(Chestnut Hill MA) Good news abounded in Gordon’s 72-65 win over Wheelock at Pine Manor College on Tuesday night.
Seventy-nine of us got a first hand look at a Scot zone defense that did everything you dream it could do. Put that effective defense in with double/doubles from Greg Walker (24 points/11 rebounds) and David Dempsey (19 points/16 rebounds) and you have the ingredients for your 4th win of the season.
Wheelock (4-6) hadn’t played since December 14th and it showed as the game wore on. They started off hot and treated the Scots as if they were just another Commonwealth Coast Conference team. The Wildcats had already defeated Wentworth, Endicott, and Curry.
The Scots (4-7) unintentionally early-on had many of us expecting another blowout loss. It took Gordon fifteen possessions to score five points. Five turnovers didn’t help including two that led to breakaway layups. Hardly breaking a sweat, the Wildcats led 17-5. Those who had seen the 79-47 home loss to Wentworth (a team that Wheelock had beaten) had no reason to expect the kind of turnaround we saw.
But that’s why you show up. You never know what will happen. How did Gordon turn this one around?
(1) The Scots played an aggressive zone defense throughout the game. It didn‘t work well early on but in time the offensive effectiveness of the home team was badly disrupted. The Wildcats turned into long range shooters with few second chances. The Scots stayed out of foul trouble (only eight fouls in the entire game) and dominated the defensive glass.
(2) The Scots had a season low in turnovers (14) and ran an effective offense especially in the second half that turned up layups for Greg and David.
(3) The Scots didn’t fold when things got tight late. A couple of David Dempsey layups and two Austin Bentson free throws gave Gordon a 68-58 lead with three minutes left. Bashir Hudson (14 points) answered with a trey. A Gordon turnover sent Kyle Pierce (10 points) away for a layup to make it 68-63 with 1 ½ minutes left. Gordon followed with two empty possessions while Wheelock missed a couple of three’s. David Dempsey rebounded the second missed three, got fouled and made both free throws. Another Wheelock miss and David went through the same routine again to seal the victory.
Gordon’s turnovers (14) were a season low. Some of the credit for the good stat has to go to newcomer Park Thomas. He made the backcourt part for Gordon a little less of an adventure. Maybe there will be fewer “turn-2’s” the rest of the way.
Seeing Gordon run their offense was a pleasant sight indeed. The result was eight layups, by my count, in the second half when the Scots shot a sizzling 57.1%. When Greg or David can get the ball close to the basket with single coverage, good things are going to happen. Credit the entry passes out of the organized sets. On this night, Greg and David took full advantage.
David’s sixteen rebounds are a career high – he had fifteen in the Endicott win. His fifteen defensive rebounds are his first double figure total in that category.
Garrett Harden (9 points) hit three long ones and Park Thomas (6 points) hit two of them.
Wheelock ended up with four players in double figures (Max Kiam 15, Bashir Hudson 14, Patsy DiNuzzo 13, and Kyle Pierce 10) but their top two scorers were held down. Maybe that had something to do with the fact that Daniel Main covered David Dempsey while Eric Rice defended Greg Walker. The 21-day layoff didn’t do Wheelock any favors late in the game.
Gordon starts CCC play on Saturday at Wentworth at 3PM. Leopard coach Tom Devitt must have done a double-take when he saw the Gordon/Wheelock score.
I didn’t see Jordan Kelly in uniform or on the bench.
I like away games where the campus library is open. Gives me a chance to arrive early and get in some reading. I got started on Larry Christenson’s, “The Mantle of Esther.” The book is about intercessory prayer.
There wasn’t much seating at this game and it was quite quiet most of the time. Perfect opportunity to eavesdrop. One Wheelock player parent (?) opined that the problem with the Wheelock coach was that he didn’t stand up during the game.
Greg Walker played like a man set free against the Wheelock defense. Unfortunately, on Saturday against Wentworth, he faces 6-11 Sam Herrick again. Last time the Leopard defense held Greg to six points. By the way, Greg’s 24 points tonight bring his career total, by my count, to 902. With fourteen games left, I like his chances of reaching a significant scoring plateau.