(Wenham MA) So far that home cooking has been a bit distasteful!
The Scots are winless at home (0-3) and 5-4 overall after losing to Plymouth State 99-90 this afternoon.
An offensive collapse in the final minute of overtime did in Gordon on Tuesday night versus Nichols. Today the offense was good but the defense; not so much.
Senior Eric Demers continues to pour in points (42 today) and break new records in the process.
Against Nichols, Eric moved past Garrisson Duvivier into the top spot as Gordon’s all-time scorer after scoring a career-high forty-nine points.
This afternoon, Eric “only” had forty-two points but that put him over two thousand points (2016) for his career. There are still sixteen games left in the season plus playoff games. We can expect that Eric’s final point total will be substantial.
Despite Eric’s significant point production, the Scots still lost.
How did it happen?
The Panthers (5-4) were excellent passers (23 assists) and they could make three’s.
“Plymouth State is a good team,” said Gordon coach Tod Murphy. “Give them credit. They played well today but we didn’t show any urgency on defense.”
PSU came out making shots and led from beginning-to-end.
The visitors from the Little East Conference were ahead by as many as eighteen points in the first half shooting almost 67% against the Gordon zone.
“When you’re giving up layups, a team is going to shoot a very high percentage,” explained Coach Murphy.
The prime defensive breakdown was positioning, according to Coach Murphy: “Most defenses collapse on the ball. We don’t want to do that. We want to get to the guys who don’t have the ball and take them away.”
When the Gordon defenders got caught up in watching the ball, the Panthers moved into openings and many of those openings were in close to the basket.
Despite the shaky defense, the Scots had the firepower to get as close as three points (55-52) five minutes into the second half. An AJ Terry three looked to be the start of an exciting final fifteen minutes.
Sophomore Dante Rivera (27 points) and senior Jaylen LeRoy (31 points) had other ideas and shut down any rally hopes Gordon might have had by taking over the second half.
The play-by-play over the final fifteen minutes paints as clear a picture of two players dominating portions of a game as I have seen.
Dante’s part: The score was 55-52 at 15:08. Over the next 6+ minutes, to 8:26, Dante scored sixteen points, had two assists, two steals, and two rebounds. Both steals led to immediate baskets.
Jaylen LeRoy took over at 8:26 with the Panthers in front, 80-65. PSU would get nineteen points in the final 8:26. Jaylen had ALL of them! The 6-3 senior connected on three 3’s and a breakaway layup. He finished his remarkable stretch with eight straight free throws to close out the game.
Those two, as the stats clearly tell, were just too much for the Scots.
“I would have liked to have won this game,” said Coach Murphy, “but the loss doesn’t hurt us in the standings that count.” The Scots are 1-1 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.
“The key for us is to get better each day,” he added.
Junior Parker Omslaer collected his second double/double (21 points/12 rebounds) of the season. This afternoon he tied his season high in blocks with three. Parker’s minutes this season are up. So far, he’s logged at least thirty minutes seven times. Last year he reached thirty minutes only four times. The Scots are not only inexperienced, but they lack size too. When Parker’s out, rebounding becomes very challenging for Gordon.
“We come back as a team on December 30th,” said Coach Murphy. “We’ll have three or four practices before we play Fisher on January 3rd at home. We start league play the following week. I’ll be doing a lot of recruiting in the days ahead.”
Josh Ribeiro was in the house this afternoon.
David Massillon continues to recover from an injury. The experienced sophomore could have been a difference-maker in the last two losses.
We must not miss the “Christ” in Christmas. Wise men still seek Him!
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)