(Williamstown MA) For a half in the second round of the NCAA Division 3 tournament, you couldn’t tell the difference between the second-best team in New England (Williams) and (“Where is that school?”) Gordon.
As I watched the Scots build up a 12-point lead in that first half against Williams I thought optimistically, “We’re right where we were yesterday (Friday) with Babson.”
But what a difference the second halves were! Babson went to all the things that had gotten them twenty wins in NEWMAC yet could never catch the Scots. Williams, on the other hand, unleashed a deadly long-range attack after the break and caught Gordon in just two minutes and pulled away thereafter.
Williams (25-4) put together a 50-point second half and defeated Gordon, 81-63, on Saturday night at Williams College.
The game with the Ephs (rhymes with “chiefs”) got away from Gordon in a disastrous three-minute segment in which the home team tallied thirteen straight points.
The Scots (up 38-27) were trying to run out the clock in the last minute of the first half but instead gave up layups to Michael Mayer (13 points) and Daniel Wohl (18 points) before the break. Daniel’s was a full-court drive that beat the buzzer.
But Gordon was still up by seven (38-31) and a similar second half by the Scots was certain to give the folks following the D3 tournament something to talk about.
Williams, however, wasted little time (two minutes) clearing the deficit from the books. Freshman Mike Greenman struck from downtown three times and suddenly the Ephs had a 40-38 lead.
Jason Dempsey tied the score with a layup but thereafter Williams gradually separated from the obviously tiring Scots.
It was tough watching Gordon just-miss shots that had fallen in the previous seventy minutes of basketball. Seventy? I have to include the last ten minutes of the Nichols game.
Part of those seventy minutes of terrific basketball was a win the night before against the Babson Beavers. The Scots (18-11) broke new ground for the school and the Commonwealth Coast Conference with that upset. Gordon had never won an NCAA tourney game (lost three previous tries) and neither had the CCC. That’s all history now.
Nothing sweet about the loss but what was sweet was that there was time at the end for GC coach Tod Murphy to get his five seniors on and off the court to deserved congratulations. They will be missed.
Impressive performance by Hans Miersma. Matched up against NESCAC first-teamer senior Michael Mayer, GC’s 6-9 junior held his own. Both players ended up with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Daniel Wohl 23 (18 points/6 assists)
Duncan Robinson 21 (16 points/7 rebounds/4 assists)
Hans Miersma 20
Michael Mayer 20
Dominic Paradis 16 (10 points/7 rebounds)
The efficiency stat was most revealing in the second half. Williams had a 62 while Gordon came up with a 17. Ouch!
That sixteen for Dominic was his best number this season. It is not hard to imagine the freshman getting more minutes in 2014-15 and perhaps even better numbers.
The Gordon support at the two tourney games was truly at the friends-and-family level. Unfortunately, GC was on winter break. Williams’ break is in two weeks and they had close to 1000 students cheering them on during their two wins.
Williams has four losses. They lost their opener by a point to Southern Vermont. The other three losses? All to Amherst. The Ephs could get another chance with the Lord Jeffs if they reach the Final Four.
Next up for Williams is Albertus Magnus of New Haven CT.
Julie and I enjoyed the 2013-14 season with our Gordon family.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)