By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) – Set another place at the head table. Gordon men’s basketball has arrived.
The Scots earned the special seating by finally defeating Endicott and putting an end to a six-game losing streak to their neighbors from Beverly.
The final score was, 72-67, and the win enabled Gordon to keep a 10-game winning streak going and tie them with the visiting Gulls at 8-1 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference North.
The crowd support was awesome. There couldn’t have been a light on in any dorm on campus not with the numbers I saw. “They had a great crowd on hand,” said Endicott Coach Chris Millette afterwards. “They made it tough on us when we got down.”
And “getting down,” is one thing those on hand will remember. The other thing will be, “hanging on for dear life.”
Incredibly, it took the Gulls 6 ½ minutes to score a point! Imagine that. As the visitors struggled the Scots sizzled running up 13 points. You look back at this game and realize that those 13 points put Endicott in a hole that they never could dig their way out of although it wasn’t from a lack of effort down the stretch.
Gordon had all the shots working in the first half especially the three. Six different players connected on the long ones against a defense that’s ranked 10th in the country in Division III.
“We knew that they had shooters,” said Coach Millette. “In the first game they missed shots. We knew that they would do better at home. I don’t think that anyone could have guessed that they’d go 75% (9 for 12) from 3-point range.
But that’s what happened and there was even the hint of a blowout when Mike Herr (6’5” junior Lampeter PA) made his second 3-point shot of the half to put Gordon in front, 42-22, in the last two minutes. In your heart of hearts, though, you knew that the Gulls weren’t done. And they weren’t as they outscored the Scots, 45-30, the rest of the way. In this one, though, the early lead held up.
“We were just hanging on at the end,” explained Gordon Coach Mike Schauer afterwards. “Fortunately for us the game didn’t go five minutes longer. We were fatigued down the stretch. We have depth issues with Jerry (Logan) out. Mark Beebe re-injured his foot in the first half and we lost him the rest of the way. John (Beebe) and Justin (Kaufman) had to play almost the entire second half.”
You had to wonder how Gordon could play Endicott so well this time after getting routed (62-47) in Beverly in December. “I think our guys were really disappointed in the way we played over there,” said Coach Schauer. “A lot of what happened in that game is to Endicott’s credit. We did, however, find out how a championship caliber team plays in a big game. In this one our team took it upon itself to play at that same level.”
Coach Schauer was quick to point out that the win was nice but ahead are seven more CCC games and each one is just as important as the Endicott game. “It doesn’t make any sense to over-react to one game when there are seven left.”
I guess I’ll have to over-react on my own then! In my opinion this was the biggest win in the history of Gordon men’s basketball before the biggest home crowd in the school’s history. Either Endicott or Colby-Sawyer has won the CCC championship during the last three years. Gordon hasn’t fared well against either going into this season. Any hopes of getting to the CCC championship game would almost certainly have to go through at least one of them. Now it can be said that Gordon has the capacity to defeat either of them. It may not happen but for those of us who saw them beat both Colby-Sawyer and Endicott at the Bennett Center in January (2006) we know they’re capable.
Meanwhile, back at the game the Scots went to a zone defense late in the first half and Zach Ellis (5’11” senior) knocked down a pair of 3’s narrowing the halftime margin to, 44-30.
“I told the team at the half that even though we were down they were shooting 75%, “said Coach Millette. “We were confident that we could come back as we have in the past.”
I have to admit that I wasn’t all that comfortable with a 14-point lead against a successful team like Endicott. But the Gulls didn’t roar out of the block in the second half and Gordon’s only 3 in the second half put the Scots in front, 59-43, with 12:20 left. Still plenty of time.
Todd Burton (6’ sophomore) converted a rebound and that made it, 61-50, with nine minutes left. The next five minutes were an offensive disaster for both teams. You had turnovers, blocked shots, and a number of missed opportunities and neither of these highly skilled teams could put up a point.
During the last four minutes of the game the Scots proved that in this game they wouldn’t crack under pressure. Every time Endicott scored the Scots were able to answer with at least one point and sometimes two. In the last minute Justin Kaufman (5’11” sophomore Redding CT) and Aaron Vogelzang (6’4” senior Jericho VT) made five pressure foul shots in a row. Good thing because Gary Corbett (6’4” sophomore) drilled a couple of desperation 3’s. But time was on Gordon’s side and they prevailed, 72-67.
Nemanja Marinkovic (6’4” junior) had an awesome game for Endicott. Once he gets the ball in close good things almost always happen for the Gulls. He even threw up a hook as part of a collection of points that added up to 21. He added 11 rebounds to lead everyone in that category as well. Gordon has not found a way to contain him in any of the six games they’ve faced him in.
Gary Corbett had 12 points including three shots from long range.
Jon Marstaller (6’5” sophomore Naples ME) missed only one shot all night to pace the Scots with 17 points. He seemed to be too quick for some of the defenders he faced and too tall for some others.
Mike Herr contributed 13 points with 9 rebounds while Justin Kaufman chipped in 11 points.
Gordon is now 15-3 and tied with Endicott at 8-1 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. The Scots travel to Anna Maria on Thursday and face a team that has lost 12 games in a row. This is certainly a trap game especially with a visit to Colby-Sawyer coming up on Saturday.
Endicott has now lost two in a row and are 11-7 overall. They host New England College on Thursday.
I can’t say enough about the crowd but it’s not for lack of effort on my part. They kept things appropriate and loud for the entire 40 minutes. Maybe it was the new shirts they got before the game started………John Beebe could be talking about blocking Zach Ellis’ shot for a long time…………………..I’m betting that Aaron would love to have that 3-footer he missed back………….You know that the team is playing well when administrators and faculty members appear at weekday games…………..Coach Schauer explained that, “when two good teams play the home team generally wins. So far Endicott, Colby-Sawyer and Gordon are all holding serve. Nothing has been settled yet.” Can either Gordon or Endicott win at Colby-Sawyer?……………..When asked what he told his team after the game Coach Schauer said it was, “Practice tomorrow at 4:30.”……………………Gordon shot 15 for 47 in the December loss and 24 for 45 in this one. You talk about home cooking!…………..Last time Gordon was out-rebounded 42 to 24. This time only 33 to 27. That’s not home cooking. That’s just playing at a different level of energy…………………That Hillary Clinton article you received was supposed to be going to the editor of a Newburyport newspaper………………Mark Beebe connected on two 3’s in less than two minutes……….Good news after the game as well – that parking ticket on my truck window was only a warning from the Wenham police department……………..Is Jerry Logan getting close to returning?