By Peter McClelland
(Cambridge) – MIT drilled two 3’s in the last thirty seconds to force overtime but Gordon took the early lead in overtime and never gave it up as they dropped the Engineers (5-1), 64-59, in Cambridge on Thursday night in non-league play.
Both teams came into this one undefeated but only Gordon remained that way (4-0) afterwards. In fact, Gordon is the only undefeated team in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Play in that league starts on Saturday afternoon at home against Salve Regina. And you can’t help peek ahead to that neighborhood yell-a-thon at Endicott beyond that on Tuesday evening.
“Obviously I am pleased,” said Gordon Coach Mike Schauer afterwards. “I felt like we won this game twice which is no knock on MIT. They had to make so many big shots to send it to overtime and they did. They made shot after shot.”
This was another game where the box score fails to tell the story. MIT dominated this game early. The Engineers ran off the first nine points of the game and had a 17-6 advantage after 9 ½ minutes. “They had played since Thanksgiving twice while we hadn’t played for 10 days,” said Coach Schauer. “I think that made a difference early although eventually I think we may have been a bit fresher than they were at the end.”
Later in the period MIT ran into a six-minute cold spell while Jon Marstaller and Jerry Logan combined for eight unanswered free throws as the Scots closed to 19-17 with a little less than four minutes until halftime. However, Gordon closed out the first half with three turnovers and a missed three and trailed 25-20.
This was an interesting game to watch because both teams played the same man-to-man defense and attacked it with the same style of offense. Open shots were hard to come by and trying to drive to the basket was, at times, a health hazard. Neither team scored in the second half in the first 3 ½ minutes! A lay-up by Phil Murray gave MIT its biggest second-half lead, 27-20.
“I thought that the minutes of some guys, like John & Mark Beebe plus Mike Schnackenberg, in the middle of the second half who didn’t play again were very important,” said Coach Schauer. Mark Beebe’s trey evened the score at 27-27 and later a lay-up by John Beebe on the end of a give-and-go with Aaron Vogelzang tied the score at 35-35 with ten minutes left. A John Beebe steal resulted in a Jon Marstaller lay-up and Gordon had its first lead. They would hold onto that thing until freshman Jimmy Bartolotta and senior Mike D’Auria drilled 3’s around two Jerry Logan free throws to send this one into overtime tied at 52-52.
In the 5-minute overtime Gordon jumped into a 4-point lead in the first minute. Sophomore Jon Marstaller started it off with a successful drive to the basket. After an Engineer 3-point air-ball Aaron Vogelzang came out of no where to tip in a missed Scot shot. MIT could not find a way back from the 4-point deficit and the final score was 64-59.
MIT may have lost but Engineer Mike D’Auria was fabulous. “He could well be the best guard we’ll see this year,” said Coach Schauer. “I thought Jerry (Logan) played tough defense on him but he still led all scorers with 24 points.” He reminded me of the Celtics Ricky Davis by the way he could speed to a spot, jump and seem to hang while he got off a shot. Not only did he score but he handed out seven assists. That’s the combination that makes for a great player.
Jon Marstaller (22 points) and Jerry Logan (20 points) literally carried the scoring load for Gordon in this one. The 3-point attack seems to have abandoned the Scots so far this season (3-14 in this one) but taking the ball to the basket has been a more-than-adequate replacement. By aggressively attacking the basket the Scots have turned up high-percentage shots and drawn fouls. I wonder how long it will take CCC teams to figure out that Gordon is no longer a team that will live or die by the 3?
A key play in the OT was Mike Herr rotating to Mike D’Auria who was up in the air to attempt a shot and forcing him to pass instead into a turnover………..Mike Herr had an open look at the end of regulation. That is what we call living dangerously defensively…….Pete Hassler picked up with Hamidou Soumare where he left off with Johnson State’s Frank Ponte………Justin Kaufman handled 41 minutes of full-court pressure with no backcourt turnovers. That’s another one of those things that doesn’t show up in the box score………….Jon Marstaller had 17 points in the second half including 5 in overtime……..Hamidou Soumare missed a dunk in the early going……..MIT easily puts out the best program. You get stats, scouting reports, you name it………The toughest coach to interview is the losing coach. You never know what they’ll offer. The last two have blown me off entirely after telling me in person (Johnson State) and via email (MIT) that they would be available. I don’t take it personally although it affects the kind of story I can produce………Salve’s next. I need to get over that first round playoff loss to them in Newport ending last season.