(Newburyport) If you’re looking for the big smiley face from last night’s, 54-50, loss at Western New England (6-10 overall / 3-7 in the CCC) I’ll give you a little of that. On the other hand, if you’re looking for some grim reality….read on.
The good stuff? The Scots (6-11 overall / 5-5 CCC) rallied back from a 28-13 first half deficit to get into winning position. It took a 29-14 surge over nearly sixteen minutes to do it but they did to gain a 42-42 tie with 6:31 remaining.
Another source of optimism is a look at the current Commonwealth Coast Conference standings.
Salve Regina 8-2
Eight teams make the post-season tournament. The Scots are currently “in” the tournament and in good position to improve their positioning with victories ahead in the eight league games left.
Okay, enough of that happy talk. Let’s get down to the reality of last night’s painful loss. I know, every loss is “painful,” but if you’ve been following the Scots of late you’ve been through a succession of hard-to-swallow setbacks. Last night fit perfectly into the pattern.
The losing streak has reached five and that lofty 5-0 conference record two weeks ago is now tenuous 5-5. That gurgling sound we’re hearing of late is the sound of a promising season going down the drain.
In my opinion, the CCC consists of ten teams capable of winning on any given night/afternoon. You look at the teams ahead of Gordon and you know that we’ve beaten one of them (RWU) and come close with the other three.
The key to last night’s loss was Daniel Minto. Where’d he come from? In the early season loss at Gordon, Daniel had two points in twenty minutes.
However, by the start of 2012, Daniel had been elevated by WNEC coach Mike Theulen to the starting lineup and has earned staying there. He had thirteen points/thirteen rebounds against Salve Regina. The 6-3 sophomore had twenty points/eight rebounds against Gordon.
He killed the Scots three times in the last minute to give the Golden Bears the win. Gordon reader discretion advised! (1) Down by two (50-48) with a minute left and with a chance to tie/go ahead, the Scots’ David Dempsey’s layup try is blocked by Daniel. (2) Ahead by two (50-48) with twenty-two seconds left, the Bears miss a layup but Daniel gets the offensive rebound and is fouled. (3) Ahead (50-48) with 22 seconds left, Daniel makes both free throws to give the Bears a 52-50 lead. A block, a rebound, and two free throws……..not a bad last minute!
A bigger look at this game reveals two continuing, correctable currents that have to be dealt with before it’s too late.
Turnovers. There are turnovers and then there are turnovers that lead to opponent’s points. The Scots give way too many of the latter. Eighteen points worth to Western New England. The transition from offense to defense after turnovers must improve dramatically or the ball movement (before the turnover) must get better.
Bench Points. Still waiting for someone to come off the bench and make the difference in these close games the team faces regularly. Versus Western New England the bench provided a pitiful four points.
Next for Gordon is Curry on Saturday afternoon (3PM) at the Bennett Center. Both teams are 5-5 in the CCC.
Curry knows our pain. Last night they lost to Nichols by two on a Nichols layup with three seconds left. At least the winning dagger wasn’t on a long-range three by a hardly-used player! Curry had twenty-six turnovers in the Nichols game. This was a team that Gordon defeated in an earlier matchup at Curry. Could this be the turning-point game???