Monthly Archives: November 2003

(Game #3 – Newbury) Ryan Smith Catches Fire and Gordon Wins Home Opener

By Peter McClelland

This game guarantees senior Ryan Smith special attention in the near future, if not for the rest of the season.  His 35 points will catch the eye of box score perusers and future opponents alike.

“He has all the shots.  He just has to be willing to keep putting them up,” said Gordon coach Mike Schauer after Smith’s 26 second-half points enabled the Scots to hold off the visiting nonleague Newbury Nighthawks 90-79 before a vacation-effected crowd at the Bennett Center on Tuesday evening’s home opener.  The Scots are now 2-1 while Newbury is 1-2.

Coach Schauer came into this game knowing that Newbury would be a problem to defend.  “I saw both of their first two games and knew that they could shoot.”

And shoot they did.  Guard Loren Green was unstoppable pouring in 22 points in the first half from near and far.  In the second half the junior from Lynn (MA) added 10 more. 

Meanwhile Hayes Murray was in the zone in the first half (17 points) and then along came Ryan Smith with 26 points in the second half.   “I like to win games by successfully defending the other team,” explained coach Schauer.  “This was one in which the offense carried the day.”

Newbury hoped to put a lot of points on the board.  “We have to score in the 80s to win,” said Nighthawk coach Adam Nelson.  “Of course you can’t give up 90 and have much of a chance.”

The visitors looked like a blowout candidate as they watched Gordon drill four treys (three by Murray) and jump out 14-2 after three minutes.  But the Nighthawks fought back and the lead was narrowed to 18-17 at the 10 minute mark.

Andrew Swenson turned some heads with a cluster of points (rebound conversion, 4 foul shots, and a 3-pointer) and Gordon moved ahead 32-21 with six minutes to go.  “Andrew is a streaky player,” said coach Schauer.  “He can make a lot of good things happen in a hurry.”

Again Newbury had answers and when Roland Matthews drained two treys in the last minute the Gordon lead had shrunk to 44-43 and only a last second three by Hayes Murray saw the Scots leave the floor up 47-43.

The first basket of the second half had Ryan Smith successfully dialing long distance after a feed from Alex Yeats.  And that was just the beginning!  He had three more treys, a jumper, and eight foul shots before the half ended.

Even though Newbury couldn’t contain Smith they didn’t go away.  A 3-point play by Jarred King knotted things at 50 after two minutes.  Six minutes later Newbury was still there tied at 61-61.

But then it was time for a surge that Newbury couldn’t respond to.  Jerry Logan took the ball to the basket for two and then Smith went wild cashing a three, a four, and a three.  Murray added yet another three and Gordon was in command 76-63 with 7 ½ to go.

The fouls and frustration began to take its toll on the Nighthawks.  The Scots spent the rest of the night at the foul line, in fact, Scott Allenby and Ryan Smith did not miss any of the 14 attempts they were given during the last six minutes as Gordon won 90-79.

“Our plan coming in was to be aggressive defensively,” explained coach Nelson.  “We knew that they’d be able to shoot the 3’s.  We lost our composure down the stretch and just fouled way too much.  We’ve got seven new faces with no seniors so mistakes are expected.  There is a long way to go and we should be okay.

“I told the team that Gordon would be one of the better Division 3 teams we’d face this season.  Despite losing some players I think that they’ll be fine in their conference.”

Ryan Smith led all scorers with 35 points followed by Hayes Murray (22) and junior Andrew Swenson (13).

Loren Green paced Newbury with 32 points (despite fouling out and missing the last six minutes of the game) and Julius Hobert added 14. 

This game was a bit of an adventure to write about since the stat program didn’t work.  Can machines have opening game jitters??

Next up for Gordon is a trip next Tuesday to Connecticut College in New Haven, Connecticut.  This team is part of the attempt to upgrade the competition the Scots face.  This one will be a major challenge.
 

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Filed under Gordon Men's Basketball 2003-04, Newbury

(Game #2 – Salve Regina) Gordon Surges at the Start of Each Half and Gets First Win

By Peter McClelland

(Amherst) Gordon played as if the lopsided loss to host Amherst (104-72) was a distant memory and they captured the consolation game in the Wright Tournament 66-55 against fellow Commonwealth Coast Conference foe Salve Regina on Saturday afternoon at Amherst College.  The win enabled Gordon to even their record at 1-1.

The Scots were at their best early in each half and they rode the production to the victory.  In the first half Gordon surged to a 15-4 advantage after 7 ½ minutes.  In the second half the Scots ran off 10 straight in the first two minutes and pushed a 34-30 halftime advantage to 44-30. 

“We tried to take away the 3-point shot but they did a great job of getting to the basket,” reported Salve coach Sean Foster.  Against Amherst that penetration got Gordon turnovers but against the Seahawks there were high percentage shots.

