(Leicester) Can you defend without fouling?
In the case of Anna Maria (6-7/1-1) – No! And after 26 fouls sent Gordon (9-3/2-0) to the line for 37 free throws, the Amcats were on the wrong side of a 72-64, final score in a Commonwealth Coast Conference game played at Becker College on Tuesday night.
Certainly all the fouling was a negative for AM (GC got 29 points at the line) but their ability from long range (10-of-23) kept things interesting for quite a while. They launched shots from downtown Leicester and a couple buzzer-beaters from neighboring Worcester!
With 9:50 left, a Chris Pinsonault (15 points/4 assists) layup put AM within one, 45-44, and the final outcome unknown.
In the next 4+ minutes Gordon won this one, as AM had a total meltdown while the Scots forced turnovers (three), made free throws (six), and tallied sixteen points.
For its part, Anna Maria collected four points and lost their composure getting assessed a hard foul (Chris Pinsonault on Aaron Trigg) and a technical foul (on Anthony Click).
After the 4+ minutes ended, the Scots had a 61-48 lead and added nine free throws the rest of the way for the victory.
Both Ben Gaskill (16 points/10 rebounds) and Aaron Trigg (23 points) reached season-highs in points. In fact, for Ben it was a career high. (I am not so sure about two of Ben’s points, however. There was a basket in the first half on a rebound that I thought belonged to Jeff, although the public address announcer said Dave Dempsey scored it but the scorekeeper gave to Ben. Where’s instant replay when you need it??)
The Scots are now 9-3, which is exactly where they were last year after a win over Anna Maria on 1/13/09.
On Saturday, the team faces Eastern Nazarene in Quincy. It would be a very good idea to forget the 81-59 win earlier in the season at the Bennett Center over ENC. Recently ENC defeated Endicott and barely lost to Wentworth. They have their own version of The Pit.
Gordon’s top three scorers (Brady/Aaron/Greg Walker) hit just 9-of-32, yet the team still won. AM had some shot blockers (Anthony Click – five blocks) to impact inside attempts.
I continue to be impressed with the way the Scots handle fullcourt pressure. The dribble turnovers and dangerous passes have decreased significantly, in fact in this game Gordon actually attacked the press turning up some open shots.
A couple of terrific assists of note. JT Himmelstein played just two minutes but found Ben for a layup late in the first half. In the second half, Tim MacDonnell made a nice pass down the lane for a Greg Walker layup during the game-deciding segment.
I will be very interested to see how Anna Maria does at home on Saturday against Colby-Sawyer. I think that the Amcats will beat some good CCC teams before the season is over. Composure in general but especially on defense is all that will separate them from making the CCC tournament later in February in my opinion.