That was the final score but if you’re thinking blowout you weren’t on hand for most of the first half on Tuesday night.
Your Scots were down 28-18 with 5:41 left in the first half. Coach Mike Schauer had already blown his top and as hard as it might be to imagine, the thought of losing to the 3-10 Amcats entered the realm of possibility.
But the next 9 ½ minutes were a transformation of unbelievable proportions. Gordon went on a run the likes of which I cannot recall seeing in the seven years I’ve been following this team. The Scots ran off 22 unanswered points into the second half and then after the Amcats finally got a basket (Brad Peterson layup) they ran off 11 more unanswered points. We’re talking a 33-2 explosion!
Let’s just say that when the dust finally settled four minutes into the second half, Gordon led 51-30 and what thereafter needed to be decided was the shape of the final score. Aaron Trigg and Brady Bajema went wild during this decisive segment each netting 14 points while hitting from everywhere.
With the win Gordon bounces back from the tough OT loss at Wentworth and now are 1-1 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference and 9-3 overall. The Scots have been on the road for seven of the last eight games where they compiled a 5-2 record.
The Scots now return to the friendly confines for two – ENC on Saturday (3PM) followed by Roger Williams next Wednesday (8PM). Gordon defeated ENC in the season opener at Quincy (76-45) but that won’t keep their highly-supportive fans from traveling to Wenham on Saturday.
This game marked the return of #4 – Brady Bajema. He had missed the last two games with an infected knee. He actually spent three days in the hospital because of it. But he was back for this one (23 points including 16 in the first half) and combined with Aaron Trigg (29 points with 22 in the second half) to total 52 points.
Brady’s 23 points were a career high. Aaron’s 29 points are his third straight game with at least 20 points.
The Amcats rank 13th in the CCC in defending 3’s and that was evident in this game as Gordon made 10 of 15 from long range. Many of Brady and Aaron’s 3-point attempts were of the pregame-wide-open variety. The Scots shot a season-high 61.5% from the field for the game. Obviously, defense is an area that Anna Maria needs to work on.
Speaking of needing work, the Scots committed a season-high 25 turnovers. Sure they won by 29 anyway but in what should be closer games ahead, they probably won’t be as fortunate with this sort of carelessness. Dribbling and passing in traffic appears to be the culprit from my perch in the stands.
If you were an attendee in Paxton, you left with a thought or two about the sound system. It was clearly set at, “Uncomfortable,” for the duration. I learned long ago that some places will punish you with noise and so I always carry earplugs. They sure came in handy at Anna Marie.
Even with the earplugs in, I could see that Amcat coach Shawn Conrad was letting the referees have it in the second half. With 6 ½ minutes left they decided that Coach Conrad would be better off watching the game from another location. Last time I saw that happen was in Gordon’s game at UNE last season.
It is interesting to watch how players develop under Coach Schauer. Ben Gaskill could hardly find any minutes when Jon Marstaller and Mike Schnackenberg were around. They graduate and Ben becomes the team’s top rebounder (career high 13 against Anna Maria) and an excellent defender. I saw him at 6-9 covering one of Anna Maria’s guards in the second half.
The developing players are Jon Himottu and Jordan Kelly. The minutes are small at this stage but likely to increase. Just going against Greg Walker, Ben, and Jeff Derr daily in practice will make them better for when they have to step up down the line.
I had some concerns a few years ago about Anna Maria surviving as an institution. The numbers were down and a visit to the campus was depressing. This time around there were kids in the stands and a lot of excitement. Athletic director Dave Shea told me that they are on the way to building a turf field like Gordon has and are offering football in the fall of 2009. Gordon used to have a flag football team back in the day that played other colleges. I declined to add football to my Gordon collection of mediocre athletic accomplishments and stayed on the sidelines as a spectator.