and their win streak reaches thirteen.

Nichols will head into the Commonwealth Coast Conference playoffs (next Tuesday) as the #1 seed and certainly a favorite to win their first CCC basketball title.

The Bison have been the #1 seed the last two seasons and fallen short of the championship each time. Two years ago the Scots did it to them in the championship game at Dudley. Last year it was UNE in the first round.

Tonight’s game was another of those coulda/shoulda affairs. The Scots (11-13) certainly played well enough to win although it certainly didn’t look that way in the first half.

The team that hadn’t lost since January 7th came out free and easy draining three’s and running up a double-digit lead and was ahead 53-41 at halftime.

No reason to think that Gordon could slow the pace in the second half. The hope was that better defense and some Bison misses would combine……..and they did.

Nichols had no answers for Garrisson Duvivier (34 points).

Nichols had no answers for Garrisson Duvivier (34 points).

I don’t think I’ve seen better Gordon basketball than I saw the first 11+ minutes of the second half. There was terrific defense and Nichols got very few clean looks. Drives to the basket saw rejections from Sam Johnson, Udoka Obiora, and Garrisson Duvivier.

We watched the team that had been down by thirteen in the first half outscore highly regarded Nichols, 33-12, and grab a nine-point (74-65) lead. There were some wonderful passes, setting up layups, and a significant overdose of Garrisson Duvivier around the basket.

Garrisson had a career high in points (34) against the best team in the CCC. If there is a place that Nichols is vulnerable it is in close where their lack of size and depth shows up. It did in this game.

Devin Stallings (20 points)

Devin Stallings (20 points)

Devin Stallings (20 points) is a very good 6-4 athlete. However, trying to contain Garrisson got him into foul trouble midway into the second half. Players with four fouls defend differently and they also stop driving to the basket for fear of a charge.

The hard part for the GC faithful was the way the home team couldn’t hold onto that nine-point lead. It took Nichols five minutes but they eventually got even. And it wasn’t so much that NC made a lot of shots it was that GC couldn’t capitalize on the makeable shots they turned up.

Gordon was still in this one up 89-88 with 1:57 left. Visions of a huge upset faded away the rest of the game. The only points GC got were two Richie Armand free throws. Meanwhile NC’s Marco Echevarria made six straight free throws and had a steal. Gordon missed two free throws, two jump shots, and had three turnovers to close the game out.

It was tough to watch but nothing can be taken away from the fact that the Scots had given a very good team plenty of trouble.

A couple things of note from where I was watching: GC took its fewest 3’s of the season (9) and Jake Hart had the best game of his Gordon life.

The Scots took a season-low nine 3's

The Scots took a season-low nine 3’s

The three’s, you know I’m not a fan, in quantity make sense if you don’t have much of an inside game. The Scots are as good as it gets inside. The interior foursome (Garrisson, Sam, Udoka Obiora, and Graham Tienhaara) chase rebounds relentlessly and can block shots. They can also score. Most of the fifty-four points in the paint came from that foursome. Why marry the long-range shot when there are plenty of high-percentage shot points available?

A key to the Scots being around in this game was sophomore Jake Hart. He seemed extremely comfortable with the “Nichol’s” tempo…….full-speed. In this evening, Jake filled the stat sheet with 9 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds.

Irving Eggleston (26 points) gets a contested layup

Irving Eggleston (26 points) gets a contested layup

Gordon has now lost three straight. However, in two of those games (Wentworth, Nichols) the efficiency chart had GC as the better team. Those teams could be on the road ahead in the CCC playoffs. I like our chances.

Richie Armand and Udoka Obiora were honored before the game. Hard to believe that they are seniors. Richie refuses to shoot but defends well and seems to have the knack of making the offense be productive. Udoka is easily the most improved player on the team. He has developed a contributing smoothness on both ends of the court.

Real proud of the whole team against Nichols. So many little things need to go right to rally back and stay with a very fine team like Nichols and it was great to watch it happen.

