Category Archives: Union

Strong Second Half Sends Gordon Past Union in Tourney Opener

Brady Bajema - Paced Gordon with 20 points and solid defense.

(Schenectady) In the first ten minutes of the second half, Gordon (6-3) missed two shots and turned the ball over three times.  That’s the bad news.  The good news?  During the same ten minutes, they poured in 25 points from everywhere and changed a 30-28 close one at halftime to a 55-33 runaway at Union College (3-6).

The final score was 69-47 but this one unofficially ended during the pleasant-to-behold first ten minutes of the second half.

The win on Monday night starts 2010 off in nice fashion and puts the Scots in against Montclair State for the Sig Makofski Tournament Championship at 8PM tomorrow (Tuesday) night. 

Montclair State’s athleticism in their win over Elms reminded me of last year’s University of New England team.  Trust me, the Scots will be tested in protecting the ball and will need good shooting in both halves to win the championship.  By the way, the Scots did win the championship two years ago defeating Union.

In the Gordon/Union game both teams fell in love with the 3-point shot during the first half and proved that it wasn’t a shot that either of them could make very often – Union 2 for 12, Gordon 2 for 10.  

The Dutchmen grabbed a 12-8 lead early on when Drew Goldstein (9 points) hit a long one.  They still led 15-13 (11:51) as Evan Croll made an old-fashioned three drawing Brady Bajema’s 2nd foul in the process.

The next 8 ½ minutes Gordon started turning up layups with excellent passing and tallied seventeen points.  Meanwhile Union collected just five points during the same stretch.  So, with 3:15 left in the half the Scots led 30-19. 

The Dutchmen responded with nine unanswered points to close to 30-28 and have everyone wondering what might happen in the second half.

As I wrote above, Gordon came out making shots in the second half, especially three’s.  If I asked you to guess the two players doing most of the damage from long range, you’d guess right – Brady Bajema (20 points) and Aaron Trigg (15 points/8 assists).

2 ½ minutes into the second half, Brady had two 3’s and Aaron one.  Union?  They hadn’t scored yet and trailed 39-28.  Later Brady turned a steal into a layup but shortly thereafter had his 3rd foul and went to the bench. 

A Drew Goldstein free throw made the score 46-33 with 12 minutes left.  Plenty of time if the Dutchmen could make some shots.  What followed, however, was yet another trio of Gordon treys (Aaron, Jeff Derr, Brady) and what might have been for Union wasn’t anymore – 55-33.

Both teams ended up playing every player on their roster.  Maybe the shorter minutes for the Gordon starters tonight will help against Montclair State tomorrow night.

Joey Lokitis - Limited to just two points by Gordon defense

The defensive job Brady and Timmy MacDonnell did on Union’s Joey Lokitis was notable.  The Dutchmen senior came in averaging 16.4ppg.  In this one, he had only two free throws.  He did get off a number of NBA-range three’s.

The Scots had numerous passes inside for layups.  I’m not sure if that was because of the Union defense or some practice upgrades in that department.  Union was unable to defend Greg Walker (17 points) down low with just one player.

Ben Gaskill did not get his fifth straight double-digit rebound game.  Maybe it’s the new facial look?

An unusual stat for Union was that they had just seven fouls during the entire game.  There were plenty of shots to be had by Gordon throughout the game.  Fortunately, for the Scots they fell in the second half.

Matt Covucci paced Union with 12 points. 

The Dutchmen will have plenty of trouble with athletic Elms in the consolation game tomorrow night.  Maybe those 3-point shots will fall.  It sure would help them. 

Pregame gathering at Union College

 Boxscore

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Filed under Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10, Union, Union Tournament 2010

Gordon Ends Two-Game Slide With Win Over Wheelock

The Gordon dance team does some toss-and-catch during halftime

(Wenham) Gordon (5-3) turned up the defense in the second half and put away visiting Wheelock, 66-50, in nonleague action at the Bennett Center on Tuesday night.

