Category Archives: Tip-Off Tournament

Gordon Loses in the Tip-Off Classic Finals to Westfield State

Gordon waits for the presentation of the runner-up trophy for the first time in the six-year tournament's history.

(Wenham) Gordon finally lost a game in its annual Tip-Off Classic.  This was the 6th year of the event and the home-team Scots had won eleven straight games in the two-game annual format.

Westfield State did the streak ending as they held off Gordon, 54-51, at the Bennett Center on Saturday night. 

Brady Bajema and AaronTrigg  made the All-Tourney team but it was the Westfield State team and tournament MVP (Anthony Griffin) who were smiling afterwards. 

Coach Rich Sutter’s teams had reached the finals in 2005 and 2007 and lost but this time rode Anthony Griffin’s 22 points, clutch 3-point shooting in the second half, and terrific interior defense to the win.

The Owls (3-0) took the lead with 12 ½ minutes remaining in this low-scoring game (38-35) on Derek Leab’s only three and never trailed again. 

The Scots didn’t go away thereafter but any semblance of shooting accuracy sure did.  Over the next fourteen possessions, Gordon tallied just seven points but remarkably, this was enough to narrow the Owl lead to 43-41 with less than four minutes left. 

The game was there for the taking for the home team if they could make some consecutive shots.  I was thinking at the time, “This is the Tip-Off tourney and Gordon finds a way to win every year so hang in there and watch it happen.” 

But this time around, the next two baskets were scored by Westfield State as Asa Abbott and Nate Pollard both hit their only 3’s of the game.  This unusual (for this game) instant offense gave the Owls a 49-41 advantage with just over three minutes left. Those dagger 3’s tossed the Scots out of one-possession range for good.  Only Brady’s last-second 3 closed the spread to three (54-51) but there was no time left for a Gordon steal and a tying long shot attempt.

Westfield’s Anthony Griffin (6’ junior) was the tourney MVP and he deserved it.  He put in 22 points with quickness and an assorted shot selection. 

The Scots shot a woeful 28.6% (16 for 56) and missed some easy ones that were a big surprise to the significant crowd that gathered. 

I assumed before the game that Westfield State would have the tired legs after a tight game with Baruch the night before, but I was wrong.  They played with plenty of defensive energy.  Gordon may well have been feeling the effects of the long minutes for the starters needed in the tight Husson win on Wednesday.

The lack of a pure point guard plagued the Scots as both Aaron Trigg and Brady Bajema had five turnovers each.  They were heavily guarded and never had much success creating their own offense.  Aaron appeared to get more daylight during the game but his shots (missed five 3’s in the last ten minutes) wouldn’t fall consistently.  He ended up with 15 points but it took 22 shots to do it.

The Gordon faithful saw what happens when a defense shuts down the team’s inside game, specifically Greg Walker.  The 6’7” junior reached double figures 21 times last season and went into the Westfield State game with two straight highly productive outings.  The Owls active defense limited Greg to six shots and he registered just two points.  Lose the inside points and the pressure turns to outside shooting which on this night couldn’t make up the difference.

Gordon returns to action on November 24th (Tuesday) at Salem State at 8PM.  A week from that game (December 1st) the Scots host rival Eastern Nazarene.  I’ll be following those games long range (Barbados) with hopes of seeing the ENC contest on the Gordon website.

I trust that your Thanksgiving gatherings will be blessed events.


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Filed under Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10, Salem State, Tip-Off Tournament, Westfield State

Gordon Routs Maine Maritime Academy in Tip-Off Classic Opener

(Wenham) It wasn’t a scrimmage but we did get to look at everyone as Gordon (2-0) breezed by Maine Maritime Academy (1-1), 91-59, in the first round of the Gordon Tip-Off Classic at the Bennett Center on Friday night.

The Scots will face Westfield State (defeated Baruch 81-77) in the championship game at 8PM on Saturday night.  Maine Maritime faces Baruch in the 6PM consolation match.

Gordon held its second opponent to the same 59 points as its first opponent (Husson) but the important numbers could well be the minutes of Brady Bajema (23), Aaron Trigg (21), and Greg Walker (20).  Yes, in this blowout they got plenty of rest.  Rest could well be a difference maker versus less rested Westfield State in the big game for the championship. 

