By Peter McClelland
(Beverly) – Endicott avenged an earlier loss to Gordon with a good display of timely outside shooting and defeated the Scots, 79-67, in front of a loud and active crowd on Tuesday evening in Commonwealth Coast Conference action. The 6 o’clock start seemed to bring out most of the Endicott student body while Gordon had a nice contingent on hand too.
“We’ve been playing well but that the best team we’ve beaten record-wise, for sure,” explained Endicott coach Mike Plansky afterwards. Endicott is now 12-8, but more importantly, 10-2 in the CCC Northern Division. The loss drops Gordon to 16-5 and 9-3 in the CCC.
“The harsh reality now is that if we’re going to win the CCC championship we’ll probably have to do it here (Endicott) or at Colby-Sawyer where we haven’t played well,” said Gordon coach Mike Schauer. “It’s a tough scenario right now.”
Coach Schauer said that this one was, “a little like Colby-Sawyer.” The crowd was loud and the music ear-splitting. And the Scots got off to a slow start. The Gulls took advantage and with a 9-point run got up, 14-4, with 12 minutes left.
The Scots also got a taste of the long ball. Usually, they’re hurting other teams this way but not tonight. The Gulls were a warm, 10 for 19, from beyond the arc. Gordon, on the other hand, struggled at 7 for 21 from out deep.
“We’ve become a better offensive team,” added coach Plansky. “We’re shooting 45% for the season and usually you shoot even better at home. We didn’t show much of a shooting touch in that loss to Gordon earlier.”
The Scots were down, 39-30, at halftime. “I made one recommendation and walked out of the locker room,” said coach Schauer. “We finally competed in the second half.”
With better defense and a little more accuracy on offense the Scots mounted a comeback. Abandoned was the long shot as drives and short jumpers became the order of the day. And when John Beebe fed Alex Yeats for a layup things had tightened to, 51-49, with 12 ½ minutes left. This game was there for the taking.
But the Gulls weren’t about to let it get away. Zach Ellis (he had 20 against Colby-Sawyer) followed with a 3 and Endicott went off on a 12-2 run that closed the comeback door. “To Endicott’s credit was their ability to make big shots,” said coach Schauer. “A couple of times in the second half we got the game close but they made backbreaking plays to keep us from having a chance to get ahead.”
A surprising twist was Gordon’s inability to handle the Gulls’ press. A number of the Scot’s 20 turnovers were deep in the backcourt and led to baskets or foul shots.
“The press was new from the last time we met,” said coach Plansky. “The other thing we focused on was trying to pressure the 3’s a little more. We didn’t think that they could make enough 2’s to beat us.”
Junior Jeremy Currier had a huge game for Endicott. His 8 for 11 shooting included 5 threes. He totaled 26 points for the evening. When Gordon narrowed things to, 72-67, with a minute left he drilled three foul shots in a row and then grabbed the rebound on the next one to help run out the clock.
Hayes Murray and Josh Sylvester paced Gordon with 14 points apiece. Scott Allenby added 11.
“I thought that Alex Yeats gave us a lot of energy tonight,” said coach Schauer. “John Beebe was a contributor too. He will always help us because he’s a competitor like his brother (Scott).”
Gordon entertains Anna Maria on Thursday night while Endicott travels to New England College.