By Peter McClelland
(Henniker NH) – Senior Mike Herr collected his 1000th point in the second half as Gordon shot their way past the New England College Pilgrims, 89-76, at Henniker on Tuesday night.
Mike’s 1000th point came appropriately on his patented 3-point shot from the wing. Gordon was in a timeout huddle when Mike’s feat was mentioned by the New England announcer.
Gordon Coach Mike Schauer didn’t even hear the announcement although there was a nice crowd response. Mike Herr gave little indication that he even was aware of the milestone.
“I suspect that Mike is more interested in winning games than being honored for his 1000th point,” said Coach Schauer afterwards.
This game was very enjoyable to watch if you like fast action with great outside shooting and nifty inside passes. There was never a chance of the 35 second clock ever being a factor.
This game was won by the Scots because they shot well (over 50%) in both halves. The Pilgrims stayed with the visitors in the first half but struggled offensively in the second half.
So in the first half when sophomore Tim DeLuca drilled a couple of 3’s in a 14-4 run that put the Scots ahead 27-15 the Pilgrims had answers. This team has been averaging 90 points a game. And before you knew it New England went on a roll as Ryan Jaziri and Pat Quinn heated up and with 2 ½ to go NEC was ahead, 37-35. This was the only time that NEC would lead in the game. Juniors Jon Marstaller and Justin Kaufman rallied the Scots in the closing minutes and Gordon had itself a, 43-39, halftime advantage.
“I was pleased at halftime,” explained Coach Schauer. “We were up by four. I envisioned us getting into the mid to high 80s and trying to keep them in the 70s.”
For nearly 11 minutes of the second half it was all Mike Herr for Gordon. He had 13 of the team’s 17 points with 3’s and lay-ups. But the Pilgrims were at home and they weren’t going away. “They’re just hard to guard,” said Coach Schauer. “They have great offensive players all over the floor.”
Despite Mike Herr’s shooting this game was tied at 62 on Antoine Sylvia’s two free throws with over 9 minutes left. Anyone’s ballgame, as they say. But on this occasion this was where Gordon made a decisive move. Over the next three minutes they ran 11 unanswered points featuring 3’s from Mike Herr and Jerry Logan.
It was a frustrating time for New England and a couple of the points in the run came from a technical foul called on NEC Coach Charlie Mason. “That technical came at a pivotal time,” recalled Coach Schauer. “Frankly I’m not sure he was wrong in his frustration. I’m not suggesting that the officiating was poor just inconsistent. I think Charlie would probably say the same thing.”
Put Gordon up by 11 with six minutes left and you start to see a patient offense that ends with high percentage shots. That forced NEC into full-court pressure and taking fouls. The Scots were seven of eight from the line in the last two minutes to seal this one.
“I think that Gordon’s experience paid off,” explained Coach Mason. “We’re playing some young guys and they didn’t show enough patience in the second half.”
Those second half stats weren’t pretty for the Pilgrims. You never know if it’s good defense or fatigue. It could have been the heat in the gym. I’ve been in cooler greenhouses!
Senior Pat Quinn was limited to one point after leading all scorers in the first half with 12. Freshman Tyler Evans was defended into a 2-for-13 game but did hand out 5 assists.
“(Ryan) Jaziri and (Pat) Quinn are about as good as our league has,” said Coach Schauer. “I thought that Justin (Kaufman) and Jerry (Logan) did a pretty good job on them most of the time. They’re just really good.”
Gordon had five players in double figures (Herr-21, Kaufman-16, DeLuca-14, Logan-14, and Marstaller-10) and continues to be a very difficult team to defend. Teams so far have not found a way to keep the Scots from scoring a lot of points. The shooting percentages continue high because so far taking the ball to the basket seems to be the number one option for the team.
“Tim DeLuca was just sensational tonight,” said Coach Schauer. “When you have a player of his ability coming off the bench who can score in the mid to high teens as easily as he can……what a weapon that is.” Tim had the highest output of his career with 14 points.
The wins put the undefeated Scots at 6-0 with rugged Salem State ahead on Saturday afternoon (3PM) at the Bennett Center. Last year Gordon won five straight before losing at Endicott and starting a 3-game losing streak. So far that losing streak hasn’t started yet but Salem State will certainly be a physical test if nothing else.
Coach Schauer issued a warning to future NEC opponents traveling to Henniker – “I just don’t think that a lot of teams are going to come in here and win because at home they’re so hard to defend. I think New England will at worst be 6-2, 5-3, here in the CCC.”
NEC (3-3) traveled to Daniel Webster on Thursday. They will get another shot at Gordon on January 11th.
6’7” Antoine Sylvia made life real interesting for first-team all-conference Jon Marstaller putting in 17 points and collecting 10 rebounds and blocking 4 shots. One time I thought I saw his hand up near the 35-second clock above the backboard……………You don’t see it very often but there was Jerry Logan using a behind-the-back pass to get Justin Kaufman a lay-up……………Every charging call seemed to get at least one coach to become hysterical………………Ryan Jaziri and Pat Quinn not only took long shots but some of those shots also fall-aways………………The biggest cheer of the night may have been Sylvia’s jam after a nice feed from Pat Quinn……………If Gordon had a hockey team and a rink next to the Bennett Center I wonder where the fans would go if both the basketball team and the hockey team were playing at the same time? Fans at NEC had that choice on this evening………………Amy Dodd put on a foul shooting clinic (13-for-16) as the Gordon women were also victorious.