Tag Archives: Jake Haar

Gordon Scots lose seven today at 127th commencement

Junior Eric Demers with the seven seniors

Noah Szilagyi and Garrisson Duvivier

(Wenham MA) What weather!

Today was Gordon College’s 127th commencement.

As is our habit, we attend primarily to get one last look at the seniors on the Gordon men’s basketball team.

Seven players graduated this year from a very successful (23-5) team from a roster of sixteen players.

Julie and I always run into people at the graduation that we know connected to Gordon that are not connected to the basketball team.

Beth Moore gets honorary doctorate

Beth Moore was one of the five recipients getting honorary doctorates today.

Back to the weather: sunny in the low 70s.  That doesn’t fit in to anything we’ve had since the snow around here melted.  God was good.

To get a sense of the way the weather has been, the high school baseball team in Falmouth (ME) has had two practices and will be playing ten games in the next twelve days!

So today was truly beautiful on the Gordon campus.

Josh Ribeiro, Luke Meyer, Cody Hunt, Jake Haar, and Brett Bowman

I try to get each of the players in three places; before, on their way to get their diplomas, and afterwards.

Gordon team; past, present, and future

Several group arrangements fell nicely into place afterwards.

I think that this may well be the most significant turnover of players the Scots have ever had.  Six of the graduates were with the program for four years.

Garrisson Duvivier

Gordon’s all-time top scorer (Garrisson Duvivier) is among those moving on.

Point?  That program they have available pregame at home games is going to come in extremely handy in the early games next season!

We certainly wish the graduates well.  It has been our pleasure to watch them.  It has also been nice for us to interact with the parents of the players.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Beth Moore

Val Gin and Brett Bowman

Cody Hunt

Julie and Bess Watson

Jill Kefalas

David and AJ

Garrisson and Eric

Noah and Jake

Jake

Josh Ribeiro

Luke Meyer

Noah Szilagyi

 

 

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Gordon reaches CCC title game after 103-89 win over Roger Williams

Clock runs out on Roger Williams

Garrisson Duvivier (28 points) checks out

(Wenham MA) Big doings in just one game.

Gordon (22-4) outlasted Roger Williams, 103-89, to reach the Commonwealth Coast Conference title game on Saturday at Holy Cross (4:30PM).

But that’s not all.

Senior Garrisson Duviver (28 points) passed Jim Petty to gain the top spot as Gordon’s all-time leading scorer.

The shooting in this game was remarkable.  Defense was being played by both teams, but it didn’t seem to have much effect!

Eli Harris (20 points) made six 3’s for the Hawks

Roger Williams (15-12) made eleven three’s in the first half and still trailed by two (51-49).

“I didn’t know if they were ever going to miss a shot,” said GC coach Tod Murphy post-game.  “At halftime I said, ‘I don’t know whether to be scared out of my mind because we’re shooting and playing so well and only up by two or if I should be thrilled that they’ve made so many three’s (11-for-19) that they can’t keep it up.’”

As it turned out, the Scots (23-4) never cooled off.  In the second half they made nineteen of twenty-seven field goal attempts including an astonishing 7-for-8 from long range.  They were also 7-for-7 from the foul line.

That sort of shooting is hard to match but credit the Hawks, they were still able to be close (85-85) with 5:43 left.

Eric Demers (four assists) passes inside to Garrisson Duvivier

After that?  The team from Bristol (RI) had unproductive possessions while the Scots rolled on in their happy shooting ways.

If you’re looking for big shots, Jake Haar’s two three’s (assisted by Eric Demers) in Gordon’s next three possessions will do.  Garrisson Duvivier had a layup in between the two triples and suddenly Gordon was up, 93-85, with three minutes left.

Again credit RW for hanging in there.  Two Austin Coene (36 points) layups surrounded a Garrisson Duviver turnoever and the Scots’ lead was only four (93-89) with 2:14 left.

Turning point alert: Over the final 2:14 the Hawks didn’t score again.  Missed a jump shot, a layup, a three, and had two turnovers.

Jake Haar (15 points) hit five 3’s for the Scots

Meanwhile, the Scots added two points on each of their final five possessions; layups Eric Demers and Garrisson Duvivier, and free throws Noah Szilagyi (4) and Eric Demers (2).

That closing run was enough to give Gordon a 103-89 semifinals win.

“There is great competition in the CCC,” said Garrisson afterwards.  “In the tournament everyone is coming to play.  Roger Williams brought it tonight.”

There were seven ties and six lead changes.

Noah Szilagyi (14 points)

“It was like the Nichols game and the Wentworth game,” said Coach Murphy.  “I wish we could get up and stay up.”

“You go through highs and you go through lows,” said Garrisson, “but you do it together.  It was our group of guys coming together.  We just kept attacking.”

