(Wenham MA) If you try to cover a game with the University of New England you better have career stats handy.
UNE coach Ed Silva told me before the game, “We play everyone. We try to create chaos. We want to press and score points in a hurry. We’re hoping to wear down our opponents and finish strong.”
The Nor’Easters did all that, but it wasn’t enough as Gordon defeated them, 126-108, on Wednesday night in Commonwealth Coast Conference action.
The Scots (12-6) had been on the wrong side of a 121-113 score at UNE earlier in the season and were better prepared this time around for what UNE would do.
“We didn’t turn the ball over as much,” recalled GC coach Tod Murphy. “We were a lot more aggressive going to the basket when we broke their press. Last time we didn’t do that.”
Coach Murphy was quick to admit that Eric Demers (37 points) was a key to the win. “It sure helps when Eric is shooting the way he did tonight. It felt like he had forty!”
Actually, Eric had thirty-seven, including twenty in the first half. “Everyone gets open looks when they double-team,” said Eric afterwards. “We moved the ball great and I was fortunate to be the open guy all night long.”
The game was certainly enjoyable to watch with all the fast back-and-forths but not everyone on the GC side was happy about the style of play. “I like the final score but I don’t ever want to play a game like that in my life,” said Coach Murphy. Why? “You just never feel comfortable because they score so many points and they score them so fast. I didn’t clear my bench until there were two minutes left and we had a twenty-point lead!”
This was anyone’s game, considering how fast points were being scored, 7 ½ minutes into the second half. The Scots were in front, 84-79, but it was far from a comfortable lead.
Five + minutes later, things were a whole lot different. During that time, UNE missed all eleven shots from the floor, while the Scots went off with twenty-four points.
The beauty of those breakaway twenty-four points was that seven different players (Eric Demers, Jaren Yang, Josh Crutchfield, Avelino Damoura, Matt Valles, Josh Ribeiro, and Jake Haar) contributed.
That sparkling display of scoring separated GC from the team from Biddeford, 108-81, with seven minutes to go. Still time enough for UNE’s instant offense and turnover-causing pressure to usher them back into the game but on this evening the Scots turned the UNE pressure into open looks (and points) the rest of the way and took the victory.
I have a hunch that several Gordon single-game records were broken in tonight’s win: most points (126), most assists (30), most blocks (11), and most made 3-point shots (18).
Quietly, among all the long-range shooting, Garrisson Duvivier had yet another double/double. The talented junior put 18 points together with 15 rebounds. Garrisson now has seven straight games with Double D’s and thirteen for the season.
After a look at the scoresheet I found additional good news: the GC freshman had a remarkable night.
Career highs for the Class of 2020: Matt Valles 9 rebounds, Parker Omslaer 10 points, Josh Crutchfield 8 assists, and Avelino Damoura 9 points.
Who’s Avelino Damoura? “He transferred from WPI,” explained Coach Murphy, “and they don’t recruit slouches. He’s going to be a good one for us.”
Eric Demers added, “He (Avelino) is going to help us a lot in the future.”
Missing from the game was Noah Szilagyi. Noah has been hospitalized with pneumonia. “I was a little nervous going into the game without Noah because he spreads the floor for us,” said Eric of his teammate.
I mentioned after the last game (Curry) how important the following four home games were. Three of the teams had beaten GC the first time around. UNE was one of those.
Next opponent will be Nichols on Saturday (3PM). The top-seeded Bison shot over 50% against Gordon last time and collected 100 points and won convincingly in Dudley.
Nichols is 9-2 in the CCC. The Scots are 8-3. A battle for the top spot will play out on Saturday afternoon.
I saw, via the excellent UNE web broadcast, the Nor’Easters defeat Endicott and Nichols in Biddeford this past week.
UNE (9-9) is now 2-6 on the road.
I asked UNE coach Silva about transforming his team into the new style of play. “I looked at the players we were returning, as well as the recruits, and knew that we didn’t have the size to match up with other teams. The running/pressing style was the best fit to get the most out of the players we would have. The returning players were shocked by the change at first but they’ve made it work.”
Wentworth is tied for second in the CCC. Tonight Curry almost got them in overtime.
Eric Demers 31
Garrisson Duvivier 28
Josh Crutchfield 17 (8 assists)
Parker Omslaer 16
Jaren Yang 15 (8 assists)
(All pictures will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)