(Wenham MA) It worked last year. Why not try it again?
A year ago (January 8th) the underdog University of New England played at the Bennett Center and upset Gordon, 59-50. What did it for the Nor’Easters that night was a zone defense and a very, very patient offense.
For the first 7 1/2 minutes it was same-old, same-old. UNE had a 19-13 lead hitting four late-in-the-shot-clock three’s.
But this time around, the rest of the game was all Gordon as they rolled away from UNE, 84-59, on Wednesday night before an active crowd of students in a Commonwealth Coast Conference contest.
Two good ways to wreck a zone defense are quick passes and good outside shooting. The Scots (7-6 overall/5-2 in CCC) were outstanding at both as the game progressed.
Their offense in the second half was amazing. They made 18-of-25 shots (72%!) and had thirteen assists in that half. UNE never gave up on the zone defense despite the good looks Gordon turned up. The score reached 65-45 with 7+ minutes left and the reserves from both sides saw significant minutes.
Gordon had eight 3’s in the first half (Luke Hamilton-4, Alex Carnes-3) as quick passes set up great looks.
UNE should have guessed that it might not be their day when Luke tried a late-in-the-half three. His shot missed but the rebound caromed directly to Park Thomas in the right-hand corner. Park’s successful three was in the air as the halftime horn sounded.
The Scots ended with eleven 3’s. I had to go back to a January 2010 game with Curry to find an equal to that stat.
Gordon has now won four straight and only Nichols has won more games in the conference. A common stat in the four wins is that the Scots have had more assists than turnovers. The difference in this one was 23-20. A bit misleading, however, because seven of the miscues happened after Gordon had built up the 20-point lead and a heavy dose of reserves were involved.
That good passing I mentioned not only opened up the outside but also gave Hans Miersma (17 points) some juicy opportunities in close. Hans made seven of eight shots. This was the 6-9 junior’s seven straight game in double figures.
Alex Carnes finished with fourteen points, six rebounds, and three assists.
Park Thomas had an eight-assist game.
UNE (1-13 overall/1-6 in the CCC) was led in scoring by Justin Pollard. Justin tallied thirteen points but it took him thirteen shots to get there.
The Nor’Easters have now lost seven straight. Their only win was against Western New England on December 7th.
Neither Josh Butler nor Devin Thompson played in this one. Devin was injured in practice a while ago and has missed four games. He was their top scorer. Josh had sixteen points and fifteen rebounds in UNE’s upset win at the Bennett Center last year.
Gordon travels to Quincy on Saturday to face Eastern Nazarene. Records don’t usually mean much in this rivalry. ENC is 10-3 overall.
Roy Ray hit a crowd-pleasing three late in the game.
Hans Miersma 25
Alex Carnes 21
Luke Hamilton 18
Park Thomas 16
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.)