By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) – They honored Gordon’s seniors (Hayes Murray and Ryan Smith) before the game but afterwards the talk was of the play of freshman Jerry Logan whose career game (20 points/5 assists/0 turnovers) enabled the Scots to defeat the visiting Wentworth Leopards 77-68 in Commonwealth Coast Conference play at the Bennett Center on Saturday afternoon.
Gordon has won four of their last five games and stand at 12-11 with a 9-5 CCC slate. Wentworth, on the other hand, has now lost four of their last five and goes 5-16 overall with a 5-8 CCC record.
When asked to compare the 6’1” guard’s play in this one to other games he’s played Gordon coach Mike Schauer said, “Nothing else he’s done so far at Gordon was even close. He stepped up and played like an all-conference player.”
Wentworth coach Tom Devitt was also impressed. “He (Jerry Logan) is a talented young man. He really hurt us today.”
And speaking of hurt, there was Scott Allenby back in street clothes after breaking his foot in the Anna Maria game on Thursday. With Allenby out Gordon was forced to give Jerry Logan extensive playing time (28 minutes) and it sure paid off in this one.
Couple Logan’s performance with the Scot’s extraordinary foul shooting (20 for 21) and you have the necessary ingredients for a victory.
This game is another case of a very misleading final score. The difference at the end was nine points, however, with a minute left the Leopards only trailed by three points, 67-64. They started to intentionally foul to stop the clock and hope for misses. They did stop the clock but each time the Gordon foul shooters collected two points and the strategy was negated and the lead increased.
“We needed every foul shot we got,” reminded coach Schauer. “We didn’t defend nearly as well in the second half.” It certainly didn’t help Gordon’s inner defense to have Alex Yeats in foul trouble throughout the game. The 6’7” sophomore was active for a total of 11 minutes with only 4 of those minutes in the second half.
“With Alex out we had no one who could match up with (Carmen) DeMercurio,” said coach Schauer. The Leopard senior cruised to 13 points and 7 rebounds in the second half.
Coach Tom Devitt thought the game was lost by Wentworth in the first half. “We dug ourselves a hole in that first half. Against a talented and well-coached team like Gordon you are unlikely to get all the way back on their home court.”
The Scots forced Wentworth into a 36-23 halftime deficit by running off 10 unanswered points in the last 2 ½ minutes of the half. Andrew Swenson got the first five on a jumper and a trey. Then Wentworth gambled on the press and Hayes Murray broke away for a lay-up. The toughest (for Wentworth) was a turnover with five seconds left. That gave coach Schauer a chance to get Jerry Logan back into the game.
“We only have one kid on the team who can go coast to coast and have a chance to make some sort of shot – it’s Jerry,” said coach Schauer. Sure enough, full speed ahead to well beyond the arc, Jerry launched a, call it what it was, prayer and it was answered as the buzzer sounded. Thus the 36-23 deficit that Wentworth had to deal with in the second half.
The Scots still had that same advantage, 60-47, with 6 ½ left in the game. Gordon then got more deliberate and seemed to cool off. Wentworth turned up points (mostly inside) on each of their next seven possessions and closed to 65-60 with 2 ½ left. Not long after that Carmino DeMercurio canned two free throws and the Leopards were just a trey away 67-64 in the last minute. That, however, was when Jerry Logan, Hayes Murray, Mike Herr, and Alex Yeats put together 10 for 10 from the foul line to give Gordon the win.
Going into this one the Scots were 2nd in the CCC in free throw percentage (70%) so you can see what a special performance 20 for 21 was.
Coach Mike Schauer spoke highly of his two seniors to the crowd before the game and also gave their parents special recognition.
Coach Tom Devitt added his thoughts on the talented twosome afterwards. “(Ryan) Smith is an unbelievable shooter. He can make them from anyplace even falling out of bounds and being closely guarded. (Hayes) Murray is the most under-rated player in the CCC. He’s cagey. He’s smart. He should be on the CCC first team.”
Hayes added to his resume by getting 20 points in this game. The less said about his six turnovers the better. Alex Yeats averaged a point a minute (11 points) and collected a team leading 7 rebounds.
Wentworth was paced by its seniors as David Iannotti reached 20 (13 in the first half) and Carmino DeMercurio added 15. Tim Callahan chipped in with 11.
Ahead for Gordon is their last regular season home game on Thursday evening against the University of New England. The Scots will be looking to avenge a 67-63 upset handed to them two weeks ago by the Nor’easters.
Gordon has locked up the 3rd spot in the CCC North behind Colby-Sawyer and Endicott. They’ll be facing the 2nd place team in the CCC South on the road on Tuesday February 24th.