Gordon Makes the Playoffs Despite Last-Game Loss to Salve Regina

Garrett Harden's late three put Gordon close (58-55) with forty-eight seconds left.

Gordon defense draws a charge on senior Windell Hinkson.

(Newport RI) Gordon defeats Salve Regina and everything was simple – they’re in the eight-team, post-season tournament.  Gordon loses to Salve Regina and they need help from elsewhere to get in.

Because there were four games where a favorable result would get the Scots in, I wasn’t too worried as I watched them lose to the Seahawks, 63-55, on Saturday afternoon in the final regular season game.

If I’d only known.  Three of those games ended up going against Gordon and only Wentworth’s win over New England gave the Scots the chance to play a tournament game (against Anna Maria) on Tuesday night (7PM in Paxton MA). 

But in they are as the 8th seed and maybe, just maybe, they can still be standing a week from today with a second straight Commonwealth Coast Conference championship.  Sounds like a reach but the Scots have looked very good at times in February.  Gordon has also won the first-round game in the CCC tourney five straight seasons.  Who knows?

Salve Regina (14-10/8-5) had the Senior Day thing going and although the team had already qualified for the playoffs they might have a chance, with a win, to get a first-round home game.  Didn’t work out that way when the final seedings kicked in (Salve will travel to Regis) but the Seahawk seniors played with some special intensity in the win.

The Scots (11-14/7-6) were a step slow in the first half while the Seahawks suffered the same malady during the first fifteen minutes of the second half.  This game came down to the last five minutes with the score tied at 49-49.

The rest of the way the home team took care of the ball and made shots.  The visitors…….not so well.

A mystery Scot gets caught in the pastry shop while Austin Bentson and David Dempsey wait outside.

During the end game, SRU missed one shot from the floor and had one turnover while Gordon missed five shots and had four turnovers.

The Seahawks outscored the Scots 14-6 in the last five minutes, however, within those closing five minutes a Garrett Harden three with 48 seconds left actually cut the SRU lead down to 58-55. 

If Gordon had played some special defense and make a shot or two during the last forty-eight seconds this one could have been won but what we got was a foul that led to a free throw, a turnover that led to a layup, and a blocked shot that led to yet another layup.  I guess you could say that we didn’t close well!

The bad ending did lead to the misleading final score.  This was a game that could have gone Gordon’s way.

The first half, Gordon looked as if they had walked the entire nearby Cliff Walk just before game time. 

During one 7 ½ minute segment the Scots scored one basket and had six turnovers as SRU went on a 15-2 tear.  Windell Hinkson dazzled with seven straight points in forty-five seconds.  Surprisingly, those were the only points the CCC 3rd scorer (16.9PPG) would get in thirty-seven minutes.

That run put the Seahawks ahead, 24-10.  A couple of Garrett Harden 3’s were part of a 12-3 response by the Scots to cut the margin to 27-22 with 3 ½ minutes left.  Gordon made just one shot the rest of the way and trailed, 36-26, at halftime.

For fifteen minutes in the second half it looked as if Salve had taken a lengthy stroll on the Cliff Walk during halftime. 

Suddenly, Gordon started putting up points and the Seahawks had no answers.  In 6+ minutes, Greg Walker (15 points) hit six points worth of inside shots and a jumper, Austin cashed in a turnover, and Park Thomas nailed a couple of 3’s.  When that lovely slice of offense ended a 38-26 deficit had turned into a 42-39 Gordon lead with 11:45 left.

Ryan Birrell - very important in the Seahawk victory

Seniors Ryan Birrell (13 points)  and Dan Royce (13 points) had everything to do with breaking the Gordon momentum.  They tallied all of SRU’s next ten points supplying answers to Gordon baskets. 

This all led down to a tie score (49-49) and the final five minutes which were described above.

I was familiar with the seniors – Ryan Birrell, Dan Royce, and Windell Hinkson but not freshman Patrick Dinneen.  He offset Windell limited point production with a team-leading fourteen points and three steals. 

Both Greg Walker (15 points/12 rebounds) and David Dempsey (13 points/12 rebounds) registered double/doubles.  Garrett have four 3’s to get his twelve points.

Greg Walker gets inside Dan Royce (#13) for a first half layup.

David and Greg each faced denial defense in close and double teams when they received passes.  They ended up a combined 11-for-30.  That has to somehow improve on Tuesday night.  Greg had 26 points last time at home versus Anna Maria.

The free throw shooting was dicey by both teams.  SRU missed five of them in the last four minutes and in the process allowed Gordon to hang around longer than they should have.

On February 13, 2003 Gordon defeated Anna Maria, 73-50, at the Bennett Center.  The team finished the season with a 20-5 record and faced Anna Maria again this time in the post-season tournament.  A quirk in the playoff schedule forced Gordon to play at Anna Maria despite the Scots having a much better conference record.  The Scots ended up on the wrong end of a shocking upset, 75-67.  Well, here we are nearly eight years later and Anna Maria has had a wonderful season (18-7 overall – 11-2 in the conference).  Gordon, on the other hand, barely (Thanks, Coach Devitt!) even got into the playoffs.  Wouldn’t a shocking upset on Tuesday night be fun to write about??

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Filed under 2010-11 Gordon College men's basketball, Anna Maria, Salve Regina

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