Ben Gaskill - His defensive effort keys Gordon win vs Wheelock

The Scots team defense was excellent in the second half (Wheelock shot only 22.2%) but individually it was the full-game defense of Ben Gaskill that was an eye-catcher.  Matched up against the Wildcats top scorer (Sherard Robbins – 16.8 PPG) Ben contested the Wheelock senior into a 2-for-15 evening and just 4 points.  Ben also took in eleven rebounds to extend his double-digit rebound games to four straight.

With the win, Gordon (5-3) puts behind it the painful losses to Endicott and MIT.  Ahead is the Union College (Schenectady NY) tournament on January 4th in which the Scots take on Union in an 8PM start.

Wheelock (4-2) hosts Endicott on Saturday. The Wildcats basketball program is in just its third year of existence.  This season they have seven Commonwealth Coast Conference teams on their schedule. 

The Boston-based school has the disadvantage of playing/practicing away from campus at Pine Manor in Chestnut Hill.  Anyone tuned into Gordon’s basketball past can recall the pre-Bennett Center, pre-Rhodes Gymnasium days at Hamilton-Wenham Regional, Bessie Buker in Wenham, and before that Beverly Memorial. 

The Boston Globe had a nice article on Wheelock basketball.

Those of us at the Bennett Center didn’t know how this game would end up after one half.  The score was tied (29-29) and the lack of whistles (nine total fouls) was noticeable.  I understand that teams can defend without fouling but this was ridiculous.

In that whistle-free first half the Scots built up a 24-15 advantage after thirteen minutes before Wheelock’s run of ten unanswered points put them in front, 29-26 with two minutes left.  An Aaron Trigg 3 accounted for the tie score at halftime.

Of special note in that first half were the nine Gordon assists.  I will never get tired of watching Aaron and Brady set each other up for three’s.  That maneuver has happened so often over the past seasons that there isn’t a team on the Gordon schedule that doesn’t try to prepare for it.  A telling measure of the Wheelock defense was that both shooters had open looks that they hadn’t seen for a few games.

The Wildcats got the lead in the second half after a possession in which Jeff Derr had two blocks.  Eric Rice fielded the second block and hit a jumper.  Wheelock was ahead 36-35 after three minutes. 

The next 5 ½ minutes were all Gordon.  The defense tightened team-wise and those who normally carry the scoring load for the Scots carried it.  Brady hit a couple of three’s assisted by Aaron and Aaron notched a couple of layups one assisted by Brady.  Also in this 13-2 run, Greg converted a rebound.  The 6’7” junior totaled a season-high thirteen boards in this game to go with sixteen points. 

This crucial surge gave the home team a 48-38 lead with 11:20 to go.  Not insurmountable normally with all that time left but with first-rate, Gordon team defense out in force, Wheelock couldn’t get closer than eight points the rest of the way.

A stat that didn’t materialize was Wheelock steals.  They came in averaging 12 per game and I assumed that they would press effectively.  They did get eight steals but most of them came from Gordon frontcourt lapses.  No, I’m not going to beat that point-guard dead horse again!

Aaron Trigg - Has four 20-point games so far

Aaron has had four 20-point games in his last five.  The only exception was the short-minutes ENC blowout. 

TOMORROW (Wednesday) night you might want to check out a game in the Midwest.  The Washington University Bears (2009 D3 national champs and currently ranked #1 in D3Hoops) are hosting the Wheaton Thunder (ranked #8 in D3Hoops).  The Bears are undefeated and Wheaton has lost once.  The Washington website says the game will be fed live.  I think that game starts at 8PM our time. 

I trust that the significance of Christ’s birth does not get lost in the numerous distractions of the days ahead.  “Wise men still seek Him.”

Boxscore

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Gordon captains with championship trophy at Union tournament 1-5-08

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Brady Bajema, Jon Marstaller, and Aaron Trigg with awards from Union Tournament 1-5-08

Brady and Jon made the All-Tourney team.  Aaron was the MVP.

