(Amesbury MA) Two minutes into this one Gordon was down 7-0 to 0-7 Worcester State University.
That was enough for GC coach Tod Murphy. Out came the five starters and things settled down.
The work of the reserves in the first half combined with some amazing second-half free throw shooting enabled Gordon (6-2) to pull away from WS and win, 77-61, on Thursday in Worcester.
It certainly didn’t hurt the Scots chances to have sophomore Garrisson Duvivier contribute his best game of season, according to efficiency figuring.
For you new to efficiency it works like this; negative stats (turnovers, missed free throws and missed field goals) are subtracted from positive stats (points, assists, blocks, rebounds, steals) to arrive at a number. In tonight’s game, Garrisson led everyone with a 32. Among his positive stats were; 20 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.
The Lancers (0-8) used a zone and had size inside (Paul Brooks 6’9”). They pressed Gordon after baskets and in the early going the Scots made passing and dribbling blunders that allowed the home team to get off to a fast start.
As I said above, the reserves came on to stabilize things in the first half. GC eventually caught WS and led by six (34-28) before the Lancers ran seven unanswered in the last two minutes to lead, 35-34, at the half.
WS built up a 48-43 advantage with 12 ½ minutes to go. Enter Graham Tienhaara. The Whitinsville junior scored Gordon’s next eight points and had a steal that set up the tying point (52-52) with 9:23 left.
The team from Wenham (MA) trailed 56-55 with 6:53 remaining and this looked like a game that would be tight to the end. Wasn’t that way at all.
The Lancers could only add five points the rest of the way while the Scots poured in twenty-two. Gordon was only 4-for-11 from the floor during that stretch but at the foul line? Oh, baby! The Scots were 15-for-15 and turned possession after possession into two points.
Obviously, the sixteen-point spread at the end does not reflect how this game went for most of it.
The Worcester State zone made perfect sense. Gordon’s top scorers (Sam Johnson & Garrisson Duvivier) are inside players. The Lancers had a shot blocker (Paul Brooks – 4 in this game) near the basket. When GC was patient and passed the ball, they turned up high-percentage shots. Reserves Dylan Marshall (6) and Noah Szilagyi (12) cashed open looks.
I expect teams ahead to show zones on occasion to negate GC’s inside game. WS had only one shot blocker and when he was in, Garrisson had openings. When Paul Brooks was resting, Graham Tienhaara did damage for GC.
GC’s struggles against pressure surprised me. Most teams prior to WS avoided trying it. Those seeing this game might reconsider that.
Gordon has now won five straight. They will be facing a very good Daniel Webster team (5-1) on Saturday afternoon (3PM) at the Bennett Center. Last home game for the Scots before Christmas break.
Garrisson Duvivier 32
Paul Brooks 24 (15 points/7 rebounds/4 blocks)
Jamal Mustapha 15 (16 points)
Sam Johnson 15 (10 points/9 rebounds)
Corey Gatta 11 (12 points)
Worcester State 66