Efficiency Chart

Garrisson Duvivier 35 (34 points/11 rebounds)

Irving Eggleston 26 (26 points/3 steals)

Devin Stallings 24 (20 points)

Career game for sophomore Jake Hart

Career game for sophomore Jake Hart

Jake Hart 23 (9 points/9 assists/8 rebounds)

Sam Johnson 16 (12 points/9 rebounds)

Gordon 113

Nichols 99

The Scots shot 56.5% for the game including 62.1% in the second half.

Next is the last conference game. The opponent is winless Curry at Curry.

Gordon is currently tied with Roger Williams in 5th place. The Hawks hold the tie-breaker but they have Wentworth away in their final game. WIT defeated Endicott in overtime tonight on a last-second three by Jason Ganley.

Box for the game

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

Richie Armand shoots free throws late in the game

Richie Armand shoots free throws late in the game

Garrisson Duvivier was strong inside

Garrisson Duvivier was strong inside

Christian Horton (8 assists)

Christian Horton (8 assists)

Marco Echevarria and Richie Armand

Marco Echevarria and Richie Armand

Sam Johnson (12 points) finishes

Sam Johnson (12 points) finishes

Udoka Obiora goes after Gustave Koumare's shot

Udoka Obiora goes after Gustave Koumare’s shot

Devin Stallings blocks a shot

Devin Stallings blocks a shot

Marco Echevarria tries a layup in very heavy traffic

Marco Echevarria tries a layup in very heavy traffic

Noah Szilagyi tries to slow down Irving Eggleston

Noah Szilagyi tries to slow down Irving Eggleston

Sam Johnson gets one of his nine rebounds

Sam Johnson gets one of his nine rebounds

Late game conference

Late game conference

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Scots get twenty-three from Garrisson Duvivier but still lose 80-73 to Endicott

Richie Armand breaks in after a steal.

Richie Armand breaks in after a steal.

Sam Johnson gets double-teamed by Kamahl Walker and Nick Thibeault

Sam Johnson gets double-teamed by Kamahl Walker and Nick Thibeault

(Beverly MA) I don’t know if Gordon put a scare into Endicott in their 80-73 loss in Beverly on Saturday afternoon.

I had hoped that they would because there is a pretty good chance that the two teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs on February 23rd.

A certainty after sixteen league games with two games remaining is that Nichols (14-2) will finish first and Curry (0-16) will finish last.

Another certainty is that Gordon (8-8) will not finish in the top four in the Commonwealth Coast Conference standings. After Nichols, are three teams (Endicott, Eastern Nazarene, Wentworth) with 11-5 records.

The Scots are currently in 5th place one game ahead of both Roger Williams and UNE. Roger Williams holds the tie-breaker over GC while UNE doesn’t.

Stephen Basden sets to launch a three as the EC bench watches

Stephen Basden sets to launch a three as the EC bench watches

Gordon plays Nichols at home on Tuesday night and Curry away on Saturday afternoon.

Nichols has won twelve straight and put a 66-point first half on Curry in today’s win. They can score!

Last year Nichols (#1 seed) lost in the first round to #8 UNE in the CCC playoffs. The year before Gordon won the championship at Nichols. Let’s just say Nichols is not only good but hungry. Gordon better prepare for Nichols’ best on Tuesday night.

“Best” would have won today’s game against Endicott. The Scots are not at the level where they can get by with mediocre in any area. The CCC’s defending champion can.

Chirs Lipscomb (11 points/10 rebounds)

Chirs Lipscomb (11 points/10 rebounds)

Endicott’s top player (Kamahl Walker) had seventeen points but it took him seventeen shots to get those points. He has five turnovers. But EC survived because Chris Lipscomb and his 4PPG average collected eleven points to go with ten rebounds to offset things.

The Scots hung around nicely in the first half but in the second half the Gulls got up by double figures and GC just couldn’t find answering offense.

