Jon Marstaller’s Last-Minute Heroics Send Gordon Past Endicott – Game 18

(Beverly) Jon Marstaller (senior-6′5″-Naples ME) turned the last minute into a personal highlight reel and led Gordon past Endicott, 56-55, on Saturday afternoon before a huge gathering. 

Defeating Endicott at Endicott was yet another hurdle that the Scots have finally been able to jump under the leadership of Coach Mike Schauer.  It took six tries but 1,130 of us were on hand to witness it finally happening.  This game had all sorts of drama and as it wound down you knew that one team would end up extremely happy and the other one would have a bad memory for a while.

Less than a year ago junior Todd Burton made a 4-point play at the buzzer to send the Gordon faithful back to Wenham in a state of shock.  This time around, the ride back to the Gordon campus had to be a whole lot happier.

No doubt, folks on both teams will be remembering Jon’s winning three from the corner with less than four seconds left for a long time.  But you need to know that he also had an assist and a steal in that crucial last minute. Those plays were equally significant.

The Scots trailed, 55-51, going into the last minute when Jon found Jeff Derr (sophomore-6′8″-Barrington IL) in close for a layup.  Now with his team down by two points Jon forced a Gull turnover with 30 seconds left. 

I expected a timeout but it didn’t come.  Gordon spread the floor and put the ball in the hands of Justin Kaufman (senior-5′11″-Redding CT).  As the clock wound down he finally got past his defender and headed down the lane for an attempt at a layup.  However, athletic 6-5 Joey Burgos stepped in and swatted the shot out of bounds with six seconds left.

“We ran a set play at the end,” recalled Coach Schauer.  “We wanted to send a decent perimeter shooter (Jon Marstaller) over to get the inbounds pass that might not get covered and if that didn’t work get the ball to Aaron Trigg (sophomore-6′1″-Overland Park KS) on the perimeter.  Our last shot was going to be a three.  I really wanted it to be all or nothing.”  Justin inbounded the ball to Jon in the corner and he had as clean a look at the basket as you could ever hope for and he connected.

“We made mistakes on that basket,” remembered Endicott coach Chris Millette.  “We put our big guy (Justin Martin) on the inbounds passer and that forced a guard (Graham Whitelaw) to have to guard Jon Marstaller.  He was buried in the screen and that left Jon wide open.  This kid’s a senior and an all-league player.  He’s going to make a shot like that.”

Everyone from Gordon was terribly excited over Jon’s made three but there still were 3.7 seconds left for Endicott to overcome the one-point deficit.  After a timeout last year’s hero, Todd Burton, headed up the sidelines toward the corner where he did his damage in the last second last season. To the shock of most of us, Justin Kaufman fouled him. 

“When I heard the whistle blow,” said Coach Millette, “I thought that we were going to win just like last year. What I didn’t realize was that they had a foul to give.”

“Their timeout (before the last 3.7 seconds) helped us,” said Coach Schauer, “because it gave us a chance to communicate to the team that we had a foul to give.”  Justin’s foul left Endicott with less than a second to do anything and a lob by Gary Corbett on the inbounds pass did not turn up a shot as the game concluded.

Coach Schauer wasn’t so sure, though, that the best team won.  “I thought that we deserved to win last year and didn’t and I thought that they deserved to win this year and didn’t.  In this one they outplayed us for much of the game and we were fortunate to make a few more shots.”

For Coach Millette this was the fourth game in a row that his team had lived dangerously.  “In our previous three games (all wins) the outcome has come down to the last possession and the other team has missed.  We were lucky then but you can’t be every time.”

Gordon is now 14-4 overall and 6-2 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.  Their next game is a nonconference one at Bates on Tuesday evening. 

Endicott, 8-11 overall and 4-3 in the conference, travels to Colby-Sawyer next Wednesday.

Gordon had lost both CCC road games (ENC and Roger Williams) going into this one.  And the way they started against Endicott was downright frightening.  How does down, 16-2, after eight minutes sound?? 

“We came out so soft,” said Coach Schauer.  “You can’t do that on the road.”  Fortunately, for the Scots the Gulls went into a funk of their own for the rest of the half and Gordon was only down 30-28 at halftime.  “We scored a lot of points early,” said Coach Millette, “and then we just stopped moving.”  That lack of movement gave Gordon a chance to do a better job defending the Gulls in close to the basket. 

In the New England game there were few runs.  In this one, especially in the second half, there were plenty of consecutive baskets and fortunately, for Gordon, they had the last run of points. 

The Scots took the lead in the second half (38-37 – 15:35) with eight straight featuring 3’s from Tim MacDonnell (sophomore-6′2″-Jericho VT) and Justin Kaufman and a jumper by Jeff Derr. 

Endicott answered with a run of six to go ahead by five, 43-38, with 11:50 left.

Back came Gordon with an 11-2 run over the next 4 ½ minutes and now the visitors were in front 49-45 with seven minutes left.  A couple of baskets each from Aaron Trigg and Jon Marstaller as well as a long one from Brady Bajema (sophomore-6′2″-Whitinsville MA) provided the Scots scoring.

That lead didn’t last long as the Gulls poured in eight unanswered points and now they had a four-point lead (53-49) with 3:48 remaining.  Gary Corbett, Joey Burgos, Cameron Twiss, and Graham Whitelaw all contributed.

Next came a Justin Kaufman layup but Todd Burton responded with a layup of his own after a Graham Whitelaw steal.  Burton’s basket happened at 2:27 and those were the last points that Endicott would get.  Gordon closed the game out with the Jeff Derr layup and Jon Marstaller’s dagger from beyond the arc.

“What I really enjoyed in this game was the play of Jeff (Derr) and Ben Gaskill (sophomore-6′9″-Columbus OH),” said Coach Schauer.  “I didn’t think that they played very well last game against New England.  Both of them were enormous in this one.  I thought that defensively Ben gave (Joey) Burgos a little bit of trouble and Jeff made one huge shot after another.”

I think that the Endicott defense was the best that the Scots have faced all season.  The open shots were few and each pass was contested.  That tight defense forced Gordon to dribble in traffic on occasion and Brady and Aaron were called for five turnovers apiece as a result. 

Therefore, for the first time since I started covering the team, and Mike Schauer became coach, the Scots have beaten Endicott at home and away.  No small feat.  We could end up playing them a third time in the CCC tournament. 

That third time stuff didn’t work out so well two years ago with Colby-Sawyer.  The Scots won both regular season meetings but the Chargers were a veteran team and they humbled the less experienced Gordon team in the CCC tournament. 

Endicott is getting many big minutes from underclassmen.  How would they do facing tournament pressure in front of a big crowd at the Bennett Center? 

I chose this game to wear a tie to because I wanted to be dressed right for a possible special occasion.  I will don a tie for the Bates game on Tuesday evening just because of the “special occasion” possibilities that exist.   According to SID Pat Byrnes’ media guide, Gordon has never defeated Bates in eight tries.  A win at Bates would definitely be a special occasion and surely attract the interest of D3Hoops.

There is an anticipated gathering of the Marstaller clan at the Bates game.  Why not?  Lewiston is only about 30 miles from Naples (Maine).  No, I don’t expect they’ll be coming on snowmobiles!

I would also like to squelch a rumor: Endicott’s Justin Martin (6-8 freshman) is not assistant coach Jeremy Martin’s younger brother. 

Seeing the underdog win at the last second has me hoping that come tomorrow evening, the Patriots don’t run into the same fate against the New York football Giants.  Relax, the Patriots will win by three touchdowns………….I hope.

boxscore Endicott away game 2-2-08

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