This game started well for the visitors from Castine, Maine as they jumped to a 4-2 advantage on a jump shot by Sam Bell and a well-executed backdoor play layup by the Mariner’s tallest player (6-4 Jarred Sternbergh).

Over the next four minutes, however, Gordon put together a 17-2 run on shots from nearly every range.  Ben Gaskill (new haircut) was 4 of 4 from the foul line during this surge.  Mariner coach Chris Murphy went through two timeouts but it was clear that he didn’t have the firepower at either end on this night.

Later in the first half there was a 7 ½ minute stretch with a 22-5 run that turned a 22-12 game into 44-17 and a “how-much-will-they-win-by,” event.  Brady (2) and Garrett Harden (1) connected from long range during the spurt.

There was another nice run of points in the second half.  This time it was eleven unanswered featuring a couple of Mariner turnovers turned into fastbreak layups.  One of them involved a steal by Brady and a save by Ben, which led to a crowd-pleasing David Dempsey old-fashioned 3-point play down the other end.

Greg Walker - Leads Gordon scorers with 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting

The Scot shooting was terrific all night as the boxscore below indicates.  Greg Walker had a nice night inside (15 points) taking advantage of the single coverage inside that Gordon’s strong outside shooting causes. 

There was also an excellent student body crowd on hand.  I wondered about the different colored Pit shirts and learned that some prospective (wannabe?) students were visiting and had been given white shirts to wear at the game.  The so-called Sixth Man will need to be out in force against Westfield State.

We saw our entire team tonight.  I did see two freshmen put up 3-point air balls.  Sometimes doors get left open and the breeze……well, you know! 

I saw former players Mike Herr, David Flight, and Aaron Vogelzang in the house.  Maybe a few more of the “formers” will show up for the championship game.


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Filed under Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10, Maine Maritime Academy, Tip-Off Tournament, Westfield State

Game #4 – Scots Shock William Paterson and Win TipOff Tournament

(Wenham) I know, I wasn’t there to see the Scots upset highly regarded William Paterson, 68-67, on Saturday night at the Bennett Center and win the 5th annual TipOff Tournament.

I’ve been told, though, that if I’d been listening in Connecticut, where I was overnighting before going to Turks and Caicos, I would have heard the Bennett Center crowd celebrating at the game’s conclusion. 

I suspect that the home crowd was a factor down the stretch.  Another factor could well have been fatigue for the visiting Pioneers.  They had their hands full with Wesleyan the night before and were a long way from the comforts of New Jersey in the championship game. 

The Pioneers took the lead in the first minute and built their advantage to double-digits.  It is not a stretch to suggest that the visitors were in command well into the second half. 

However, somwhere in the last five minutes of the game the wheels came off for the Pioneers.  They stopped scoring and Gordon produced points in possession after possession.  The crowd got into it and, in a game that William Paterson had led since the beginning, watched the Scots rally for the win.

Ben Gaskill (6-9 junior Columbus OH)

Ben Gaskill (6-9 junior Columbus OH)

Heroes?  Ben Gaskill.  39 minutes?  He’s never played anywhere near that many before.  Somehow with all those minutes committed just one foul. Some will remember the winning layup with three seconds left.  A look at the play-by-play also shows two blocks and a rebound in the last two minutes.

How about Brady Bajema?  Top scorer (21 points) in the game.  He missed only one shot all night.  How about his last 1:12?  A rebound, a 3-point shot, a steal, and an assist on the winning basket. 

And so the 5th TipOff Tournament produced two wins for the Scots just as the previous four TipOff Tournaments had.  They’ve come close in several of the ten games but visitor’s fatigue and terrific fan support seem to carry the day. 

The MVP has always been from Gordon as Aaron Trigg joined that select group (Mike Herr,Jon Marstaller,Justin Kaufman) this time around.  The way things went at the end of the end of this year’s championship game with William Paterson I suspect that the MVP choice came down to Aaron or Brady and wasn’t an easy decision.  Brady made the All-Tourney team.

The win puts Gordon at 4-0 and off to a terrific start.    

 Boxscore William Paterson

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Filed under Gordon men's basketball 2008-09, Tip-Off Tournament, Uncategorized, William Paterson

Game #2 – Aaron Trigg Overshadows MIT All-American

Aaron Trigg

Aaron Trigg

(Wenham)  D3 Hoops preseason first team All-American Jimmy Bartolotta was in the house, and he is one fine all-around player, but it was Gordon’s Aaron Trigg drawing the raves afterwards.  The Scot junior ended up with 30 points and had plenty to do with Gordon’s 77-69, overtime win over visiting MIT on Wednesday night at the Bennett Center.

