Understandably, that Endicott win elevated the expectations of Gordon coach Mike Schauer as his team faced a quality (13-5) non-league opponent (Bates) on the road.
After watching his team fall to the Bobcats, 66-61, on Tuesday evening Coach Schauer was willing to give himself very low marks for their performance. “We are poorly coached,” he said. “The team just didn’t believe that they could beat a team like Bates and that’s coaching.”
To Coach Schauer an important part of his job is motivational. He believes that the Scots are a very good team. He has seen them dominate at home and he had just seen them break through a long-standing road barrier at Endicott. Naturally, the coach was not thrilled when the team reverted to its early season road flaws – getting off to a slow start, vanishing on the boards, and failing to perform in crunch time. He does not think that a team playing with confidence should display that trifecta in any game no matter where it is played at.
The tough loss overshadowed some noteworthy performances by several Scots. Let’s start with Justin Kaufman (senior-5′11″-Redding CT) – he recorded his 400th assist and moved to within one point of the 1000-point club. Mike Schnackenberg (senior-6′6″-South Portland ME) had a career game as he continued to shoot over 50% and turned in his first double/double (14 points/12 rebounds). Aaron Trigg (sophomore-6′1″-Overland Park KS) had a 17-point second half and defended the Bobcats tops scorer (Bryan Wholey) into a 2-for-12 evening.
However, because of the loss those remarkable positives fall by the wayside.
We are left to wonder how the team could fall asleep tied 7-7 and awaken five minutes later trailing 18-7. Flashbacks of the 16-2 deficit at Endicott came to my mind.
Poor rebounding plagued the Scots from beginning to end. The fourteen offensive rebounds that the Bobcats hustled for were a major issue. The top three rebounding performances against Gordon have been turned in by; Salem State (53), MIT (46), and now Bates (45). Note the similarities – all road games, all nonconference, and all losses. Can you see why the coach is upset?
Despite the poor start and the lousy rebounding this was a game that the Scots could have won down the stretch. By my unofficial count, and that count changes every time I look at my notes, Gordon had eight chances in the last 9:42 to tie the game or go ahead. Amazingly, they did not capitalize on any of them. Jon Marstaller (Remember him from the Endicott game?) let the last one fly – a game-tying three – with three seconds left and it missed.
Bates coach Joe Reilly was glad to escape with a win. “Gordon is one of the better programs in New England. They are on the level of the teams in our conference (NESCAC).”
The Bobcats (14-5) host Williams on Friday night. I hope that the Ephs come in prepared for the heat that they’ll experience at Alumni Gym. Most of us worked up a full lather just breathing!
Gordon (14-5) faces nonleague Husson at the Bennett Center tomorrow (Wednesday) night. The visiting Eagles from Bangor are a tough opponent. They mauled the Scots up there last year.
The accomplishments of the 2007-08 edition of the Gordon College Fighting Scots have been significant so far; 14 wins, Justin’s 400th assist, Jon’s move up the all-time scoring ladder, defeating nationally-ranked Plattsburgh State, capturing the tournament at Union College, and breaking the losing streak at Endicott.
I wonder if the team is willing to rest on those substantial laurels or will it finish the rest of the regular season (six games) in a fashion that pleases not only the Gordon faithful but Coach Schauer too?