Gordon (13-5 overall/ 4-3 in the CCC) served up a surprising performance before a great home crowd and fell to neighborhood rival Endicott, 77-70, on Saturday afternoon in a Commonwealth Coast Conference game.
It was a big squander by any measure. The Gulls were struggling. Gordon was 13-4. The gathering was huge and this was the Bennett Center, after all. However, none of that mattered in the big rivalry that these two teams have developed. The Scots had dominated the recent meetings between the two taking three straight including two at Endicott.
Endicott (8-11 overall/ 3-4 in the CCC) jumped into a big 30-15 lead in the first half only to have Gordon come all the way back and get a 45-40 advantage five minutes into the second half.
The Scots had their last lead (51-50) with ten minutes to go. The Gulls pushed the spread to seven (60-53) and the closest Gordon got the rest of the way was 70-66 with 47 seconds left.
Endicott’s shooting early on was a revelation. Three of their first four baskets were long range and they were six-for-twelve in the half. Graham Whitelaw (19 points in the game) struck three times from long distance in the first half.
Gordon’s rally back from the 15-point deficit was triggered by Brady Bajema’s accuracy from beyond the arc. He put in three during the comeback.
The Scots inability to get within one-basket range of Endicott during the last ten minutes of the game was unexpected. However, credit the Gull defense for some of the poor offense we saw. They swarmed Aaron Trigg (20-point average) into a 4-for-15 afternoon double-teaming him when he headed for the basket.
After eighteen games, teams via scouting or films have figured out that most of Gordon’s offense runs through three players and are now defending accordingly. Those of us who watch the Celtics know about their Big Three and that what makes the team successful is when the players filling the other two positions contribute offense.
The team’s 3-point shooting at the Bennett Center has been a mega-problem in the losses to Salem State, Roger Williams, and now Endicott. How does 4-for-19, 4-for-17, and 4-for-15 sound? How can this be when Aaron and Brady are 1-2 in the CCC in 3-point field goal percentage?
Sophomore Greg Walker ended up with 15 points (the stat sheet is inaccurate) and had several attempts rim out.
Ben Gaskill leads the CCC in field goal percentage. His 5-for-6 in this one will keep him at the top. He also had nine rebounds.
Anyhow, it’s over and time to move ahead. Seven games left in the regular season and the first is at Regis College on Wednesday night. After that, it will be tough Nichols at Nichols followed by four straight equally tough ones at home.
2008-09 TCCC Men’s Basketball Standings
1. University of New England 7-0
2. Colby-Sawyer 6-1
3. Nichols 5-2
Roger Williams 5-2
Salve Regina 5-2
7. Gordon 4-3
8. Endicott 3-4
Eastern Nazarene 3-4
10. Curry 2-5
Western New England 2-5
12. Regis 1-6
Anna Maria 1-6
14. New England College 0-7
The top eight teams in the CCC qualify for the playoffs. With the loss to Endicott, and the difficult schedule ahead, a playoff berth looks a lot less certain. Four of the remaining league games are with teams ahead of them in the standings. It would be a shame to see our very promising team turning in equipment after 25 games.
Endicott came into the Bennett Center desperate for a win and they were. It may be time for our Scots to resort to the same approach from here on in.
There was an alumni game earlier today with about 20 players taking part. The only downside was Josh Sylvester hurting his ankle. Hope he’s okay. There were plenty of photo opportunities available.
The former players I spoke with after the Endicott loss seemed to agree that it is tough watching from the stands after being player.
There apparently was a call late in the game for 3-point sharpshooter Mike Herr, but his #44 has been hung up for a couple of years, unfortunately.
My wife and I were attendees at the Hall of Honor inductions. Current coaching staff members Bess Watson and Whitey Davis were among those honored.