(Quincy) If your team is having trouble scoring, you hope that your defense is holding its own. If neither is working well into the second half, you do what Eastern Nazarene coach Jim Aller did with 12 ½ minutes to go – you stand in front of your bench and select the last five players from the seldom-used end of the bench and send them in for extended garbage time.
Gordon (10-3/3-0) stymied ENC (3-12/1-2) in every way possible (for the second time this season) enroute to an 81-58 rout on Saturday afternoon in Commonwealth Coast League play.
On December 1st, it was Gordon 81-59 at the Bennett Center. Since then ENC had beaten Endicott and nearly beaten Wentworth. Foolish me, I thought the Lions would give the Scots a highly competitive game. They had added a couple of tall players and surely they would make some defensive adjustments. At least, so I thought.
In today’s game, ENC struggled to guard Aaron Trigg (23 points) and Greg Walker (20 points). Aaron getting open looks on the perimeter is one thing but also allowing Greg to get the ball down low was nothing short of defensive suicide.
So facing unwise defense, the Scots, with Aaron and Greg combining for all the points, jumped ahead 10-0 in the first four minutes.
Later, with 8 ½ to go in the half (G 24-E 15), Gordon put together another 10-point run getting six more from Aaron/Greg as well as a fastbreak layup from Austin Bentsen and a Ben Gaskill layup on a feed from Brady Bajema. This offensive display boosted the lead to 34-15 with 5 ½ left and at halftime Gordon was in front 44-26.
Sometimes things change in the second half but not in this one. With 16 ½ minutes left Gordon’s lead is 49-34. If ENC could make some shots, maybe ratchet up the defense……….didn’t happen. The Scots put together twelve unanswered points over the next four minutes. By now, you guessed the twosome doing the scoring damage – Greg had eight/ Aaron two/ and Ben Gaskill chipped in with a layup.
Despite a Keith Branch (17 points) layup to stop the bleeding, Gordon led 61-36 with 12 ½ left and ENC Coach Jim Aller had seen more than enough of the players who had been so productive in recent games and so he inserted five previously unused players.
Coach Aller did work some starters back in later on and that explains a 12-point run the Lions had late in the game against Gordon bench players.
Gordon is now exactly where they were last year record wise. Next opponent is Roger Williams on Wednesday night in Bristol (RI) at 8PM. I’m not sure Gordon has ever won down there. The Scots took RWU out in the playoffs last season, 50-48, after losing to them during the regular season, 50-37, at the Bennett Center. Most of the open shots in Wednesday night’s game will be in warm-ups!
Brady had no points but ten rebounds and held ENC’s top scorer (Max Barbosa – 12.6 ppg) to just two points.
Sophomore Garrett Harden had a career-high seven points including a three from the top of the key.
The hardest job at a basketball game is keeping statistics. Don’t think so, try it some time! The ENC crew had trouble getting halftime stats together so I opted not to wait afterwards for final game stats. Good thing, because it took hours for them to be ready.