(Schenectady NY) The Fighting Scots have won their 2nd tournament of the season – remember the Tip Off Tournament. This time it was the Sig Makofski Invitational Tournament played at Schenectady (NY) over the weekend.
“I knew that it would be a tall order to come in here and win two games,” said Gordon coach Mike Schauer afterwards. But win they did, upsetting highly regarded Plattsburgh State on Friday night (80-62) and coming back this afternoon to take out host Union (60-49).
The 11-point victory spread is very misleading. Union actually had an 11-point lead (22-11) at 6:31 in the first half and appeared to be in command.
This led to a Gordon timeout and a small dose of significant shouting. Things got a whole lot better the rest of the way to say the least. From that point on the Scots collected 49 points and held the Dutchmen to 25 points.
“We can be bad offensively,” said Coach Schauer. “Today, however, for whatever reason we played early as if we were disinterested offensively. That’s unacceptable.”
After regaining their interest in scoring, the Scots ran off eleven unanswered points to tie the score (24-24) before the half. Steve Madej’s long one provided the only points that the Dutchmen would get in the last five minutes of the first half but it was enough to give them a 27-24 advantage at half time.
In the second half, a nice combination of tight defense and rejuvenated offense enabled the Scots to build up a 10-point cushion (43-33) at the 12:48 mark. “It seemed as if for a long stretch of the second half we had only six points,” Union coach Bob Montana accurately recalled.
That lead even reached twelve a couple of times before the home team started to make things interesting. The last 12-point advantage was at 5:24 after Jon Marstaller made a layup, then stole the inbounds pass, and made yet another layup. Those quick four looked like backbreakers but the Dutchmen put a six point run together to narrow things to 53-47 with 3 ½ minutes to go. At this point Aaron Trigg went from participant to MVP with a game-on-the-line three.
“The biggest play of the night was Aaron’s three right in front of our bench,” said Coach Schauer. “We were scrambling to know what to run. When he hit that it felt that we regained control.”
Union was forced to foul and Justin Kaufman (senior-5′11″-Redding CT) made all four of his attempts. Mike Schnackenberg (senior-6′6″-South Portland ME) missed his only attempt but hustling Jon Marstaller came up with the rebound to keep the clock running.
Both coaches made note of Gordon’s defense. “Once they got going defensively they became more physical and that affected our ability to run our offense smoothly,” said Coach Montana. The Dutchmen had several 35-second violations as well as 17 turnovers. In one first-half sequence, Union turned the ball over on four of five possessions.
Coach Schauer was real pleased with his team’s defense in the second half calling it, “sensational especially on the road.” He went on to add, “I want to mention Justin (Kaufman) because he didn’t make the all-tournament team but he was absolutely spectacular on defense both nights. In my world his defense is a pretty valuable thing.”
Aaron Trigg led all scorers with 17 points. He also had four assists and five steals. He even had his grandparents from Kansas in the audience.
Union (4-4) was paced by Delon McAllister with 14 points.
Dutchmen coach Bob Montana had kind words for Gordon athletics. “I think that Gordon is tremendously well coached. It’s a very class program. When you think about college basketball and college athletics as a whole I think that they epitomize the way it should be.”
The Scots begin their “real” season on Thursday night when they start the Commonwealth Coast Conference part of their schedule against newcomer Regis College at the Bennett Center at 7PM. There’s no woman’s game.
I was very impressed with Union’s facilities and staff. They sure made it easy for me even giving me a front row seat. I was able to get a close-up look at a team that could very well have a very special next couple of months.