Monthly Archives: December 2008

Game #8 – Gordon Closes 2008 Part of Schedule With NonLeague Win over Wheelock

(Chestnut Hill) That’s more like it.

Gordon turned in a strong performance against highly improved Wheelock College (2-5) and closed out the 2008 part of their schedule with a 72-53 nonleague win on a rainy Thursday night at Pine Manor College.

The Scots (now 7-1) were coming off their only loss (Salem State – Saturday night) in a game in which they played like a tired club over the final 6 ½ minutes.

In this one the energy was back, the shots were falling (50% from the floor), and the defense was excellent. 

Aaron Trigg applies some solid defense to Dan Main of Wheelock

Aaron Trigg applies some solid defense to Dan Main of Wheelock

Ben Gaskill got assigned to cover 6-5 Sherard Robbins (averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds) and contained him nicely.  He forced Sherard to operate away from the basket and did a great job of keeping him away from the offensive glass.  Ben’s effort, Sherard ended up with season lows in points (8) and rebounds (7), was a difference-maker in this one. 

With a key scoring weapon compromised, the Wildcats had trouble putting point runs together.  Gordon didn’t have that problem.  With an inside game that’s new to all of us,  they ran six straight on inside moves by Greg Walker and a couple of Ben free throws to take the lead for good, 20-17, at the nine-minute mark of the first half.

The Scots closed the half with more of their inside magic and added Jeff Derr to the scoring mix with a 9-2 spurt over the last 3 ½ minutes to take a 34-23 halftime advantage.

An Aaron Trigg three boosted that lead to 46-29 after 9 ½ minutes in the second before the game’s only downer, besides my leaving my truck window open, occurred.  The Wildcats came out of a timeout and went into full-court pressure and the Scots couldn’t handle it.  Four straight turnovers later, including several in the backcourt, the Wildcats had a nice 9-point run going, had closed to 46-39 with 9 ½ left, and had some noisy fans behind them. 

But this was a night when Gordon’s shooting never deserted them.  Wheelock’s positive point-producing run was followed by a sequence of horrible half-court offense (5 straight turnovers) and the Scots answered with nine points in a row.  Greg and Aaron collected the points and two of their baskets came on nice feeds from Brady Bajema.  Brady played short minutes in the first half because of foul trouble but came on to record eight assists in this one.

That nine-point run I just mentioned sent the Scots ahead 58-41 with six minutes left and thereafter only the margin of victory had to be decided.

Freshman Eric Rice led all scorers with 20 points.  The 6-8 lefty did most of his scoring from the outside. 

I am still watching in wonder, and greatly enjoying, the Gordon inside game.  Gone are the days when we had inside players who were really more comfortable on the perimeter.  When Ben/Jeff Derr/Greg get the ball in close, they have the height and ability to put up a high percentage shot and/or get fouled. 

The team now heads into exams, a little vacation, back for practice, and off for two games in Minnesota in early January.  Having been to the Bahamas recently I can picture the Gordon women’s team coming out of their motel after playing a game in the Bahamas wearing beach sandals while the men’s team exits their motel in Minnesota wearing snowshoes.  Maybe they’ll switch locations next year??

Playing your basketball games at another school is never easy but is a reality for Wheelock.  SID Kim Lloyd told me that the school has very little room on their Boston campus for a gymnasium and is unlikely to have a gym for the next 10-15 years.  It wasn’t that long ago that Gordon used Hamilton-Wenham Regional for home games and before that Beverly Memorial School.  Be thankful for the Bennett Center.

The game was played on the campus of Pine Manor College.  This school, similar to Gordon, was formerly a large estate that evolved into a school.  It was part of Wellesley College for a while.

I will never get tired of watching the on-the-court hustle of Austin Bentson and Timmy MacDonnell. There isn’t a loose ball they don’t think belongs to them.
One Whitinsville father thought the game was on the Wheelock campus, so he went there.  Then once he found the right location, he learned that Pine Manor has parking regulations. “Will the owner of……..”

My biggest wish is that more folks would understand why God sent His Son Jesus to earth.

Gordon/Wheelock boxscore

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Filed under Gordon College Men's Basketball 2008-09, Wheelock

Game #7 – Scots Suffer First Loss at Home to Salem State

(Wenham) Salem State continues to have Gordon’s number.  I’ve seen them defeat the Scots seven straight times including the last four meetings at the Bennett Center.

The Scots may lose occasionally on the road but seldom at the Bennett Center.  Last year Husson was the only home loss.

This time it was the Vikings winning, 68-55, on Saturday night in a nonleague game.

