(Beverly MA) Both teams needed the rally caps in this one.
Endicott went down by ten (39-29) in the first half.
Gordon went down by thirteen (70-57) in the second half.
But in the end, it was Matt McDevitt’s two free throws with one second left in overtime that won it for the Gulls, 88-86.
“It’s always an interesting one with them,” said Endicott coach Kevin Bettencourt afterwards. “It’s a great rivalry and we’ve had some crazy finishes.”
“It was a typical Gordon/Endicott game,” added GC coach Tod Murphy.
The Scots (6-6) now have a 1-3 record in the Commonwealth Coast Conference while Endicott (10-4) is 4-1 in the CCC.
Two of the CCC’s best players (Keith Brown and Eric Demers) had 31-point nights.
“Keith is our go-to guy,” said Coach Bettencourt. “He’s been great for us his whole career. We’re really lucky to have him.”
Keith rebounded from a seven-point game in the Gulls 71-70 loss to Nichols on Tuesday to fill the stat sheet against Gordon. Beyond the thirty-one points, Keith had seven steals, six rebounds and five assists. His most important contribution to the Endicott win may have been his steal near the end of regulation. Josh Crutchfield was by his defender and heading for the basket when Keith slid over and stole the ball to preserve the tie game.
Eric continues to be a consistent point getter. Opposing coaches continue to marvel. “He’s leading the country in scoring for good reason,” said Coach Bettencourt. “Some of the ones he made were NBA-type shots.”
When Gordon was down by thirteen (70-57) with six minutes left, it looked like “turn-on-the-bus” time for sure. Endicott busted away from a tie game (53-53) with six assisted baskets against the Gordon zone. The Scots were down but not out. Coach Murphy switched to a man-to-man defense and Eric connected on three 3’s as GC tied the score 72-72 with two minutes left.
“I’m proud of the way we battled back from being down thirteen,” said Coach Murphy. “We didn’t give up.”
In the last minute of overtime the Gulls had a three-point lead but AJ Terry’s clutch three from the top of the key evened things, 86-86.
Seconds later the Scots had a chance for the win as Eric fired from the left side. The shot missed but Parker Omslaer crashed the boards from the other side and put in the rebound at the buzzer. Not so fast! Parker, to get the rebound, plowed over Endicott’s Matt McDevitt with one second left and was called for a foul. Matt sank both free throws to provide the two-point margin of victory. AJ put up a beyond half-court shot at the final buzzer that hit the backboard as the game ended.
“It was a tough one to swallow,” said Eric Demers afterwards. “I like it better when we make the final shot.”
Senior Jimmy Campbell (Hamilton-Wenham) was huge in the first half. In only eleven minutes he put in ten points and had seven rebounds.
Junior Matt McDevitt (24 points) was very good long range. The former Maine player-of-the-year added six rebounds and six assists.
Parker Omslaer had another double/double – 12 points and 13 rebounds. Gordon needs him to be able to play long minutes…….and stay out of foul trouble.
This may have been freshman Garrett Sattazahn’s best game. He played all but three minutes of the game and had fourteen points and six assists. When the Scots went man-to-man, he ended up with Keith Brown.
Sophomore David Massillon saw his first action in over a month.
Crucial stats of the game?
Although the Scots shot well (50%), they had twenty-one turnovers against a team that wasn’t pressing in the backcourt. Trying to get the ball to places that were well covered was the primary culprit. Gordon did tie its season high in assists (18) so there were some good connections. Garrett Sattazahn set up Parker Omslaer for a dunk with a nifty no-look pass.
Although the Gulls did not shoot well (43%) they passed very well (28 assists). They also had fourteen steals.
Coach Bettencourt: “I’m glad our team hung in there. It’s always tough when you lose the lead and have to come back. Our team made one extra play. It was an exciting finish.”
Eric Demers: “I like the way we competed after our tough loss to Western New England. It’s always a roller coaster with a young team. Any night we show fight we’ve got to be encouraged by it.”
Coach Murphy: “We just need to get better. That man-to-man defense worked because they had a non-shooter in there and Parker could sag away from him and help defensively. Roger Williams (Gordon’s next opponent – Saturday) has five shooters so I don’t know what we’ll do.”
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