(Wenham MA) Eric was Eric.
Garrett set a career high in points scored.
Parker took away the inside for UNE.
The result was an important 83-67 win over the Nor’Easters on Wednesday night at the Bennett Center.
“I’m thrilled with the victory,” said Gordon coach Tod Murphy afterwards. “Before tonight we had no guarantee that we would get into the playoffs.”
Combined with a Roger Williams’ loss tonight, the Scots are into the playoffs which start next Tuesday.
“The crazy thing,” added Coach Murphy, “is that if we win Saturday (at Nichols) there’s a way that we could host on Tuesday. Granted, about six different things have to happen for that to work.”
Eric Demers had his 15th straight 30+ points per game streak stopped with “only” twenty-eight tonight. He must be slipping!
UNE coach Ed Silva: “Eric is a stud.”
The Scots (12-12) pulled away from the Nor’Easters at the end of the first half, building up a ten-point lead (43-33).
UNE was also looking for some CCC playoff guarantee tonight.
“Tonight would have solidified a playoff spot for us,” said Coach Silva. “Now we have to win Saturday (vs Roger Williams) to guarantee us a spot.”
UNE can still get in with a loss Saturday, but they would have to rely on other teams winning/losing to make it happen.
Eric Demers had a little extra incentive in tonight’s game: “I didn’t want to leave this school with a loss on this court. It’s been an up-and-down season, but I wanted to win my last game here.”
There was a sense of urgency for both teams, but the Scots did a better job of not showing it. They stayed with UNE in the early going and then rode the hot shooting of Eric and Garrett Sattazahn to a 23-point lead in the second half. The Nor’Easters would get to within twelve points in the final 2 ½ minutes but the Scots held on.
Garrett hit five of ten three’s and reached a career-high twenty-five points. His heated performance certainly took the pressure off Eric to have to score 30+ points for the Scots to have a chance.
“Garrett is next,” said Eric. “He coming up right after me. He’s going to be great here for a long time.”
“Next year Garrett might have to be like Eric,” reported Coach Murphy. “It depends on how recruiting goes. There’s a lot of playing time available and we’ll have 40+ points per game (Eric and AJ Terry) to make up somewhere.”
“I thought they (Gordon) competed harder than we did,” said Coach Silva. “They had a sense of urgency and we didn’t.”
Coach Silva cited one particular play relating to urgency: “We turned the ball over at the end of the second quarter (Eric steal) and Josh (Crutchfield) raced full court to get a layup. Those are the types of plays that earn you playoff spots.”
Gordon’s zone defense lasted the whole game. It’s been “pulled” several times recently.
“When Parker (Omslaer) is a force inside it makes all the difference in the world,” said Coach Murphy.
UNE missed fifty shots (25/75) and Parker’s 6-11 presence had something to do with the inaccuracies.
“We knew that they’d stay with the zone if we didn’t score against it easily,” said Coach Silva.
Asked about tonight’s defense, Eric said, “The defense was good. It’s crazy because we didn’t change anything. It’s just a matter of which team shows up.”
“The defense was good,” said Josh Crutchfield. “We all bought into it tonight.”
Parker finished with his fifth double/double (10 points/12 rebounds) of the season.
Avery DeBrito (16 points/10 rebounds) and Siddiq Canty (16 points) paced the Nor’Easters. Alex Kravchuk added fourteen points for the team from Biddeford (ME).
Last year’s UNE team pressed full-court, shot three’s, and substituted frequently. Not this year. “At the end of last season, we changed our style of play based on guys we had coming in.”
One of the players coming in was freshman Siddiq Canty. “He’s a very smooth player,” said Coach Silva. “A friend of mine was head coach at Woodstock Academy (Connecticut) and he told me about Siddiq when he came on campus.”
The Scots end their regular season at Nichols Saturday. “It will be tough,” admitted Coach Murphy. “It’s their Senior Day.” Gordon lost in overtime to Nichols at the Bennett Center in December.
I asked Coach Murphy what his memories were of Eric playing at the Bennett Center: “My memory of his playing here will be his raining shots on people left and right. Tonight he didn’t shoot that well from the outside so he went inside on post-ups and drives. He was probably our leading post scorer tonight.”
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