The Scots weren’t blown out they just couldn’t get this one into a one-possession game. They did get it to two-possessions a couple of times but that wasn’t enough.

Gordon never reached the “blown-out” level because the Gulls struggled big-time from the line (18-for-29). In the game at Gordon in January the visitors were 20-for 24.

The most remarkable turnaround in today’s game was the play of freshman Garrisson Duvivier. First matchup in January Garrisson was an underwhelming 1-for-11. Those who thought the Gulls might have his number learned differently this afternoon. Garrisson had twenty-three points to go along with ten rebounds. It took him only fifteen shots to get those points, by the way.

Sam Johnson had his thirteenth double/double putting 15 points together with 11 rebounds. The 6-6 junior also added three blocks.

Eric Demers fires a three as the GC bench watches

Eric Demers fires a three as the GC bench watches

Eric Demers totaled seventeen points. Eric seemed to be the only perimeter player able to consistently get open space for shot attempts. It seems to me that the last open shots 3-point shooters Noah Szilagyi and Jake Haar have had lately have been in pre-game. Wide open looks have to be earned (by movement) at the college level.

The killer number for Gordon was second-half, three-point shooting. It is hard to put fear into an opponent if you’re trailing and only go 1-for-11 from long range.

Junior Kamahl Walker was honored before the game for having scored his 1000th point.

Daquan Sampson lines up a jam

Daquan Sampson lines up a jam

Daquan Sampson also had a double/double (11 points/10 rebounds) for the Gulls. The 6-6 junior just barely missed turning an alley-oop pass into a highlight-reel jam.

I don’t know if Gordon has played a daylight basketball game at Endicott before. It was interesting to actually be able to see some of the new buildings that EC has put up.

I am no expert on pep bands and cheerleading. Endicott had both and they worked extremely well together. Could a student-driven pep band work in the Bennett Center? I’m guessing it would.

Tuesday night (5:30PM) is the night the seniors (Richie Armand and Udoka Obiora) will be honored before the Nichols game. Richie and Udoka are two of the three holdovers from the 2013-14 championship team.

Efficiency Chart

Garrisson Duvivier 28

Sam Johnson 22

Chris Lipscomb 21

Daquan Sampson 14

Endicott 86

Gordon 81

Boxscore from the game

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

Sam Johnson blocks Kamahl Walker's shot

Sam Johnson blocks Kamahl Walker’s shot

Kamahl Walker honored before the game

Kamahl Walker honored before the game

Jaren Yang defended by Max Motroni

Jaren Yang defended by Max Motroni

Daquan Sampson

Daquan Sampson

Kamahl Walker shoots past Noah Szilagyi

Kamahl Walker shoots past Noah Szilagyi

Senior Udoka Obiora sets a screen

Senior Udoka Obiora sets a screen

Eric Demers guarded by Stephen Basden

Eric Demers guarded by Stephen Basden

Garrisson Duvivier

Garrisson Duvivier

Max Motroni defends an inbounds pass

Max Motroni defends an inbounds pass

Kamahl Walker

Kamahl Walker

Eric Demers and Stephen Basden

Eric Demers and Stephen Basden

Garrisson Duviver (23 points) about to set up teammate Sam Johnson for a wide-open layup

Garrisson Duviver (23 points) about to set up teammate Sam Johnson for a wide-open layup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gordon scores one point in final 3+ minutes and loses 69-67 to Wentworth

Senior Kyle Romich gets off the game winner for Wentworth

Senior Kyle Romich gets off the game winner for Wentworth

Garrisson Duvivier (24 points) puts up a floater

Garrisson Duvivier (24 points) puts up a floater

(Wenham MA) I thought that the best thing that happened at the Bennett Center tonight was the Gordon women breaking an 11-game losing streak in defeating Wentworth, 42-39, in the opening game.

