By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) – Gordon turned in an extraordinary defensive effort in the second half and took out non-conference foe Newbury, 57-42, on Thursday night at the Bennett Center. That’s eight straight for you counting at home!
That “defensive effort” I mentioned was the Scots limiting the Nighthawks to just 13 points in the second half. For the second game in a row the Gordon defense was so good that the other team resorted to blatant pushing and shoving just to get some breathing room and got caught doing it.
Gordon Coach Mike Schauer wasn’t sure anyone noticed but he thought this was Aaron Vogelzang’s (6’4” senior Jericho VT) best game. “We only had one player who could cover Arch Mitchell (6’2” sophomore – averaging 20 points per game) and that was Aaron. When Aaron got into foul trouble in the first half he had to sit and then we had defensive problems. However, Aaron returned in the second half and held Arch Mitchell scoreless.”
Maybe it’s my weird sense of humor but I couldn’t help but laugh at an incident that happened with about five minutes left. The Nighthawk high-scorer finally lost his patience with Aaron’s defense and basically tossed him out-of-bounds. The referees took note and Aaron couldn’t help but smirk as he walked the length of the court to the foul line.
With two of their better offensive players (Jerry Logan & Mark Beebe) injured the Scots have had to change their approach to games. “I don’t worry about our offense as much as some people do,” explained Coach Schauer. “We won’t be as good offensively without Jerry and Mark so we have to do things differently to win. One way is to hold the other team to 42 points.”
The Scots poured in 52 points in the second half against New England College on Tuesday night and came out warm in this one. Justin Kaufman (5’11” sophomore – Redding CT), Aaron Vogelzang, and Tim DeLuca (6’2” freshman – Gray ME) hit consecutive 3’s and Gordon raced ahead, 11-2, with just 4 ½ minutes played. I’ll admit that I thought that the visitors might be in trouble especially after witnessing the way Gordon routed them last year.
But that wasn’t the way it went. Newbury would put together a run of nine straight and pull ahead, 19-18, with 9 minutes left.
“We had breakdowns in the first half on defense,” said Coach Schauer. “The team didn’t execute the way I wanted it to and that’s just poor coaching on my part.”
The key to Newbury’s success, in my opinion, was their use of a very active zone defense. Most teams will show an occasional zone but it generally looks under-practiced and crisp passing can usually break it down. Not the way Newbury used it, however. Their defense shifted so effectively that open shots were hard to come by.
“Newbury is a very good team,” said Coach Schauer. “They beat Roger Williams by 20 and had 3-point losses to Salem State and Clark. I don’t think that they could win our league but they’d win their share of games.”
Gordon relied on the long-shots of Justin Kaufman and Mike Herr (6’5” junior – Lampeter PA) to regain the lead and get in front, 28-22, with 5 ½ left in the half. They then proceeded to go on the longest drought they’ve suffered, certainly on this winning streak, and didn’t put up another point the rest of the half. They left down, 29-28.
At the start of the second half the Scot defense really kicked in shutting the Nighthawks out for nearly 6 minutes. Meanwhile, Gordon tallied nine unanswered points, including 7 from Jon Marstaller (6’5” sophomore – Naples ME), and took the lead for good, 37-29.
A trey and lay-up from Justin Kaufman and a Tim DeLuca lay-up on a goaltending call pushed the advantage to 46-34 with 11 minutes left. A Walky Magloire lay-up followed by a Steve Morris free throw pulled the Nighthawks to, 48-40, with seven minutes to go.
That was as close as it would get. The Gordon defense limited Newbury to two free throws the rest of the way and the Gordon offense found scoring openings when the Nighthawks had to extend their defense.
Now 13-3 the Scots entertain Wentworth Institute on Saturday afternoon.
Newbury (7-10) will be at Framingham State on Saturday.
Justin Kaufman topped all scorers with 15 points. Put that next to seven assists and zero turnovers and you get an idea of how well he did in this game.
When the guy (administrator Steve MacLeod) in charge of keeping track of the time shows up five minutes late you suspect it could be a long night!…………………..The Gordon fan section counted Matthew Stanton (6’2” senior) down into a forced three that he didn’t have to take. Who says they can’t impact a game?……………………Marcal Matthews (6’7” freshman) was one of the better shot blockers I’ve seen this year………………….Coach Schauer admitted that the Newbury zone was very effective but added, “It would have been nice to let Mark (Beebe) get some shots against it and have Jerry (Logan) break down some of the defenders.”………………….Someone ought to get a copy made of Emily Sydow’s rendition of the National Anthem and have it played at the home games she misses…………………….I can assure you that the MIN (minutes played) on the stat sheet are not accurate.