(Newport RI) The league losses all look alike.
The Scots fell to Salve Regina, 71-63, on Saturday afternoon in Commonwealth Coast Conference action.
BUT, despite the loss, the Gordon season will continue into the CCC tournament because both UNE (now 6-10) and Western New England (now 5-11) lost today as well. If either one of them draws even with Gordon over the final two games they will eliminate the other team doing it. UNE plays WNE next Saturday.
So now that we’ve settled the future, let’s relax and enjoy the final two games – Wentworth (Tuesday) and Nichols (Saturday).
(I believed the forecast and stayed home imagining difficult driving conditions. I don’t know what the conditions in Rhody turned out to be but in Newburyport, also with a wintry forecast, my lawn stayed the same color it has been the entire winter……..and it’s not white!)
I did see the second half via the excellent Salve Regina coverage of the game. I was sure, when the video-cast was over, that I had seen that same game eight other times since January 14th.
There are two players you don’t want controlling the ball in the end game in a close game. Lance Greene (Endicott) is one of them and we saw what he did in the last minute in Thursday night’s loss to the Gulls.
The other player? Ryan Birrell. There was Gordon so close at 63-61 with 1:14 left. But there was Ryan with the ball getting teammate Isaiah Pringle a good look at a three which he makes. Gordon misses. Ryan has the rebound. He makes four pressure free throws the rest of the way. Ryan had fifteen of his twenty-one points in the second half.
It reminds me of something former coach Mike Schauer told me in recalling players who had hurt Gordon in their final season. “The important thing,” he said, “is to make sure they graduate!”
I’m glad I watched the second half because I might not have believed Jason Dempsey’s stat line otherwise. The numbers hit me the way Luke Hamilton’s 26 points against ENC did. Who saw this coming?
Jason’s out-of-the-blue numbers featured ten rebounds and twelve points. The 6-7 freshman had career numbers in every positive stat category. The eye-grabber was the ten rebounds, since he had totaled eleven rebounds over the previous eleven games.
Let me drop the happy talk for a paragraph or two. Why did Gordon lose? I mentioned Ryan Birrell as a factor down the stretch. Two bad stats certainly contributed as well. The Scots 3-point shooting accuracy went south (3-for-15). Consider that the team made two of their last three attempts. You have to go back to a 1-for-14 at UNE on January 10th to find anything like the numbers at Salve. But the accuracy could come back next game. Gordon was 22-for-46 from long range in the previous three games.
The real worrisome one is turnovers. Eighteen isn’t real bad on a team that has reached twenty turnovers seven times. The problem at Salve was that the Seahawks collected an amazing 29 points off of the Scot miscues. Again, the team is within two very late despite giving away so many opportunities. That’s why I chose to call this team “frustrating” but also “promising.” because if Gordon somehow figures out how to lessen the liabilities they could sweep the post-season tournament and set us all celebrating two weeks from tonight. Wouldn’t that be a pleasant surprise!
David Dempsey collected eighteen points to go with nine rebounds. His ability to get to the basket in traffic never ceases to amaze me. The point total is at 974 for those keeping track at home.
Salve Regina (15-8 overall and 13-3 in CCC) is the defending conference champion. I’m not sure that they would want to give Gordon a third try at them in the tournament. Both previous games have been close.
Wentworth at home on Tuesday night. Our seniors will be honored. WIT is second in the CCC and served Gordon one of those nine grievous losses in the first meeting in Boston. What better time to start a five-game winning streak.