(Amesbury MA) The Scots broke out a zone defense and it worked against non-league Johnson & Wales on Tuesday night in Providence, Rhode Island.
The final was 88-80.
GC had lost three of their previous four games.
Zone defenses don’t always work because too many open shots turn up. On this night the Wildcats, however, couldn’t capitalize long-range missing twenty-three of thirty-one attempts. While J&W struggled from beyond the arc, the Scots had a season low in attempts (seventeen) but a season high in 3-point percentage (47%).
The Scots had terrific games from Garrisson Duvivier and Eric Demers. Garrisson had twenty-seven points and nine rebounds. Eric contributed twenty-four points and made eight-of-eight free throws.
This game had a crunch time and the talented two-some were both there to make sure that this one didn’t slip away from Gordon.
The visitors led by nine (79-70) with five minutes left. Credit J&W, they rallied to 81-79 in three minutes assuring us of an exciting final two minutes.
The Scots produced points in every possession down the stretch while the home team marred their’s with a turnover, two missed three’s, and a missed free throw. Eric Demers made both free throw attempts while his junior teammate, Garrisson, got to the basket for a layup, made a free throw, and had the GC bench jumping up and down with a thunderous dunk set up by Jaren Yang.
Sometimes the difference between winning and losing is taking good care of the ball. Three days ago, Eric and Garrisson combined for twelve turnovers. Tonight? ONE turnover.
The Wildcats did get quite a few good looks on the perimeter but inside was a different story. J&W had few drives to the basket. They did pass their way into layups on occasion, but they were, for the most part, content to fire from long range.
Just as zone defenses can lead to good looks, so can full-court pressure lead to the same thing. The Wildcats applied the pressure and when GC handled it they often turned up high-percentage shots.
A key player for Gordon was Josh Ribeiro. The Scots struggled to score points in the first half, but Josh came off the bench and gave them ten points in ten minutes of playing time.
GC Coach Tod Murphy probably wondered about that zone defense in the first half as junior Matt Madoian poured in sixteen points to establish a career high in points. You expected that a cooling off period might follow and it did.
Brian Hogan-Gary was terrific for the Wildcats. His stat line included; twenty points, eleven rebounds, and seven assists. Brian was closing in on a triple/double!
The Wildcats had won four straight.
I couldn’t tell from the J&W feed whether Wildcat Willie (official mascot) or Emiril Lagasse (celebrity chef who graduated from J&W) were in the house.
Gordon (3-4) host Emerson on Saturday afternoon in non-league play. I wonder if we’ll see some more of that zone?
Johnson & Wales was 28-3 in 2015-16.
Garrisson Duvivier 27
Brian Hogan-Gary 27
Eric Demers 24 (8-for-8 on free throws)
Matt Madoian 21 (24 points)
Jaren Yang 12 (13 points, 6 rebounds)
Johnson & Wales 86