(Wenham) Same names. Same numbers. But what an improvement, especially on defense, as Gordon (1-1) defeated Coast Guard, 67-57, in their home opener on Friday night.
First win for the Scots and it comes in an event now called the North Shore Collegiate Tip Off. The victory puts Gordon in the championship game tomorrow night (6PM) at Endicott.
What a turnaround this game was from the really worrisome performance Gordon put in at Husson (88-42) on Tuesday night. How about night and day?
A renewed dedication to defense was the key from where I sat. I didn’t see a lot of open shots especially on the inside. The visiting Bears (1-2) found openings beyond the arc but on this night could make just 2-of-15 of the long ones.
Gordon shooting, on the other hand, was very good. In the first half the home crowd started looking at the game program to see who #10 was. Freshman Luke Hamilton (16 points) prompted the search by nailing three 3-pointers and totaling twelve points in the first half to carry the Scots to a 28-20 lead.
Gordon broke a 15-15 deadlock with 5 ½ minutes left and never trailed thereafter. A couple of layups by Dave Dempsey (13 points/5 assists) gave the Scots the lead.
Senior Greg Walker (19 points/8 rebounds) carried the Scots in the second half with thirteen points. Teams that allow him to get the ball in close usually regret it.
Believe me, Gordon did not coast to the finish in this game. Sure, the final score has a nice 10-point spread and there was a place in the second half (8 ½ minutes left) where the Scots were sitting on a cozy 53-33 advantage. Coast Guard could have gone quietly but didn’t.
By then the Bears were applying full court pressure, with some effect (23 Gordon turnovers in the game), and then Coast Guard started making shots. When Ed Gailor connected on a three with 1:42 left, Coast Guard had a 23-7 run going and only trailed 60-56.
I started to think of how tough a loss this would be after playing so much better than the first game.
Oh, me of little faith! Sophomore Dave Dempsey converted his own missed shot and after a missed three by the Bears was sent in (by Greg Walker) for a home-crowd, pleasing dunk to push the Scot lead to a more comfortable 64-56 with forty seconds left. Dave’s two late-game plays sealed the win for the team.
Dave played with his knee wrapped because of an injury in the Husson game. There was some question as to whether he would even play against Coast Guard. He had a couple of hard falls in this game – one on a breakaway and another going after a ball near the Gordon bench.
The Bears captain, Jevon James, with 15 points and 3 steals.
JT Himmelstein took an elbow in the chin in the first half. His mother reported that he’ll be getting stitches.
One noticeable stat was Gordon with 17 assists and Coast Guard with just 4. I’d be thinking that one team was looking for teammates and the other was looking for the rim.
In the still-needing-work department we have free throw shooting (11-for-20) and turnovers (23). Don’t get my wife started on missed free throws! The turnovers are a team-wide problem with eight players getting caught in the Coast Guard game.
I did like the way Gordon ran an offense. Good shots will turn up if they’re patient and in addition the opposition defense has to work longer.
The defensive work of Jordan Kelly and Shaun Roach on the Bears top scorers (Jevon James and Kevin Sowers) was very good.
My hearing isn’t great but I thought I heard some folks near me use “players” and “ballroom dancing” in the same sentence.