The game was a lot closer than the final score indicates although through sheer exhaustion another five minutes might have produced a 20-point deficit.  Remember that the Scots had a very (tiring) emotional win over Endicott just 48 hours prior to this game.

The best description of this game would be sloppy.  And that includes both teams.  Imagine sitting through a grand total of 46 turnovers! 

When the visitors came out trapping and pressing fullcourt it was time to reflect on the comfort of having Justin Kaufman in the mix for the past four years.  Against a well-coached, athletically inclined team like Salem State, getting to the frontcourt was never a given.  You can be sure that the Vikings will not be the last team on the schedule to try fullcourt pressure.  But also expect Gordon to get better handling it as the season goes on.

The Gordon defense forced a bundle of turnovers as well and that was certainly a positive. 

The Scots streak of matching or bettering opponents in rebounds and shooting came to a screeching halt.  You lose those battles and commit 25 turnovers and you shouldn’t expect to win. 

It certainly didn’t help that the Vikings had senior Dylan Holmes in action.  He’s at least 6’5” and gave the Gordon big men serious problems throughout.  Once he got the ball inside the arc, he was trouble.  His 25 points and 13 rebounds were a killer.

Despite the turnovers and the presence of Dylan Holmes, the outcome of this game was in doubt until the last six minutes. The Vikings took the lead for good, 39-38, with 14 ½ minutes to go on a Dan Clark layup after one of Gordon’s giveaways.  However, the Scots hung around thanks to layups by Brady Bajema and 3’s by Aaron Trigg.  It was a 53-51 game with 6:15 left.

After that………….things didn’t go so well.  A check of the final score (68-55) will tell you that Gordon was outscored 15-4 over the last 6:15.  Turnovers, missed shots, and going 4-for-9 from the free throw line did in the home team down the stretch.

So both teams are 6-1 now.  The Scots play their last game before their global warming tour of Minnesota in early January. The opponent will be nonleague Wheelock on Thursday night at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill.  The Scots beat Wheelock easily last year at the Bennett Center but the Mustangs have added some excellent players.  This game will be the epitome of a “trap game.”  That’s one where you underestimate an opponent and suffer the consequences.

Aaron had 23 points and is getting to meet the other team’s best defenders on a nightly basis. 

No question there were a lot more open shots than there were against Endicott on Thursday night.  But add the lowest shooting percentage (34%) to all the other low-point stats that occurred for Gordon in this one.

This game was especially interesting for Greg Walker because he was playing against a former teammate from his Northbridge (MA) High School days, Brennan Bennett.  Brennan is very quick and did a nice job on Aaron when he had the chance.

Having a Christmas Gala going on at the chapel the same night as a Bennett Center basketball game certainly made parking, and walking back to your car, very stimulating. 

Maybe you don’t recall the last time Salem State visited the Bennett Center.  That was the “popcorn machine” game – the popcorn machine in the lobby triggered the fire alarm and we were all cleared out of the gym and out into a very brisk outdoors.  After that “refreshing” experience, we returned to the gym. Salem State went on to make a last-second shot to send the game into overtime and then won in overtime.

Boxscore Salem State/Gordon

Suzanne and Kevin Walker before Salem State game

Suzanne and Kevin Walker before Salem State game

Jon Marstaller after Salem State game

Jon Marstaller after Salem State game

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Filed under Gordon College Men's Basketball 2008-09, Gordon men's basketball 2008-09, Salem State

Game #6 – Gordon Undefeated After Six Winning at Endicott in OT

Aaron Trigg (6-1 junior Overland Park KS)

Aaron Trigg (6-1 junior Overland Park KS)

(Beverly) The big-time Endicott crowd started chanting, “Where’s your Bible?” with about 5 ½ minutes left in regulation.  (I guess that passes for humor at a secular school.)  But it does segue nicely into a Christian idea, namely prayer. 

Believe me, the only way to describe Aaron Trigg’s winning basket was to call it a prayer.  But it went in and was enough to hand the Scots a 67-66 win in overtime at frantic Endicott on Thursday night.

Maybe it was a coincidence, but Aaron’s 3-pointer was from the same corner that Jon Marstaller nailed his game-winner from last year.  While Jon’s was a wide-open look, Aaron’s was anything but that.  Clear look at the basket? No.  Feet squared? No.  But with time running out on the 35-second clock the shot had to be put up no matter how many shooting fundamentals were violated in the process.

Aaron’s shot gave the Scots a 3-point lead (65-62) with 20 seconds left.  Graham Whitelaw answered with a jumper to make it 65-64. After an Endicott timeout, Timmy MacDonnell successfully inbounded the ball to Jeff Derr who was fouled.  With the crowd in a frenzy, Jeff dropped in both free throws to put Gordon in front 67-64 with 4.3 seconds left. 