The second game certainly was exciting but when it came time for a really big shot to be made the Scots weren’t up to it and lost, 69-67, to the Leopards.

The loss ended a very enjoyable four-game GC win streak. With Endicott Saturday and 13-2 Nichols next Tuesday it is clear that keeping a 3-game losing streak from happening won’t be easy.

Tonight’s loss against Wentworth is probably the end of Gordon’s chances to finish in the top four in the Commonwealth Coast Conference and earn a home game in the CCC playoffs.

Richie Armand shoots a free throw in the last minute

Richie Armand shoots a free throw in the last minute

The Scots (8-7/11-11) are still in 5th place but two games separate them from the 4th spot and there are only three games left. They could still get 4th but an awful lot of things would have to go their way to make it happen.

One thing that certainly went right against WIT was the play of Garrisson Duvivier. The freshman from Brockton put together a 24 points/14 rebounds evening.

Garrisson also put some pretty good defense on Jason Ganley limiting the sophomore to seventeen points. If you recall the game at Wentworth, Jason registered thirty-nine points setting the school record in the process in the Gordon defeat in Boston.

Tonight’s game came down to the very end. The Leopards (10-5/11-11) had the ball in a tie game. That ball intentionally ended up in the hands of senior Kyle Romich (17 points) and and his teammates gave him room to operate straight away. Kyle was able to get by defender Eric Demers and into the foul line area where his made jump shot gave WIT a 2-point lead with 4.5 seconds to go.

Last-second prayer

Last-second prayer

The Gordon response was a half-court prayer by Eric Demers before the buzzer. The shot hit the rim but did not become the game winner and the visitors had a 2-point victory.

The Scots wasted two terrific comebacks. In the first half the home team trailed by eleven (34-23) with 3:12 remaining. The Leopards didn’t score again the rest of the half. Garrisson Duvivier had a dunk and two layups. Noah had a layup and Jaren connected on a three. That run of good Gordon offense ended the first half in a 34-34 tie.

In the second half, another Wentworth lead (55-46) with 11:23 left in the game. By 7:59, the Scots had scored nine straight (Noah Szilagyi three, jumper by Eric Demers, layups by Garrisson Duvivier and Sam Johnson) to earn a 55-55 tie.

Gordon timeout

Gordon timeout

Those nifty comebacks were why the end game was so frustrating. This time GC had a lead. Not big but enough that some consistent offense might have maintained until the end. Not on this night!

The Scots were ahead 66-62 with 3:27 to go. Gordon was only able to get ONE POINT the rest of the way. The Scots had two turnovers, missed a free throw, a layup, a three, and two jump shots. That’s ugly.

Meanwhile Wentworth got a clutch three from Dan DeVaux and Kyle Romich’s end-game jump shot to win it.

Garrisson’s remarkable game included twenty points in the first half. Looking for a reason for the loss? Garrisson had fifteen shots in the first half and only four in the second half. The Wentworth defense didn’t improve that much in the second half. There is a fine line between taking your best shot and the team’s best shot. Sometimes those three’s go in but on this night there was first-half evidence that Garrisson and Sam Johnson were tough matchups for the interior of the WIT defense. Connect the dots.

Dan DeVaux has an open look

Dan DeVaux has an open look

I enjoy watching Wentworth in their offensive end. No team works the ball as effectively as they do. What it all adds up to are great open looks. You watch the perimeter guys shoot on any team in the CCC in pre-game and they make most of their long-range attempts. Wentworth is able to turn up similar shots during the game better than others teams do.

The Leopards used a 1-3-1 defense quite effectively. The problem with any zone defense is that a team on the move can get shots before that defense is in place. I thought that Jaren Yang did a nice job of speeding up the tempo for GC.

