By Peter McClelland
(Johnson VT) – It had the potential to be a trap game but Gordon would have none of it. They blew out the Johnson State Badgers (1-2), 80-48, on Tuesday night in non-conference action and are still undefeated after three games.
“This is a game that makes you nervous as a coach,” reported Gordon Coach Mike Schauer afterwards. “There are a lot of distractions. We’re all looking forward to Thanksgiving. We played pretty well over the weekend so there’s the potential for a letdown. The length of the trip (4+ hours). And the weather (snowy and icy in places.)”
Those on hand were treated to some classic unselfish play by Gordon. The Scots turned down good shots in favor of even better shots and there seemed to be plenty of those available. To say that Johnson State had trouble defending is being charitable. And you know that Gordon has a stable of pretty good shooters. Johnson State surrendered an average of 80 points per game last year and in this game they were right on target defensively.
Sometimes, though, a team can give up a lot of points yet still have the offensive firepower to make things interesting. Not this time. The Gordon man defense swarmed all game and with a long bench the pressure never went away. The Badgers got few good looks.
“Our defense was good especially Peter Hassler’s,” explained Coach Schauer. “He came in and changed the dynamics. He’s so physical and he was willing to bang around with the Badgers’ Frank Ponte.”
High scorer Mike Herr (19 points) gave the Scots the lead for good draining a couple of 3’s 5 ½ minutes in putting Gordon in front, 13-8. The Badgers were still hanging around at 22-19 with 6 ½ minutes left in the half before Gordon ran eight unanswered on their way to a halftime advantage of 35-22.
“I was pleased to be up by 13 but I thought that we had missed a lot of easy shots,” said Coach Schauer.
It was all downhill for Johnson State in the second half. Depth, unselfishness, tight defense, and a 12-point streak turned this one into a bench-clearing deal with quite a few minutes left.
I was unable to speak with Johnson State coach Mike Osborne. I am sure that he was disappointed to have his team play so poorly in their home opener.
Anyhow, this one is in the win column. Undefeated in November was terrific. In December the lineup of opponents includes: MIT, Salve Regina, Endicott, and Salem State. Go undefeated in December and folks in New England will start taking notice!
The stats were a bit confused and you can see that I attempted to correct them.
Junior Mike Herr came out of this one with a double/double adding 10 rebounds to his 19 points. Jon Marstaller (14), Jerry Logan (11), and Aaron Vogelzang (10) all reached double figures.
Billy Durbrow (15) and Charlie Viana (10) paced Johnson State.
This was a homecoming event for the Vermont players on the team – Peter Hassler & Aaron Vogelzang……Mike Herr converted a turnover into a dunk……..Gordon made a nice adjustment on the fly in the last minute of the half. The Badgers switched to a zone yet the Scots adjusted and Jon Marstaller located Jerry Logan for a three just before the buzzer……….My favorite play is the backdoor play. Jon Marstaller and Mike Herr ran one to perfection in the second half………….Mike Schnackenberg tweaked an ankle but should be okay for MIT………You know that you’re in a different part of the country when you see stores with signs offering skate sharpening or when the only magazine in the Johnson State lobby is one called, “Backpacker.”……And don’t we have a lot to be thankful for!