(Wenham MA) Gordon had beaten their neighbors from Beverly twice this season but a third time didn’t happen as the Scots fell to Endicott, 86-70, on Thursday night in the conference semi-finals.
The battle was for the right to face top-seed Nichols on Saturday afternoon for the Commonwealth Coast Conference title.
The Gulls (19-8) have two losses to the Bison this season but as one spectator was overheard saying after tonight’s game, “If they play the way they did tonight, they might have a chance.”
The two previous games between the Scots (18-9) and the Gulls were down-to-the-wire close. This game appeared headed in the same direction in the second half. Neither team had heated up for a serious run and EC only had a 56-54 lead with 10:45 left.
But less than four minutes later this game had gotten away from Gordon. What happened? The Gulls put a 17-2 run together, sparked by lights-out, long-range shooting by freshman Matt McDevitt.
Matt, who was the Player-of-the-Year in Maine (Greeley) last year, had four three’s in the separation segment. Senior Joey Villa had an old-fashioned three as part of this decisive run.
The player who didn’t score a point in the run was Keith Brown, but the EC sophomore had nineteen points during the rest of the second half to keep the Scots from getting any late-game, comeback ideas.
Gordon, on this night, landed only eight 3-pointers while the visitors drained fifteen from long range.
“We didn’t play very well,” said Coach Tod Murphy afterwards, “but that’s a really good team.”
The Gulls defense was impressive: “We don’t get held to 70 points very often but that happened tonight,” said Coach Murphy.
The Scots had only 54 points in California against Redlands during Christmas break with tonight’s 70 being the second lowest of this season.
The Gordon students turned out and Endicott had some folks at the Bennett Center too. Some of the missing EC students may have been in Bristol (RI) tonight watching the EC women in the CCC semifinals against Roger Williams.
One of the keys to the EC win was doing a better job defending Eric Demers. In the first two games Eric had 33 points and 25 points. This time around, 14 points. He had defenders everywhere he went tonight, and the rare open shots weren’t falling.
Eric reached 1000 points this season and tonight he moved into 21st place (1056 points) ahead of Park Thomas. Jim Petty is the all-time Gordon scorer with 1902 points. Eric is only a sophomore. You have to like his chances. But we’ll see what happens.
Garrison Duvivier continued to do what he does best; reach double figures in points and rebounds (19th time this season) and discourage shots around the basket. Joe Shehadi (5-10) tried one with GD nearby and the sound of his hand blocking the ball was like a volleyball spike!
Garrisson joined the 1000-point club this season and he now has 1401 points. He is currently in 8th place on the all-time list passing Tim Kehoe tonight. I mentioned Jim Petty’s all-time total (1902) earlier. We’ll see how Garrisson does in his senior season.
The last game is always memorable because it’s the last look we get at the departing seniors. The Scots lose four; Jaren Yang, Jake Hart, Steven Vampatella, and Graham Tienhaara.
My wife Julie and I usually appear at the Gordon graduation in May to say our farewells and to take a few photos of the graduating players.
A special thanks to Gordon coach Tod Murphy for talking to me after games whether they were wins or losses. Most coaches have plenty to say after wins but will retreat to the locker-room after losses. Not Tod. Class act!
Keith Brown 27 (25 points,12 rebounds, no turnovers)
Garrisson Duvivier 25 (20 points,13 rebounds)
Joe Shehadi 23 (12 points,8 rebounds)
Matt McDevitt 20 (19 points)
Jaren Yang 19 (11 points,7 assists)
(All of the pictures will enlarge considerably when you click on them.)