By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) – Gordon recovered nicely from a nightmare of a game on Saturday at Roger Williams and defeated visiting Colby-Sawyer, 83-63, on Tuesday night at the Bennett Center.
The Chargers suffered with the same dismal stats that the Scots accumulated at Bristol. “I thought we weren’t good enough defensively to compensate for poor outside shooting,” explained C-S Coach Bill Foti afterwards. Those stats certainly were bad reading – 22-for-61 (36.1%) including just 2-for-16 three pointers.
Down the hall Gordon Coach Mike Schauer cautioned that “Colby-Sawyer will be much better before the season is over.” However, in the meantime he was delighted with his team’s performance. “This was as hard as we’ve played all season. Our effort was outstanding.”
If you were among the gathering at the Bennett Center you probably came away asking, “How many did he get?” That “he” was senior Mike Herr (Lampeter,PA). The 6’5” co-captain matched his season-high scoring mark with 26 points including 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting in the second half. The combination of Mike being in a zone and C-S forced to play a zone was a wonderful combination for Gordon.
Gordon (8-3) next takes on New England College (5-5) for the second time at 7:30 on Thursday evening at the Bennett Center. The Scots won 89-76 in the first meeting in December. The Pilgrims lost a heart-breaker to Wentworth tonight.
Coach Schauer was quite certain that things had gone so well in this game for the Scots because of junior Justin Kaufman. “We’ve talked about him needing to help the players around him play better. We saw that tonight. He got clean looks tonight for a lot of players including Mike (Herr).”
Justin took fewer shots than usual but still got to 10 points and six assists with no turnovers is always nice to see. “We are at our best when Justin plays the way he did tonight,” added Coach Schauer.
This game was hard to figure early on. Gordon had a stretch where they only got one basket (Mike Schnackenberg) in eight possessions while the Chargers went five possessions without scoring at all. But the Chargers took the lead for the one and only time, 10-8, on senior Tyler Fournier’s jumper with 13 minutes left.
Next possession junior Mike Schnackenberg (South Portland,ME) put the Scots back in front for good by converting a nice pass from teammate Jon Marstaller and then adding the free throw.
That lead would grow to nine (30-21) after senior Jerry Logan (Marietta, GA) knocked in a three from the side off the backboard with 5 ½ minutes left. Four straight free throws by seldom-used freshman Tim McDonnell (Jericho,VT) extended the lead to 12 (38-26) and the Scots were in front 40-29 at the half.
After missing all six 3-point attempts in the first half the Chargers Andrew Cousins hit the first one tried in the second half. C-S was dominating on the inside. If they discovered some outside accuracy this would indeed be anyone’s game.
C-S was able for about 4 ½ minutes to match the Scots shot for shot only trailing 49-42 after an Andrew Tracy lay-up. However, over the next 4 minutes the Scots put this one out of reach.
While C-S went cold Mike Herr and freshman Brady Bajema put up four points each for Gordon to give the Scots a 57-42 advantage. That lead with swell to twenty (73-53) with seven minutes left. The final score was 83-63.
Colby-Sawyer (3-8) is clearly in a rebuilding year and from what we saw in this game the pieces inside (sophomores Ryan Murray & Duncan Szeliga) are in place. We’re talking wide bodies with moves around the basket. Ryan already leads the Commonwealth Coast Conference in offensive rebounds. He had a double/double against the Scots. Duncan ended up with 15 points despite a lot of foul trouble.
Co-captain Jerry Logan collected 12 points along with five assists and no turnovers. His defense had plenty to do with Charger Nate Truncellito’s 2-for-10 shooting. Nate had been averaging 12 points per game.
Junior Jon Marstaller (Naples,ME) had his usual double figures but in this one added 3 blocks and 3 steals.
Mike Schnackenberg had his best game of the season with 13 points. He also appeared to me to be Gordon’s best inside defender on this night. Unfortunately, he took a nasty spill in the second half driving to the basket. We’ll know Thursday night how serious a wrist injury he has.
The appearance of freshman Tim MacDonnell on the court was a surprise to just about everyone. After all he had played in only one of the first ten games and then for a rather brief seven minutes. In this game he was out there for 12 minutes. “I told Timmy Mac yesterday that he would be playing,” explained Coach Schauer. “He’s not the most talented player we’ve got but he plays hard. Balls seem to end up in his hands and bodies fly all over the place when he’s out there. We need rebounding, defense, and effort from the 8-9 guy and he gave that. He earned the opportunity and took advantage of it. This is not a one-game deal. He’s going to keep on playing.”
Gordon was the 3rd team that Colby-Sawyer has played in the last four days. That’s tough scheduling……………The Endicott coaching staff was on hand. They visit the Bennett Center on January 23rd……………Only one member of Gordon’s student section (The Blue Sea) was in uniform and I’m told he left before the game was over! The students return on January 16th……………One of Mike Herr’s baskets came on the scoring end of a backdoor cut in which he took a pass from Mike Schnackenberg. Why isn’t that play used more often with so many teams overplaying the passing lanes?………The Scots six turnovers tied their season low……………Can Gordon put together a long winning streak like they did last year?