By Peter McClelland
(Biddeford) – Gordon got a road win Saturday afternoon against the determined University of New England Nor’easters, 57-46, before a select group of family, friends and the UNE swim team. The UNE student body isn’t back from winter break yet.
UNE has struggled in January (0-3) and is looking for its first Commonwealth Coast Conference after four tries. The Scots are on a winning streak of four and their CCC record is now a highly competitive 4-1.
I’ll remember this game as the one Jerry Logan got hurt in playing his specialty – defense. Early in the second half he injured his knee trying to stop a UNE player driving down the lane. The Gordon junior spent the rest of the game on the bench wearing an icepack. Speculating on the severity of the injury is something my son-in-law could do (He’s a doctor) but I wouldn’t attempt it.
Jerry (6’ junior Marietta GA) had his coming-out party, in my opinion, last year defensively against UNE in the same building. In the first meeting at Gordon UNE”s Matt McManus had lit the Scots up for over 20 points. On the second meeting Matt McManus arrived at the game to find Jerry ready for smothering defense. It worked so well that Gordon didn’t have to come back from 19 behind, as they did in the first meeting, to defeat UNE the second time. I was looking forward to that rematch but it only lasted for a little over a half. Let’s hope Jerry gets back soon.
Gordon won this game because they didn’t panic in the last 5 ½ minutes and made big plays. “Gordon is a team with confidence and it showed at the end,” explained UNE Coach Jon Hayes afterwards. “We’re still trying to find out how to win games. We’re getting better at making games close but we didn’t make a lot of plays when we needed to.”
Gordon, on the other hand, did. Coach Mike Schauer liked his team’s chances in the end game. “The game was a lot closer than I would have liked it but I’d been able to give Justin (Kaufman), Mike (Herr), and Jon (Marstaller) some rest going into it. We also benefited from being a team that been around together for a while. Jon and Mike have made big shots before and aren’t afraid to take them.”
A Matt McManus lay-up put UNE within a point (42-41) with 5:36 remaining. The next 4 ½ minutes won’t make pretty watching for the UNE coaching staff. They had only two free throws to show for that time segment and four turnovers. Gordon, on the other hand, found room for three 3’s, 2 lay-ups and a converted rebound. When the dust cleared the Scots had put together a 15-2 run and turned a very competitive game into one with a comfortable spread.
That’s why I dislike just knowing the final score because it can easily mislead you. UNE played well and had a good chance to end their losing streak but weren’t able to. They’ll play Gordon again on February 14th and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
John Beebe (6’1” senior Clive IA) played his longest minutes including 16 in the second half after Jerry went down. “What can you say about John,” asked Coach Schauer. “He’s been phenomenal all year. Teams had better not leave him open because he makes most of those shots.”
At times in this one I was thinking that John thought he was option #5 out there. However, because of his patience and the way the team runs its offense so thoroughly he ended up with opportunities to score and made the most of them. In the run that decided the game he started it off with a 3 from the corner. Later with the court spread he found an opening down the lane for a lay-up. He ended up with 10 very important points.
Justin Kaufman (5’11” freshman Redding CT) switched over onto Matt McManus and picked right up where Jerry left off defensively. Justin once again played long minutes in an offense that requires him to get the ball up the court without any help. And he had no turnovers.
UNE wasn’t as fortunate. “Our guards don’t take care of the ball against pressure,” said Coach Hayes. “That has plagued us for some time.” The Nor’easters turned it over four times at the end of this game.
Mike Herr (6’5” junior Lampeter PA) has resurrected his 2nd team All-CCC game in 2006. When you look to see where a Gordon win happens now you usually find his name prominently in the stats. And there he was in this one with two 3’s and a rebound turned into a basket when this game was won. “You have to practice hard to defend their 3-point shots,” explained Coach Hayes. “A big kid like (Mike) Herr doesn’t need much room to get that shot off. It looked as if we lost him completely on one of the shots he made late in the game.” Mike finished with 15 points.
The top gun for the Scots was Jon Marstaller (6’6” sophomore Naples ME) with 18 points leading all scorers. He put on a pretty good show for all the friends and family that made the trip over to Biddeford from the Long Lake area. Even though Nor’easter Issac Stickney (6’6” sophomore Rumford ME) got a piece of a couple of his shots he kept setting up on the low block and swinging to the basket and it paid off. He also had 3 steals.
“This game was hard-fought and in the end our all-conference kid (Mike Herr) hit two 3’s that broke this game open,” said Coach Schauer.
“Mike (Schauer) is in his fourth year and he has his offense in place and he has recruited guys suited to it,” added Jon Hayes now coaching his 2nd year. “We’re just starting.”
UNE built up an 18-14 lead only to have Gordon close with a 13-2 rush, including a John Beebe drive with one second left, to hold a 27-20 halftime edge. The Nor’easters fought all the way back in the second half and had the lead (39-38) as late as 7:19. A Jon Marstaller lay-up, after he’d missed two free throws, gave the Scots the lead back for good.
Gordon (9-3) visits Mount Ida for a non-conference game on Wednesday night (6PM) in Newton. UNE beat them at home in December. I doubt that the Scots have ever played them before.
UNE (4-8) gets to face Endicott on Tuesday evening.
Good to see Mike Schnackenberg back in action. This guy was/is so popular that he was getting cheered for made shots during halftime shootaround…………..Micah Grant got some meaningful playing time……………Gordon did a super job on arguably UNE’s two best players. Matt McManus leads the CCC in made 3’s and had none. Issac Stickney is the top rebounder in the CCC and he had just 4 boards in this one………….I can assure you that I would have written this a whole lot faster if I hadn’t been watching the Patriots game at the same time.