Tag Archives: Gordon College men’s basketball

Gordon Loses to Tufts Despite Shooting Over 50%

Ben Ferris (5) soars in for a layup.

Park Thomas (33) looks to pass

(Wenham) The fifty of us on hand at the Bennett Center saw plenty of offense as Tufts (7-3) defeated Gordon, 85-78, on Tuesday night.

Those 78 points were a record for this year’s (3-6) Scots and they shot over 50% to get there.

David Dempsey paced Gordon with season highs in points (25) and blocks (3).

Alex Orchowski led Tufts with twenty-three points and ten rebounds.

Considering that Tufts had defeated two teams (Babson & Salem State) that had mauled the Scots, this was surprisingly competitive. There were thirteen lead changes in the first half with Gordon ahead, 35-34, at the half.  The Jumbos moved in front for good early in the second half but never were able to put the margin above twelve the rest of the way thanks to solid Scot shooting.

Kwame Firempong (12) shoots - David Dempsey (25) defends

This was a non-conference game.  The Scots are 2-0 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference and face long-time rival Eastern Nazarene on Saturday (3PM) at the Bennett Center before traveling to UNE (Biddeford ME) on Tuesday night.

Tufts gets its NESCAC schedule started this Friday night at Williams (8-1 – #7 in D3 Hoops) and Saturday afternoon at Middlebury (8-0 – #1 in D3 Hoops).  That’s what I call a challenge!

As I said, Gordon made this one interesting with excellent shooting.  They could have made things “very” interesting if they had shot better from the foul line (13-for-24) and managed the ball better.

The Scots turnover stat (15) appears not that out of the ordinary until you learn that the Jumbos scored THIRTY points off of those turnovers.  In football you get the “pick six,” on an interception that results in a score. Gordon had way too many “pick two’s” and “steal two’s” in this one.

David Dempsey (25 points) defended by Scott Anderson (52)

The visitors put this game out of reach early in the second half when they outscored the Scots, 10-2, in the first 4+ minutes.  Their last basket in this segment was a real killer as in that possession they corralled three offensive rebounds before James Long hit a jumper.

Other than that rebounding lapse the Scots more than held their own with a team that had averaged eleven more rebounds than each of their nine previous opponents.  They only had one more rebound than Gordon (37-36).

The Scots have now lost three straight (again).  However, I think that the toughness of the previous three opponents will make them a stronger team in the CCC.  I doubt that any team could look at the box scores of the team’s first nine games and detect any sort of pattern that could be easily prepared for.

I cringe to think that there could be more ENC fans in the stands than Gordon fans on Saturday.  The students aren’t back until the middle of the month.

(The pictures enlarge if you click on them.)

pregame repairs

CJ Moss (3) dribbles

James Long (55) shoots in traffic

Hans Miersma in close

tight Tufts defense

Alex Orchowski - 23 points & 10 rebounds

Luke Hamilton gets facial

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Filed under 2011-12 Gordon College men's basketball, Tufts University

First look, for me, at the 2011-12 Gordon College Fighting Scots

I brought my camera to our Fighting Scots’ scrimmage tonight.  This is what I saw.

I decided not to label the pictures because, quite simply, I don’t know some of the players’ names…….yet.  The season starts at home in a week against Babson.

If you click on these thumbnail-size pictures they become normal size.  How many players in the pictures can you identify???

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Filed under 2011-12 Gordon College men's basketball

Help Is On the Way

These three high schools seniors have agreed to enroll at Gordon College.  I have seen each of them play.

Jason Dempsey

Jason? Yes, that is David’s brother. In the game of his that I saw in Connecticut he was a tireless defender and an opportunist on offense. The points he scored were on offensive rebounds.

Hans Miersma

Hans? He is 6’9″ and can block shots and dunk. He could be the best inside prospect Gordon has ever recruited. It will be interesting to watch how he functions in the physically challenging Commonwealth Coast Conference.

Taylor Bajema

Taylor? Yes, this is Brady’s brother. He’s a risk-taker on offense and defense reminding me more of Aaron Trigg than his brother. He’ll often make things happen on either end and most of it is good. I saw him make big-time clutch free throws in the Massachusetts D3 state championship game to give his dad’s Whitinsville Christian team the 2011 state title this past March.

I’m suspecting that this threesome will be a lot of fun to watch over the next four seasons.

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Gordon Makes the Playoffs Despite Last-Game Loss to Salve Regina

Garrett Harden's late three put Gordon close (58-55) with forty-eight seconds left.

Gordon defense draws a charge on senior Windell Hinkson.

(Newport RI) Gordon defeats Salve Regina and everything was simple – they’re in the eight-team, post-season tournament.  Gordon loses to Salve Regina and they need help from elsewhere to get in.

