(Wenham MA) I don’t generally enjoy losses but this afternoon’s game with Eastern Nazarene was downright entertaining.
Yes, ENC won, 71-68, but this game had plenty to cheer about for the Gordon faithful.
Unlike the other two losses this past week, the Scots got off to a great start and stayed strong when ENC came back at them.
Taylor Bajema (career-high 28 points) had nineteen in the first half. ENC chose to over-defend Hans Miersma and left lanes open to the basket with no shot-blockers available to help. Taylor took advantage time after time.
Despite the great start (Gordon was up by twelve at one point) you knew the now 14-1 Lions could come back. Too many good shooters (9-for-18 long range). Too many good defenders (10 steals).
The beauty of this game was that once ENC took their biggest lead of the day (41-36) in the second half Gordon refused to go away.
In the last 9+ minutes of this game there were six lead changes, seven ties, and neither team led by more than three points. That’s why this game was such a delight to watch. And with sizable group of ENC followers in the house there was plenty of noise from both fan bases as this one played out.
If this were an ENC blog what you’ll read in the next few paragraphs would have been at the beginning.
Justin Wagner and Jaylen Owens rescued the Lions from a huge upset at the hands of Gordon in the closing 1+ minutes.
Justin had a steal (from Craig McFarlane) with twenty seconds left as Gordon tried to run down the clock in a tie game and get the last shot.
Instead of trying to break with the steal Justin pulled up and now it was ENC’s time for the last shot. Enter Jaylen Owens. The first-team CCC guard (an assist in each of the final three ENC possessions) looked to penetrate as time ran down but then dribbled to the right and set up Justin for the game-winner in front of the ENC bench. The shot by Justin (only his second of the game) was clean and the visitors from Quincy had a 3-point lead and the win (71-68) after Gordon threw away an attempt to set up a desperation shot at the buzzer.
Exciting win for Eastern Nazarene. Ahead for them on Tuesday night is hosting undefeated (in the CCC) Nichols.
ENC’s only loss this season was to Endicott.
The Lions have only one senior.
Gordon (6-9) will look to stop a 3-game slide at Roger Williams on Tuesday night.
One of the subplots in the ENC/Gordon game was whether or not Hans Miersma would reach 1000 points. He needed fourteen points but ended with eleven points. Don’t bet against the 6-9 senior getting to 1000 on Tuesday night in Bristol, Rhode Island.
I love the efficiency stat for estimating how well players and teams perform. That stat is figured by deleting the negative stats from the positive stats. Generally the team totals coincide with the actual winner of the game. Not this time.
Taylor Bajema 26 (28 points)
Hans Miersma 25 (18 rebounds)
Jason Dempsey 17 (12 points/4 steals)
Corey Doran 13 (13 points on 6-for-8 shooting)
Jeremy Wagner 13 (9 points/5 rebounds/1 missed shot)
Gordon 84 (shot over 50%)
ENC 80 (10 steals)
Where’s Jaylen Owens on the list? Yes, he scored fifteen points and had six assists but he missed twelve shots.
Roy Ray was in the house along with Jordan Kelly.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)