By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) – How often does a team have a 1000 point scorer? How about more than one on a team? Gordon took this a step further Saturday afternoon by having two players (Scott Beebe & Joe Witherspoon) reach that plateau in the same game.
“It’s a mark of production, consistency, and longevity,” explained Gordon coach Mike Schauer afterwards. “I am fortunate to coach them.”
Scott and Joe’s special accomplishments were part of a surprisingly, easy, 96-57, win over the University of New England in Commonwealth Coast action at the Bennett Center.
The Scots are now 14-3 overall and 7-1 in the CCC. The Nor’easters drop to 7-10 overall and 3-5 in the CCC.
The way this game went defied logic. In the previous game UNE had rattled off 57 first-half points against tough Anna Maria on the road in a blowout victory. “That win at Anna Maria really worried me, “said coach Schauer. “This was as nervous as I’ve been all year for a game.”
“The CCC is a good league,” added UNE coach Dave Labbe. “If you don’t bring it every night you’re going to run into a game like this. You can’t draw a lot from one game to another.”
The significant game stats were in shooting percentage (Gordon 37 for 67 for 55%/ UNE 13 for 52 for 25%) and rebounds (Gordon 48/ UNE 30).
Early on it became apparent that Gordon would be able to do pretty much what it wanted to do on offense. The Scots usually launch the first open shot but in this they showed a lot more patience and constantly went inside to Joe Witherspoon and Josh Sylvester. “They like a fast tempo and we tried to be more deliberate, “said coach Schauer. “This was also one of the few teams we face where we had some size advantages inside.”
Gordon broke open a 12-10 game with a 7-point run that included lay-ups by Joe Witherspoon and Scott Beebe and a three by Gordon’s best 3-point shooter Hayes Murray to pull ahead by nine. A few minutes later the long-range accuracy kicked in as Joe, Scott, and Hayes drilled threes and now the lead was, 32-15. Scott’s three in that mix was his 1000th point. Gordon had a, 49-29, halftime advantage.
Things did not get any better for the visitors in the second half. Teams have averaged 90 points a game against their man-to-man defense this season and the Scots had plenty of open shots to choose from. “We played hard,” said coach Labbe, “but they’re a good basketball team with plenty of veteran leadership and it’s tough to cover them.”
Things were respectable at 66-44 with 13 minutes left but a 13-point run put this one in the laugher zone, 79-44, with still 9 ½ minutes to go. Josh Sylvester was the key to that run with a 3 and two inside shots. Each coach was able to clear his respective bench for most of the rest of the game.
All five of Gordon’s starters finished in double figures; Scott Beebe (22), Joe Witherspoon (18), Josh Sylvester (16), Hayes Murray (14), and Elliott Blackstone (10). Josh added 12 rebounds and 7 assists.
Nyaten Gaye paced the Nor’easters with 22 points (he averages 20) including a very good 15-17 from the free throw line.
On Tuesday Gordon travels to New Hampshire to play against struggling New England College while UNE hosts tough Endicott.
Coach Schauer recalled scoring 1000 points at Wheaton. “They gave me the ball with the information on it. I need to tell you, though, that I have no idea where that ball is now. I remember my teammates and the victories a whole lot more than scoring 1000 points. Scott and Joe will probably be the same way.”