Wenham) The Scots returned to the friendly confines of the Bennett Center and registered Win #10 on Saturday afternoon versus Eastern Nazarene.
Gordon had buried ENC in their first game, 76-45, in Quincy but the young Crusaders were improved enough to make this one interesting throughout.
It took two scoring spurts and surviving a hideous scoring drought to put this one in the win column.
The first scoring spurt was a 14-4 run over 4 ½ minutes in the first half that sent a tie game (6-6) into a 20-10 advantage. Top scorer (21 points) Aaron Trigg started this good offense with a spinning layup and added a couple of 3’s before it was over.
The “drought” was also in the first half. The Scots went scoreless for eight straight possessions covering nearly 6 ½ minutes while missing eleven shots in a row by my count. This scoring slumber allowed ENC to close to 25-23.
However, the next, and crucial spurt started next. Just before the half ended, Gordon had the ball and looked to be clearing out for Aaron. As he started his spinning and weaving down the lane, he suddenly found wide-open Brady Bajema to his right. A quick pass and Brady drilled a three to end the long drought and start Gordon on its second scoring spurt.
The Scots continues the run through the first two minutes of the second half. They added nine unanswered points to Brady’s 3-pointer in the first half and the result was a 37-23 lead before the visitors even had a point. Brady had another three for the final points of this action.
The double-digit deficit was just too much for the Crusaders to overcome although there was never any evidence of them packing it in. Their best moment was when an Aaron Trigg turnover gave Jimmy Gray a breakaway layup and pulled ENC to within nine (39-30) with just under 15 minutes left. However, Brady answered with yet another three and after an ENC turnover Greg Walker put in a sweet inside hook. Back the lead went into double figures and that’s where it stayed the rest of the way.
Brady (13 points/8 assists) and Aaron (21 points/8 assists) drove yet another team crazy with their shooting and passing. The idea of having two playmakers on the floor for most of the game has worked well for the 10-3 Scots. Aaron now has four 20-point games in a row.
Late in the game, ENC needed to foul to stop the clock but didn’t want to foul either Brady or Aaron. The problem for ENC turned out to be that Brady and Aaron control the ball most of the time so waiting for someone else with lesser foul-shooting stats to get the ball, before fouling, backfired.
6-9 Ben Gaskill turned in his second double/double (10 points/15 rebounds) of the season. The 15 rebounds are a career high. He more than held his own against some very athletic inside players from ENC. His passionate play on the boards gives Gordon a weapon on the inside that I haven’t seen since I’ve been following them regularly.
One of the best matchups I loved watching was in the second half as Timmy MacDonnell defended 5-7 ENC speedster DeAngelo Alston. We already know that TMac flies around the court as a habit. To watch him keep up with arguably the quickest guard Gordon has faced this year was memorable. You had to laugh during free throws by teammates because DeAngelo would talk with a referee and TMac would be shadowing him even then!
ENC (4-10) struggled from long range – one for nine. Gordon, meanwhile, was eight for fourteen. Welcome home!
The Gordon students are back and many were on hand for the game. The Pit gathered with new shirts. I thought that they did a lot more standing in silence than I would have liked. Maybe things will get louder on Wednesday’s 8 o’clock home game with Roger Williams.
The Scots are now 2-1 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.
I suspect that ENC coach Jon Yeh looked at the stats afterwards and grimaced when seeing his team whistled for 20 fouls and Gordon only 10 fouls. His team is young, and quick, and will upset some teams before this season ends. They upset Wentworth last week.
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com was in the crowd. His wife, Jen, was the Gordon women’s lacrosse coach a few years ago.
My camera (focus) betrayed me but I did find a few familiar faces in the crowd.