I was very pleasantly surprised this AM to read online in marvelous Barbados that our Fighting Scots had defeated nonleague Salem State on Tuesday evening at Salem – 95-83. This was no normal occurance!
I saw them beat Salem State back in the Troy Justice coaching days at the Bennett Center in (I’m guessing) 2001. Since then…………..a few games have been close like the overtime toughie when Jeremy Martin filled in for Mike Schauer but most games, however, have been one-sided and the Gordon website reported an eight-game losing streak. I’m not sure Gordon has ever defeated Salem State at Salem State before.
But it happened and a check of the boxscore indicates that the “stars were out” on this one. Brady (31), Aaron (22), and Greg (22), regained their scoring abilities after that nightmare versus Westfield State on Saturday night.
Brady’s third three of the first half was part of a 9-0 run that had Gordon ahead 33-22 with 7 ½ minutes left. The Vikings narrowed things to 43-39 at the half.
Salem State overtook the Scots at 17:15 on a resounding putback dunk by Brian Clark to make it 50-49. That lead actually increased to three (56-53 and 58-55) before Brady nailed another three and added a couple of free throws to put Gordon in front 60-58.
It took the Vikings 2 ½ minutes to regain the lead – 68-66 on a Jahmal Swanson layup with 11 ½ minutes remaining.
The next segment was the game-decider. Over the next 5 ½ minutes the Vikings were without a point while the Scots turned up 12.
The key to this winning drive was a, “I’ve got the ball and the shot clock is expiring,” 3-pointer by Timmy MacDonnell from the corner. (A source at the game captured the drama for me.) That answered prayer started things and later Jeff Derr would add a three under less stressful conditions.
The resulting 78-68 spread did in Salem State. The closest they got was 84-79 with two minutes left. Then things turned strictly to free throws and the Scots dropped in 11 of 12. Brady had seven of them.
This win was a great way to make thanks giving start early.
The next opponent for Gordon is long-time rival ENC at the Bennett Center on Tuesday night. In a 3-1 season where there have already been two major surprises – losing a TipOff Tournament game and defeating Salem State – you hesitate to surmise how any future game could go.