(Wenham MA) You just knew that he would get the last shot.
Marcos Echevarria (25 points) had nine seconds to get the shot he wanted and his last-second connection was enough to give Nichols an 85-84 win over Gordon on Tuesday night.
Marcos leads the Commonwealth Coast Conference in scoring (26 PPG) and despite a troublesome back made plays on both ends.
Tough loss for Gordon. The Scots (6-5) had a four-point lead (82-78) with 1:15 left.
Next possession scrappy Nichols (9-2) hustled their way to a three-shot possession that ended with a DeAnte Bruton (22 points) 3-pointer. A GC rebound there and NC would have to foul and GC would have had a chance to build on their 4-point spread.
Gordon, however, still had a one-point lead and that was still in place after Marcos and Garrisson Duvivier (23 points) had matching sets of free throws.
As the pictures show, Marcos split two defenders and found a narrow window to shoot over shot-blocker Garrisson and win the game just before the final horn sounded. If the Scots had gotten a rebound in NC’s 3-shot possession they would never have been in this high-risk defensive predicament.
In the first half, the Scots were able to smoothly handle NC’s full-court zone pressure. Second half the Bison switched to full-court man-to-man pressure with double-teams on dribblers and made it work.
Eric Demers (7 turnovers) and Jaren Yang (5 turnovers) were on the receiving end of much of NC’s pressure.
Gordon has now lost five straight times to Nichols.
The Bison style of play is predictable. They will put up 3’s, press, and fast break. I noticed that NC opened up some great-look three’s by penetrating into the lane and then passing outside. NC’s twelve made three’s were a season high against Gordon.
If Marcos had missed that last shot I wouldn’t have been waiting this long to rave about the play of Garrisson and Sam Johnson. You go in knowing that these two will give you rebounds and points around the basket. Tonight we saw some stellar shot-blocking. The talented two-some combined for seven blocks against the quick Bison.
Gordon had an eleven-point lead (64-53) at 12:33 of the second half. Two + minutes later the score was tied. The Scots missed four shots and had two turnovers during the lapse. Against a scoring team like Nichols the lapses erase a bunch of good offense in a hurry.
The Scots have now lost three straight. Things will not get any easier next game when they travel to Beverly to face Endicott on Thursday night. The Gulls (9-2) won the CCC last year and were not hurt by graduation. Nice place for an upset!
It appeared to me that there were more Nichols fans at the Bennett Center than Gordon fans. Marcos Echevarria is from nearby Lynn (MA) and I think he had a significant following on hand. They had plenty to cheer about in the second half in which Marcos scored eighteen points, made four 3’s, and had three steals.
Garrisson Duvivier 28 (23 points, 4 assists, 3 blocks)
Sam Johnson 26 (13 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks)
Marcos Echevarria 22 (25 points, 4 assists)
DeAnte Bruton 16 (22 points, 6 assists)
Eric Demers 14 (19 points)
Nichols 98 (19 assists, 8 steals)
I have to say some things about the GC women’s game. The women defeated Nichols, 80-75, in overtime. The play of freshmen Alisha Henderson (14 points) and Meghan Foley (21 points) in that OT was noteworthy. Alisha had a stretch where she made a three from NBA distance, followed that with a layup, and then assisted on a Kristen Smith basket. Teammate Meghan was at the foul line twice in the last eleven seconds and drained 4-of-4 to seal the win.
Looking at the women’s archives reveals how special this season has been. The Scots now have three CCC wins. The last seven seasons they never had more than two wins in a season in the CCC.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)