(Wenham MA) Entertaining. Fast paced. Exciting to the very end.
Those descriptions fit this afternoon’s non-league Gordon game with Worcester State.
The final score? Now, that’s not so entertaining to the home folks in the Bennett Center on Saturday afternoon: Worcester State 93, Gordon 89.
The Lancers (8-5) have now won four straight. The Scots (4-6) have now lost four of their last five games.
Gordon will be filling the rest of the regular season with Commonwealth Coast Conference games starting on Tuesday night (5:30PM) against UNE.
This game was entertaining because neither team let a deficit discourage them. By my count, there were eleven ties and ten lead changes. You expected that the team ahead would get caught and expected a comeback from the team trailing.
The Scots rode the long ball (13 three’s – season high) to stay in contention. Jaren Yang’s 3-pointer with twenty seconds left was their last one and it put GC within a point.
This game was certainly played at top speed. Missed shots turned into quick shots down the other end with regularity. And both teams seemed comfortable playing that way. Set plays? Not on this afternoon.
In the last 1 ½ minutes of the game a collection of two’s enabled the Lancers to get the win. The “two connection” started after the Scots were up one (86-85) with 1:30 left and had the ball.
During the possession, Garrisson Duvivier attempted two shots from in close. Both shots were rejected by 6-9 Paul Brooks. Paul secured the ball after the second block and sent teammate Bilal Shakir off on a fast break. Bilal stayed in the middle and found Ryan DiBernardo cutting in from his right to put WS ahead by a point.
After Eric Demers missed a three, Bilal came back for his second assist in less than a minute as he set up Marquez McKreith-Collins for a successful three putting WS in front, 90-86. Marquez’s three turned out to be decisive.
After a hurry-up three-pointer by Jaren and two free throws (Alex Santos), Eric Demers had two 3-point attempts in a possession either of which could have tied the score but not on this afternoon. The freshman had no time to square to the basket on either shot. Stephan Curry probably would have made both for his 50th point of the game …………but I digress.
Watching 6-9 Paul Brooks in action reminded me of how the Scots were for four years with 6-9 Hans Miersma in action. It wasn’t just the shots that were blocked by either of them it was also the shots that were discouraged by them. Paul had eight blocks in this one and none bigger than the two he had late in the game.
Jaren Yang’s twenty points today were a career high for the sophomore. Jaren had eighteen last season versus Wentworth.
Freshman Noah Szilagyi reached a season high in points with seventeen. Noah came off the bench hot and nailed five three’s along the way.
Freshman Alex Santos of WS finished with nineteen points however seventeen of them came in the second half. His two end-game free throws were pressure-packed and a key piece in the Lancers victory.
Paul Brooks 29 (9 rebounds/eight blocks/7-of-8 shooting)
Jaren Yang 19
Marquez McKreith-Collins 18 (17 pts/7 of 8 FTs)
Noah Szilagyi 18
Bilal Shakir 17 (20 pts/6 assists/3 steals)
Worcester State 103
Worcester State has beaten Roger Williams, Wentworth, and Gordon in a five-day period.
The Scots hadn’t played in three weeks but did not look like it. And they nearly beat a very good team.
Gordon plays at home on the next five Saturdays.
It was nice to see that GC did not suffer any academic casualties. Trust me, that hasn’t always been the case.
A goodly number of close friends and family did attend this game. The Gordon students are back on January 13th.
What are the chances? While shopping in a thrift shop in Pennsylvania after Christmas, I discovered a Gordon College Fighting Scots sweatshirt on a rack. $4 later that sweatshirt was ours. I am guessing that the sweatshirt might go for a bit more in the GC bookstore.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)