Sluggish Starts Lead to Predictable Result – Game #22

(New London NH) – The Scots started poorly in both halves and that contributed heavily to yet another road loss.  This time it was to Colby-Sawyer, 65-59, on Tuesday night.

Gordon (15-7 overall, 7-3 Commonwealth Coast Conference) has lost four of its last five road games with only the late-game miracle at Endicott being an alternate result. 

 After witnessing last night’s performance Gordon coach Mike Schauer had this to say, “It feels as if we’ve started like this every night for the last month and I’m pretty weary of it.”

Let me get the specifics out regarding the poor starts in both halves. 

In the first half, after nearly seven minutes had passed the Scots were behind 18-4.  To get this sort of lead the Chargers put up the first nine points and later ran off seven unanswered points.  Therefore, into the double-digit deficit hole Gordon jumped. 

Fast forward to the start of the second half.  Down 39-30 going into the second half, the Scots take an unconscionable 6 ½ minutes to score their first point.  The Chargers weren’t anything special during this segment either getting only five points.  But instead of Gordon shooting their way into a challenging position they ended up down fourteen (44-30).

The Scots did get to within four points a couple of times (60-56 and 62-58) late in the game but their sporadic play at the start of each half kept them from getting to a position where a made shot would tie or win this one.

Coach Schauer was well aware of the poor shooting and said that it didn’t concern him.  “The shots we missed didn’t bother me nearly as much as the urgency at which we play at.  I told the team at halftime and after the game that we just don’t have a sense of urgency.”

The urgency that Coach Schauer refers to has to do with qualifying for the Commonwealth Coast playoffs.  Eight teams make the playoffs.  With this loss, the Scots drop to 7-3 in the conference.  They are now three losses away from not making the playoffs, and guess what, there are three games left.  It would certainly be nice to beat a good team on the road to set a proper mood for the playoffs.  Ahead are two road games (Western New England – Saturday, and UNE – 2/20) in which Gordon will be the underdog.  Can we hope that making the playoffs doesn’t come down to beating Salve Regina at home on the last game of the season?

The Chargers are still undefeated at home in CCC play. 

“We’re not always a great shooting team so when we come out shooting the ball well, we’re tough,” explained Colby-Sawyer coach Bill Foti afterwards.  The Chargers only missed two shots in the early going when they built up the 18-4 advantage.  On one of the misses Duncan Szeliga (25 points/9 rebounds) turned the rebound into a basket. 

Duncan was good but it was Andrew Cousins who really did in Gordon on both ends of the floor.  The 6-3 junior knocked down three 3’s in the early run and his defense on Gordon’s top scorer (Aaron Trigg (sophomore-6′1″-Overland Park KS)) throughout was special.  Andrew finished with 17 points.

“Andrew is a very good defender,” said Coach Foti.  “He also had a very nice game against Justin Woodworth (Salve Regina) this past weekend.”

Both Justin Woodworth and Aaron Trigg will hurt an opponent from long range if given the opportunities.  The Chargers, however, are the best in the CCC at defending against the 3-point shot and it paid off against Gordon.  The Scots hit only 2-of-14 long-range attempts in the second half and many of them were not the wide open 3’s that Gordon’s passing offense usually turns up.

“Bill Foti is a tremendous coach,” said Coach Schauer.  “They play very hard on defense.”  And their rebounding is worth writing about too with Ryan Murray collecting a significant 14 caroms.

This is not a game that seniors Justin Kaufman (senior-5′11″-Redding CT), Mike Schnackenberg (senior-6′6″-South Portland ME), and Jon Marstaller (senior-6′5″-Naples ME) will remember fondly. 

Justin’s five missed free throws in the last seven minutes were costly.  He did, however, do a nice defensive job on Dave Rosso holding him to five points, well under his 14.8 per game average.  Justin ended up with 16 points and the accolades of Coach Foti, “We had a lot of trouble keeping him out of the lane.  It should be easy to defend but it’s not because he so good.”

Mike ended up with short minutes (20) from foul trouble and never got untracked offensively getting just two points.

Jon had a forgettable first half ( no points ) and didn’t even start the second half.  He did play much better (nine points) once he was activated in the second half.

“I think that we have a few guys who think their careers are over and are just pacing their way through it,” said Coach Schauer.  “We’ll find out.  It doesn’t bother me.  We’ll just play the kids.”

I rode the team bus to this one fearing the weather.  Glad I did especially on the ride home.  On the way back, where I saw adverse conditions, the bus driver saw nearly full speed ahead.  Situations like this always do wonders for my prayer life!

The willingness of parents to attend their son’s games continues to amaze me.  I set out writing the Gordon games nearly six years ago because I thought that there were family/friends who could not attend most games and would appreciate the information I could provide.  After seeing so many parents/friends at home games and away games, I am not nearly as certain of my usefulness.

boxscore Colby-Sawyer 2-12-08

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