Efficiency Chart

Garrison Duvivier 39

Sam Johnson 18 (10 points/11 rebounds)

Kyle Romich 18 (17 points/10 rebounds)

Jason Ganley 16 (17 points)

Wentworth 71

Gordon 79

Boxscore

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

Kyle Romich and Eric Demers

Kyle Romich and Eric Demers

Cesar Fulcar

Cesar Fulcar

WIT coach Arlen Galloway tries to make a point as Garrisson Duvivier watches

WIT coach Arlen Galloway tries to make a point as Garrisson Duvivier watches

Game on!

Game on!

Garrisson Duvivier fouled by Ian Therriault

Garrisson Duvivier fouled by Ian Therriault

Jason Ganley and Graham Tienhaara

Jason Ganley and Graham Tienhaara

Garrisson Duvivier and Jason Ganley

Garrisson Duvivier and Jason Ganley

Kyle Romich guards Jaren Yang

Kyle Romich guards Jaren Yang

Eric Demers tries to get past two WIT defenders

Eric Demers tries to get past two WIT defenders

 

 

 

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Gordon holds off Salve Regina 63-61 to reach 5th in the CCC standings

Happy Scots celebrate fourth straight victory

Happy Scots celebrate fourth straight victory

Jake Haar (13 points) gets off a floater in the lane that turned out to be the game-winner with eight seconds left

Jake Haar (13 points) gets off a floater in the lane that turned out to be the game-winner with eight seconds left

(Wenham MA) Gordon survived a hold-your-breath finish to defeat Salve Regina, 63-61, on Saturday afternoon at the Bennett Center.

The win, Gordon’s 4th straight, thrusts them into fifth place in the Commonwealth Coast Conference standings. The opportunity to move higher is clearly in place as three of their final regular CCC games are against teams above them (Wentworth, Endicott, Nichols).

A finish in the top four would get the Scots (8-6/11-10) a home game in the first round of the CCC playoffs.

Gordon will host Wentworth (9-5) next Wednesday night.

To win today’s game with the Seahawks the Scots had to overcome a 7-point deficit (61-54) in the final 2:49. Gordon’s shooting on this afternoon had been way off (37%) and a comeback seemed unlikely.

BUT back they came and the defense had plenty to do with it. SR didn’t score a point in the final 2:49. The visitors missed a jump shot (Bryce Boggs) and a layup (Nick Bates) and had two layups blocked by Garrisson Duvivier and Sam Johnson. They also committed two turnovers including one on the final play of the afternoon.

Graham Tienhaara and Sam Johnson positioned for a rebound

Graham Tienhaara and Sam Johnson positioned for a rebound

Meanwhile the Scots produced points in their last five possessions to get the lead. Two of the possessions were kept alive by offensive rebounds. (Rebounding has been a consistent positive all season.)

Jake Haar (13 points) hit a 3-pointer after the first offensive rebound. Then Garrison Duvivier (14 points) made one of two free throws, before he came back on the next possession to get an offensive rebound. This time Garrisson was fouled and made both free throws. Next GC possession it was Richie Armand’s chance at two at the line. Richie missed the first and made the second to tie the score at 61-61 with 58 seconds left.

Richie Armand shows plenty of knee brace and flair heading for the hoop in the last minute

Richie Armand shows plenty of knee brace and flair heading for the hoop in the last minute

Following a SR layup miss the Scots took over. After a timeout, there was plenty of dribbling/passing before the shot-clock countdown began. Jake Haar ended up with a pass from Richie Armand and instead of dialing long-distance he broke into the paint past defender Bryce Boggs and drained a floater with eight seconds to go to give GC the 63-61 lead.

What would Salve do? A good bet would have been on Bryce Boggs (23 points) to take the shot. After all, the sophomore had nineteen of his points in the second half. He had hit from long range and he had gotten to the basket.

Bryce did get the ball but was swarmed by at least two defenders above the foul line. Bryce had the presence of mind to spot teammate Kevin Mannix uncovered in close. A quick pass got the ball there but over came Sam Johnson to block Kevin’s shot attempt in the last second.

