(Wenham MA) For fourteen minutes Wentworth had the game under control. The tempo was deliberate with plenty of passes and cuts. The score was low and close.
But with the score tied 22-22, Gordon went on to finish the final six minutes of the first half at a pace more to their liking and that tie score changed into a 40-25 halftime lead for the Scots.
The second half was more of the same and Gordon put the Leopards away in convincing fashion, 83-62, on Tuesday night at the Bennett Center.
The win keeps the Scots (13-7/9-4) in a tie with Endicott for second place in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.
Wentworth (13-7/8-5) slides back to third in the CCC.
In the first meeting with Wentworth, Gordon had a twenty-five point lead in the second half but the Leopards put a terrific comeback together to make things tight at the end.
“Tonight’s game looked very similar to the first time we played them,” recalled GC coach Tod Murphy afterwards. “We had a big lead at halftime. Bumped it up to twenty-five but this time we didn’t give away twenty of it as we did last time.”
The Leopards tonight were within thirteen (48-35) with 16:34 left in the second half before Gordon ran nine straight points to gain serious separation (57-35) 4 ½ minutes later. On this evening, there was no WIT comeback.
There were plenty of positives for the home team.
Eric Demers, held to thirteen points in Boston, had eighteen points in the first half alone and ended up with twenty-six for the night.
It looked like it might be a tough game for the GC sophomore when Wentworth put last season’s CCC Defensive Player-of-the-Year (Sam Knollmeyer) on Eric. Not on this night. Eric had two fouls on the WIT senior in no time.
Eric was a key part of the Gordon surge in the last six minutes of the first half with a jump shot, two layups, and four free throws.
Jake Haar, known as “Ice,” became “Fire” in the final 1:24 of the first half with a free throw, a jump shot, and a three-point shot.
The breakaway segment (nine straight points) in the second half, that pushed the GC lead into the twenties, featured a layup by senior Jake Hart, a 3 and a jump shot by Eric Demers, and a layup by freshman Parker Omslaer.
The Gordon defense was impressive. “I keep telling our guys that we’ve got to create our offense in the defensive end,” said Coach Murphy. “We did that tonight. We got some stops. We got some rebounds. We ran it down the floor.”
The Scots also had some steals. The Leopards had sixteen turnovers. Six of them happened because Garrisson Duvivier reached a career high in steals.
The best stat of the night? I am very much interested in turnovers. Tonight the Scots had only seven! That’s taking good care of the ball.
You want to beat Wentworth you better be able to control Jason Ganley. Jason set a school scoring record (39 points) against GC last year. Tonight the defense of Matt Valles, Josh Ribeiro, and Graham Tianhaara limited Jason to eight points (He averages 20.7 points per game) on 3-for-13 shooting.
“Graham gave us great minutes after all of our top four bigs had two fouls each,” added Coach Murphy.
Defeating Wentworth twice in a season is certainly a pleasant change after the Leopards had won seven of the previous nine meetings.
Both teams had gone 5-2 since they last met three weeks ago.
Sophomore Stephen Azums reached nineteen points for WIT. Stephen leads the CCC in field goal percentage. He had a season-high twenty-seven points in the Leopards win at UNE.
Eric Demers has averaged 27.5 points per game since the Wentworth loss. “Eric, when he’s on, is really tough to stop,” said Coach Murphy. “I know that he takes some shots that he shouldn’t, but I’ve got to let him take those because he’s so good right now.”
One thing that I’ve noticed in Eric’s play lately, is that those who choose to defend him on the perimeter get caught by his drives to the basket. He has been drawing fouls and has made 33-of-36 free throw attempts in the last eight games.
Garrisson Duvivier ended his streak of double/doubles at eight. He had nine rebounds. He did set a career record for steals and, also had three blocks.
Saturday ends Gordon’s four-game homestand. They will be facing Western New England. Last time the teams met the Bears celebrated Mikey Pettway’s 1000th points and a 101-83 victory.
Enjoyed seeing the GC women’s team win again. It has been the best season they’ve had in a while. Meghan Foley had thirty-one points versus Wentworth in tonight’s overtime win and was eight-for-eight from the line. I keep wanting to do one of their games.
Garrisson Duvivier 24
Eric Demers 19
Stephen Azums 18
Jaren Yang 13
Jake Haar 11
(All of the pictures will enlarge if you click on them.)