(Beverly) The (pleasant) surprises just keep coming as Gordon stunned highly-regarded Endicott, 88-74, to win the North Shore Collegiate Tip-Off championship on Saturday night at Endicott.
The Scots shot off to an incredible start building up a lead in the first half that got as high as 39-16 with four minutes left. The Gulls took away a large chunk of that lead in the second half and trailed just 66-59 with nine minutes left. The rest of the way the Scots had more than enough offense to match the Gulls and pulled off the upset.
David Dempsey was the MVP of the tournament. This was the sophomore’s finest game to date. Here are his numbers: 15 rebounds/25 points/6 assists/no turnovers/2 blocks/3 steals. Let’s not forget that he has a sore knee!
Luke Hamilton made the all-tourney team with more good shooting netting 15 points. The freshman has already become a crowd favorite. A goodly number of the Gordon students took this one in camping conveniently behind the Endicott bench.
A very key player in the win was Austin Bentson. It’s a given that his defense will be eye-catching. Tonight he added scoring to the eye-catching part. With his dad looking on, he connected on four 3’s and had a lot to do with the quick start. He ended up with his 2nd highest point total (14) and added 9 rebounds. (Austin had 16 points on opening night two years ago against Eastern Nazarene.)
Endicott came into the game 3-0. They had an amazing 60 rebounds the night before against Maine Maritime. They were picked by the Commonwealth Coast Conference coaches to finish second this season in the CCC. They were playing at home. But on this night it didn’t make an ounce of difference!
The Scots (2-1) turned a 4-2 lead into a 25-4 lead with a combination of nine point-producing possessions out of ten and a defense that forced turnovers (3) and missed shots. Endicott coach Phil Rowe burned three timeouts in the first seven minutes in an attempt to cool off Gordon.
The Scots had a 47-28 lead at halftime but knowing Endicott’s reputation you wondered if it was enough.
The Gulls confirmed those concerns with the first seven points of the second half with two baskets coming from Bennett Knowlton (17 points). Bennett later nailed a three to tighten things considerably to 66-59 with plenty of time (nine minutes) left.
But that was as close as Endicott would get as David Dempsey, Luke Hamilton, JT Himmelstein, and Jordan Kelly answered with points that boosted the lead back up to 76-64 in the next three minutes.
A killer trey by Luke from David with 3:45 to go pushed the lead to 82-68 and allowed the idea of beating a good Endicott team at Endicott to start to sink in.
Gordon saw full-court pressure the entire game and had some turnovers (15) but seemed to benefit from the faster tempo when they broke the press. I also think that all that pressing took the legs away from Endicott down the stretch.
For the second straight game (Let’s not compare anything to that Husson game!) I was impressed with Gordon’s ability to run organized offense. This approach enabled the Scots to get the ball to David Dempsey and Greg Walker (12 points) in places where they can do damage. Endicott is still looking for someone to defend David anywhere on the court!
Greg had several shots blocked. His real value in this game was on defense taking on Chris Galbraith. The Gulls were intent early on getting the ball inside to Chris and then creating offense from there. Greg more than held his own and Chris was held to 4 points.
Jon Himottu (6’9”) had his longest minutes (16) and they were crucial as both David and Greg got into foul trouble.
Next up for Gordon will be Salem State at the Bennett Center on Tuesday (7PM) followed by never-before-played Babson at Wellesley on November 30th.
I will be away on my annual “Caribbean scouting trip” and will miss both games. I’m taking my computer with me and hoping that Anguilla has wireless capabilities.