By Peter McClelland
(Milton) “Unbelievable,” was the way Curry Coach Malcolm Wynn described his game with Gordon and by golly if the shoe fits let’s wear it!
The Fighting Scots led from wire-to-wire and defeated highly regarded Curry, 77-54, on the road in Commonwealth Coast Conference action in a fashion that was indeed unbelievable.
I tried to get Gordon Coach Mike Schauer to admit that it was the best game any of his teams in 4+ years at Gordon had played but he would not go for it. He did say though that, “It was certainly the best we’ve played this year.”
The Scots are now 15-5 overall with five games left and sit alone at the top of the CCC in the loss column with a 10-2 record. Endicott helped today by giving Roger Williams a third loss.
“We don’t play another conference game until next Saturday,” explained Coach Schauer. “We get a chance to sit around and see what happens to the other teams. By the time we get to the Colby-Sawyer game (next Saturday) we’re going to have a real good sense of what we need to do to try and finish this thing off.”
What made this game special was that Gordon played remarkably well from beginning to end. A 14-point halftime advantage (42-28) decreased to nine (50-41) with 14:46 to go but in the next three minutes the Scots ran eight straight to regain a comfortable margin, 58-41.
In some game’s a team wins with good shooting and another time, it’s good defense. In this contest, the Scots were marvelous at both ends.
Let us let the stats do the talking: Gordon shot 59.6% for the game including 68% in the first half. Curry came in shooting 45.7%. In this one, the Scots held the Colonels to 35.8%.
“I was real disappointed in my guys’ effort,” said Coach Wynn. “We didn’t make a commitment to executing an offense. Ultimately, we feel we’re good one-on-one and that hurts us against a good team.”
The eye-catching stat in this game is Curry having just TWO assists the entire game. No question the Gordon defense prevented them from running much of an offense.
Junior Justin Kaufman’s name has come up every time the topic after recent games has been about defense. It was no different after this one. “When Justin decides to defend on the perimeter we have the two best perimeter defenders in the conference,” said Coach Schauer.
Justin had Stephen Prescod and senior Jerry Logan (Marietta,GA) took Tim Jones in this game. Justin held Stephen Prescod to two points – he averages 12.5. Tim Jones got 17 but Jerry kept the ball away from him much of the game. Good thing because Tim Jones is one of the most explosive scorers in the CCC and in fact scored 10 points in a row for the Colonels late in the first half.
I think that the win was so satisfying because Curry is big, strong, and athletic. They start 6’5” and 6’10.” You would need to find three Gordon players to total 400 pounds. The Colonels could do it with two players since five of the Colonels weigh 200 pounds or better. However, all of those physical advantages did not mean a thing this time.
As mentioned earlier Gordon never trailed and showed early that they were not about to be intimidated by Curry.
After 6’10” Jonathan Bowers had spun in for a layup at 16:57 the Scots put on an amazing display during the next 7 ½ minutes. While the Colonels were reduced to one-and-done Gordon rolled up 16 unanswered points.
How? Obviously good defense and strong rebounding plus some Jon Marstaller (Naples,ME) and Brady Bajema (Whitinsville,MA) moments down the other end. Each tallied seven points with a three and two layups. Junior Mike Schnackenberg (South Portland,ME) hit a jumper for the other two.
Curry never fully recovered in the first half from the 19-2 deficit. They did close to 36-30 on a Tim Jones trey but Gordon answered with a jumper from Brady Bajema, a layup by Mike Herr (Lampeter,PA) on a feed from Brady, and a buzzer-beating inbounds play that gave Jon Marstaller time for successful fall-away.
“I told the team at halftime that this team is more than capable of coming back against us,” explained Coach Schauer. “If we let up at all their talent advantage would start to shine through.”
The Colonels did get back to within nine in the second half (50-41) but another run of good defense (three Curry turnovers in a row) and eight straight points from Gordon put this one away, 58-41. Jon Marstaller, Mike Schnackenberg, and freshman Aaron Trigg (Overland Park,KS) put up the points in the decisive run.
Curry now has an overall record of 8-12 but is 6-5 in the CCC. “We have to finish strong and get second place in the CCC South,” said Coach Wynn afterwards. “That’ll give us a home game in the tournament and later possibly another game with Gordon. After what they did to us in our gym I’d much rather play them up there.”
Coach Wynn suggested that Gordon’s losses this year have been good for them. “They had a great run last year and they’re a much better team than last year. Those losses keep a team from thinking that it is just going to happen again. They are by far the best team in our conference.”
The Scots play at the Bennett Center on Tuesday night against Bates. Bates is 17-3 and in the top 25 nationally in the D3 Hoops poll. It is a nonconference game but certainly an excellent opportunity for Gordon to make a statement in the New England region if not nation-wide. Be on hand, Blue Sea!
Justin Kaufman will not be needing a comb for a while…………Jerry Logan had 200-pound Tim Jones land on top of him in the first half. His slowness to get back up was worrisome to those of us recalling how a leg injury had kept him out of six games last year. However, thankfully this wasn’t serious…………Freshman Tim McDonnell’s family was on hand from Jericho,VT……………One of the Gordon students that made the trip to Milton insisted on calling Jon Marstaller, “Chicken” Marstaller. I doubt that a meal like that has ever been served at Lane…………I’m told that the team no longer has to wear ties to road games as long as they win them. Colby-Sawyer and Endicott are the only road games left.