“When we were able to have our starters on the floor I felt we dominated,” explained Gordon coach Mike Schauer.  Unfortunately, fouls forced all sorts of substituting and Salve was able to hang around throughout the game. 

The Seahawks got to within two (29-27) with two minutes left in the half and in the second half sliced an 18-point deficit (53-35) with 10 unanswered points  to 53-45 with eight minutes left.  But the early deficits in each half were never overcome and Salve fell to 0-2.

Coach Foster saw his team as their own worst enemy.  “We got the ball where we wanted (down low) but came up without points too many times.  Even when we were fouled we were horrible at the foul line.”  The Seahawks missed 17 of 35 free throws and some of those were the front end of one-and-ones. 

Ryan Smith (Sr-Hamilton MA) was the scoring spark in the opening blitz drilling three treys.  He was the Gordon scoring leader (19 points) and somehow (he’s 5’11”) also led in rebounds with seven.

Hayes Murray (Sr-West Simsbury CT) ended up with a total of 14 points including 10 in the second half.  He also had 4 steals.

If the poor foul shooting didn’t get the Seahawks then the turnovers (26) surely did.  No doubt Gordon’s aggressive man-to-man was a factor in the turnovers.

“It was a team effort and this win should tell us that we can expect to compete pretty well in our league, “explained coach Schauer.  There will be a second game against the Newport school at Gordon on January 17th.

The Seahawks were paced by Chris O’Rourke (19 points) and Matt Coute and Chris Collier with 13 points apiece.

Both Chris O’Rourke and Ryan Smith were named to the all-tournament team.

Next up for Gordon will be the home opener against nonleague opponent Newbury on Tuesday at the Bennett Center at 8PM. 

This will be the first time to get a look at the seven newcomers on this year’s 13-member squad.

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Filed under Gordon Men's Basketball 2003-04, Salve Regina

(Game #1 – Amherst) Nationally Ranked Amherst Routs Gordon in Season Opener

By Peter McClelland

(Amherst) Gordon coach Mike Schauer resisted saying the obvious after his team was blown out by the Amherst Lord Jeffs, 104-72, in the opening round of the Ken Wright ’52 Memorial Invitational Tournament at LaFrak Gymnasium in Amherst on Friday night.  It was the first game for both teams.

How bad was Gordon?  Coach Schauer wouldn’t go there.

“It is a difficult game for me to even evaluate other than the obvious that they are so much better than we are,” explained Schauer.  “We’d like to be at their level but we aren’t close yet.”  

Amherst was ranked 14th nationally in a preseason poll by D3 Hoops after winning 25 games in 2002-03.  They graduated their three best players but looked to those in attendance to be as strong as ever.  After seeing what the Jeffs did to Gordon you have to wonder what they’ll do to Colby-Sawyer (a Gordon CCC rival) when Amherst travels to New London (NH) later on in the season.  It was probably better to get this type of opponent behind you as early as possible!

The Scots did get off to a nice start (10-2 after three minutes) but once the Jeffs abandoned the 3-pointer for a while things went south in a hurry.  Amherst ran off 20 unanswered points and never looked back.

“I didn’t want to see that 10-2 start but we were doing everything from the outside and not hitting,” explained Amherst coach David Hixon.  After the best timeout of the night the hosts went inside first and found nothing but openings for layup after layup.

“We haven’t had a scrimmage yet so it was our first time against outside competition and it took us a while to get going,” added coach Hixon. 

It was one thing to see the offense making things look easy but then the Jeff’s defense (man-to-man) got going as well and we watched turnovers turn into layups.  Gordon had an astounding 17 turnovers in that first half which greatly helped create a 52-30 halftime deficit.

Things were not going to change in the second half.  Coach Hixon found minutes for 17 players and Amherst was still able to shoot 56% (18 for 32).  “I had no intention of running up the score and we subbed early but the players coming off the bench were hot too,” said Hixon.

The Scots were hurt by the Jeffs’ ability to deny open 3-point shots for most of the game.  “Our guard-to-guard switching was effective,” added Hixon. 

An optimistic spin to all this was that when Gordon avoided the turnover (26 for the game) and Amherst’s exterior defense, they shot quite well – 23 for 44 (52%).  Hayes Murray was 5 for 9 (18 points).  Ryan Smith was 5 for 8 (15 points) and newcomer Mike Herr was 5 for 6 (12 points). 

“People won’t know how good our team is by the way this game went,” explained coach Schauer.  “Last year’s team (20-7) would have had just as much trouble with these guys I suspect.”

Both coaches liked the play of freshman Jerry Logan in the second half.  In 10 minutes of action the youngster handled the ball a lot without a turnover and set up two baskets.  He also was 4 for 4 from the foul line.  “Maybe we’ve found ourselves a point guard,” offered coach Schauer.

The Scots return to action tomorrow afternoon against the Framingham State/Salve Regina loser.  A better outcome should be expected.

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Filed under Amherst, Gordon Men's Basketball 2003-04