Gordon will face top seed Nichols (24-2) in the title game.  Five years ago was the last time the Scots got this far.  The opponent then?  Nichols.

“The last time we were in this game was against Nichols,” said Coach Murphy, “and it turned out pretty well.”

Possibly lost in all the interest in Garrisson’s quest to be the GC all-time scorer was the play of the other four starters.

Parker Omslaer – eight points, nine rebounds, 4-for-5 shooting.

Eric Demers (34 points)

Eric Demers – thirty-four points on a very hot 13-for-17 shooting, four assists.

Noah Szilagyi – fourteen points, three steals.

Jake Haar – most 3’s (five) he’s had since Salem State in November, fifteen points, three assists.

It truly was, as Garrisson said, a team effort.

The CCC’s player-of-the year (Austin Coene) was good as usual: 36 points, 6 assists, 8 rebounds.

Austin Coene (36 points)

“Austin is an unbelievable player,” said Coach Murphy. “I’m thrilled not to have to play against him anymore.”

Freshman Eli Harris (20 points) hit six triples for the Hawks.

Coach Murphy on Garrisson: “I didn’t think that he’d score like he’s done.  When I recruited him he weighed about 190 pounds.  He showed up on campus and he was 220.  I said, ‘this is a kid who wants to be the best.’ I knew he wanted it and would work at it.”

Garrisson on being the scoring leader: “It’s a blessing.  I never thought it would happen.  I knew I was close, but I didn’t know if I was going to get it or not.  It’s just the grace of God that has allowed me to be here and doing what I’ve done. The record would have meant nothing if we hadn’t won the game.”

Box from the game

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Austin Coene in the lane

Austin Coene looks for an opening

Avelino Damoura

Drew Hart and Garrisson Duvivier

Eric Demers on the move

Garrisson Duvivier finger roll

Noah Szilagyi in for two

Garrisson Duvivier layup

 

 

 

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Gordon advances after 94-77 win against Wentworth

Noah Szilagyi guards Tyler Lennon

Kyle Henseler shoots from in front of the Gordon student section

(Wenham MA) Wentworth’s record wasn’t that impressive but they had one-possession losses to both #1 Nichols and #2 Gordon.

No question that a quarterfinals matchup with the Leopards presented plenty of risks.

But tonight, the Scots (22-4) were excellent on both ends of the court and defeated Wentworth, 94-77,

Gordon will host Roger Williams on Thursday night at the Bennett Center.

The Scots were desperate for a restart after finishing the season with losses to Nichols and Endicott.

Parker Omslaer had nine rebounds

“I told the team after the Endicott game that we would only be playing one more game if we played selfishly like we just did,” said GC coach Todd Murphy afterwards.  “The guys met on Sunday night and talked about it.”

The seven assists that the Scots totaled against Endicott were more than equaled in just the first half against Wentworth.  The game total was sixteen.

Eric Demers (30) and Garrisson Duvivier (22) led the Gordon scoring but on this, share-the-ball evening, the other three starters contributed significantly.

Noah Szilagyi had seventeen points on seven-for-eleven shooting.  The senior is shooting nearly 65% during the past five games.  Noah also added four assists against WIT.

Parker Omslaer had twelve points and nine rebounds.  He missed only one shot.

Ball off the court

Jack Haar made two 3’s and had two assists.

“There was a lot more ball movement and sharing the ball,” explained Coach Murphy.  “When we do that, we’re at our best.  It’s the only way we’re going to win a championship.”

The visitors didn’t go quietly into the night. They were still hanging around (46-43) at halftime.

“I thought we played pretty well in the first half, but we weren’t getting enough stops,” said Noah Szilagyi.  “We would go on runs but they would always counter them.”

Kyle Henseler had a big night for the Leopards

That continued into the second half.  The Scots went up by nine (52-43) but back came Wentworth on a three by Kyle Henseler (24 points) to narrow the lead to 54-50.

It was still four (60-56) with 12:48 left.  Then Eric Demers scored a layup and hit a three and the GC lead returned to nine (65-56).

Layups by Zach Bergeon and Stephen Azums (16 points) and the Gordon lead was down to five (65-60) with 10:38 remaining.

The Scots finally broke out into a double-digit lead (72-60) after two Eric Demers free throws, a Josh Crutchfield three, and a Parker Omslaer layup.

Jake Haar puts up a three over Gavin Keough

The team from Boston (MA) couldn’t get within ten points over the final 8+ minutes.

“I thought we wore them down in the second half,” said Noah.  “The second half defense was what won the game for us.”

The tighter GC zone limited Wentworth to two made three’s in the second half.

“We couldn’t contain (Kyle) Henseler,” said Coach Murphy, “but we did a better job on Gavin Keough.”  To call the defense on Gavin Keough, “better,” certainly understates tonight’s defense which allowed Gavin no made three’s when he had seven the last time he was in the Bennett Center.

