(Wenham MA) This one certainly wasn’t eye candy to any of the Gordon faithful at the Bennett Center Wednesday night.
Roger Williams stunned the Scots, 68-52, in a Commonwealth Coast Conference game that was rescheduled after Tuesday’s snowstorm.
The Hawks (5-11 overall/4-5 in CCC) were undersized, winless on the road, relying heavily on underclassmen, and had to travel 2+ hours to Gordon. But the visitors from Bristol (RI) still won convincingly.
The Scots (8-7 overall/6-3 in CCC) had won five straight and had defeated Roger Williams three straight times. You kept waiting for Gordon to clump points together and separate from the Hawks but on this evening it just didn’t happen.
Freshman Zac Campbell had a career game for RW putting together a stat line that included twenty-two points, four steals, and four 3’s. Zac’s previous high in points had been sixteen. He was averaging six points per game before his eruption at Gordon.
Gordon tied the score in the second half at 37-37 (15:55) and later only trailed by a point, 42-41, with 12:45 left. The RW lead grew to nine (50-41) before the Scots tightened things (55-48) with 4+ minutes left. After that, RW finished on a 13-4 run to thwart any late-game heroics by Gordon.
The biggest struggle for Gordon was their shooting, especially around the basket. Hans Miersma & Jason Dempsey combined to miss thirteen shots in high percentage areas.
That duo had trouble at the foul line as well combining to go one-for-eight. They did, however, combine for six blocked shots.
The Gordon foul shooting (8-for-17) might not have been as noticeable if the Hawks hadn’t been an amazing 19-for-21. Ryan Palumbo was a flawless 10-for-10.
RW were content to use the clock and try to pass their way into open looks. That meant plenty of three’s (32). The strategy worked as the Hawks connected nine times from downtown.
The Scots, meanwhile, added to their misfortune on the inside by making only 2-of-12 three-pointers.
If you haven’t sensed it yet, this was a very frustrating game to watch! But I give credit to Roger Williams. They knew their limitations and were able to successfully compensate. Gordon just didn’t capitalize on their advantages.
Zac Campbell 24
Ryan Palumbo 13
Hans Miersma 12
Park Thomas 12
Joseph Henry 12
Roger Williams 78
The Hawks were also missing freshman Chris Bardwell (from North Andover) who averages 13.6 points per game.
The Hawks have now won three straight and will face their biggest rival (Salve Regina) on Saturday afternoon (3PM).
The Scots run into the CCC’s top team (Nichols) at home on the same day and time. The Bison won the first meeting in Dudley.
Hans Miersma (12 points/10 rebounds) had his eighth double/double of the season.
Alex Carnes had a quiet two points for Gordon. A year ago he assaulted the Hawks for thirty-nine points in a game at Bristol.
Freshman Derek Collins (from North Andover) has been out all season with back issues. He is expected to rejoin the Hawks this weekend.
Ryan Palumbo (12 points) and Joseph Henry (10 points) joined Zac Campbell in collecting double figures.
Park Thomas added thirteen for Gordon as he made all six free throws. Park is second in the CCC in free throw percentage (84.3%).
I did a quick check on Zac Campbell via Google. Last January 16th he led Amity (CT) past Sheehan as he put this stat line together: 17 points/14 rebounds/10 assists/3 blocks.
Last time Gordon faced Roger Williams was in the first round of the CCC tournament last year. The Scots shot 52% for the game and made nine three’s and came away with a convincing, 81-59, win.
Gordon will face RW again on February 18th in Rhode Island.
Good to see big-time GC men’s basketball fan Jim Graham back in the house.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)