By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) Gordon College opened the 2004-05 season with a resounding, 100-67; win over visiting Hunter College (New York City) to reach the championship game in the Gordon Tip-Off Tournament. That game will be played tomorrow (Saturday) night at 8PM against Mount Saint Mary (Newburgh NY).
You had to wonder what this team would be like after losing the likes of Ryan Smith, Hayes Murray, and Alex Yeats. But that’s what recruiting is all about and Coach Mike Schauer appears to have found some gems.
“Both teams were young so I stressed two things before the game: (1) our veteran players needed to play well, and (2) our freshmen had to outplay their freshman,” explained Coach Schauer. “Jerry (Logan) and Mike (Herr) combined for 32 points and Aaron (Vogelzang) had a career-high 10. And the freshmen were very impressive.”
How impressive?? Let’s run them down. Nick Marino (6’7”) came on at the end and made a block that you don’t see very often. Instead of swatting the ball he actually caught the shot! That brought a big reaction from the enthusiastic Gordon crowd. Michael Schnackenberg battled foul trouble but pulled in 4 rebounds and didn’t miss a field goal. Mark Beebe looked like he belonged despite short minutes. When he drilled a 3-pointer in the second half you suspected that it wouldn’t be the last time you’d see that happen over the next four years. The other two freshmen (Jon Marstaller (19 points/10 rebounds) & Justin Kaufman (22 points/11 assists) were crucial to this win.
Sorry to go off on these kids but they were an eyeful in this one.
How did the game go? Let’s just say it wasn’t a work of art – 46 turnovers and 50 fouls.
It took Gordon over three minutes to get their first basket (Justin Kaufman lay-up). A little while later the Scots showed their first long-range ability as 3’s by Justin Kaufman and Mike Herr put Gordon ahead 17-8 after seven minutes. However, a couple of minutes later Brian King sank two free throws (he was 9 for 9 in the game) and the Hawks had tied the score at 25 with seven minutes left in the half. Unfortunately, a 3-minute dry spell struck the visitors and allowed Gordon to run off nine straight points and get up 34-25. The Scots held a 46-35 advantage at the half.
“We started off okay,” explained Hawk coach Bill Healy. “The turnovers just killed us. We were facing a team that didn’t press or trap and we still turned it over 26 times.”
The Scots began to pull away in the second half. After Mike Herr rang up eight unanswered points Gordon had a commanding 59-39 spread two minutes in. That lead would build to 73-51 with 13 minutes left. Game. Set. Match? Not so fast.
“We went through a stretch where we just couldn’t stop fouling them, “said Coach Schauer. Over a 5+ minute sequence Mike Herr, Michael Schnackenberg, and Pete Hassler all picked up their 4th fouls. When Justin Kaufman had a ball go off his leg and Scott Allenby tossed a shot that hit the clock you smelled trouble. During this fiasco the Hawks chipped nine points off the lead to close to 73-60 with over 7 minutes left. Shades of the Yankees in the AL Playoffs came to mind.
“When Mike (Herr) got into foul trouble I started to worry because he had carried us early in the second half, “said Coach Schauer.
But not to worry, Gordon took its offense to the basket and Marstaller, Kaufman and Logan all turned in lay-ups. An intentional foul was added to Logan’s and when the dust cleared the Scots had the comfortable lead back, 81-60, and the last six minutes were mere formality.
Gordon finished with five players in double figures (Kaufman-22, Herr-20, Marstaller-19, Logan-12, and Vogelzang-10).
Hunter had three players reaching the double-figure plateau (Danny Greenberg-20, Gerard Ciarleglio-14, and Brian King-13).
“It’s hard to tell how good Gordon is just seeing them for the first time,” said Coach Healy. “That guard (Justin Kaufman) is a real nice player, though. Our defense was atrocious but credit Gordon for taking advantage of it.”
Hunter faces Whitworth College at 6PM in the consolation game.
“I suspected that Justin (Kaufman) was going to be a good one when I recruited him,” said Coach Schauer. “I can assure you, however, that I didn’t envision a 22 point/11 assist opening night………but I’m not complaining!”