(Wenham MA) Wentworth did everything but win the game.
The Leopards (6-14) recovered from a poor start, hung around, and had the last shot in a 2-point game.
But recovering, hanging around, and taking the last shot wasn’t enough and Gordon escaped with a 73-71 win on Wednesday night.
“Winning ugly is better than losing pretty,” said GC coach Tod Murphy afterwards. “I still would have liked a little more breathing room at the end.”
Eric Demers (34 points) responded from an 8-point game versus UNE to put his best offensive numbers of the season together.
Eric carried the Scots (18-2) in the first half with twenty-three points. He ended up with three assists, three steals and zero turnovers for the night.
In the game between these two teams in November in Boston the Leopards struggled on offense losing, 66-47. WIT didn’t have ANY player in double figures in that one. But that was then! This time Stephen Azums registered seventeen points and an amazing twenty-three rebounds. Teammate Gavin Keough drilled seven 3’s including five in the second half and finished with twenty-one points.
“Our defense needed to be more intense,” explained Noah Szilagyi. “At times we’re super active and super scrappy. But #34 (Gavin Keough) was making shots and busting up our zone. When you see the same guy making 3’s it’s not a good sign for your perimeter defense.”
“We’re going to have close games with good teams,” said Coach Murphy. “This prepares us for those games. We have to use this as a learning experience.”
In the early going Gordon could make shots from the perimeter. It can be fool’s gold out there and a team can be drawn away from other options.
“We didn’t attack the basket in the first half,” said Coach Murphy. “We had only two free throws. We had a lot more in the second half. Garrisson is arguably the best player in the conference and he had no points and three shots in the first half. Garrisson still didn’t have an efficient game offensively but we did what we had to do to win.”
Garrisson collected his 16th double/double of the season – 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Leopards caught the Scots (56-56) with 9:02 left. They still were even with Gordon (66-66) with 3:48 remaining.
But what separates a team with eighteen wins from one with six wins is what they do in the tight finishes. The visitors, on this evening, had several unproductive possessions while Gordon’s Garrisson Duvivier made a jump shot and hit two free throws. David Massillon provided the final point with a free throw (73-71) with nineteen seconds left.
There was still time for WIT to tie/win the game but Noah Bice’s very good look (see the picture) missed at the buzzer to seal it for Gordon.
“We fell into a lull after the hot start and never seemed to wake up out of it,” said Noah. “At times we rushed shots and weren’t working as a team on offense.”
“It didn’t look like we had fresh legs despite being off for eight days,” said Coach Murphy, “but we did win a tough game.”
The Scots are 10-0 at home this season.
Noah was 7-for-10 tonight. He entered the game in 5th place in the conference in field-goal percentage (55.9%).
I thought that Nichols might have trouble tonight with Western New England, as Gordon did, but it didn’t happen. The Bison and the Scots each have one loss in the conference.
Gordon will be in Bristol (RI) on Saturday to face Roger Williams. The Scots literally stole a win from RW when they visited the Bennett Center.
Noah on life after Gordon: “I’m filling out a lot of job applications. I’m trying to land a job with the Patriots with Richie Armand. I’ve been talking with them. I’m trying to stay in basketball and may go back to Denver to coach with some of the people I know there.”
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)