A Gordon timeout resulted in a bit of strategy that paid off big-time.  Endicott had to go the full length of the court and shortly after Bobby Montrond crossed halfcourt Timmy fouled him before he attempted a shot.  Bobby went to the foul line but there were just 1.5 seconds left and the Gulls were down by three.  He made the first and I believe that he was trying to miss the second but it hit the back rim and went straight up and also went in.  Now all Gordon had to do was successfully inbound the ball, Timmy did to Brady Bajema, and this one was history.

Exciting?  This one was from beginning to end.  Crowd involvement?  It let up only at halftime.  The Gordon support system traveled well and never let up.  Endicott outnumbered them and never let up on their cheering.

So the Scots are still undefeated (6-0) and will hardly be able to catch their collective breathes before playing rugged Salem State at the Bennett Center on Saturday night.  Endicott, now 4-3, gets Clark next.

The Scots have now won three straight from the Gulls including two on the road.  However, this one was nonleague.  On January 31st the return match takes place at Gordon and this one will be a league game. 

I’m still scratching my head over this game’s first half.  After an opening jam by Justin Martin in the first minute, the Gulls went nine possessions without a point.  When Endicott got through with those unrewarding possessions they were still ahead 2-0 with six minutes played!  Incredible.  Great Gull defense?  Certainly had a lot to do with it but c’mon it wasn’t that great, I don’t think.  Whatever, the Scots had a ridiculous 15 turnovers (that is not a typo) in the first half and believe it or not, LED 20-16 at the half.  Endicott only shot 25% and it was just plain ugly basketball. 

There was a Gordon timeout in the first half after one of those 15 turnovers and Coach Schauer was actually laughing as he went into the huddle.  What else could he do? 

The Gulls came out making (finally) shots in the second half.  They had one miss in the first eight minutes and moved ahead by eight, 37-29.  Nine of those points came in a row as Ross Stewart hit a three and Graham Whitelaw followed with two of his own. 

If you’re the worrying type, you might have thought that this was the beginning of the end.  You’d be wrong because the Gulls shooting touch deserted them and they scored just 13 more points in the last 12 minutes and were fortunate not to lose the game in regulation. 

Meanwhile the Scots heated up and went on a 15-2 run to lead 48-42 with five minutes left.  You might have thought that Gordon was about to pull away.  Again, you might have been wrong.  A very difficult layup by 6-1 Graham Whitelaw against 6-9 Ben Gaskill resulted in a score and a made free throw to tie the score at 50 with 27 seconds left in regulation.  The Scots used the whole clock but Timmy’s last-second jumper bounced off the rim to send this one into overtime.

The Gulls grabbed the lead four times in overtime but a very difficult layup-and-one by Aaron put Gordon ahead with just over a minute to go.  Next time down was the 3-point prayer from the corner followed by Jeff’s two free throws on Gordon’s last possession.  Wow, I’m tired just recalling it!

The stats really tell a story in this one. 

I’ve already mentioned the 15 first half turnovers for Gordon – they only had seven in the second half. 

Another measure of the tight Gull defense was that Gordon had only eight assists in 45 minutes of basketball.  That tells me that they could only score after beating their man rather than being set up by a teammate.  They had been averaging nearly 17 assists in the first five games.

The rebounding stats?  It’s official, Gordon is going to dominate teams on the boards.  This is all new to me after watching this team get beat up on the boards for six years.  Endicott had only five offensive rebounds including three in the first half.  The Big Three (Greg Walker/Ben Gaskill/Jeff Derr) combined for 24 rebounds.  They also added 40 points.

As I see it, Endicott now plays the way Gordon used to – they get open on the outside and have snipers like Graham Whitelaw (21 points) and Ross Stewart (22 points) to put up points in a hurry.  Gordon, on the other hand, now looks to go inside on almost every possession to exploit the inside moves of Jeff or Greg.  It takes some getting used.

In the end, however, it was Aaron saving the day.  And his only 2 points in the first half were on a last-second scoop shot.  There were no easy shots on this night but he ended up with 24 points including 10 in the overtime. It may be time for the Gordon support system to start chanting “MVP” when he scores at the Bennett Center.

Gordon/Endicott boxscore

Rick Derr and Chuck Gaskill before Endicott game

Rick Derr and Chuck Gaskill before Endicott game

Patti & David MacDonnell await Endicott game

Patti & David MacDonnell await Endicott game

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Filed under Endicott, Gordon College Men's Basketball 2008-09, Mike Schauer, Salem State