(Wenham MA) Sometimes a game gets away from a team early. That’s how I saw Gordon’s 83-64 win over the University of New England tonight.
Gordon (5-6) started out in a zone defense and UNE passed their way into 3-point opportunities. Gordon also employed a box-and-one on Devon Thompson to keep the sharp-shooting senior from getting too many touches. Both of those defensive schemes worked like a charm.
Meanwhile on the offensive end the Scots shot over 50% and hurt the Nor’Easters on the inside and outside.
It was fun to watch for home-team folks gathered at the Bennett Center for the Commonwealth Coast Conference matchup.
UNE (6-4) came in with impressive wins over Bates and Bowdoin. In the Bates game, UNE was 10-for-14 long range, so when Gordon started with the zone defenses I thought it could be trouble for the Scots. O me of little faith!
UNE saw the zone and settled into one 3-point attempt after another. On this night, the visitors missed their first nine tries! (Not every night goes this way.) And while UNE missed, Gordon connected, jumping in front, 13-5, after six minutes.
After Ben Judson (from St. John’s Prep in Danvers) broke the 3-point drought for UNE, Noah Szilagyi drained consecutive 3’s in twenty seconds and GC led 19-8.
Later in the first half, freshman Jake Haar ran a 3, a layup, and another 3 together. Everything seemed to be going right and Gordon was in front, 41-31, at the half.
I wondered at halftime if the second half would find UNE heating up while the Scots cooled off. Nope on both counts.
The Nor-Easters got within eight a couple of times in the second half but a Sam Johnson layup boosted the GC spread back to double digits (53-43) and the Scots never let UNE any closer over the final fourteen minutes.
The best stat in the second half? Gordon had only three turnovers. That’s right, three. A team that takes care of the ball has more scoring opportunities and when you shoot over 50% the chances of a W are good.
Best stat of the game? Twenty-four assists. I had to go back to a 2013 game against Worcester State to see that number matched. Assists mean unselfish play. Assists mean getting the ball into the hands of the hot shooters. Plenty of both of that in this game.
Junior Sam Johnson came away with my #1 star topping the Efficiency Chart. Sam put his 6th double/double together with three assists.
Sam Johnson 26 (12 rebounds/18 points)
Noah Szilagyi 20 (18 points/7-for-8 shooting)
Garrisson Duvivier 15 (13 rebounds)
Ben Judson 15 (17 points)
Drew Coveney 14 (9 assists)
That 20 in Efficiency was Noah’s highest mark this season.
Tough night for Devin Thompson. The senior from St. Mary’s in Lynn was held to four points. Came in with a 19 points per game average. He did, however, have a block which for guards can be memorable.
Ben Judson, Drew Muniz, and Devin Thompson had fans in the house.
It probably helped GC freshman Jake Haar (11 points) to have family from California on hand at the Bennett Center. They’ll see two more games before heading back to winter weather many of us can only dream about.
Next for GC will be a trip to Newport (RI) to face 5-6 Salve Regina on Thursday night. Lest that record fool you, the Seahawks defeated formerly undefeated ENC in Quincy tonight. SR has been featuring Nick Bates of nearby Danvers High School.
Not surprised to see Dylan Marshall launch and connect versus UNE. Last year he dropped four 3’s on the Nor’Easters.
Next home game is Curry on Saturday afternoon.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)