Eric Demers (30 points) in close

By my figuring (unverified by the Gordon Athletic Department), Eric Demers passed two more former players (Woody Anderson & Doug Lindland) and is now third on the GC all-time scoring list with 1647 points.

Garrisson Duvivier, who moved into second place in late January, has now reached 1880 points.  That puts him only twenty-three points away from being Gordon’s top all-time scorer.  Could a semi-finals win and a record-setting performance be taken care of by the end of the game on Thursday night?

Noah on making the CCC 3rd team: “I wasn’t really surprised by it, but it sure made me happy.  I had never set personal goals before, but I did in November and one of them was to earn CCC recognition.”

Garrisson Duvivier (22 points) blocks out

Coach Murphy: “I don’t know how we scored 94 points against a really good defensive team like Wentworth.  We’ll be back in the gym tomorrow night getting ready for Roger Williams.  I’m looking forward to it.  It will be fun,”

Good active crowd again at the Bennett Center.  There’s room for more on Thursday night.

Box from the game

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Tyler Lennon (3) up for a block

Ball in the lane

Garrisson Duvivier fires up the crowd late in the game

Gavin Keough gets to the rim

Loose ball

Noah Szilagyi (17 points) puts up a floater

Parker Omslaer (12 points) shoots over Stephen Azums

 

 

 

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Gordon (21-2) tops Salve Regina 100-86 on Senior Day

Noah Szilagyi (19 points) had fifteen in the first half

Eric Demers (25 points) changes direction

(Wenham MA) Gordon defeated Salve Regina, 100-86, on Saturday afternoon at the Bennett Center.

As a result, the Scots (21-2) will finish either first or second in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

Nichols, with the same record, will visit Gordon on Wednesday night.  The Scots end their regular season at Endicott on Saturday afternoon.

“We have our two toughest games of the season coming up,” said GC coach Tod Murphy afterwards.  “Our guys have faced every single challenge this year and only lost two.”

Senior Jake Haar puts up a three in front of a large Bennett Center crowd

The Scots had wins over both Nichols and Endicott the first time around.

Gordon highlighted their seven seniors before this afternoon’s game and five of them were in the starting lineup against the Seahawks.

“We had a lot of energy right away,” said senior Jake Haar.  “The seniors played well and got us a little bit of a lead.  It was a special day for the seven seniors.”

“Noah (Szilagyi) was hot early and knocked down jump shots from everywhere,” said Coach Murphy.  “I’m not sure he missed a shot.  Luke (Meyer) got us started early on, too.  Everyone contributed.”

Kevin Kelly and Garrisson Duvivier (21 points) in close

Noah finished with nineteen points but had fifteen of them in the first half as Gordon created a double-digit lead at the half (53-39) and never looked back.

Coach Murphy was able to follow the “Senior Day script” perfectly.  The seniors started, including several with limited minutes this season. They came back in the final five minutes, and then were replaced in the closing minutes.

“To be able to put them all back in the game and then be able to take them out and give them a curtain call was a great thing,” explained Coach Murphy.

Avelino Damoura leads a break

Senior Josh Ribeiro had ten points for Gordon

Salve Regina (8-16) fell into the double-digit deficit and on this afternoon didn’t have the defense to slow down the GC offense.  The Seahawks have now lost to Gordon ten straight times.

Salve is currently tied with UNE for the final playoff spot.  The Seahawks have winless Curry left while the Nor’easters finish with Wentworth.

“We moved the ball and when we do that, we’re tough to guard,” said Jake Haar.  “That was evident on the scoreboard.  We have been focusing in practice on moving the ball because we’ll have to against Nichols and Endicott.”

Eric Demers to the rim

Because of the senior celebration, junior Eric Demers didn’t get the minutes he usually gets but he still put up some strong numbers: twenty-five points, five assists, and three steals.

The twenty-five points runs his total to 1567 and gets him past Steve Heintz into sixth place on the all-time scoring list.

Senior Garrisson Duvivier added twenty-one points.  He now has 1809 points and trails Gordon’s all-time leading scorer (Jim Petty) by ninety-three points.  With two regular-season games left, possibly two or three in the CCC tournament, and maybe some in the NCAA tournament, there could be a change atop the GC leader board.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

Freshman David Massillon drives

Best crowd of the season took this one in.  Where have some of them been all season?  The team is 11-0 at home.

Senior Josh Ribeiro had a season-high ten points versus SR.

Jake Haar on his Gordon experience: “It flew by super fast.  I’m very grateful for all four years.  I still remember my first shot as if it was yesterday.  My second shot hit the side of the backboard!”

Plans for next year? “I’m not entirely sure.  I’ll probably end up back in California.  Luke (Meyer) is going to UCI and that’s in my area so I’ll have a buddy out there.  I want to get into sales, either medical equipment or pharmaceutical.”

