(Lewiston ME) Gordon 78 Bates 64
Trust me, that final score is very misleading. It took two streaks, one (thirteen points) to get the lead, and another (ten points) to put the game out of reach on Thursday night at Lewiston.
Gordon (18-4/9-1) trailed 58-55 with 7 ½ minutes to go. Having played Tuesday night (loss at Colby-Sawyer), you weren’t confident about their chances on the road in the end game versus a quality Bates (12-11) team on its own court.
However, the Scots played about as well as I’ve seen them play, during the next three minutes, collecting thirteen points over the next six possessions and shutting out the Bobcats.
Austin Bentson had a couple of big plays. On one end, he somehow put a shot in after stumbling into the lane, and then followed that with a steal down the other end that sent Aaron Trigg off for a fastbreak layin.
When the wonderful three minutes ended, Gordon had an unlikely 68-58 lead with 4 ½ to go. Bates came out of a timeout and scored points on three straight possessions while the Scots turned the ball over twice in succession. So now, we’ve got a 68-64 game with 2:50 left. Plenty of time for good or bad things to happen.
Only the ultimate Gordon optimist would have predicted, however, what actually happened the rest of the way – Bates never scored again and the Scots collected the last ten points of the game. Pretty amazing on both counts.
Ben Gaskill, minus the beard, came up big at the end. He started with an assist on a Brady Bajema three. The next time Gordon had the ball they were clearly (with a seven point lead) into a hold-onto-the-ball mode. You’re thinking that Aaron or Brady will get the shot as the 35-second clock runs out. However, Ben ends up with the ball with everyone yelling for him to shoot. He takes an off-balanced jump shot as the shot-clock buzzer sounds. The defense seemed to freeze, hearing the buzzer, just for an instant. Ben follows his shot, gets his own rebound, and puts in the layup and is fouled. He makes the free throw and with 1:16 left, the ten-point lead (74-64) was a mountain Bates wasn’t going to climb in such a short time.
The stat sheet revealed plenty of goodies. Brady reached a season-high in assists with eight. The free throw shooting (13-for-14) was also a season high. Greg Walker’s three blocks were a season high.
Aaron’s 25 points put him into a tie with Jon Marstaller (parents and sister were on hand at Bates) for 5th place on the all-time scoring list.
Aaron and Brady were deadly shooting from anywhere. How about a combined 11-for-11 from the foul line!
Brian Ellis (24 points) had the Bates offense run through him for much of the evening. He was 10-for-15 and seemed like a bad matchup for the Scots no matter what sized Gordon player attempted to guard the 6’5” junior.
Ahead for Gordon is a trip to Springfield on Saturday to face Western New England (12-10/7-3). As nice as it was to beat Bates, the matchup was nonleague. The results of the last three games of the season (WNEC/UNE/Salve Regina) affect seeding in the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament. I’d like to see three games played during tourney week at the Bennett Center.
When I looked earlier at the trio of road games, two of which we just played, I imagined weather issues being a factor. Dry roads to New Hampshire, and now Maine, in February! God is good!
The heating system in the Alumni Gym did not disappoint. You just have to be prepared for it. Every Bates student I saw in attendance was wearing a short-sleeved shirt. The gym is 84 years old and has always given off a warm welcome, I’m told.