(Wenham MA) Wentworth’s record wasn’t that impressive but they had one-possession losses to both #1 Nichols and #2 Gordon.
No question that a quarterfinals matchup with the Leopards presented plenty of risks.
But tonight, the Scots (22-4) were excellent on both ends of the court and defeated Wentworth, 94-77,
Gordon will host Roger Williams on Thursday night at the Bennett Center.
The Scots were desperate for a restart after finishing the season with losses to Nichols and Endicott.
“I told the team after the Endicott game that we would only be playing one more game if we played selfishly like we just did,” said GC coach Todd Murphy afterwards. “The guys met on Sunday night and talked about it.”
The seven assists that the Scots totaled against Endicott were more than equaled in just the first half against Wentworth. The game total was sixteen.
Eric Demers (30) and Garrisson Duvivier (22) led the Gordon scoring but on this, share-the-ball evening, the other three starters contributed significantly.
Noah Szilagyi had seventeen points on seven-for-eleven shooting. The senior is shooting nearly 65% during the past five games. Noah also added four assists against WIT.
Parker Omslaer had twelve points and nine rebounds. He missed only one shot.
Jack Haar made two 3’s and had two assists.
“There was a lot more ball movement and sharing the ball,” explained Coach Murphy. “When we do that, we’re at our best. It’s the only way we’re going to win a championship.”
The visitors didn’t go quietly into the night. They were still hanging around (46-43) at halftime.
“I thought we played pretty well in the first half, but we weren’t getting enough stops,” said Noah Szilagyi. “We would go on runs but they would always counter them.”
That continued into the second half. The Scots went up by nine (52-43) but back came Wentworth on a three by Kyle Henseler (24 points) to narrow the lead to 54-50.
It was still four (60-56) with 12:48 left. Then Eric Demers scored a layup and hit a three and the GC lead returned to nine (65-56).
Layups by Zach Bergeon and Stephen Azums (16 points) and the Gordon lead was down to five (65-60) with 10:38 remaining.
The Scots finally broke out into a double-digit lead (72-60) after two Eric Demers free throws, a Josh Crutchfield three, and a Parker Omslaer layup.
The team from Boston (MA) couldn’t get within ten points over the final 8+ minutes.
“I thought we wore them down in the second half,” said Noah. “The second half defense was what won the game for us.”
The tighter GC zone limited Wentworth to two made three’s in the second half.
“We couldn’t contain (Kyle) Henseler,” said Coach Murphy, “but we did a better job on Gavin Keough.” To call the defense on Gavin Keough, “better,” certainly understates tonight’s defense which allowed Gavin no made three’s when he had seven the last time he was in the Bennett Center.
By my figuring (unverified by the Gordon Athletic Department), Eric Demers passed two more former players (Woody Anderson & Doug Lindland) and is now third on the GC all-time scoring list with 1647 points.
Garrisson Duvivier, who moved into second place in late January, has now reached 1880 points. That puts him only twenty-three points away from being Gordon’s top all-time scorer. Could a semi-finals win and a record-setting performance be taken care of by the end of the game on Thursday night?
Noah on making the CCC 3rd team: “I wasn’t really surprised by it, but it sure made me happy. I had never set personal goals before, but I did in November and one of them was to earn CCC recognition.”
Coach Murphy: “I don’t know how we scored 94 points against a really good defensive team like Wentworth. We’ll be back in the gym tomorrow night getting ready for Roger Williams. I’m looking forward to it. It will be fun,”
Good active crowd again at the Bennett Center. There’s room for more on Thursday night.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)