(Bristol RI) There is plenty to write about in this one so let’s get right to it.
Gordon (11-3/4-0) defeated Roger Williams (9-7/1-3), 67-64, on the road on Wednesday night. That is seven straight overall and an undefeated Commonwealth Coast Conference record.
Coach Mike Tully and his Hawk squad have to be wondering how they lost this game. They took the lead midway through the first half (19-17) and held it right into the last minute before an Aaron Trigg layin put the Scots in front, 65-64, with 24 seconds left. Opting not to take a timeout, the Hawks had plenty of time to get a good shot and did (Travis O’Dell jumper from the left) but he missed just before the buzzer. Ben Gaskill was fouled after getting the rebound and his two free throws were the last points of the game. Tom Rafael launched one from beyond halfcourt in the half-second remaining that wasn’t close to going in.
Another reason RWU probably deserved a better fate was the level of defense they played. I wasn’t in on their game plan but it had to include denying Gordon 3-point shots. And they sure did. That is no typo, the Scots put only four shots up from long range the WHOLE game. GC averages MAKING over six three’s per game. Trust me, Gordon was not turning 3’s down, they just could not find them. Aaron did get one on the first possession of the game but thereafter Taylor Petruccelli eliminated further openings. Brady Bajema, the best 3-point shooter in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, never even got a three off.
But all the fine exterior overplaying opened up the inside for Greg Walker (20 points) and game-of-his-life freshman Dave Dempsey (14 points). We have seen Greg have his way with single coverage before but Dave’s play was a revelation especially in the second half. Coach Murphy had Dave set up on the low block in mismatches with various Hawk defenders. Once he had the ball, those few of us in attendance saw moves we had heard about but seldom seen. In my opinion, Dave’s most important play of the night was an offensive rebound putback in the last 1 ½ that put Gordon within one – 64-63. It was Dave’s first double-digit game and could not have happened at a better time for the Scots.
RWU’s sophomore 6’9” Pat Flanagan was a handful offensively for Gordon. Greg covered him most of the time and eventually denied him the inside only to find out that Pat could make short jumpers as well. Pat scored the Hawks last three baskets but in the final 24 seconds, with the game in the balance, Greg managed to keep him from getting the ball. That’s defense that wins games.
There was plenty to cheer about for both sides but most of the RWU student body still hasn’t returned. Someone led the Hawk team onto the floor carrying a flag. I believe that was the cue for the fans to cheer. On this night, there wasn’t a peep!
Taylor Petruccelli gave Aaron the best defense he will see in the CCC. The last minute, however, did not go as well for the 6’4” junior. He had the rebound of a Ben Gaskill miss but Aaron started to tie him up. He swung around at Aaron and was called for his fifth foul and Gordon had the ball back trailing by one. Parked on the bench, he could only watch as Aaron sailed in on the right side with the basket that gave the Scots the lead for good – 65-64.
Tim MacDonnell drew offensive fouls in both halves. No follower of the 2009-10 Scots finds that surprising.
Brady appeared to injure his knee near the end of the game much to the chagrin of a group sitting near me from Whitinsville.
Malcolm Wynne (coach of Curry) was in the house. His team is also 4-0 in the CCC after defeating Colby-Sawyer in overtime on Tuesday night at Milton. They are Gordon’s next opponent – 4PM on Saturday afternoon at the Bennett Center.
The next six Gordon games are at home. I am counting the Endicott away game as “home.”
This was the first time I have ever seen Gordon win at Roger Williams.
The importance of this game, as far as I was concerned, was that even though RWU took away a significant part of Gordon’s normal offense (3-point shooting), the team responded by finding points elsewhere. Defending the Scots could well be difficult the rest of the way.