(Dudley) That’s twice in four days I’ve seen a Gordon player have a career game and clearly carry the team to a victory.
Against Regis on Wednesday, it was Greg Walker (22 points/19 rebounds). At Nichols this afternoon, it was Brady Bajema (37 points/9 assists).
The Scots (15-5 overall/ 6-3 in the CCC) won the game, 94-85, and eased for the moment the concerns about them not finishing within the top eight in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.
Tuesday night they take on (16-4/8-1) Colby-Sawyer to start a four-game home stand. The Scots have lost three of their last four at home. That needs to change.
But Brady, what a show! He couldn’t miss in the first half (14 points) and was even better (23 points) in the second half. Within the collection of 37 points were nine 3’s.
Believe me, there was no way we could see this sort of performance coming. In the last game, four days ago at Regis, Brady had a season-low three points and shot just 1-for-4.
Maybe it was the closeness of the Nichols campus to Whitinsville (Brady’s hometown)? Maybe it was the fact that he had many family members in the crowd? Whatever, it was fun to watch, if you’re on the Gordon bandwagon.
The Scots took the lead for good late in the first half after an 8-point Gordon run put them up, 35-30 with 3:40 to go. A three by freshman JT Himmelstein (from Brady) started it. Greg Walker (14 points) hit a jumper and then Brady (for some reason all alone) hit a three.
That lead would grow to 44-35 at halftime as the Scots spread the floor in the last twenty seconds and found you-know-who in the right corner.
I was not in the Nichols locker room at halftime but I guarantee you that there was plenty of talk about defending the 3-point shot after Gordon was 6-for-12 in the first half. Now that the game is over, I can guarantee you that there was even more talking after the game in the Nichols locker room on the same topic after the Scots went 6-for-9 in the second half.
The Bison were 4-0 in the CCC at home and they weren’t about to fold up in the second half. One reason was freshman Pete Atkins (27 points). He is a muscular 6-2 and took the ball inside successfully most of the game. When he converted a rebound and a layup he made it a 60-50 game with 11:10 remaining. Plenty of time for a run at the lead if Gordon ever cooled off.
A turning point in this one may have been on Nichol’s next possession. Pete Atkins started working his way to the basket but this time got his shot rejected by 6-7 Greg Walker. The Scots followed with a 12-2 run and had their biggest lead of the game, 72-52, with 8:50 left. Brady had two assists in this sequence and added a 3 of his own.
The lead was still substantial (78-60) with 6:50 left and a breeze to the finish might have been expected. Didn’t work that way. The Bison decided to foul the Scots on every possession the rest of the way. If you were a fan of whistles and free throws, you would have loved it. And it made perfect sense for Nichols to foul.
That strategy led to some serious seat squirming for Scots fans down the stretch. Gordon missed nine of 23 free throws and that enabled Nichols to make things more interesting than they should have.
Nichols got within six (89-83) in the last 1 ½ minutes but followed with a miss and two turnovers and Gordon escaped with the win.
The Scots passing game was a pleasure to watch throughout. When you see 24 assists (season high) and just 12 turnovers you have the statistical evidence to prove superb offensive execution.
Nichols (11-10 overall/ 6-3 in the CCC) has Wentworth at home next Tuesday night. They honored their two seniors (Jeff Lindgren and John Costello) before the game.
Aaron hit 32 last year against Wentworth and 30 this season against MIT. Without checking, I believe Mike Herr may have reached 30 at least once. Now Brady joins the group.
The points scored (94) were a season high as well as the points allowed (85). Let’s just call it good news/bad news and leave it there.
The Gordon student cheering section will need to be out in full vocal force in the four-game home stand. Visiting teams have been way too comfortable at the Bennett Center this season in my opinion.