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.