(Wenham MA) The road to the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship just got a whole lot more difficult.
Gordon (14-10) lost the battle for second place to Eastern Nazarene, 75-66, on Saturday afternoon before a large crowd at the Bennett Center.
The Scots struggled big-time in the first half trailing by as many as sixteen (40-24).
Still down by twelve (50-38) with 13:40 left in the game, the home team put three minutes of marvelous offense/defense together and chopped ten points off the Lions’ lead. The points came from two 3’s from Luke Hamilton plus a jump shot (Alex Carnes) and a layup (Dominic Paradis).
Gordon was able to overtake the visitors on a layup by Taylor Bajema with 7:24 left.
The Scots had a three-point lead (63-60) with 4:10 left and looked to be in a good position to win the battle for second place. But that’s not what happened. Credit ENC. In a hostile environment, instead of folding, they put seven straight points together. The damage doers were; Jaylen Owens (layup), Justin Wagner (three), and Lequan Gomes (jump shot). This trio gave ENC a 67-63 lead and the Scots had no answers the rest of the way.
It was certainly discouraging for the Gordon faithful to see a team, that put ten points together in three minutes to get the lead, be unable to get more than seven points over the final seven minutes.
But it happened and the loss puts Gordon in third in the CCC. That 3rd place finish gets them a home game with Roger Williams in the CCC quarterfinals on Tuesday night (7PM) at the Bennett Center.
Gordon is in the same bracket with ENC (19-5) and Wentworth. If both Gordon and ENC win on Tuesday night the next game will be in Quincy at ENC.
Let me attempt to spin the ENC loss into a positive. Should a Gordon/ENC rematch materialize in Quincy, the Scots have won seven straight on the road including a win over ENC at their place.
On the other hand, if I’m Roger Williams coming to the Bennett Center on Tuesday night, I would recall that Gordon has lost four of their last five at home including a loss to RW on January 22nd.
Let’s just say that there’s a lot of uncertainty on the road to a CCC championship next Saturday afternoon. The road for GC will certainly not be an easy one but something that can be done. I still envision Gordon/Endicott in that championship game at the Bennett Center.
It was Senior Day and five players (Alex Carnes, Roy Ray, Luke Hamilton, Shaun Roach, and Park Thomas) and their families were honored prior to the game. Those five players got the start in their last regular-season home game.
The Lions roared off to a great first half and it was surprising that they did. Top scorer Jaylen Owens (17.9PPG) was hurt in a collision and missed the final thirteen minutes of the half. Second scorer Eric Lynch (12PPG) wasn’t even in uniform. Yet minus these two scoring pieces the visitors made shots and looked a step faster than Gordon.
6-5 Alex Jarman keyed ENC with twelve points.
Things changed in the second half, but it took a while. Gordon went through about seven minutes without cracking ENC’s double digit lead. Three substitutes (Dominic Paradis, Richie Armand, and Sam Johnson) came on in a 58-48 game. I recall thinking at the time that either ENC was going to put the game out of reach or the tide was going to turn. On this occasion, it was the tide doing the turning. Shots started to fall for Gordon and ENC started calling timeouts.
But just as a great rally gave Gordon the lead, the other team got their act together and left with a big win.
With the win over the Scots, the Lions have defeated every team in the conference at least once. For Gordon, Nichols is the team that they are winless against.
Lequan Gomes (18), Alex Jarman (16), Jaylen Owens (16) and Justin Wagner (11) reached double figures for ENC.
Lequan Gomes 21 (18 points/9 rebounds)
Justin Wagner 19 (11 points/5 assists/2 steals)
Alex Carnes 18 (10 points/8 rebounds)
Jason Dempsey 18 (13 points/7 rebounds)
Alex Jarman 17 (16 points/2 blocks)
Jaylen Owens 17 (16 points/5 assists)
Eastern Nazarene 91
Jason Dempsey’s thirteen points were a season high.
The Scots have had more assists than turnovers during the last four games. Actually, Gordon had it fewest turnovers (10) of the season.
ENC has won nine of their last ten.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)