Because there were four games where a favorable result would get the Scots in, I wasn’t too worried as I watched them lose to the Seahawks, 63-55, on Saturday afternoon in the final regular season game.

If I’d only known.  Three of those games ended up going against Gordon and only Wentworth’s win over New England gave the Scots the chance to play a tournament game (against Anna Maria) on Tuesday night (7PM in Paxton MA). 

But in they are as the 8th seed and maybe, just maybe, they can still be standing a week from today with a second straight Commonwealth Coast Conference championship.  Sounds like a reach but the Scots have looked very good at times in February.  Gordon has also won the first-round game in the CCC tourney five straight seasons.  Who knows?

Salve Regina (14-10/8-5) had the Senior Day thing going and although the team had already qualified for the playoffs they might have a chance, with a win, to get a first-round home game.  Didn’t work out that way when the final seedings kicked in (Salve will travel to Regis) but the Seahawk seniors played with some special intensity in the win.

The Scots (11-14/7-6) were a step slow in the first half while the Seahawks suffered the same malady during the first fifteen minutes of the second half.  This game came down to the last five minutes with the score tied at 49-49.

The rest of the way the home team took care of the ball and made shots.  The visitors…….not so well.

A mystery Scot gets caught in the pastry shop while Austin Bentson and David Dempsey wait outside.

During the end game, SRU missed one shot from the floor and had one turnover while Gordon missed five shots and had four turnovers.

The Seahawks outscored the Scots 14-6 in the last five minutes, however, within those closing five minutes a Garrett Harden three with 48 seconds left actually cut the SRU lead down to 58-55. 

If Gordon had played some special defense and make a shot or two during the last forty-eight seconds this one could have been won but what we got was a foul that led to a free throw, a turnover that led to a layup, and a blocked shot that led to yet another layup.  I guess you could say that we didn’t close well!

The bad ending did lead to the misleading final score.  This was a game that could have gone Gordon’s way.

The first half, Gordon looked as if they had walked the entire nearby Cliff Walk just before game time. 

During one 7 ½ minute segment the Scots scored one basket and had six turnovers as SRU went on a 15-2 tear.  Windell Hinkson dazzled with seven straight points in forty-five seconds.  Surprisingly, those were the only points the CCC 3rd scorer (16.9PPG) would get in thirty-seven minutes.

That run put the Seahawks ahead, 24-10.  A couple of Garrett Harden 3’s were part of a 12-3 response by the Scots to cut the margin to 27-22 with 3 ½ minutes left.  Gordon made just one shot the rest of the way and trailed, 36-26, at halftime.

For fifteen minutes in the second half it looked as if Salve had taken a lengthy stroll on the Cliff Walk during halftime. 

Suddenly, Gordon started putting up points and the Seahawks had no answers.  In 6+ minutes, Greg Walker (15 points) hit six points worth of inside shots and a jumper, Austin cashed in a turnover, and Park Thomas nailed a couple of 3’s.  When that lovely slice of offense ended a 38-26 deficit had turned into a 42-39 Gordon lead with 11:45 left.

Ryan Birrell - very important in the Seahawk victory

Seniors Ryan Birrell (13 points)  and Dan Royce (13 points) had everything to do with breaking the Gordon momentum.  They tallied all of SRU’s next ten points supplying answers to Gordon baskets. 

This all led down to a tie score (49-49) and the final five minutes which were described above.

I was familiar with the seniors – Ryan Birrell, Dan Royce, and Windell Hinkson but not freshman Patrick Dinneen.  He offset Windell limited point production with a team-leading fourteen points and three steals. 

Both Greg Walker (15 points/12 rebounds) and David Dempsey (13 points/12 rebounds) registered double/doubles.  Garrett have four 3’s to get his twelve points.

Greg Walker gets inside Dan Royce (#13) for a first half layup.

David and Greg each faced denial defense in close and double teams when they received passes.  They ended up a combined 11-for-30.  That has to somehow improve on Tuesday night.  Greg had 26 points last time at home versus Anna Maria.

The free throw shooting was dicey by both teams.  SRU missed five of them in the last four minutes and in the process allowed Gordon to hang around longer than they should have.

On February 13, 2003 Gordon defeated Anna Maria, 73-50, at the Bennett Center.  The team finished the season with a 20-5 record and faced Anna Maria again this time in the post-season tournament.  A quirk in the playoff schedule forced Gordon to play at Anna Maria despite the Scots having a much better conference record.  The Scots ended up on the wrong end of a shocking upset, 75-67.  Well, here we are nearly eight years later and Anna Maria has had a wonderful season (18-7 overall – 11-2 in the conference).  Gordon, on the other hand, barely (Thanks, Coach Devitt!) even got into the playoffs.  Wouldn’t a shocking upset on Tuesday night be fun to write about??