That final score is a major misrepresentation of how close this game was.  The Engineers from Cambridge, in fact, never trailed until Greg Walker spun in for a layup with just under seven minutes left in regulation to put Gordon ahead, 51-50.

Later a 3-point play by 6-7 Hamidou Soumare put the visitors in front 62-58 with 1:48 left.   However, the Engineers wouldn’t score again in regulation and Bartolotta picked up his fifth foul.  That foul-out became huge in OT.  Meanwhile, the Scots turned up a couple of layups from Greg and later Ben Gaskill to even things.  Aaron’s jumper in the lane rimmed out or Gordon would have won in regulation.

Aaron opened the OT with a three (he had six in the game) and that gave the Scots the lead that they never gave up.  Plenty of credit for the terrific OT goes to Ben.  With Bartolotta gone the Engineers pounded the ball inside to Soumare on nearly every possession with Ben covering him.  Looking stronger and savvier this year, Ben shut Soumare down on three of MIT’s first five possessions.  Gordon, meanwhile, had points on each of their first four possessions and built up a 71-64 advantage with two minutes left and that was more than enough to earn the victory.

Foul trouble greatly reduced the effectiveness of both Bartolotta and Soumare.  Soumare had his fourth foul just a minute plus into the second half and sat for 13 minutes.  Bartolotta had his fourth five+ minutes into the second half.  I anticipated an Engineer collapse with these two out but it didn’t happen.  When they returned for the final five minutes, I anticipated that they would carry MIT to the win.  So much for anticipation.

Gordon has seen full-court, man-to-man defense in both games.  No doubt, teams have found out that Justin Kaufman has graduated.  MIT’s defense was excellent but Gordon’s 19 turnovers is a sure sign that ball management needs to improve.

The Scots out rebounded yet another opponent – this will take some getting used to. 

Aaron looks awfully good so far.  He’s probably not thrilled with the six turnovers but his offense (18 points in the first half) is carrying this team so far.  He’s also taken on the best perimeter player of the opponent in both games and held his own.  When will the chants of “MVP” start?

There’s no question that Ben had his best game as a Scot, especially down the stretch and in OT.  His 13 points were a career best and his solid defense without fouling was impressive.

Greg continues to look very comfortable around the basket and in this one led the team in rebounds (7).

If I were not charting the game, I would focus my attention on Timmy MacDonnell.  There isn’t a loose ball that he doesn’t think he can get.  His feed to Ben Gaskill for a layup in OT, in the last minute, put this game into the “fat lady singing” category.

Now 2-0 the Scots face Oneonta (NY) State in the 8PM game on the opening night of the TipOff Tournament on Friday night.  It will be Wesleyan and William Patterson (NJ) in the opener.  William Patterson has been nationally ranked in the past and if Jimmy Bartolotta could be the best visiting player we’ll see at the Bennett Center this year then William Patterson could be the best team we’ll see.  Of course, the games are at the Bennett Center and even a nationally ranked team might want to be careful against the Scots there.

I asked MIT coach Larry Anderson about how he got a player of Jimmy Bartolotta’s caliber to come to MIT.  He told me that Jimmy was a 6-3 center in high school in Colorado and no one recruited him.  Coach Anderson said that he had some friends in Colorado tell him that Jimmy was a kid who could be a good one.  How right they were!  Everything the now 6-5 player did was effortless from passing and shooting to defending.  His foul trouble against Gordon really hampered his effectiveness.

I met Carolyn/Paul Himottu (Jon’s parents) for the first time at the game.  Carolyn told me that Jon’s two final school choices had been Messiah and Gordon.  The persistence of Gordon coach Mike Schauer had been a factor in Jon choosing to be a Scot. 

Mike Schnackenberg and Jesse Friedman at halftime

Mike Schnackenberg and Jesse Friedman at halftime



Back on campus for a look at this year’s Scots was Mike Schnackenberg (pictured here with Jesse).  Mike is working in Boston with Jon Marstaller.  They live in Salem.  Jon is engaged and getting married in May.  Mike told me that the adult Kaufmans, Schnackenbergs, and Marstallers would be on hand for the weekend tournament. That is a picture I need to try and get.


