(Wenham) The Scots took care of business today.
They honored seniors Greg Walker and Austin Bentson before the game and then defeated Western New England, 78-59, to continue their run to move up to 8th place and qualify for the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament.
The Saturday afternoon victory at the Bennett Center didn’t move Gordon into the top eight but with two more CCC games left they are now tied with several teams in the top eight. I have confidence that if Gordon keeps taking care of business (UNE on Wednesday and Salve Regina on Saturday) they will still be playing on George Washington’s birthday.
Before the game, Greg Walker received a specially engraved basketball for reaching 1000 total points for the Scots. That total was quite a feat considering that he had only 15 points as a freshman.
Greg and Austin and their proud parents were introduced to the appreciative crowd in a pre-game ceremony.
Western New England (4-19) did not go easily. Two of their wins were against Wentworth and New England College – teams that defeated Gordon.
It took a nine-point run in the first half to separate from them and 12-2 segment late in the second half to finish them off.
The Scots (10-13) shot well all game (53.8%). The Golden Bears’ defense committed just eleven fouls so they weren’t exactly dug in on defense. The Scots had plenty of good looks from the outside and also were able to get the ball inside to Greg (14 points) and David Dempsey (17 points).
WNEC hung around thanks to another afternoon of poor ball management. WNEC chased the Scots full-court almost the entire game and created twenty-four turnovers. To get some perspective, you need to know that Gordon had the ball for seventy-two possessions. That means that for every three times the Scots had the ball they gave it away, without a shot, one time. Dribbling in an area with more than one defender has not worked well for Gordon all season.
The Gordon defense didn’t get as many turnovers but they did contest shots and forced WNEC into a low shooting percentage (36.2%). Two shooting droughts, I referenced earlier, doomed the visitors from Springfield.
The first drought covered three minutes and a 24-20 Gordon lead enlarged to 33-20 with 2 ½ minutes left in the first half. Park Thomas hit a couple of jumpers, Austin nailed a three, and Greg converted a rebound. Greg had 14 rebounds in the game which was the 4th time this season he’s reached double figures.
The finish-them-off segment started after Damon Alston hit his 4th trey closing WNEC to, 57-49, with 6 ½ to go in the game. The worrier in me started recalling how tight the last two wins had been and I began to wonder if this would be another one.
Not to worry. A little over three minutes later Gordon was in complete charge, 69-51. Why? Garrett Harden (15 points) hit a couple of 3’s while Greg and David each added a layup and free throw.
Damon Alston (12), Brad Thomka (11), and Chris Devine (10) reached double figures for the Golden Bears.
Luke Hamilton and Garrett were a combined 7-for-9 from long range. Wouldn’t a dangerous outside attack lessen the defensive pressure Greg normally has to deal with around the basket.
There was a nice gathering afterwards for parents and players honoring the seniors. Assistant coach Keith Krass gave Austin and Greg highly-treasured Gordon blankets.
Gordon is at the University of New England on Wednesday night at 8PM.
Other pictures I took. If you click on the picture it gets larger.