By Peter McClelland
(Bristol,RI) – I don’t know which was more surprising – the weather outside (it was in the high 60’s when I left home) or the way Gordon played against Roger Williams on Saturday afternoon in Bristol.
I do know that after the game Roger Williams Coach Mike Tully could hardly believe what he had seen and Gordon Coach Mike Schauer was nowhere to be seen.
Roger Williams defeated Gordon, 77-67, and in my opinion the Scots didn’t compete for 31 of the 40 minutes played. It was all too similar to the horrid performance they put on in Bangor against Husson in December.
But this was a Commonwealth Coast Conference game and a part of what are referred to as “the games that count” so the defeat was even more painful. The loss puts Gordon at 2-1 in the CCC while Roger Williams is 3-0.
Hawk Coach Mike Tully was quick to point out afterwards what was suspected: “This is as good as any team I have had here has ever played.” He’s in his 5th season so he’s seen a few games.
The final stats for the Hawks were remarkable. Shooting 57.1% (16-28) in the first half and 56% (14-25) in the second half is about as consistent and good as it gets.
Unfortunately the Scots were also consistent – 37.5% (9-24) in the first half and 37.5% (12-32) in the second half. Stats like that will lose you most games.
As you math majors figured out I calculated 31 minutes of poor, at best, play. That left another nine minutes that were more of what was expected.
Interestingly, the promising play happened at the start of the both halves. Let me explain.
In the first four minutes of the game the Scots had six different players contribute points as a Hawk shot was blocked, a three was made, and some foul shots were added. The result? Gordon was in front, 13-6. Sit back and enjoy this one. The home team is in trouble. Not so fast.
The rest of the half Gordon’s normally decent shooting deserted them – 5 for 20. The foul shooting was particularly noticeable – 11 misses including some on 1-and-1’s.
Roger Williams, on the other hand, could do nothing wrong. They made shots and seemed to be where loose balls turned up and they had junior Dan Gumb.
How did they get those shots? “We run motion like Gordon does,” explained Coach Tully. “They’re just a little more dribble oriented and they’re good at it. We’re not as dribble oriented but is this game we actually put the ball on the floor and made some plays.”
The Scots were outscored 40-21 over the final 16 minutes of the first half. Within those points was an 11 point run that blew apart a 20-20 tie.
I wish I could have asked Coach Schauer what he told his team at halftime because the Scots came out defending well and making some shots. That 46-34 deficit didn’t look so imposing after Gordon made all five of its free throws, had senior Jerry Logan put back a rebound, and junior Mike Schnackenberg slash for a lay-up.
So after five minutes in the second half Gordon is back within range (52-45) with plenty of time to go. Inexplicably the Scots fell completely apart at both ends of the court over the last 15 minutes.
The Hawks made nothing but lay-ups over the last 14 minutes of the game. After the Scots got within seven points (52-45) Roger Williams rode the shooting of sophomore Tucker Bashaw and Dan Gumb for eight unanswered points and back the lead went to double digits (60-45).
That lead would extend to 77-60 with four minutes to go. The Hawks turned deliberate on every possession thereafter and never scored another point. The Scots rallied for 8 straight in the last 1 ½ minutes to make this one a lot closer (77-67) than it actually was.
6’6” Dan Gumb was the best player on the floor. “Just the fact that Dan is on the court is remarkable,” explained Coach Tully. “He broke his leg in the second game of last season. His recovery is quite a story.”
Dan led all scorers with 21 points and all rebounders with 11.
The Scots (7-3) return to the Bennett Center for a game against Colby-Sawyer on Tuesday night. Last time we saw them they were ending Gordon’s CCC season in the tournament semi-finals. They defeated Salve Regina at home today and seem to have found fill-ins for a strong graduating class.
Roger Williams (6-3) entertains Nichols on Tuesday. Can anyone stop the Hawks?
I’m sure Coach Schauer could have used spectators John Beebe and Aaron Vogelzang…………Since the last time I was at Roger Williams they put a two-story building where a significant parking lot used to be. Add in the fog and finding a parking space was quite an adventure…………There was a wrestling tournament available at the RWU athletic facility for those interested……………Senior Mike Herr had 10 rebounds against RWU and zero against Northwestern. How does that happen?………The Scots bad luck making lay-ups in traffic continues. When that luck changes, and it will, we’ll see guards with 20-point games……….The play I enjoyed the most? Two seconds to go in the first half and Gordon needs to go the length of the court. Freshman Aaron Trigg handles the out-of-bounds part of it. The former Kansas high school quarterback throws an accurate full-court pass to Jon Marstaller in the corner. Jon has time to set his feet and beat the clock. The shot rimmed out but it was wonderfully executed and we could see it again with a better result.