 Game 2 Boxscore


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Filed under Gordon College Men's Basketball 2008-09, Mike Schauer, MIT, Tip-Off Tournament

Jon Marstaller MVP 11-17-07

Here Senior Jon Marstaller is being congratulated by Gordon Coach Mike Schauer for being named MVP of the 4th Annual Gordon Tip-Off Tournament.

The tournament was held at Gordon’s Bennett Center this past weekend.

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Filed under Gordon Men's Basketball 2007-08, Tip-Off Tournament

Justin Kaufman All-Tourney 11-17-07

Here is Senior Justin Kaufman being congratulated by Gordon Coach Mike Schauer for being named to the All-Tournament team for Gordon’s Tip-Off Tournament.

The tournament was held at Gordon’s Bennett Center during this past weekend.

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Filed under Gordon Men's Basketball 2007-08, Tip-Off Tournament

Gordon Wins Tourney with Last-Second Basket (Game #2)

By Peter McClelland

(Wenham) – Gordon scored only 20 points in the entire second half but the last two of those points were by Mike Schnackenberg (senior-6′6″-South Portland ME) with 1.2 seconds left and they proved to be the difference in a hard-fought victory over Westfield State, 50-48, in the finals of the 4th annual Tip-Off Tournament. The game was played on Saturday evening at the Bennett Center.

The Scots (2-0) have won all eight games that they’ve played in the Tip-Off Tournament over the four years and have always had one of the team members chosen as MVP.  This time around, it went to Jon Marstaller (senior-6′5″-Naples ME).  Interestingly, Jon won the same award two years ago when Gordon defeated this same Westfield State team.

“I’ll be glad to see him graduated,” joked Westfield State coach Rich Sutter afterwards.

The visiting Owls (1-1) will probably remember this game as one they let get away.  “We were pretty fortunate to win,” explained Gordon coach Mike Schauer.

For the most part the shooting was way off for both teams.  There was a trace of accurate shooting at the start of the game that led to the Owls building up a 14-4 advantage.  “We were close to getting blown out early,” recalled Coach Schauer.  “We were staggered but able to respond and make the game competitive.” 

The visitors were still up by ten points (21-11) after Vinny Baker drilled the only 3-point shot that WSC would make in the entire game at the 7 ½ minute mark.  The Scots came all the way back, however, and actually took the lead at halftime (30-29) after Aaron Trigg (sophomore-6′1″-Overland Park KS) used a nifty crossover dribble to sail in for a layup.

The second half showed what happens when two very tenacious defensive teams are at their best.  Openings were few and heavily defended shots weren’t falling.  Between them, the teams made 12 shots and missed 32.  The Scots, in fact, took a 44-41 lead with 8 minutes left and didn’t score again for 5 ½ minutes but WSC had just a Dave Jaehnig layup to show for the same segment.

For much of the late-game, 5 ½ minute, point-scoring drought Jon Marstaller was parked on the bench with four fouls.  When he returned he made a number of plays that turned the MVP Award in his direction.  First there were a couple of steals but neither led to points.  What led to points were inside moves to the basket which set up free throws (four) all of which he made.  The free throws gave the Scots a 48-45 advantage with 1:45 left. 

The Gordon defense then forced the Owls into a shot clock violation.  However, not to be outdone defensively the Owls followed with a trap in the frontcourt and intercepted a pass. Off went the Owls on a fastbreak and Drew Pereira finished it with a layup to narrow things to 48-47 with 42 seconds to go.  A missed Jon Marstaller three and a foul in the rebound effort put Brandon Mauer at the line with 11.3 seconds left.  Brandon made the first to tie the score but, under heavy pressure from the nearby Blue Sea, missed the second with Jon Marstaller getting the rebound.

I thought that there would be a timeout.  Coach Schauer explained why there wasn’t.  “We had called a timeout before the free throws so we were set up for every situation.  There was never a thought of running any sort of play because honestly they don’t work.  So you just want a scrambled floor with guys trying to penetrate and kick and that’s exactly what happened.”