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Jesse With the Championship Trophy 1-5-08

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Scots Are Tournament Winners in New York – Game #10

(Schenectady NY)  The Fighting Scots have won their 2nd tournament of the season – remember the Tip Off Tournament.  This time it was the Sig Makofski Invitational Tournament played at Schenectady (NY) over the weekend.

“I knew that it would be a tall order to come in here and win two games,” said Gordon coach Mike Schauer afterwards.  But win they did, upsetting highly regarded Plattsburgh State on Friday night (80-62) and coming back this afternoon to take out host Union (60-49).

Brady Bajema (sophomore-6′2″-Whitinsville MA) and Jon Marstaller (senior-6′5″-Naples ME) made the All-Tourney team while Aaron Trigg (sophomore-6′1″-Overland Park KS) collected the Tourney MVP Award.

The 11-point victory spread is very misleading.  Union actually had an 11-point lead (22-11) at 6:31 in the first half and appeared to be in command. 

This led to a Gordon timeout and a small dose of significant shouting.  Things got a whole lot better the rest of the way to say the least.  From that point on the Scots collected 49 points and held the Dutchmen to 25 points.

“We can be bad offensively,” said Coach Schauer.  “Today, however, for whatever reason we played early as if we were disinterested offensively.  That’s unacceptable.” 

After regaining their interest in scoring, the Scots ran off eleven unanswered points to tie the score (24-24) before the half.  Steve Madej’s long one provided the only points that the Dutchmen would get in the last five minutes of the first half but it was enough to give them a 27-24 advantage at half time.

In the second half, a nice combination of tight defense and rejuvenated offense enabled the Scots to build up a 10-point cushion (43-33) at the 12:48 mark.  “It seemed as if for a long stretch of the second half we had only six points,” Union coach Bob Montana accurately recalled.

That lead even reached twelve a couple of times before the home team started to make things interesting.  The last 12-point advantage was at 5:24 after Jon Marstaller made a layup, then stole the inbounds pass, and made yet another layup.  Those quick four looked like backbreakers but the Dutchmen put a six point run together to narrow things to 53-47 with 3 ½ minutes to go.  At this point Aaron Trigg went from participant to MVP with a game-on-the-line three.

“The biggest play of the night was Aaron’s three right in front of our bench,” said Coach Schauer.  “We were scrambling to know what to run.  When he hit that it felt that we regained control.”

Union was forced to foul and  Justin Kaufman (senior-5′11″-Redding CT) made all four of his attempts.  Mike Schnackenberg (senior-6′6″-South Portland ME) missed his only attempt but hustling Jon Marstaller came up with the rebound to keep the clock running.

Both coaches made note of Gordon’s defense.  “Once they got going defensively they became more physical and that affected our ability to run our offense smoothly,” said Coach Montana.  The Dutchmen had several 35-second violations as well as 17 turnovers.  In one first-half sequence, Union turned the ball over on four of five possessions.

Coach Schauer was real pleased with his team’s defense in the second half calling it, “sensational especially on the road.”  He went on to add, “I want to mention Justin (Kaufman) because he didn’t make the all-tournament team but he was absolutely spectacular on defense both nights.  In my world his defense is a pretty valuable thing.”

Aaron Trigg led all scorers with 17 points.  He also had four assists and five steals.  He even had his grandparents from Kansas in the audience.

Union (4-4) was paced by Delon McAllister with 14 points.

Dutchmen coach Bob Montana had kind words for Gordon athletics.  “I think that Gordon is tremendously well coached.  It’s a very class program. When you think about college basketball and college athletics as a whole I think that they epitomize the way it should be.”

The Scots begin their “real” season on Thursday night when they start the Commonwealth Coast Conference part of their schedule against newcomer Regis College at the Bennett Center at 7PM.  There’s no woman’s game.

I was very impressed with Union’s facilities and staff.  They sure made it easy for me even giving me a front row seat.  I was able to get a close-up look at a team that could very well have a very special next couple of months.

Union boxscore 1-5-08

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Filed under Gordon Men's Basketball 2007-08, Union, Union Tournament 2008