Formers Jaren Yang, Graham Tienhaara, Udoka Obiora, and Richie Armand were in the house.

Box from the game

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Brett Bowman

Cody Hunt drives

Eric Demers puts up a three

Eric Demers

Garrisson Duvivier to the basket

Noah Szilagyi goes baseline

Noah Szilagyi looks to pass

Luke Meyer to the hoop

Noah Szilagyi makes a save

 

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Gordon (16-1) gets by Salve Regina 79-70 for 15th straight

Noah Szilagyi (20 points) is 18-for-25 shooting three’s over the past five games

Jake Haar (16 points) was clutch from the line in the closing minutes

(Amesbury MA) The good numbers keep piling up.

Gordon stretched their winning streak to fifteen defeating Salve Regina, 79-70, on Wednesday night.

The Scots (16-1) finished a sweep of all eight Commonwealth Coast Conference teams.  There, however, will be a second round and the road to a second sweep will be challenging.

At least as challenging, if not more so, was trying to follow the action on the Salve Regina online connection.  Maybe the regular folks who present the games were on vacation?

But the stats, afterward, were clear to see and the more I looked at them the more pleased I became with the road win over the Seahawks.

What if Eric Demers (22 points per game) or Garrisson Duvivier (13 rebounds per game) didn’t deliver numbers like that?

What if they were both less productive in the same game?

We found our answer tonight………..the Scots keep right on rolling!

How was that possible?  Teammates stepped up and filled the gaps.

I’ve watched enough Patriots’ football to know that their defense is successful because they find ways to take away the things that opponents do best.  Force someone else to beat them and often the opponents can’t do it.

Minimizing Eric and Garrisson revealed that Noah Szilagyi (20 points,4 steals), Jake Haar (16 points, 4-for-4 from the line late in the game), and David Massillon (9 points, 8 rebounds) can step up.

David Massillon (9 points) in the lane

I have learned, however, that with Eric and Garrisson you often find them contributing in places other than their primary areas.

Eric had season lows in shots attempted (10) and points (13) but added eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

Garrsson had season lows in shots taken (6) and rebounds (6) but handed out four assists and had a season high in blocks (5).

So the numbers at the end weren’t what we were used to but they still converged into a winning result.  That’s encouraging to me.

There were several segments of ugly basketball tonight.

In the first half, Gordon went nearly 6 ½ minutes getting just two points.  They missed six shots and had five turnovers yet still led, 24-21.

In the second half, neither teams scored a point during a two-minutes section of back-and-forth action.

The Scots did create good basketball when it was most needed and put this one in the win column in the final three minutes.  SR (7-10) was within one (69-68) but had only a layup to show for the final three minutes.  Gordon, led by freshman David Massillon (4 rebounds, 2 layups) scored ten points.  The final score (79-70) was not indicative of how the game went.

On Saturday the Scots start Round Two at Western New England.  The projected snowstorm may have some bearing on that game.

Let’s talk “high heat” for a paragraph: Noah Szilagyi is 18-for-25 shooting triples during the past five games.  That’s a remarkable 72%!

David Massillon, if given space, is going to get to the basket against single coverage as he did today against Salve Regina.

Maybe there’s a course in Newport (RI) for this?  It seems to me that every time, in recent years, when we play SR, one of Gordon’s post players will get caught for an offensive foul when they try to back down closer to the basket.  The defender will fall backward giving the impression that the Gordon post player and an 18-wheeler are one and the same.  Coach Tod Murphy goes crazy.  The Gordon post player raises his arms in astonishment and the Salve player has a smirk on his face.  It’s great theater.  Look for it when Salve comes to the Bennett Center in February.

Box from the game

 

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Streaking Gordon stuns Nichols 76-72 for 12th straight

Eric Demers had a season-high 32 points including 21 in the second half.

(Amesbury MA) March 1, 2014.

Long time ago.

I was out in Dudley (MA) that afternoon when Gordon stunned Nichols to win the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament.

After that?  Eight straight losses to the Bison.

But this year’s Scots (13-1) put an end to all that with a 76-72 W this afternoon.

Nichols (11-2) has won the regular-season CCC title the last five seasons.  Their league record during that time?  80-10!  The Scots were not in the “10” side of it, in fact, some of their most lopsided losses have been to NC.

Today’s result, however, temporarily erased those bad memories and put Gordon all by its lonesome atop the CCC standings with a 5-0 record.

Hold the celebration plans!  There’s a ton of season left starting with the neighbors (Endicott) at the Bennett Center on Thursday night.

How did Gordon defeat Nichols?  Give their zone defense some credit.  It changed the offensive dynamics for the home team.

