(Wenham MA) Two games in, who can figure out the Gordon men’s basketball team?
Tonight, they never had a chance, losing to Endicott, 82-55.
Eight days ago in their opener, the Scots (1-1) shot well and defended well enough to get a, 99-86, win against highly-regarded Salem State.
“It’s too early to diagnose what’s going on,” said Gordon coach Tod Murphy afterwards. “I’m hoping to play some younger guys, but we’ll look at film and try to figure it out.”
Endicott coach Kevin Bettencourt was all smiles afterwards. “It was obviously a good one for us,” he said. “We’ve never had a game like this in this gym before.”
Junior Jalen Echevarria paced the Gulls (4-2) with twenty-six points.
“Jalen is a great player,” said Coach Murphy. “He’s just so fast.”
The Scots only trailed by six points (16-10) seven minutes into the game.
After that? It was all Endicott.
The Gulls scored eleven straight points in the next four minutes and just like that were up by seventeen (27-10).
Reserve Mike Levesque had a pair of three’s and Jalen Echevarria added another one in the streak of efficient Endicott offense.
The Gulls scored nine times from long range in the first half.
“They had nine 3’s in the first half,” recalled Coach Murphy, “and on six of them we had mental errors.”
Endicott led 43-24 at the half.
Three-plus minutes into the second half the Gordon deficit reached twenty (52-30) and with five minutes left it was thirty (77-47).
“The good news is that we only lost one game tonight,” said Coach Murphy. “We played bad enough to lose three or four!”
The Endicott man-to-man defense was a key piece in their win.
“I thought that our defensive effort was great tonight,” said Coach Bettencourt. “We hadn’t been playing with a lot of defensive intensity and it was a point of emphasis tonight.”
The Scots struggled to get open looks and didn’t take good care of the ball (twenty-two turnovers).
Eric Demers (Maine Celtics) was in the house as was AJ Terry. “I was ready to use both of them,” joked Coach Murphy.
No question that Gordon’s zone defense is a work in progress. Few players show up with the experience required to execute it at the college level.
“Our defense is not a normal defense for the new players,” said Coach Murphy. “It’s contrary to what they’ve been taught in high school.”
“Defensively, we didn’t take them out of anything they wanted to do,” added Coach Murphy.
“We did a pretty good job against their zone,” recalled Coach Bettencourt. “We created space and had the ball moving. Then we stepped up and knocked down shots.”
Lynnfield’s Billy Arsenault had a big game for the Gulls. His numbers show the variety of his contributions. Tonight, he had ten points, eight rebounds, and six assists. Billy was the primary ballhandler for Endicott and had just one turnover.
“The two guys (Jalen & Billy) that get us to go had great games,” said Coach Bettencourt. “Tonight, we had some shooting around them.”
Freshman Mike Levesque hit all four of his 3-point attempts to collect twelve points for the Gulls.
The Scots, so far, have really felt the effects of Covid-19. Their first two games were cancelled because of the virus. “We had a full week this season where we didn’t have enough guys to practice,” said Coach Murphy.
The two teams will meet again in the new year.
“I’m sure that it will be a much tougher game next time we play them,” said Coach Bettencourt. “They have some great shooters. It was just one of those days for them. Our defense had a lot to do with it.”
Freshman Bryce Smith was the lone Scot in double figures with eleven points. Parker Omslaer had nine rebounds for Gordon.
Tough night for Garrett Sattazahn: two points on one-for-nine shooting, plus four turnovers.
Good active crowd in at Kanas Court.
Gordon hosts Wentworth on Saturday afternoon (3PM). So far this season we’ve seen extremely good basketball and extremely not-so-good basketball. What will we see on Saturday?
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)