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Filed under 2010-11 Gordon College men's basketball, Anna Maria, Salve Regina

Gordon Honors Seniors and Defeats Western New England

The Pit cheers for seniors Austin Bentson and Greg Walker.

Greg Walker reached 1000 career points this season and was presented a commemorative basketball by Coach Tod Murphy.

(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.

The Walkers (Suzanne, Greg, Kevin) with Coach Murphy.

Tod Murphy with the Bentsons (Wendy, Austin, and Bob).

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.

Two of David Dempsey's seventeen points.

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.

I saw a couple of blocked shots.  JT Himmelstein got one on a driving Chris Devine and I later saw Jordan Kelly do the same to Brad Thomka.

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.

Defense collapsed on Greg

"I haven't fouled anyone in four years"

Wendy Bentson & Suzanne Walker


Mike Schnackenberg jokes with Brady Bajema


JT chases a turnover.

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Filed under 2010-11 Gordon College men's basketball, Tod Murphy, Western New England

Championship Banner and Improved Effort Displayed

Team members prepare to pull the ropes that will unfurl the CCC basketball championship banner.

Mitchell Kate's defense (7 steals) and offense (game high 23 points) paced MIT.

(Wenham)  On a Saturday afternoon when the 2009-10 Commonwealth Coast Conference banner went on display in the Bennett Center rafters, the current Scots raised the spirits of the Gordon faithful with a good effort against powerhouse MIT.

The Scots (2-5) lost 92-73 but upgraded their play (48.2% shooting and 18 turnovers) considerably.  Two days ago against Bates, the Scots had just 37 points and 32 turnovers. 

A school official from Kansas told me afterwards, “This kind of effort will win them (Gordon) games the rest of the season.” 

However, against a team like MIT (6-1), ranked 20th in the country by D3 Hoops, even an excellent effort wasn’t enough.  The Engineers could make shots and they had Mitchell Kate.

First the MIT shooting.  It was 53.2% overall but the 3-point accuracy (14-for-25) was the eye catcher.  Shooting that way away from home is very impressive.  Rolling up 56 points in the first half wasn’t too shabby either as was their 12-for-12 from the foul line.

Mitchell Kate is a special player.  The 6-1 sophomore is hard not to watch because his leadership on the offensive end is so obvious.  I saw him last year make shots and set up teammates.  A year later, he’s still doing it.  Look at this stat line – 10-for-15 shooting (23 points) and 8 assists.  He made a desperation runner at the halftime buzzer that had me thinking Ray Allen.  But does Mitchell play defense?  How do 7 steals sound to you?

Gordon surprised a lot of us with a hot-shooting start hitting eight of their first twelve shots and carrying a 20-18 advantage after 8 ½ minutes (20-18). 

The next six possessions didn’t go as well – three missed shots and three turnovers.  Meanwhile the Engineers put together fourteen points on their six possessions, taking the lead for good (30-20) in the process. 

Austin Bentson - matched his career high with 16 points

Later in the half, the Scots rode a couple of crowd-pleasing, Austin Bentson 3’s to close to 35-30 but MIT answered with seven straight and had the lead up to 56-40 at the half.

In my opinion, the biggest positive from this game was that the team played MIT practically even in the second half.  That’s the effort that the school official from Kansas was referring to, I suspect. 

MIT ended up with 92 points and had four players (Mitchell-23, Jamie Karraker-21, Will Tashman-15, and Billy Bender-11) in double figures.  Will also added ten rebounds.

Greg Walker (21 points) paced the Scots despite heavy coverage all game.  Austin Bentson matched his career high with 16 points.  David Dempsey had 11 points with 5 assists and 3 steals.  David was also 3-for-3 from the foul line after suffering with 13-for-30 during the first six games.

The unfurling of the championship banner prior to the game was special.  Just over nine months ago (February 27th) the Scots defeated Curry, 56-54, at the Bennett Center to secure their first CCC basketball title.  All five seniors (Brady/Aaron/Timmy/Ben/Jeff) from that team were on hand as well as the adult , Triggs, Derrs, and Bajemas

The Scots return to action at 7PM on Thursday night against never-played-before Wesleyan.  The Bennett Center crowds have been a bit sparse lately especially in The Pit.  Has studying become more important than team support? 

JT and Mitchell part with a handshake.

I liked the effort of the team in general and specifically the effort of JT Himmelstein.  JT’s special effort was after the game when he sought out Mitchell Kate.  During the second half, Mitchell victimized JT and headed off for a layup.  JT caught him and wrapped him up so that he couldn’t shoot.  They both went down pretty hard and the referee gave JT a flagrant foul.  In some settings there could have been some real trouble thereafter but there wasn’t at the Bennett Center on this afternoon.  After the game, JT talked with Mitchell and they seemed to part peacefully.  Nicely done!