After Jon’s rebound Justin Kaufman (senior-5′11″-Redding CT) took the ball up the sidelines in front of the Blue Sea.  He passed to Brady Bajema (sophomore-6′2″-Whitinsville MA) who penetrated the Owl defense and found Mike Schnackenberg practically unguarded for the winning layup.  “They made a very big play,” recalled Coach Sutter.  “They broke us down defensively and dropped it off to the big guy inside.”

The Owls didn’t have enough time to even get off a shot in the closing 1.2 seconds. The presence of Ben Gaskill (sophomore-6′9″-Columbus OH) guarding the inbounder saw to that.

Dave Jaehnig led all scorers with 17 points while Ryan Mauer added 11.  Their efforts earned them spots on the All-Tourney team. 

Justin Kaufman’s 40-minute, tempo-controlling effort put him on the All-Tourney team as well.

In a game where every point was crucial the Scots can consider their free throw accuracy (17 for 20) to be significant.  The visitors made just seven of 14.

Aaron Trigg had a remarkable game on defense.  He took on the Owls top scorer (Ryan Mauer – 20 points in the first game) and held him to nine.  Over the last 5 ½ minutes he took on Dave Jaehnig, who already had 17 points, and shut him out the rest of the way.  “Aaron is really starting to progress as a player,” said Coach Schauer.  “He’s going to be a special one.”  Sounds like a guy, to me, who should have made the All-Tourney team.

Both Jeff Derr (sophomore-6′8″-Barrington IL) and Ben Gaskill scored points inside and are tall enough to get almost any shot they want in close.  As the line between getting the shots and making them shortens teams will have to defend them differently.  They will require more than one-on-one defense in time.

In the second half Justin Kaufman set up Keith Krass (Senior-6′2″-Beach Park IL) for an open-look three from the right corner.  Swish.

Next up for Gordon will be Wheelock on Tuesday evening at the Bennett Center.  I’ll be spending next week in Connecticut and Pennsylvania with relatives so I’ll miss this one.  I plan to be back to cover the away contest with MIT on the 27th.

We have so much to thank God for!

Boxscore Westfield State at Gordon 11-17-07

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Filed under Gordon Men's Basketball 2007-08, Tip-Off Tournament, Westfield State

Second Half Rally Sends Gordon to Finals in Season Opener (Game #1)

By Peter McClelland 

(Wenham) Gordon opened its 2007-08 season with a win over visiting Mount Saint Vincent from Riverdale (NY), 78-59, to reach the finals of the 4th annual Gordon College Tip-Off Tournament on Friday night. 

“I was pleased that our team responded to adversity,” stated Gordon Coach Mike Schauer afterwards.  What adversity could there be in a 19-point victory? 

Let me explain. The spectators saw the Scots extend their lead to 39-30 on a Jon Marstaller layup less than two minutes into the second half.  No, that’s not the “adversity.”  The next four minutes were. 

Shortly after making the layup just mentioned the 6’5″ senior (Naples ME) headed to the bench with his 3rd foul.  With Jon on the pines the visiting Dolphins went on a 17-1 run with 6’6” junior Chris Rocco doing much of the damage with eight points in close.  All the Scots could offer were turnovers (3) and missed shots. 

At this point Gordon called a timeout and things thereafter took a remarkable turn for the better for the sizable gathering of Gordon faithful.  Maybe the rest during the timeout helped or maybe Coach Schauer said something profound or maybe it was just getting Jon Marstaller back in the game.  Whatever it was, the defense tightened and the people you expected to give the team points did so in bunches. 

“They came out of that timeout and gained a lot of steam,” recalled Dolphin Coach Mike Murphy later.  “Good teams make runs.  We just didn’t respond.”

Senior Justin Kaufman  (5’11” – Redding CT) brought the Scots even at 49 with an assorted collection.  After hitting a three, he headed for the basket on four trips and came away with layups and foul shots.  The Dolphins had just a jumper from Senior Derek Charlton during this segment.

Next it was Sophomore Brady Bajema’s turn to move the scoreboard.  He gave the Scots the lead for good with a three on a pass from fellow sophomore Tim McDonnell (6’2″ – Jericho VT).  Next trip it was Brady (6’2″ sophomore – Whitinsville MA) again dialing long-distance assisted by Justin Kaufman.  Therefore, with just under eight minutes to go Gordon was up 55-51.

