By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! Gordon shocked Commonwealth Coast Conference powerhouse Colby-Sawyer 78-72 at the Bennett Center on Tuesday night in front of a host of returning students.
In my opinion this was the biggest basketball win in Gordon’s tenure in the CCC. Next thing you know the Red Sox will be beating the Yankees in a playoff series!
“Because of their injuries (four active players out) and busy schedule (four games in seven days) I went into this one thinking we’d never have a better chance to beat them,” said Gordon coach Mike Schauer afterwards. “I don’t think we’re a better team generally than them but on this night we were.”
To catch the magnitude of the result you needed to know that the Chargers came into the game with a record of 92-11 in CCC play since they’ve joined. And none of those 11 losses were inflicted by the Scots.
So how did they win this one?
First of all, they didn’t let Colby-Sawyer’s 15 point run at the end of the first half faze them in the second half. Credit that turnaround to a “lively” halftime discussion in the Gordon locker room. “The team learned that I wasn’t pleased by their bodily response to Colby’s run,” said coach Schauer. “Runs like that happen. We seemed hang-dog about it and I can’t stand that stuff.”
Secondly, even though down 43-34 at halftime they stayed close until, led by freshman Jerry Logan, they turned a 59-54 deficit into a 64-59 lead with six minutes left. Just before this run Logan had his pocket picked by Pat Kenny who took the turnover in for a lay-up using a show time behind-the-back move. Instead of being discouraged the freshman set up the points (he had 7 assists in the second half) that gave Gordon the lead for good.
“Jerry’s an unknown player in this league,” said coach Schauer. “He’s very creative but isn’t a natural point guard. He’ll be even better next year when he can create from the Number 2 spot.”
Finally, when things got close in the last three minutes senior Hayes Murray wouldn’t let this game slip away. At the 3-minute mark Charger Pat Kenny drained a trey making it 69-68. Hayes answered with a trey of his own. Two foul shots by Collin Bray narrowed things to 72-70 with 1 ½ left. Hayes picks this time to find Mike Herr all alone for a lay-up. With a minute left Jerry Logan misses the front end of a one-and-one. C/S rushes up the court looking for a trey to get within 1. Hayes jumps in front of a pass and dives out of bounds and fires it off of a Charger player to keep the ball away from Colby-Sawyer.
Gordon was back with the same match-up zone they used successfully against Curry in a win last Saturday. “They were trying to take away the inside with that zone, “explained Charger coach Bill Foti. “You can get good looks against a zone but you have to make your shots.” And except for a spurt of three in a row by Chris Condon at the end of the half the Chargers were off from the outside (9 for 34 from 3-point land).
“They have more depth than last year and they do a good job of spreading out your defense,” added coach Foti. “They have a lot of shooters and (Ryan) Smith had a huge game.” Ryan collected 28 points with 17 of them in the second half.
“Alex (Yeats) had a big game (6 rebounds/6 points) in very limited minutes because of foul trouble,” said coach Schauer. “I thought Pete Hassler filled in very nicely for Alex in the middle in the second half. Coach Martin and Scott Allenby both told me at halftime that I needed to get Pete into the game. I appreciate them for doing that.”
Ryan Smith led all Gordon scorers with 28 points followed by Scott Allenby (15) and Hayes Murray (14).
Chris Condon paced the Chargers with 20 points (17 in the first half) followed by Andrew St. Clair (18), Pat Kenny (11) and Collin Bray (10).
The victory evens Gordon’s record at 6-6, but more importantly gets them to 3-0 in the CCC. Ahead is a trip to Boston on Thursday night to face the struggling Wentworth Leopards.
Meanwhile Colby-Sawyer (5-4 overall and 2-1 in CCC) gets to come back to the area Thursday to take on Endicott. A goodly number of the Endicott players were on hand to size up the Chargers.
Next home game is Saturday afternoon against Salve Regina at 3PM.