By Peter McClelland
(Biddeford ME) Watching a promising season slide down the drain is not a pleasant sight.
“The reality is that we’re not very good,” explained Gordon coach Mike Schauer after seeing his squad compete but come up short to the University of New England Nor’easters 67-63 at Biddeford on Saturday afternoon.
Four games ago the expectations were high – win the division, get home court in the playoffs. Now after four straight CCC defeats the Scots have seven conference games left to stop the slide and just make the playoffs.
“The problem for us is scoring points,” said coach Schauer. “Take nothing away from UNE. They played a fine game and defensed us well. However, they only scored 67 points and we fouled a lot (UNE made 17 foul shots.). We have to find ways to generate some offense and at this moment I’m not sure of answers on how we can do it.”
Gordon tried to put the home team away in the first half by making an 11-point run that erased a 24-23 deficit and sent the Scots ahead 34-24 with three minutes left in the half. Two treys from Ryan Smith (Hamilton, Ma – senior) and one from Scott Allenby (Proctor, Vt – junior) plus a Jerry Logan (Marietta, Ga – freshman) jumper sparked the rally.
But the Gordon offense hit the off switch for the rest of the half and Mike Hardy’s (Hancock, Me – junior) shot near the end finished an answering run of seven points and had the Nor’easters down by just 34-31 at the half.
UNE regained the lead 40-39 on Brandon Berthiaume’s (Springfield, Ma – senior) old fashioned 3-point play. Scott Allenby responded with a free throw and things were tied at 40 with 14 ½ minutes left.
Again someone turned the Gordon offense into off and the next 6 ½ minutes produced an avalanche of misfirings and turnovers (4) and a paltry two points. UNE took full advantage of the drought to build up a 54-42 advantage and never trailed again over the last eight minutes.
UNE showed nice patience on offense against the tight Gordon man-to-man defense using a continuous weave that opened up backdoor cuts and penetration for good scoring chances.
Credit Gordon, they did not give up and good things started to happen. Down 59-49 with 4 ½ to go the Scots regained their outside touch. Treys by Ryan Smith (2) and Scott Allenby (1) and a couple of free throws and things had narrowed to 63-60 with 1 ½ left. And Gordon even got the ball back at that score. However, the next attempted three was an air ball and the opportunity to tie squandered in the process. Mike Hardy then broke loose for a lay-up and this one was over.
UNE’s Brandon Berthiaume led all scorers with 16. Nick Farynaz (Gray, Me – freshman) added 15 points by hitting 4 of 6 shots and going 7 for 8 from the line. Matt McManus scored 13 and clung to Gordon’s Ryan Smith throughout.
Alex Yeats (McLean, Va – sophomore) and Ryan Smith topped Gordon’s scoring leaders with 14 apiece. Hayes Murray (West Simsbury, Ct – senior) added 11 points. Jerry Logan handed out a game-leading seven assists.
Gordon (8-10, 5-4 CCC) can only hope to stop its slide against New England College on Tuesday evening at home. UNE (5-12, 3-5 CCC) seeks to build on a 2-game win streak when they travel to Endicott also on Tuesday evening.