(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.
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.