Then it was time for Jon Marstaller to help us remember why he was voted to the first team of the Commonwealth Coast Conference last season.  First he was fast enough to be on the scoring end of a fast break.  Then he was acrobatic enough to score on a drive from the left that looked off-balanced to say the least.  A foul shot was added giving the home team a 60-53 advantage with 6 ½ minutes remaining. 

The Dolphins were still within hailing distance until Jon put on one of his more memorable sequences.  First he got the ball down low and spun away from the defender for a layup.  Switching to the defensive end, he blocked a shot, then came down the other end, and drilled a three.  Game-Set-Match.   Now up 69-58 with only 3:45 remaining the Scots closed with a 9-1 run and won going away, 78-59.  The Dolphins didn’t score during the last three minutes.

The Gordon win puts them in the finals tomorrow at 8PM against Westfield State.  Westfield State got by Alfred College to reach the finals.  The Scots defeated the Owls two years ago in the tourney finals. 

The Blue Sea seemed to have found replacements for the graduating seniors.  They caught my attention in the first half when they started an early shot-clock countdown and got Dolphin Captain Derek Charlton to launch a very wild three.

The Scots got 16 points each from Aaron Trigg (sophomore – 6’1″ – Overland Park KS), Justin Kaufman, and Brady Bajema.  Jon Marstaller added 14.

Chris Rocco paced MSV with 13 points followed by Derek Charlton (12), Joe Cooke (11), and Kevin Garlan (10).

“Mount Saint Vincent is going to become a handful before this season is over,” said Coach Schauer.  “They’re young and they’re quick.”

It was easy to underrate MSV coming in.  That’s what happens when the team you’re playing is coming off a 3-22 season that included a 16 game losing streak and a 0-for-11 record on the road.  “It’s the kind of game that scares you as a coach because you know they’re better than their record,” said Coach Schauer.  “You just don’t know how much.”

Newcomers getting double-figure minutes were sophomores Ben Gaskill  (6’9″ – Columbus OH) and Jeff Derr (6’8″ – Barrington IL).  When asked how the two of them played the coach smiled and said, “Like sophomores playing their first game with extended minutes.  There was the good and there were the things we need to work on.”  No question that 6’9” Ben altered a few shots by his mere presence inside.

Coach Schauer’s biggest postgame concern were his team’s turnovers (14).  “We turned it over way too much and a number of them were unforced.”  Chief culprits with five each were Aaron Trigg and Jon Marstaller. 

“We played very well for about 35 minutes,” explained Dolphin Coach Mike Murphy afterwards.  “Our press worked a bit but we couldn’t put the ball in the hole in the last five minutes.”

New face on the Gordon coaching staff is Jerry Logan.  He told me before the game that being with the team is “bittersweet.”  He explained that he would still like to play and can’t (because he’s graduated) but he enjoys being with his former teammates.  No question that last year’s CCC Defensive Player of the Year has plenty to offer the team regarding playing defense.

So that’s one down and 24 more regular season games to go.  I’m not comfortable yet with a team that is on the wrong side of a 17-1 run in the second half.  What happened after that run, however, was very encouraging and hopefully will carry over into the finals tomorrow night against Westfield State.

The boxscore is inaccurate on the Mount Saint Vincent stats.  That can happen when the numbers given to SID Pat Byrne are different from the numbers on the Dolphin uniforms at the game. 
 Boxscore 11-16-07 Gordon vs Mount Saint Vincent

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Filed under Gordon Men's Basketball 2007-08, Mount Saint Vincent, Tip-Off Tournament

Justin Kaufman Tip-Off Tourney MVP 11-18-06

(Wenham) This photo shows Gordon College junior Justin Kaufman accepting the MVP trophy from Gordon assistant coach Jeremy Martin at the end of last season’s Tip-Off Tournament.

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Filed under Gordon Men's Basketball 2006-07, Tip-Off Tournament

(Game #2 MIT) Gordon Wins Third Straight Tip-Off Tournament

By Peter McClelland

(Wenham) Another strong finish under veteran leadership pushed the Gordon College Fighting Scots past an excellent Massachusetts Institute of Technology team, 78-71, to once again capture the Gordon Tip-Off tournament before a good crowd at the Bennett Center on Saturday night.

The Scots have had this tournament for three years and have yet to lose a game in it.

