(Wenham) I know, I wasn’t there to see the Scots upset highly regarded William Paterson, 68-67, on Saturday night at the Bennett Center and win the 5th annual TipOff Tournament.
I’ve been told, though, that if I’d been listening in Connecticut, where I was overnighting before going to Turks and Caicos, I would have heard the Bennett Center crowd celebrating at the game’s conclusion.
I suspect that the home crowd was a factor down the stretch. Another factor could well have been fatigue for the visiting Pioneers. They had their hands full with Wesleyan the night before and were a long way from the comforts of New Jersey in the championship game.
The Pioneers took the lead in the first minute and built their advantage to double-digits. It is not a stretch to suggest that the visitors were in command well into the second half.
However, somwhere in the last five minutes of the game the wheels came off for the Pioneers. They stopped scoring and Gordon produced points in possession after possession. The crowd got into it and, in a game that William Paterson had led since the beginning, watched the Scots rally for the win.
Heroes? Ben Gaskill. 39 minutes? He’s never played anywhere near that many before. Somehow with all those minutes committed just one foul. Some will remember the winning layup with three seconds left. A look at the play-by-play also shows two blocks and a rebound in the last two minutes.
How about Brady Bajema? Top scorer (21 points) in the game. He missed only one shot all night. How about his last 1:12? A rebound, a 3-point shot, a steal, and an assist on the winning basket.
And so the 5th TipOff Tournament produced two wins for the Scots just as the previous four TipOff Tournaments had. They’ve come close in several of the ten games but visitor’s fatigue and terrific fan support seem to carry the day.
The MVP has always been from Gordon as Aaron Trigg joined that select group (Mike Herr,Jon Marstaller,Justin Kaufman) this time around. The way things went at the end of the end of this year’s championship game with William Paterson I suspect that the MVP choice came down to Aaron or Brady and wasn’t an easy decision. Brady made the All-Tourney team.
The win puts Gordon at 4-0 and off to a terrific start.