The Bison love to get to the basket or make three’s and they have the speed and shooters to do it.  But this afternoon the zone took away most of the NC uncontested layups.  That left the long-distance approach for the Bison and today they missed 24-of-31 triple tries.

I saw UNE beat Nichols last year at Biddeford.  In that one, Nichols tried to force their style on the non-stop Nor’Easters and couldn’t do it.  Today there was 2-point gold available for them between 3-point range and layups, but the Bison turned down 2-point jump shots inside the foul line most of the game.  Stubborn and it cost them.

Give Eric Demers a ton of credit for the big win.  No sooner had I raved about his “best I’ve ever seen” half against UNE on Thursday, when he tops it two days later!

Eric’s second-half line was this: 21 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 5-of-6 free throws in the last minute.

Eric (32 points) gave Gordon the lead, 69-67, using a screen to get the go-ahead jump shot.

During Nichols next four possessions they tried to force layups twice where plenty of GC defense was already in place.  They also launched two unsuccessful three’s.  No interest in the short jumpers in the lane.

Meanwhile, Eric attempted a three, got fouled and nailed all three attempts.  72-67.

Another NC miss and another Parker Omslaer rebound.  He had a career game in that category with sixteen of them.  Parker made one free throw with 28 seconds left.  73-67.

The Scots had the margin they needed to go on to a 76-72 win.

Garrisson Duvivier finished with another double/double and believe me there was nothing easy around the basket.  But that didn’t deter GD from attempting shots and drawing fouls.  Garrisson had a lot to do with getting NC’s best big man (Jerome Cunningham) out of the game early on fouls with 3:46 left.

Jake Haar regained his scoring touch (14 points on 5-for-10 shooting) after going a combined 2-12 against ENC and UNE.  The Scots have been good at getting Jake open looks out of set plays.

Senior Marcos Echevarria had a quiet (for him) twelve points.  Marcos recently became Nichols all-time leading scorer.  Today Marcos was slowed down a bit by a thigh injury.

Garrisson (1628) moved past Woody Anderson (1622) today into 3rd place on Gordon’s all-time list.

Today’s pleasant surprise extends the Gordon win streak to twelve.

Nichols has had five seasons in a row with 20+ wins.  During the last 5+ years they are 128-29!  Beating them today was something special.

I enjoyed the win but those twelve missed free throws were unnerving.  Practice, practice, practice.

Box from the game

 

 

 

 

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Gordon (10-1) tops Framingham State 86-70 for 9th straight win

Eric Demers (17 points) was part of an 11-point Gordon run

(Amesbury MA) Another game, another surge of points that were significant in the outcome.

Gordon dropped non-league Framingham State, 86-70, on Friday night at Framingham.

The Scots (10-1) remarkable run continues as this makes nine straight for the team from Wenham.

In this one GC put eleven unanswered points together scoring on four straight possessions in the second half between 12:24 and 10:38. That run of eleven turned a one-possession 52-49 lead into a many-possession 63-49 spread.

The Rams (1-9) managed to hang around but a mini-run of six points between 4:41 and 3:27 did them in as the lead stretched to 77-60.

Eric Demers, AJ Terry, and Avelino Damoura were the sparks during the collection of eleven.  Eric nailed consecutive three’s to start it.  The first was after AJ grabbed an offensive rebound and the second was assisted by AJ.  Then AJ hit his own three assisted by Avelino.  Avelino finished the run with a layup.

Josh Ribeiro was a big part of Gordon’s final separation from FSU

The six-point run that sealed any Framingham rally plans featured a Josh Ribeiro layup and two free throws plus a layup by Garrisson Duvivier.

The variety of contributors is a good thing.  The team does not lack scorers.

The Gordon zone did return after being exiled after a dismal first half against Eastern Nazarene.  Unlike ENC, the Rams looked uncomfortable against the zone in the half-court offense.  Where they did look comfortable was during high-speed transitions.  Too often missed GC shots turned into drives and fouls down the other end.

And there I go whining after the team has just won its 9th straight!

Garrisson Duvivier – Had 20 points and 14 rebounds

The Scots took advantage of their size-edge down low and owned the boards all night.  Garrisson Duvivier finished with his ninth double/double (20 points/14 rebounds) of the season.

Eric Demers had a quiet first half (five points) but registered thirteen points in the second half.  Tonight featured his outside game.

Jake Haar added twelve points while Parker Omslaer put in ten with eight rebounds and three blocks.

FSU’s Manny Payton (17 points) had the speed and the green light to keep GC defenders busy.  The senior had 32 points last game vs Tufts.

The Rams are now 0-6 at home.  They had a 6-20 record last season.

The Scots have exams and a vacation before returning for a rematch with Eastern Nazarene on New Year’s Eve afternoon (1PM).  Many in attendance will be dressed up as empty seats!

David Massillon was injured against Framingham State and saw short minutes.

