(Wenham MA) Gordon got on the wrong end of a shootout and lost to Western New England, 112-98, on Tuesday night in a Commonwealth Coast Conference game.
The Golden Bears had a 71-point second half and the Scots (6-5) could only hang around for so long under such a barrage.
“Defensively, we’re not good,” said GC coach Tod Murphy afterwards.
Gordon (1-2 in the CCC) plays zone defense almost exclusively but for the final eight minutes tonight they went man-to-man.
“We don’t see a zone defense all year, certainly for this length of time,” said WN coach Colin Tabb post-game. “I thought that we did a good job of getting the ball to the middle against their zone.”
Western New England (8-5) had six players in double figures led by Alex Sikorski (24), Tim Reilly (24), and Zach Tavitian (21).
“Alex Sikorski and Mike McGuire (15 points) are two of the top shooters in the conference,” said Coach Murphy. “(Tim) Reilly is another good player. I don’t think he missed a shot all night.”
The Bears (3-1 in CCC) took the lead for good in the first half.
Despite WNE’s 71-point second half the Scots were within four points three different times; 50-46, 78-74, and 86-82 in that second half. Knowing the way Gordon can put up points, there was always a chance that they could catch the Bears. But on this night, the Bears had so many contributors that they had answers when GC got close.
“We’ve got the talent to beat teams but until we put a priority on the defensive end of the floor, it’s going to be a struggle,” admitted Coach Murphy.
The least kept secret in the CCC could be Eric Demer’s ability to put up points. Teams come in with a plan and WNE was no different. “We knew how good he is,” said Colin Tabb. “We tried to limit his touches and find him early. Multiple players took turns guarding him.”
Eric still found 32 points. On this night many of his points were free throws. At least there he wasn’t guarded tightly by one player with several other defenders nearby ready to help.
Junior Josh Crutchfield (14 points) had a career high in points. He has the quickness to get to the basket and did it several times.
Sophomores Ben North and David Massillon, as well as junior Avelino Damoura, were unavailable for Gordon. “Right now, we’re so depleted with injuries,” explained Coach Murphy. “We have three of our top eight or nine players sitting on the bench.”
Coach Murphy was optimistic about the future: “Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t lost hope on the season. We can still beat a lot of teams. We need to get hot at the right time. We also need to discover the ability and desire to get stops.”
The stat that seemed to please Coach Tabb the most was assists: “We’re 3rd in the country in assists. We had twenty-two more tonight. It’s nice to see the guys looking for each other. Hunting shots for each other. Passing up good for great. Sometimes I get frustrated when we pass up good shots but often they find better shots.”
Coach Murphy: “Western New England is a very good team. What we saw tonight is the way they have been playing most of the season.”
Coach Tabb thought that the 112 points his team scored might be a program high. If that isn’t a program high, I’m guessing that the 71-point second half would be.
Parker Omslaer (19 points) had a strong second half. When the 6-11 junior gets the ball in close, other teams have to send help, which should create openings for GC perimeter shooters.
The students still aren’t back so it was mostly teammates and relatives in the house.
Junior Zach Tavitian had eleven rebounds to go with his twenty-one points. He also had three blocks.
Senior Mike McGuire finished with nine assists and three steals to go with his fifteen points.
Freshman Garrett Sattazahn added six assists to his ten points.
Ahead for the Scots is Endicott in Beverly on Thursday night. The Gulls were nipped (71-70) by Nichols tonight.
Western New England’s only league loss was to Endicott. “We didn’t shoot well,” explained Coach Tabb.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)