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Filed under 2010-11 Gordon College men's basketball, MIT

Gordon Survives UNE’s Long-Range Attack to Win 20th

Brady is awarded commemorative basketball by Coach Tod Murphy for reaching 1000 career points.

(Wenham) Gordon (20-4/11-1) reached twenty wins for the second straight season defeating unorthodox UNE, 64-61, at the Bennett Center on Wednesday evening.

The visiting Nor’easters (11-12/7-5) relied heavily on long-range shooting (12-for-35) while keeping Gordon under wraps from the same distance.  It nearly worked.  The Scots suffered through a 1-for-11 evening from long distance.

UNE poured in three of those 3’s during a little over thirty seconds in the last minute of the game and a comfortable Gordon 61-50 advantage with 46 seconds left shrunk to 63-59 with ten seconds left.  An Austin Bentson free throw (11 points) was offset by a couple of Kadare Brown free throws but UNE never got into a position where they could tie or win on a possession late. 

This was a game of extreme highs and lows unlike any I’ve seen this season. 

At the start, Aaron Trigg scored on a layup after a nice feed from Brady Bajema.  These would be Aaron’s only points of the half.

The University of New England followed with fifteen straight points.  Their full-court pressure caused four turnovers and Gordon burned a couple of timeouts.  When was the last time the Scots trailed, 15-2, at home?

A three from Marcus Winn (10 points) gave UNE a solid 19-6 advantage seven minutes into the game.  However, the rest of the half was all Gordon as they came all the way back.  David Dempsey’s 3-point play assisted by Greg Walker gave Gordon a 25-22 lead with 1 ½ minutes left.  JD Winn’s layup ended the half at 25-24.

Kadare Brown - Scored 23 points including eight in the last minute.

The second half?  Off to the races went UNE at the start, getting the first eight points as 3’s by Kadare Brown and Ryan Knotek plus a layup by Kadare had the Scots on their heels (32-25) after 2 ½ minutes had gone by.

Not to worry, back came Gordon with ten straight to regain the lead (35-32).  The last two baskets were a layup and a breakaway, crowd-pleasing dunk by Ben Gaskill.

That lead would stretch to 46-36 after a put-back by David Dempsey.  You sensed that maybe Gordon would pull away and make the ending comfortable.  Not tonight.

4 ½ minutes later, the Scots returned to the hang-on-for-dear-life mode after Marcus Winn hit consecutive 3’s to tighten things (51-49) with three minutes left. 

However, just as suddenly, UNE fell apart.  The Scots paraded to the free throw line and made ten-of-eleven while UNE had one free throw to go along with a string of misses and a technical foul (Keith Beasley).  This segment got Gordon to a lead of 61-50 with 46 seconds left before UNE came back to life with 3’s and made things exciting at the end.

“High scorer,” and “Austin Bentson,” has never been in the same sentence before but his eleven points earned the honor on this night. 

UNE came in with the best defense in the CCC against the 3-point shot.  The Scots are believers now as they shot just 1-for-11 from long range.  Neither Brady nor Aaron could connect.

Freshman Kadare Brown (23 points) registered 18 of those points in the second half including eight in the last minute. 

Ben Gaskill - career high 16 rebounds and super defensive effort

Ben Gaskill was the key piece in the Gordon win.  He established a new career high in rebounds (16) getting eleven of them in the second half.  More important could well have been the defensive job he did on Quentin Thompson, arguably UNE’s best player.  Ben took away the inside from Quentin and the sophomore’s outside game (3-for-17) was missing. 

So Gordon gives up a 15-point run, gets no 3’s from Aaron and Brady, surrenders eleven points in the last minute, and yet still wins.  Is this where I’m supposed to say, “Good teams find a way to win?”  There, I’ve said it.

The Scots continue to surprise me with their handling of full-court pressure.  Only six of their fifteen turnovers happened in the second half. 

Brady was awarded a basketball commemorating his arrival into the 1000-point club.  Brady is currently at 1083, just behind Justin Kaufman (1088) for 15th place all-time. 

Aaron is at 1515 points and closing in on 4th all-time scorer Steve Heinz at 1545.

Ben, with 532 career rebounds, has Mike Herr (559) ahead of him as Gordon’s 3rd all-time rebounder.

Saturday at the Bennett Center is the game before which the seniors get recognition.  It is hard to imagine next year’s team minus; Jeff Derr, Aaron Trigg, Brady Bajema, Tim MacDonnell, and Ben Gaskill. 

The opponent on Saturday is Salve Regina.  This team won’t make the CCC tournament so they could have plenty of motivation to end their season with a win over the CCC’s best regular-season team on its home court.

box score

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Filed under Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10, Salve Regina, UNE