(Wenham MA) Did you ever watch a game on TV in which your team is playing so badly that you decide to change the channel and watch something else?
Later, you learn that your team somehow transformed themselves into a winner while you were away…….and you missed it!
There were no channels to be changed tonight at the Bennett Center. The Scots went down ten points (36-26) in the first half and twenty points (60-40) in the second half to Wentworth before rallying to pull out an exciting, 81-77 victory on Wednesday night.
“They were picking us apart,” understated Gordon coach Tod Murphy.
The final thirteen minutes of the second half, however, turned completely the Scots way.
The shooting, the defense, and the recently returned GC students all hit the “on” button in the second half and the Scots got an impressive win.
“We just kept fighting no matter what,” said Garrett Sattazahn afterwards. “Coach always tells us not to give up.”
Eric Demers (32 points) and Garrett Sattazahn (23 points) totaled thirty-seven of those points in the second half. Eric had twenty and Garrett seventeen.
Eric has done thirty or better eight times this season. For Garrett it was the first time he’s reached the twenty’s.
“Garrett got really, really hot and had a great second half,” said Wentworth coach Arlen Galloway post-game. “That certainly played into their comeback.”
The Leopards (11-5) looked awfully good in the first twenty-seven minutes.
“We played good zone offense,” recalled Coach Galloway. “We moved the ball and we trusted ourselves. We were efficient and smart on offense. We didn’t have too many turnovers and built a good lead……….then the tide turned.”
Coach Murphy saw his leaky zone defense as the problem in the early going: “I knew that we had been playing terribly on defense. It was so lackluster compared to the second half in our last game against Roger Williams. In that one we defended like crazy and got a win.”
Tonight Wentworth had a comfortable 65-50 lead with 10:18 left.
“Coach called a timeout and he said, ‘Let’s go man and let’s get it going,” recalled Garrett. And that was exactly what happened.
The Scots (8-6) switched to man-to-man and (6-11) Parker Omslaer took over the inside. The uncontested layups ended for the visitors.
“Parker’s offense wasn’t very good, but he turned the game around defensively,” said Coach Murphy.
Gordon went on an 18-2 run over the next four minutes and vaulted to a 68-67 lead with six minutes left.
“We showed a lot of heart making that comeback,” said Coach Murphy.
During the surge of points, Eric had two three’s, while Justin Yu and Garrett had one each. Justin’s triple came after the Scots hustled for two offensive rebounds (Garrett & AJ Terry) and extended the possession.
The Leopards would regain the lead by a point but free throws (Garrett, AJ, and Eric) in the final minute clinched the win for GC.
Wentworth had four players in double figures; Kyle Henseler (17), Stephen Azums (16), Kevin Fernandez (15), and Trey Carrier (12).
Coach Galloway: “We weren’t comfortable at all in the last ten minutes. Their man-to-man worked really well. The matchups made sense for them. Handling the loss of the lead can be difficult emotionally.”
Coach Murphy: “Eric did what he ordinarily does…..hit big shots. The comeback happened because we’ve got tough-minded kids. Garrett hit shot after shot. He was the one kind of leading the timeouts trying to get the guys going. He hates losing.”
New scoreboards were in place for tonight’s game.
Wentworth lost in the final minute against Western New England in their previous game.
The Leopards have only one senior (Stephen Azums).
Tonight’s matchup featured contrasting styles; Gordon led the Commonwealth Coast Conference in offense (89 points per game) while Wentworth led the conference in defense (69 points per game).
The Scots are now 3-3 in the CCC. Wentworth is 4-3.
Gordon hosts Salve Regina on Saturday.
Stephen Azums had a double/double for WIT. Eric Demers collected ten rebounds to register his second D/D for the 2019-20 Scots.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)