One way to attack a zone has always been to fast break and not let it get set up.  I saw some of that happening tonight.

Box from the game

Christmas thought: Jesus came down to earth because we can’t get up to Him.  What a Savior!

 

 

 

 

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Scots scored seventeen straight in final six minutes to catch ENC 77-75

Eric Demers (21 points) dropped three 3’s in the closing minutes comeback

(Amesbury MA) It has been a season where points can come in bunches.

That happened again tonight in Quincy as Gordon (9-1) put shutout defense together with a run of seventeen straight points and pulled out a, 77-75, struggle against Eastern Nazarene on Wednesday night.

That run-of-points thing appeared to have been left somewhere in Wenham for seventy-four of this game’s eighty minutes.  The only runs were by the Lions (3-6) as they sat with, what seemed like, a comfortable, double-digit lead most of the time.

However, with six minutes left The Run kicked in and ENC became the most recent part of the Scots eight-game win streak.

The Lions may have entered the game with a 3-5 record but against Gordon’s zone defense in the first half they had answers.  The team from Quincy shot 70%, made nine three’s, had fifteen assists, and led by eight (47-39) at the half.

Senior Garrisson Duvivier had another double-double

What to do?

Somewhere on the trip to the locker room at the half the GC coaching staff decided that something had to give.

Gordon coach Tod Murphy explained to me earlier in the season why the zone defense was being used, “I hate the zone but if it will help us win, I’ll use it.”

Against ENC it was quite clear that the zone was not working.  Whether it was a problem with Gordon’s execution or ENC’s ability to work against it, is not for me to say.  Maybe it was a little of both.

My internet went out at halftime and I was on the phone with Comcast getting that resolved.  My connection was returned six minutes into the second half.  First thing I noticed was that Gordon was now playing a man-to-man defense.  My suspicion was that the zone had been left in the locker room at halftime for repairs!

Anyhow, the Lions still had separation and kept it against the new defense.

Noah Szilagyi – part of a great defensive effort in the final minutes

Maybe playing at ENC was the problem.  Last year in January the Scots buried ENC, 81-59, at the Bennett Center.  A month later GC was at ENC and lost, 93-88.

I began to prepare the “jinxy location” explanation for the likely loss as the minutes went by.

With 6:05 it was ENC 72, Gordon 59.  The Scots would need to put defense and offense together in a near-perfect package to pull this one out.  And that was exactly what they did!

The only shot the Lions made was a Josh Rice three with less than a second left and the outcome decided.

Clean looks vanished.  Every shot was heavily contested.  Dribbling and passing became risky.

Eastern Nazarene missed all six shots they took and had three turnovers in those fatal six minutes.  The scoring window was no longer open.

David Massillon – continues to impress on both ends of the court

My fondest memory of the comeback minutes is that all five players contributed.  All the parts needed to be working to pull this one out.

Jake Haar – steal, assist.

Noah Szilagyi – steal, assist, rebound.

Garrisson Duvivier – 2 layups, 1 free throw, 1 offensive rebound, 1 defensive rebound.

David Massillon – 2 offensive rebounds, 2 defensive rebounds, 2 assists, 2 free throws, 1 layup.

Eric Demers – 3 three’s.

Garrisson finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds.  Most of that was in the second half since he had quick fouls in the first half.

Eric ended with 21 points.

Eric (1251 career points) moved past Mike Herr into 12th place on the Gordon scoring list.

Jake Haar – Had a steal and an assist in the comeback

Garrisson (1560 career points) passed Steve Heintz to reach 5th place.

The Scots will visit Framingham State on Friday night (7PM).

The team has vacation time beyond that game and then back to Wenham for a New Year’s Eve afternoon revisit with Eastern Nazarene.  I will most likely be absent from the Bennett Center and sitting in front of my computer in Connecticut wondering what type of defense will be used.

Garrett Crandall led ENC with twenty-one points.

The Lions had an astounding twenty-five assists in this game including fifteen in the first half.  I couldn’t find a number like that 25 in any of the ten years of stats that I have collected.  Another half of tonight’s zone might have enabled ENC to set an NCAA record?

Sophomore Avelino Damoura made his debut tonight.  In a 5-minute stint he hit a three and had two assists.

Box from the game.

Avelino Damoura returned to action for the first time this season

 

 

 

 

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Make that seven straight: Gordon 99 Johnson and Wales 91

Freshman David Massillon (23 points and 8 rebounds) for Gordon

Eric Demers (28 points) made five three’s in the first half

(Wenham MA) Welcome to the Gordon family, David Massillon.

The young man from Lynn and Pingree (Hamilton) moved from the “another-good-player” zone into the Wow zone.

David had twenty-three points (previous high nine) and eight rebounds (previous high six) and helped Gordon drop Johnson & Wales, 99-91, on Saturday afternoon.

