(Biddeford ME) Gordon took care of UNE, 69-56, on Wednesday night in Maine and in the process put themselves into the top eight in the Commonwealth Coast Conference standings.
The Scots chances of making the eight-team, postseason tournament seemed bleak at the start of this month but the team has won five straight conference games to stand 7-5 with only a visit to Salve Regina on Saturday afternoon left.
A win at Newport (RI) clinches a tourney spot. A loss and the Scots fate will be determined by the final scores in other CCC games on Saturday afternoon.
UNE (4-20) never led in this game but recovered in both halves from double-digit deficits to make this anything but an easy win for Gordon (11-13).
The Nor-easters lacked size but made up for it on defense with quickness. The Scots had very few long-range openings and help was quick to arrive on passes inside.
But that didn’t discourage Gordon from trying to feed Greg (16 points) and David (21 points). There were plenty of turnovers in the process but the reward for successful interior passes was often a layup.
While the Scots in general seemed uncomfortable with the up-tempo style that UNE forced, Park Thomas thrived on it. The freshman from Arizona reached a career high in points (18), steals (4) and minutes (32). He also added one of the two 3’s the Scots made. Park was a key piece to the Gordon victory.
The Scots were terrific on the glass. Austin Bentson reached ten boards which ties a career high for him. The seventh best rebounder in the CCC (David Dempsey) also had ten rebounds.
UNE went through nine possessions and nearly nine minutes before they scored (Travis Guerrette trey). Meanwhile, the Scots were quickly getting scoring from Greg (4 points), Park (free throw), and David (6 points) to race ahead 11-0.
The Nor’easters rode 3’s (six in the first half) to cut into the fast Scot start and came as close as 22-19 and later 25-22 before Gordon led at the half, 31-26.
The Scots put a second, 11-point run together early in the second half (Park-2, Greg-2, David-4, Shaun Roach-3) and again were in command (42-28) with 14:40 to go. With ten minutes left that lead was enlarged to 53-38.
But yet again, UNE started making long range connections (Chris Ouellette, JD Winn, and Marcus Winn hit 3‘s) and put together a nice 13-2 spurt and trailed by just four (55-51) with six minutes left. I felt the urge to push the worry button.
However, just as suddenly as that consistent Nor-easter offense came it left. UNE had only five points over the last six minutes while the Scots added fourteen to secure the victory. Park was big here with six points including a jumper in the lane off the backboard.
Charles Fenner (14 points) led the UNE scorers and also had six steals. He tallied a basket just before halftime after several attempts from in close.
David Dempsey had a dunk in the second half.
UNE is last in the CCC in points scored and points allowed.
Greg Walker passed Justin Kaufman last game to move into 16th place on the all-time scorer’s list. He has now reached 1120 and I want to alert Scott Beebe (1123) that his hold on 15th place is starting to look verrrrry tenuous!