By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) – You knew that the MVP of the Gordon Tip-Off Tournament was going to be named, “Mike” but it wasn’t until Mike Hoyt’s last-second trey hit iron back and front before falling out that the honor belonged to Gordon’s Mike Herr (soph – Lampeter PA). What a game!
The Fighting Scots won the championship, 87-84, over the Mount Saint Mary Blue Knights (Newburgh NY) on Saturday night before another active, good-sized Gordon student body at the Bennett Center.
Believe me, this was a game that the Scots almost let get away. “We weren’t real good in this one,” said Gordon Coach Mike Schauer afterwards, “but we persevered enough to get the win.”
When you lead 80-70 with 1:40 left you should be preparing to hear the fat lady sing but the Blue Knights refused to quit. Their strategy was simple: we’ll foul you to stop the clock and we’ll rush down and score quickly at the other end. It nearly worked!
The Blue Knights came away with baskets six possessions in a row while Gordon made 8 of 12 free throws. “We just couldn’t stop them,” said Coach Schauer.
The most glaring defensive lapse of the game was in the last 5 seconds. Mount St. Mary had the ball after a timeout. Everyone in the place knew that down by three Mike Hoyt (He already had 20 points) was likely to get the last shot. I watched his teammates pat him on the back as he left their huddle. Sherlock Holmes was not needed to sort things out. So what happens, somehow the Blue Knight guard finds himself all alone at the top of the key. You talk about playing with fire on defense! But on this night the shot missed. “We made a big defensive mistake there, to put it mildly,” recalled Coach Schauer.
So Gordon starts the young season 2-0 and that’s pretty nice for a team that is still trying to figure out who the “go-to” guys will be. It was the kids (Justin Kaufman/Jon Marstaller) in the first game and the veterans (Scott Allenby/Mike Herr) in the second.
This could be a team that will see a variety of players play major roles at different times and in different games. They’ll be fun to watch!
Mount St. Mary dominated this game early (10-2 at 15:41) and with 9 returnees on their roster you feared they might run away from Gordon’s inexperienced crew. But the Scots showed that resiliency that Coach Schauer mentioned and got the lead, 27-26 on a beautiful baseline 3-point play drive by Michael Schnackenberg (freshman – South Portland ME) with four minutes remaining. The Blue Knights talented Mike Hoyt answered with seven in a row and the visitors jumped back ahead 33-27 with 2:50 left. But here came the Scots once again and they outscored the Knights 13-2 the rest of the half. John Beebe’s trey at the buzzer put Gordon in front, 40-35 at halftime.
The Scots would go on to build that lead to 10 (47-37) on a Mike Herr lay-up after a feed from Jerry Logan. That lead would grow to 60-47 with 11:15 to go as Scott Allenby drilled a 3-pointer, fed Mike Herr for one the hard way (basket and foul shot), and then watched Mike make another inside move for a lay-up. It was still a 13-point game (74-61 – 5:30) after Mike took a full-court pass from Justin Kaufman and made yet another 3-point play.
Mount Saint Mary outscored Gordon 23-13 the rest of the way but just couldn’t finish the comeback. Credit them for trying, though.
Mike Herr and Scott Allenby took the team on their backs in the second half. The Gordon teams of the last two years have specialized in outside sniping but this team appears to be very capable of playing inside. Mike Herr seemed to be particularly comfortable in close in this one. Scott nailed 5 treys during this game.
Mike Herr was voted MVP. His 16 points in the second half carried Gordon to the championship. Scott Allenby’s contributions (15 points/6 assists) earned him an All-Tourney plaque. Jon Marstaller’s second double-double (11 points/10 rebounds) put him on the All-Tourney team as well.
Jerry Logan was the other Scot in double figures with 12. He made just enough free throws down the stretch to keep the Knights from catching up.
Mount St. Mary had four players in double figures – Mike Hoyt 20, Sergio Guzman 20, Roberto King 13, and Brandon Weldon 12. Not surprising Mike Hoyt made the All-Tourney team. That Kenny Lane did as well, maybe it was the 14 rebounds against Gordon, surprised me. I would have gone with Sergio Guzman. He was 10 for 12 and Gordon couldn’t stop him.
Next up for Gordon is another home game on Tuesday evening (8PM) against Johnson State. I will be visiting family in Waite, Maine (try finding it on a map!) and will have to see that game’s score online and wonder how it went the way it did. I expect to return for the Connecticut College game at home on November 30th.