The Scots (8-1) take a seven-game win streak into next week’s games with Eastern Nazarene and Framingham State.

This was another misleading final score.  Gordon was up by twenty/plenty in the closing moments and opted for the “Blessed are the merciful” approach.  JWU said “Thanks,” kept their starters in, pressed full-court, and narrowed the gap so quickly that Coach Tod Murphy had to return his starters for the closing seconds.

Garrisson Duvivier (19 points, 11 rebounds)

“I hated to put the starters back in and it’s my fault that the reserves didn’t do better against pressure,” said Coach Murphy.  “Some of them just don’t get the reps against pressure.”

Minus the late-game closeness, the Scots once again put a lot of points together.  They had fifty-six points in the first half.

Eric Demers finished with twenty-eight points and had twenty-four of them in a dazzling first half.  He canned five-of-seven three’s.

The Wildcats (3-5) didn’t have a starter over 6’4”.  “In the beginning we were exposing their bigs with Parker (6-10) and Garrison (6-6),” explained Jake Haar.  “They couldn’t contend with the size.”

Eric Demers gets in close

And then you add a red-hot Eric Demers to the mix.  “When Eric is scoring like he was, it just opens up so many things,” said Jake.

In the win streak there have been moments in each game where GC has bunched points to gain sizable separation.  Against Colby (Thursday night) it was late in the game.  Today it was late in the first half.

At 5:58 Gordon led, 35-24.  The next 3+ minutes were all Scots as they scored thirteen in a row.

Brian Hogan-Gary (32 points) had 25 of them in the second half

While JWU missed seven shots and had three turnovers, Gordon got a dunk by Parker Omslaer and three’s by Eric Demers and Jake Haar both set up by Garrisson Duvivier.

The resulting, 48-24, lead was a mountain the visitors from Providence (RI) couldn’t scale.

Coach Tod Murphy loved the “W” but was a little disappointed with some of the offense he saw in the second half when his team had the 20+ point lead. “It’s human nature,” he said, “when you get a big lead like that to start thinking that ‘I can go ahead and get mine now.’”

Parker Omslaer (12 points) in a crowd

Gordon’s use of a zone defense continues to stimulate plenty of discussion.  No question, it is a work in progress.  No question it looks exploitable at times.  But so far it has thrown teams off from their normal ways of scoring points.

But the defense still needs work.  “In terms of defensive effort, it wasn’t great,” said assistant coach Didier Dinh.  “It wasn’t terrible but it’s not where we need to be for a long run this season.”

It’s the open three’s that seem to be driving the GC coaching staff crazy.  “Near the end of the first half we left #0 (Donovian Maxfield) a couple of times because we didn’t get where we’re supposed to be,” said Coach Murphy.

“At halftime we told the guys that the score might as well be 0-0 because we gave them some life when we gave them a couple of three’s late in the half,” added Coach Dinh.

The defense may have flaws, but it still has been a plus in the 8-1 start.

David Massillon (11-for-12 from the foul line)

UNE came out last season with a “fire up three’s” approach and it was new to the Commonwealth Coast Conference.  They beat Gordon with it and even surprised Nichols with a win over them.  But the coaches in the CCC are talented enough to prepare their teams to handle new schemes and adjust.  UNE is off to a 2-8 start this season.  Point?  The GC zone must get better or it may eventually become a liability.

“The run so far shows that we have a good amount of talent,” said Coach Dinh.  “The ultimate goal is to still be playing in March.”

Eric Demers had twenty-four points in the first half and the Wildcats’ Brian Hogan-Gary dropped twenty-five in the second half.

Eric Demers gets off a three

Eric feasted on one-on-one coverage, creating shots from almost any spot he chose.  Brian (6’4”) attacked the Gordon big men and hustled for the full forty minutes.

The play of freshman David Massillon (6’4”) was exceptional. He was a handful for any defender near the basket.  He also had the good touch to make 11-of-12 free throws.  What’s not to like?

I checked in with Coach Murphy on why they were playing at home on New Year’s Eve afternoon. “There won’t be anyone here,” he conceded, “but I wanted a game before the league starts on January 3rd.  I also wanted to do it as late as possible so that our guys could stay home longer.”

Plenty of “formers” in the house this afternoon.  I saw Greg Walker, Dave Dempsey, Keith Krass, Jerry Logan, Jake Hart, Graham Tienhaara, and Sam Johnson.  All are gainfully employed.  Most of them liked what they were seeing of the zone defense.

Sam Johnson, Jake Hart, Graham Tienhaara

Jake Haar on the team: “When we move the ball, we’re pretty unstoppable. We’ve got five starters that are unselfish.”

Jake Haar (from Californina) on the current New England weather: “I wear three jackets and a hat when I go outside.”

