(Schenectady) Gordon (7-3) won the Sigmund Makofski Invitational Tournament once again (they also did it in 2008) by putting everything together in the final five minutes and earned a 61-53 win over Montclair State University (9-4) on Tuesday night at Union College.
The awards ceremony afterwards gave a good indication of why things went so well for the Scots during the two-game event as Brady Bajema and Ben Gaskill made the five-member All-Tourney team and Aaron Trigg was selected MVP.
In the championship game, the Scots took the lead for good (23-22) on the last basket of the first half as Austin Bentsen set up Aaron for a layup.
A bit of controversy broke out shortly thereafter as the timekeeper (a job you want to go unnoticed doing) let the clock run when it shouldn’t have and then followed that by not starting the clock when he should have. When everything was talked out a three that Aaron had made at the buzzer didn’t count.
Gordon started the second half by pushing the lead to (31-22) with an eight-point run (Brady layup and 3-pointer, plus Austin’s old-fashioned, crowd-pleasing 3-point play).
MSU had too many good athletes to stay down for long. A Red Hawk 8-point run brought them close (34-33 at 11:44) with a David McDaniel jump shot being their last points in this run.
MSU was close again (46-45) with five minutes left. The final outcome was very much in doubt.
The rest of the way was fun to watch……….if you’re a Gordon fan. Montclair? Not as much!
Coming out of a timeout, Aaron nailed a three. After a Red Hawk miss, it was Brady’s turn to dial long distance. The beauty of Brady’s was that it followed two offensive rebounds. (The Scots won the game rebound battle by 12.) Those two 3’s put Gordon in front 52-45 with 3:14 left.
The rest of the way, under serious full-court pressure, the Scots had just one turnover. That ball-care was impressive. MSU was forced to foul to stop the clock and this led to another pleasant surprise – Gordon made nine of ten attempts in the game-deciding final three minutes after making just eight of their first sixteen attempts during the rest of the game. Go figure!
Also in the mix was Tim MacDonnell making a big play. Trailing 56-50, MSU’s Ken Dudley cut down the lane in the last minute, made the layup, and then got the bad news…….Tim had drawn an offensive foul on him. No basket and Tim went to the other end and made both free throws. Therefore, what might have been (56-53 with 45 seconds left) turned into 58-50 and sealed this one for Gordon.
Aaron was the MVP in this tournament in 2008. This time around, his two-game line was 35 points, 14 assists, and 13 rebounds including 9 rebounds in the championship game.
Ben tied his season-high rebound total (13) in the championship game and with only 11 total points in the two games, it was clear that the all-tourney selection committee understood the value of a good rebounder.
Aaron led all scorers with 20 points and Brady had 19.
The Scots start the Commonwealth Coast Conference part of their schedule at the Bennett Center on Saturday (January 9th) at 3PM against Wentworth. There is another trophy that would look nice beside the trophy won in Schenectady………..maybe, maybe, maybe this is the year to encase that elusive one in the Bennett Center!