(Wenham) Who expected this?
Here was D3 Hoops preseason #1 team visiting the Bennett Center. They were 29-2 last year and reached the D3 final four.
But there was Gordon giving those same highly regarded MIT Engineers a run for their money.
Unfortunately, this game did not reach the major upset level because Gordon couldn’t stay with the visiting Engineers over the last 4 ½ minutes and lost, 64-53.
MIT (2-0) was led by seniors Mitchell Kates (23 points & 4 assists) and Will Tashman (20 points & 10 rebounds).
The GC crowd was substantial for the team opener on Saturday night. And there was plenty to cheer about.
Chants of “over rated, over rated,” rang out at the Engineers from the Gordon student section after a late Park Thomas three tied the score (30-30) at the half.
The Scots were even ahead, 39-38, after eight minutes of the second half.
But then the Engineers started to separate from the Scots (50-42) after a Mitchell Kates (23 points) long one with six minutes left. However, on this night GC refused to pack it in and when Jason Dempsey scored in the paint with 4:25 to go the Scots were within four, 52-48.
However, four possession later this game had gotten away from Gordon. Three straight turnovers (Park Thomas, Hans Miersma, and Park again) plus a missed three by Luke Hamilton was all that GC had to show for the next three minutes.
Because of the Gordon dry spell, MIT went into the final 1:18 with a seven-point spread (57-50) and made enough free throws the rest of the way to build the closing score to, 64-53.
A disappointing loss for sure for Gordon (0-1) but not unexpected against a team of MIT’s pedigree. Missing from MIT’s lineup was 6-9 Noel Hollingsworth. Noel made the 4th team D3 Hoops All-American team but will be out several months with a foot injury.
However, Mitchell Kates (3rd team D3 Hoops All-American) did play. He didn’t shoot as well as he can but his overall game – passing and defending – is very solid. He had the ball under control on every MIT possession down the stretch and it made a difference. The Engineers ended up with floor shots and free throws while GC had a string of turnovers.
“Who was that masked man?” Only someone old enough to have watched The Lone Ranger would raise such a question! But at the Bennett Center it was David Dempsey. The Gordon senior was injured (nose) in a scrimmage and initially it was thought that he would miss weeks. Then with the surgery done (on his nose) two days ago it was thought that he would miss games. Surprise, surprise……there he was leading the team out in the opener.
David played thirty-nine minutes and didn’t hesitate to take the ball into traffic (as he usually does) to see what turns up. He ended up getting whacked a few times and even with the mask on was occasionally in some serious pain.
David finished with fifteen points and the less said about his 2-for-9 free throw shooting the better.
Junior Park Thomas (13 points) carried Gordon in the first half with thirteen points including three-for-five from long range. Mitchell Kates gave Park very little room to shoot in the second half.
A trademark of last year’s 9-17 team was frustrating losses. The Scots were ahead in the second half in eleven of those losses. The loss to MIT qualifies for the category, in the sense that GC was ahead in the second half, but it was hardly a frustrating loss against such a highly-regarded opponent.
Gordon had only twenty-four total rebounds.
Missing from the Gordon team were Alex Carnes and Cooper Meyer.
Taylor Bajema is now a Gordon starter.
Newcomers Chris Alderson and Andrew Shulman saw minutes. Chris played sound defense and can dribble well. Andrew (6-6) blocked an Engineer shot much to the delight of the GC faithful.
Interested spectators from Endicott were in the house.
Former Gordon players Jeff Derr, Greg Walker, and Brady Bajema were on hand for the opener.
Next game for MIT is Emmanuel College at home on November 20th (8PM).
Gordon returns to the Bennett Center on the same day to face Salem State at 7:30PM.
Also on the same day I will be heading to Connecticut for over a week. That takes me elsewhere for the Scots next two games. I expect to blog about them from long range.
Top Five Players in Efficiency in this game
Will Tashman +27
Mitchell Kates +17
Andrew Acker +14
Jamie Burke +10
Park Thomas +10
Hans Miersma +10
When NBA coaches evaluate a player’s game performance they use the following stats:
#1 – good stats (rebounds, points, assists, blocks, steals). #2 – bad stats (missed field goals, missed free throws, turnovers).
A player’s efficiency in a particular game is arrived at by subtracting the sum of the bad stats from the sum of good stats.
(All the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)