Junior Justin Kaufman was named MVP of the tournament.  Justin scored a lot of points in both games but so did a number of other players.  The difference was that Justin controlled the tempo for the tournament winner.  He faced constant full-court pressure in both games and despite long minutes had few turnovers.  “It’s nice to have a guy who controls the basketball,” said Gordon Coach Mike Schauer afterwards.

“This was a game of runs,” explained MIT coach Larry Anderson.  And right he was but surprisingly this game had only four lead changes.  Once a team got the lead they held onto it for a while. 

Fortunately for Gordon they once again got the lead at the end finishing strong.  The specifics for that ending include the fact that MIT was up 69-66 with 3:09 left after Mike Schnackenberg fouled out and Engineer high scorer Alex Krull (22 points) make both free throws.  Thereafter the Scots went on a 12-2 run to win.  A 3-point play the hard way by a driving Jerry Logan tied the score followed by a long-range three by Mike Herr that put Gordon in front, 72-69, to stay with just under two minutes left.  Erich Bracht answered with a layup just as the 35 second clock went off but that ended MIT scoring for the night.  Six consecutive free throws by Jon Marstaller, Mike Herr, and Aaron Tripp sealed this one for the Scots.

“Gordon is extremely well coached and they made more plays down the stretch and were more composed than we were,” said Coach Anderson.  “We are a young team (one senior) and I was proud of the way we hung in there.”

Anyone on hand for the start of this game would have had serious misgivings about the Scots chances.  Consider that after 3:40 had been played Gordon was trailing, 13-0!  MIT wasn’t missing and they had already defended the Scots into four turnovers.

“It may sound strange,” said Coach Schauer, “but it really was a blessing in disguise to get down 13-0 and feel like we were about to get blown out.  It forced us to compete and prove that we can be a good team.”

Gordon was good enough to respond with a 22-5 run over seven minutes thanks to hot outside shooting and take over the lead, 22-18.  Justin Kaufman and Mike Herr both nailed a couple of three’s and sophomore Tim DeLuca had one also.  The Engineers rallied to tie things at 30 near the end of the half thanks to a three by promising sophomore Billy Johnson.

A 13-2 surge early in the second half sent Gordon to a commanding, 43-32, advantage.  MIT, like Mount Ida the night before, refused to quit.  Senior Alex Krull put the MIT team on his back making layups, a 3-point shot, and a number of foul shots to bring the Engineers all the way back and even ahead.  However, on this occasion Gordon had the veterans available to lead a successful rally that turned into win #2.

“MIT is really good,” said Coach Schauer.  “I started to think last year that we had a chance to be a good team when we beat them on the road.   If they were in our conference (Commonwealth Coast Conference) they would have a very good chance of winning it.”

Mike Herr led all scorers with 26 points including six three’s.  “How many of those big 3’s has he made?” asked Coach Schauer.  “He likes to take the big shot and it’s surprising when he misses.”

Justin Kaufman collected 20 points while Jon Marstaller contributed 14 points and 3 steals in long minutes.

Alex Krull (22 points) paced MIT.  Others in double figures for MIT were; Billy Johnson (15), Erich Bracht (14), and Jimmy Bartolotta (13).


Coach Schauer had praise for Tim DeLuca afterwards: “I thought he really struggled against Mount Ida.  I didn’t know how he’d respond to not playing a lot of minutes because I was frustrated with him.  I thought tonight he came back with a much better effort.  One of my favorite things in this business is when kids respond to challenges and he did.”…………Jon Marstaller kept his fouling and opinions to a minimum and was a significant factor in the win……….The Blue Sea looked to be a bit understaffed.  Could some of them have chosen a concert over a tournament final?  Let’s get our priorities straight!……….The consolation game was one of the worst routs I have ever witnessed as Middlebury beat Mount Ida like a drum, 120-61………….Fatigue was certainly a factor as both Gordon and MIT got off a number of air balls and some other clear misses……………Freshman Brady Bajema got some first half minutes and seemed to know his way around defensively……….Another Freshman – Aaron Trigg – put in 18 minutes and showed a nice spin move from the left that added two points in the second half………….Gordon’s next game is on the road Tuesday evening (7PM) in Pennsylvania against Philadelphia Biblical University.  I’m hoping to attend and then spend Thanksgiving in the area with relatives.  Finding a way to send out the game story could be something of a challenge, though. 

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Filed under Gordon Men's Basketball 2006-07, MIT, Tip-Off Tournament