(Wenham) On a Saturday afternoon when the 2009-10 Commonwealth Coast Conference banner went on display in the Bennett Center rafters, the current Scots raised the spirits of the Gordon faithful with a good effort against powerhouse MIT.
The Scots (2-5) lost 92-73 but upgraded their play (48.2% shooting and 18 turnovers) considerably. Two days ago against Bates, the Scots had just 37 points and 32 turnovers.
A school official from Kansas told me afterwards, “This kind of effort will win them (Gordon) games the rest of the season.”
However, against a team like MIT (6-1), ranked 20th in the country by D3 Hoops, even an excellent effort wasn’t enough. The Engineers could make shots and they had Mitchell Kate.
First the MIT shooting. It was 53.2% overall but the 3-point accuracy (14-for-25) was the eye catcher. Shooting that way away from home is very impressive. Rolling up 56 points in the first half wasn’t too shabby either as was their 12-for-12 from the foul line.
Mitchell Kate is a special player. The 6-1 sophomore is hard not to watch because his leadership on the offensive end is so obvious. I saw him last year make shots and set up teammates. A year later, he’s still doing it. Look at this stat line – 10-for-15 shooting (23 points) and 8 assists. He made a desperation runner at the halftime buzzer that had me thinking Ray Allen. But does Mitchell play defense? How do 7 steals sound to you?
Gordon surprised a lot of us with a hot-shooting start hitting eight of their first twelve shots and carrying a 20-18 advantage after 8 ½ minutes (20-18).
The next six possessions didn’t go as well – three missed shots and three turnovers. Meanwhile the Engineers put together fourteen points on their six possessions, taking the lead for good (30-20) in the process.
Later in the half, the Scots rode a couple of crowd-pleasing, Austin Bentson 3’s to close to 35-30 but MIT answered with seven straight and had the lead up to 56-40 at the half.
In my opinion, the biggest positive from this game was that the team played MIT practically even in the second half. That’s the effort that the school official from Kansas was referring to, I suspect.
MIT ended up with 92 points and had four players (Mitchell-23, Jamie Karraker-21, Will Tashman-15, and Billy Bender-11) in double figures. Will also added ten rebounds.
Greg Walker (21 points) paced the Scots despite heavy coverage all game. Austin Bentson matched his career high with 16 points. David Dempsey had 11 points with 5 assists and 3 steals. David was also 3-for-3 from the foul line after suffering with 13-for-30 during the first six games.
The unfurling of the championship banner prior to the game was special. Just over nine months ago (February 27th) the Scots defeated Curry, 56-54, at the Bennett Center to secure their first CCC basketball title. All five seniors (Brady/Aaron/Timmy/Ben/Jeff) from that team were on hand as well as the adult , Triggs, Derrs, and Bajemas
The Scots return to action at 7PM on Thursday night against never-played-before Wesleyan. The Bennett Center crowds have been a bit sparse lately especially in The Pit. Has studying become more important than team support?
I liked the effort of the team in general and specifically the effort of JT Himmelstein. JT’s special effort was after the game when he sought out Mitchell Kate. During the second half, Mitchell victimized JT and headed off for a layup. JT caught him and wrapped him up so that he couldn’t shoot. They both went down pretty hard and the referee gave JT a flagrant foul. In some settings there could have been some real trouble thereafter but there wasn’t at the Bennett Center on this afternoon. After the game, JT talked with Mitchell and they seemed to part peacefully. Nicely done!