(Amesbury MA) March 1, 2014.
Long time ago.
I was out in Dudley (MA) that afternoon when Gordon stunned Nichols to win the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament.
After that? Eight straight losses to the Bison.
But this year’s Scots (13-1) put an end to all that with a 76-72 W this afternoon.
Nichols (11-2) has won the regular-season CCC title the last five seasons. Their league record during that time? 80-10! The Scots were not in the “10” side of it, in fact, some of their most lopsided losses have been to NC.
Today’s result, however, temporarily erased those bad memories and put Gordon all by its lonesome atop the CCC standings with a 5-0 record.
Hold the celebration plans! There’s a ton of season left starting with the neighbors (Endicott) at the Bennett Center on Thursday night.
How did Gordon defeat Nichols? Give their zone defense some credit. It changed the offensive dynamics for the home team.
The Bison love to get to the basket or make three’s and they have the speed and shooters to do it. But this afternoon the zone took away most of the NC uncontested layups. That left the long-distance approach for the Bison and today they missed 24-of-31 triple tries.
I saw UNE beat Nichols last year at Biddeford. In that one, Nichols tried to force their style on the non-stop Nor’Easters and couldn’t do it. Today there was 2-point gold available for them between 3-point range and layups, but the Bison turned down 2-point jump shots inside the foul line most of the game. Stubborn and it cost them.
Give Eric Demers a ton of credit for the big win. No sooner had I raved about his “best I’ve ever seen” half against UNE on Thursday, when he tops it two days later!
Eric’s second-half line was this: 21 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 5-of-6 free throws in the last minute.
Eric (32 points) gave Gordon the lead, 69-67, using a screen to get the go-ahead jump shot.
During Nichols next four possessions they tried to force layups twice where plenty of GC defense was already in place. They also launched two unsuccessful three’s. No interest in the short jumpers in the lane.
Meanwhile, Eric attempted a three, got fouled and nailed all three attempts. 72-67.
Another NC miss and another Parker Omslaer rebound. He had a career game in that category with sixteen of them. Parker made one free throw with 28 seconds left. 73-67.
The Scots had the margin they needed to go on to a 76-72 win.
Garrisson Duvivier finished with another double/double and believe me there was nothing easy around the basket. But that didn’t deter GD from attempting shots and drawing fouls. Garrisson had a lot to do with getting NC’s best big man (Jerome Cunningham) out of the game early on fouls with 3:46 left.
Jake Haar regained his scoring touch (14 points on 5-for-10 shooting) after going a combined 2-12 against ENC and UNE. The Scots have been good at getting Jake open looks out of set plays.
Senior Marcos Echevarria had a quiet (for him) twelve points. Marcos recently became Nichols all-time leading scorer. Today Marcos was slowed down a bit by a thigh injury.
Garrisson (1628) moved past Woody Anderson (1622) today into 3rd place on Gordon’s all-time list.
Today’s pleasant surprise extends the Gordon win streak to twelve.
Nichols has had five seasons in a row with 20+ wins. During the last 5+ years they are 128-29! Beating them today was something special.
I enjoyed the win but those twelve missed free throws were unnerving. Practice, practice, practice.