(Wenham) Thank you, Gordon College Fighting Scots. I was running out of synonyms for “excruciating!”
Gordon (7-13 overall / 6-7 CCC) did everything right and easily defeated the University of New England, 77-45, on Thursday night at the happy Bennett Center.
The Scots had patterned themselves into seven straight losses. In each setback they would play well in the first half, stay close or ahead most of the second half, and then stumble to a defeat down the stretch. Against the Nor’easters they played well in the first half, got better in the second half and coasted in.
It was a welcome relief for all connected to this team. Even better was the sight of seldom-seen reserves getting long, relaxed minutes at the end of the game and putting up points.
UNE (4-16 overall / 4-9 CCC) came in having won four of their last eight games including two impressive wins over Curry in nine days.
This is certainly a league (Commonwealth Coast Conference) in which any of the ten teams can beat another. A case in point: last-place ENC (Gordon’s next opponent) had first-place Salve Regina by two points tonight in the last minute and lost, 72-71.
That is why the easy Gordon win was such a novelty. The keys to the win were: (1) making long ones (nine), (2) quieting Charles Fenner, and (3) taking care of the ball.
During the losing streak the Scots averaged four 3’s per game. They were 9-for-16 in this one.
Charles Fenner had 31 points last game against Curry. Enter Alex Carnes. Charles was limited to 5 points.
The Scots had only thirteen turnovers. It was UNE that had twenty miscues. The Nor’easter turnovers led to twenty-two Gordon points.
The Scots never trailed in this game. They jumped off, 15-2, and led, 33-19, at halftime. If you had any recollection of the previous seven games you were not anticipating the free-and-easy second half we saw.
Four-plus minutes into the second half, Gordon had the lead (42-21) up into the 20’s and UNE couldn’t get closer over the last 15 ½ minutes played.
David Dempsey paced the Scots with fourteen points. He’s now at 912, by my figuring, for those of you interested in such information. It certainly helped David to have his usual UNE defender (Alex Alsadi) get into early foul trouble.
Park Thomas (13 points) made all three of his long ones. He also matched his season low in turnovers – one.
The Scots had a season high in steals (10) including seven in the second half.
The Gordon defense limited UNE to 45 points which is the fewest points the Scots have allowed in a game this season.
There was a four-minute segment in the first half where neither team scored a point.
UNE coach Jason Mulligan wasn’t around for the end of the game after picking up two quick technicals in the last minute. It surely was frustrating to him to watch his team get handled so easily by Gordon after they had beaten Curry the game before. Craig MacFarlane swished three of the four technical foul shots.
After tonight’s results, the bottom of the CCC standings looks like this: ENC 2 wins, WNE 3 wins, UNE 4 wins, and Gordon 6 wins. Two teams will NOT make the playoffs. There are five games left.
Gordon travels to ENC on Saturday. The Lions have lost six straight but when they’re playing well (tonight’s one-point loss to Salve Regina) can be tough.
This is not a complaint but isn’t this February, known in some parts as a winter month? I am loving those dry roads!
(The pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)