(Wenham) D3 Hoops preseason first team All-American Jimmy Bartolotta was in the house, and he is one fine all-around player, but it was Gordon’s Aaron Trigg drawing the raves afterwards. The Scot junior ended up with 30 points and had plenty to do with Gordon’s 77-69, overtime win over visiting MIT on Wednesday night at the Bennett Center.
That final score is a major misrepresentation of how close this game was. The Engineers from Cambridge, in fact, never trailed until Greg Walker spun in for a layup with just under seven minutes left in regulation to put Gordon ahead, 51-50.
Later a 3-point play by 6-7 Hamidou Soumare put the visitors in front 62-58 with 1:48 left. However, the Engineers wouldn’t score again in regulation and Bartolotta picked up his fifth foul. That foul-out became huge in OT. Meanwhile, the Scots turned up a couple of layups from Greg and later Ben Gaskill to even things. Aaron’s jumper in the lane rimmed out or Gordon would have won in regulation.
Aaron opened the OT with a three (he had six in the game) and that gave the Scots the lead that they never gave up. Plenty of credit for the terrific OT goes to Ben. With Bartolotta gone the Engineers pounded the ball inside to Soumare on nearly every possession with Ben covering him. Looking stronger and savvier this year, Ben shut Soumare down on three of MIT’s first five possessions. Gordon, meanwhile, had points on each of their first four possessions and built up a 71-64 advantage with two minutes left and that was more than enough to earn the victory.
Foul trouble greatly reduced the effectiveness of both Bartolotta and Soumare. Soumare had his fourth foul just a minute plus into the second half and sat for 13 minutes. Bartolotta had his fourth five+ minutes into the second half. I anticipated an Engineer collapse with these two out but it didn’t happen. When they returned for the final five minutes, I anticipated that they would carry MIT to the win. So much for anticipation.
Gordon has seen full-court, man-to-man defense in both games. No doubt, teams have found out that Justin Kaufman has graduated. MIT’s defense was excellent but Gordon’s 19 turnovers is a sure sign that ball management needs to improve.
The Scots out rebounded yet another opponent – this will take some getting used to.
Aaron looks awfully good so far. He’s probably not thrilled with the six turnovers but his offense (18 points in the first half) is carrying this team so far. He’s also taken on the best perimeter player of the opponent in both games and held his own. When will the chants of “MVP” start?
There’s no question that Ben had his best game as a Scot, especially down the stretch and in OT. His 13 points were a career best and his solid defense without fouling was impressive.
Greg continues to look very comfortable around the basket and in this one led the team in rebounds (7).
If I were not charting the game, I would focus my attention on Timmy MacDonnell. There isn’t a loose ball that he doesn’t think he can get. His feed to Ben Gaskill for a layup in OT, in the last minute, put this game into the “fat lady singing” category.
Now 2-0 the Scots face Oneonta (NY) State in the 8PM game on the opening night of the TipOff Tournament on Friday night. It will be Wesleyan and William Patterson (NJ) in the opener. William Patterson has been nationally ranked in the past and if Jimmy Bartolotta could be the best visiting player we’ll see at the Bennett Center this year then William Patterson could be the best team we’ll see. Of course, the games are at the Bennett Center and even a nationally ranked team might want to be careful against the Scots there.
I asked MIT coach Larry Anderson about how he got a player of Jimmy Bartolotta’s caliber to come to MIT. He told me that Jimmy was a 6-3 center in high school in Colorado and no one recruited him. Coach Anderson said that he had some friends in Colorado tell him that Jimmy was a kid who could be a good one. How right they were! Everything the now 6-5 player did was effortless from passing and shooting to defending. His foul trouble against Gordon really hampered his effectiveness.
I met Carolyn/Paul Himottu (Jon’s parents) for the first time at the game. Carolyn told me that Jon’s two final school choices had been Messiah and Gordon. The persistence of Gordon coach Mike Schauer had been a factor in Jon choosing to be a Scot.
Back on campus for a look at this year’s Scots was Mike Schnackenberg (pictured here with Jesse). Mike is working in Boston with Jon Marstaller. They live in Salem. Jon is engaged and getting married in May. Mike told me that the adult Kaufmans, Schnackenbergs, and Marstallers would be on hand for the weekend tournament. That is a picture I need to try and get.