(Wenham MA) “We were dying for a win, for sure,” said Eric Demers afterwards.
Gordon defeated Roger Williams, 83-74, and stopped their slide toward exclusion from the post-season Commonwealth Coast Conference post-season tournament.
Gordon (6-7) has three games remaining (Salve Regina,UNE,Nichols) against teams with something in common….they all beat the Scots in the first meeting.
The Hawks (6-8) now have lost twice to Gordon giving the Scots the tie-breaker over them.
“We have to win another game to have a chance to make the tournament,” said RW coach Mike Tully.
The Hawks trailed the entire way tonight.
The visitors from Bristol (RI) started the night with a segment that included five missed shots and four turnovers. That got them down, 10-0.
In the second half, RW was within two (47-45) three minutes into the half. Four minutes later the Hawks were still stuck at 45 while the home team had put fourteen unanswered points together.
Five missed three’s and two turnovers caused this RW scoring drought.
Meanwhile, the Scots shot 5-for-6 with Eric Demers (31 points) getting two layups and a triple and GC had a 61-45 lead.
The Hawks would get within nine twice the rest of the way but never closer.
“Every time we made a run, they answered it,” said Coach Tully.
Eric was part of the Gordon “answer” with his thirty-one points. This is the 14th straight game he’s reached at least thirty.
“If you’d told me at the beginning of the season that this would happen, I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Eric.
How has it been possible? “My teammates find me, and my coach gives me the green light. They believe in me and that builds my confidence.”
Gordon coach Tod Murphy wasn’t feeling sorry for Roger Williams but added, “Two of our best defensive games turned out to be against them. If we play defense, we can beat everyone in the conference, if we don’t play defense, we can lose to everyone.”
Junior Parker Omslaer was strong on both ends against Roger Williams.
“He had zero fouls and he protected the rim,” said Eric.
On offense, he tied a career high with 23 points including nine-of-ten free throws.
“I knew that I could beat any one of them,” explained Parker afterwards. “So I knew that they’d have to double me or I’d do my thing down low.”
“Parker is starting to get his confidence back,” said Coach Murphy. “He’s getting his stroke back at the foul line. When he’s hitting free throws, he’s doing much more inside. When he’s not making them, he doesn’t go to the basket aggressively because he doesn’t want to get fouled.”
Parker talked about Gordon’s good defense: “Whenever the guards funneled their guys to me, I made sure to stay straight up and made sure that they didn’t get any easy buckets on me.”
Coach Murphy: “They weren’t real effective against Parker and our bigs. We were able to get spread out and get to the other shooters. This is what the defense is supposed to look like.”
The Scots win tonight ends a 2-game losing streak in which the defense was anything but good. “Our problem in our last two games has been our defense,” said Parker. “We weren’t rotating and getting to the shooters.”
Coach Murphy: “Parker is capable of scoring against any of the bigs in our conference. He’s not as explosive as Hans (Miersma) but he has a great right and left hand. When Parker’s on, we’re pretty tough to beat.”
The new Gordon scoreboard that came into use in the new year has the point totals of the players on the floor. I asked Eric if he ever sneaks a look at it during the game. “I see the numbers up there, but I try not to pay attention to it. But the new scoreboard is really bright and it’s hard not to look at it.”
Doug Hosteller (19 points) and Eli Harris (18 points) were the top scorers for RW. JJ Pfohl handed out seven assists.
Gordon will be in Newport (Salve Regina) on Saturday. Their next (and last?) home game will be on Wednesday against UNE. The Scots finish the regular season, and hopefully not the season, at Nichols on February 22nd.
Among the spectators was Austin Coene. The former Hawk and former CCC MVP now works in Waltham. “I work with pension plans and everything else. It’s awful watching. I want to play so bad. I still play in men’s leagues, so I’m not totally washed up yet!”
The Gordon women added another victory to their already remarkable season defeating Roger Williams, 58-56.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)