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(Wenham MA) A lot to like in this one.
Anytime you can defeat a former rival (Eastern Nazarene) it’s a good win.
Tonight, ENC (5-6) walked away with a, 97-85, non-league loss on the Kanas Court.
For those who may be recent to Gordon athletics, before Endicott was our main rival, that distinction belonged to Eastern Nazarene.
The Commonwealth Coast Conference brought our neighbor Endicott into our athletic lives and lessened the GC/ENC rivalry. And now the former Crusaders are no longer in the CCC.
“We knew that ENC was a good team,” said Gordon high scorer Garrett Sattazahn afterwards. “They had a win over Middlebury.”
The Scots (3-2) were coming off a tough, 85-83, loss on Tuesday night at Western New England.
“After the way we played the last game,” said Gordon coach Tod Murphy, “I’m very happy with this one.”
The Scots had a steady flow of offense that the visitors from Quincy couldn’t match.
After a Bryce Smith three gave Gordon a 7-6 lead, the Scots never trailed thereafter.
The home team pushed their advantage to eighteen (35-17) in the first half and led by twelve (45-33) at halftime.
One of Coach Murphy’s post-game quotes was, “We want to make it interesting, don’t we.”
That was a reference to the Scots letting the Lions make things a lot tighter in the second half.
Led by senior Corey McGhee (19 points/12 rebounds/5 assists), ENC clawed its way back. With ten minutes remaining in the game, the Lions were within four points (65-61). The outcome was no longer as certain as it had appeared to be earlier in the game.
But on this night, the Scots quickly returned to their scoring ways and brought along some tight defense over the next three minutes. The Scots put up twelve points while the Lions were held to one point. This crucial segment gave Gordon a more comfortable, 77-62, lead and they were on their way to their third win of the season.
“We hit the shots when we needed to, and we got the defensive stops when we needed them,” said Coach Murphy.
Justin Yu (12 points) came off the bench to have his best game of the season. The GC junior was three-for-three from long range.
Drew Thibeault (8 points) collected his first points of the season. He had a three during the Scots’ run to rebuild their lead in the second half.
“We got a lot of help from a lot of people,” added Coach Murphy.
Garrett Sattazahn (18), Parker Omslaer (15), Bryce Smith (14) and Michael Makiej (12) joined Justin in registering double figures for Gordon.
“It was a good team win,” said Garrett. “We put the ball in the hoop and Parker did a great job down low.”
Both teams were quick to break and quick to shoot.
That style of play isn’t exactly to Coach Murphy’s liking: “I always get nervous when we focus on trying to beat teams with three’s. We’ve got a good shooting team, but we also have a 6-11 big man in the middle who I didn’t think they could stop. I’m an old-school guy. I like to go to our big guys.”
“We did a better job tonight boxing out in our zone defense,” explained Garrett. In the Western New England loss, the Scots gave up an astonishing twenty-two offensive rebounds. Tonight, that number was lowered to fourteen.
Two key stats in this game involved turnovers and free throws. The Scots had seventeen, but ENC had eighteen. The Lions’ full-court pressure caused most of the GC miscues. The Lions’ turnovers were in the half court. That fact would be a credit to how active the Gordon zone was tonight.
Gordon (22-for-26) was very good at the free throw line. ENC missed ten freebies.
“We still have a lot of work to do in handling pressure,” said Garrett. “I keep turning the ball over. I don’t know what’s going on.”
Ka’Shaun Swan (16), Bernie McGinness (13), and Levi Grady-White (11) were the other Lions in double figures.
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