*Special thanks to Nichols SID Hillary Haynes for organizing the photo shoot and sending the pictures to me.
(Dudley) Junior David Dempsey joined the 1000-point club with a season-high 28 points but it wasn’t enough as Gordon lost in its usual fashion (late and in a painful way), 77-73, to close out the regular Commonwealth Coast Conference season on Saturday afternoon.
This league loss makes ten, to go with eight wins. Anyone who has followed this team can tell you factually that Gordon was ahead in the second half in every loss and in a position close to the end to win all of them. Unbelievable.
But there is tomorrow, or should I say Tuesday, when we get into the do-or-die part of the schedule. The Scots travel to Wentworth (7PM) to face the Leopards in Round One. The other two teams in Gordon’s bracket are Roger Williams and Endicott, so a win would pit us against one of them.
(I was diagnosed with strep throat on Friday afternoon and opted to follow the game via Nichols’ live stats. I would have loved to have gotten a picture of David getting his 1000th point.)
Gordon shot great in this one (50% on 27-for-54) and hit six-of-fifteen long ones. But you have to offset the shooting plus with a huge minus – 26 turnovers. Nichols collected twenty-eight points off of those wasted possessions.
The miscues came early and often as Hans Miersma, Alex Carnes, and Luke Hamilton had two each before the game was three minutes old! Suddenly there was a Gordon timeout and I thought I heard shouting even through my computer monitor. Next thing I knew all five starters were on the bench.
But this is the 2011-12 edition of the Gordon Fighting Scots and they can be bad but they can be very good. And good they became in the first half. Facing a 13-9 deficit they put together good shooting and limited miscues and ran off sixteen unanswered points to lead 25-13 with 7 ½ minutes left in the half. The Bison were within four (33-29) at halftime.
The second half was a duplicate of the previous nine CCC losses – stay close but find a way to lose late.
Credit Nichols, as in the last-minute win at Gordon, they made shots when the game was on the line. In this one, Ryan Sheehan (28 points) made a pair of free throws twice in the last thirteen seconds when the Scots had closed to within two points.
To me the huge missed-opportunity sequence in this one happened with Nichols ahead, 71-69, with 43 seconds left. The Bison missed a 3-point shot (Matt Langadas) but Mike Salis got the rebound and put in a layup in the lane to give Nichols a 4-point bulge. Gordon could never get closer than 2 points the rest of the way. Mike Salis (the rebounded) is 5’10”. If a Scot had secured that rebound the team would have had a chance to tie or go in front. But it doesn’t happen and Nichols escapes with a victory on Senior Day.
Park Thomas had eighteen points and only two turnovers as the primary ball-handler. Unfortunately, the team’s best 3-point shooter fouled out with just under three minutes left.
Gordon (9-16/8-10) is the #7 seed in the tournament.
Nichols (12-13/10-8) is seeded 4th and faces Curry at home in Round One. This will be the Bison’s first home playoff game since the end of the 2002-03 season. The other two teams in the bracket with Nichols are Salve Regina and Western New England.
David Dempsey’s twenty-eight points included nineteen in the second half. He made 12-of-18 shots. He hit for 25 points twice this season – Tufts and Endicott. His career high? 32 points last year in Round One of the CCC tourney in the loss at Anna Maria.
This may sound like delusional thinking but I believe that next Saturday we could be celebrating Gordon’s second CCC championship in three years. We have had highly competitive games with all seven teams in the playoffs. If we can put three solid end games together……the needed three wins will happen.
I like the opening matchup with Wentworth. The loss there was on a last-minute three. The win here (80-57) was what Gordon can do when things go well.
Salve Regina is the defending champ and have a lofty 15-3 CCC record but I think that they’ll get upset this time around.