With less than a second left, SR still had time for an inbounds play. A two-pointer ties it and a 3-pointer wins it. I don’t know what play Salve coach Sean Foster had drawn up but my pictures show that SR nearly got a wide-open three-point attempt by Rodney Morton from the left corner. The pass, however, ended up going out of bounds and the game ended there. I think what happened was that inbounds passer (Barrett Hanlon) saw Rodney aboutn to get open in the corner but teammate Nick Bates didn’t. Nick reached for what he thought was a bad pass and deflected it past Rodney. If that pass had reached Rodney, he would have had a very clean look at the game winner. One of the Gordon defenders was extremely fortunate, to say the least.srgc-final-shot-one-halfsrgc-A14-final-shot-#1

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But it all came out good for the home team. It isn’t how you win, it’s did you. And the answer was “Yes” today.

Bryce Boggs (23 points) powers into the lane

Bryce Boggs (23 points) powers into the lane

Gordon had points from ten different players. It was indeed one of those games where I wondered afterwards where the GC points had come from. For Salve it was easy; Bryce Boggs and Nick Bates.

Bryce looked like a miniature Marcus Smart (Celtics) to me. Muscular with a good outside shot as well as a willingness to challenge the GD shot blockers.

Nick, from nearby Danvers, is a certain All-CCC player. Today he had 18 points and 15 rebounds. Garrisson Duvivier kept him from doing more damage. I was surprised that he didn’t cash in either of his two layups in the end game.

Gordon was fortunate to see very little of senior Barrett Hanlon. Barrett got three fouls in the first half and he also still appears to be having knee problems. Shutting him out was huge when you consider his history at the Bennett Center: 2014 – 32 points in SR win, 2015 – 22 points, including 17 in the second half in SR win.

Juniors Nick Bates and Sam Johnson

Juniors Nick Bates and Sam Johnson

If you’re a guard with a nice 3-point shot, you probably scored a lot of points in high school. In college the defense will take that shot away most of the time. That is why it has been good to see newcomers Eric Demers, Noah Szilaygi, and Jake Haar, arrive with a second shot. I call it a floater. The guard gets past the over-playing perimeter defender and gets closer to the basket. With shot blockers ahead, the guard lofts a higher-than-usual shot over the bigger defenders rushing at him. That type of shot by freshman Jake Haar turned out to be the game winning basket in today’s win over Salve Regina.

Efficiency Chart

Bryce Boggs 22 (23 pts)

Nick Bates 21 (18 pts/15 rebs)

Garrisson Duvivier 20 (14 pts/12 rebs/3 blocks)

Sam Johnson 15 (9 pts/12 rebs)

Jake Haar 11 (13 pts)

Gordon 79

Salve Regina 55

Tremendous discrepancy in the team totals.

Nick Bates and Bryce Boggs were 16-for-32 for Salve. The rest of the team? 7-for-29.

Salve’s decline at the end of the game may have had something to do with the long minutes starters Nick Bates (39), Bryce Boggs (36), and Rodney Morton (38) played.

Game boxscore

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

Richie Armand ties the game with this free throw in the last minute

Richie Armand ties the game with this free throw in the last minute

Senior Udoka Obiora (#32) eyes the basket

Senior Udoka Obiora (#32) eyes the basket

Richie Armand chased by Patrick O'Rourke

Richie Armand chased by Patrick O’Rourke

Bryce Boggs shoots over Noah Szilagyi

Bryce Boggs shoots over Noah Szilagyi

Jake Haar dials long-distance

Jake Haar dials long-distance

Barrett Hanlon spent most of the game on the sidelines which was a big break for Gordon

Barrett Hanlon spent most of the game on the sidelines which was a big break for Gordon

Garrisson Duvivier defends Nick Bates

Garrisson Duvivier defends Nick Bates

Rodney Morton drives in past Richie Armand and Graham Tienhaara

Rodney Morton drives in past Richie Armand and Graham Tienhaara

 

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