Jake told me that it was going to be in the 80’s in the part of California that he is from next week.  He’ll be there for a week over Christmas.

Instructions

Johnson & Wales will be hosting Nichols on Tuesday.  The result will give us a comparative score before our two CCC matches with the Bison.

J&W are part of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC).  They were 19-10 last year and 28-3 in 2015-16.

I will be watching the next five games from Amesbury and Newtown.  Lord willing I’ll catch the Endicott game on January 10th.  The away league games (Jan 3rd UNE and Jan 5th Nichols) will be tough ones.

“We want to finish the semester strong,” said Coach Murphy.  “Our league is going to be a title bout every single night.”

Box from the game

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

AJ Terry (2) finds Parker Omslaer (44)

Arms

David Massillon eyes the hoop

Donovian Maxfield (22 points)

Jake Haar (20) leads the attack

Lane humor

Matt Madoian (5) blocks

Facial

Garrisson Duvivier to the hoop

 

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Gordon wins 6th straight 85-79 over Colby

David Massillon (9 points) in the lane

Eric Demers (21) and Noah Tyson (12) battle in the lane

(Wenham MA) Colby College plays in what many consider the elite conference (NESCAC) in New England.

Amherst, Williams, Middlebury, and teams like that are in that conference.

The members of that conference usually feast on their New England non-league opponents.

That wasn’t the case tonight. Colby took on non-league Gordon tonight at the Bennett Center and lost, 85-79.

The Mules (7-2) had wins last year against Endicott and UNE of the Commonwealth Coast Conference and might have underestimated the Scots.

Tight Gordon defense

Gordon (7-1) is off to an excellent start.  How are they doing it?  They are riding a consistent offense and a developing zone defense.

“We’ve got five guys on the court that can truly play the game of basketball with a ton of energy,” explained Eric Demers afterwards.

“We don’t have a guy on the team that an opposing team can take lightly,” said GC coach Tod Murphy.  “Guys can score that get significant minutes.”

The defense is still a work in progress, according to Coach Murphy.

He told me after the win versus Western New England on Tuesday night that Colby was similar to Endicott and it would be a good test of how good our defense was.

Colby finds a hole in the Gordon zone

I asked the coach how the team had done on the “test.”  “I’d give us a B-,” he said.  “Not bad but room for improvement.  I wanted to give a C+ but I thought I would be nice,” he added with a laugh.

Colby had shooters and, because of their hustle, were able to convert misses on their way to a 29-22 lead at 7:21 of the first half.  But three’s by Noah Szilagyi (15 points) and Eric Demers (12 points) evened things at 35 each.  Gordon led by a point, 39-38 at halftime.

A trademark of the Gordon wins has been the ability to put strings of unanswered points together.

Jake Haar (13 points) nails a three from the corner

It took a while for something like that to happen in this game; 45-45 (15:55), 50-50 (12:55), 59-59 (10:16), and 63-63 (7:24). It looked as if the pattern in this one would lead to some sort of last-possession ending.

But then with the score even at 63, good offense and shutout defense combined for the home team.

For the next 4+ minutes, Gordon ran nine unanswered points; layup AJ Terry converting a rebound, Jake Haar three from Josh Crutchfield, Garrisson Duvivier layup from Parker Omslaer, and a Garrisson layup from Jake Haar.

Parker Omslaer (12 points) jams

During that same segment, Colby missed three 3’s, two jump shots, and a layup and had two turnovers.

Down the visitors from Waterville (ME) went (72-63) and they never recovered.

A memorable shot in the mix was Jake Haar’s wide-open corner three in front of the Gordon bench.  “That play goes back to my first team that included Aaron Trigg,” recalled Coach Murphy.  “Coach Mike Schauer ran a similar play with them and we continue to use it now.”

Garrisson Duvivier finishes

All of Gordon’s starters reached double figures.  Garrisson Duvivier led the way with eighteen points and added fourteen rebounds.

Jake Haar tallied thirteen points and had a career-high six assists.

Freshman David Massillon had a career-high nine points in short minutes.

Coach Murphy: “I didn’t think that we played that great tonight.  The overall defensive intensity wasn’t what it should be.  We made a lot of mental mistakes.  I am not sure why but Parker (Omslaer) and Garrisson didn’t exploit the inside as much as they could have.  David (Massillon) and Josh (Ribeiro) came in and immediately took advantage of their size.”

Eric Demers (12 points) shoots a fallaway

Eric Demers: “We just buy into the defensive end.  It’s tough, especially against 3-point shooting teams.  We have to run around like crazy to defend the outside. If we stick together we can beat anybody.”

Sam Jefferson (22 points) led Colby in scoring.

The Mules attempted only two free throws.  That low number is related to the ability of the Scots to discourage drives to the basket.

Sam Johnson was in the house.  He’s working for ESPN in Orlando (Florida).

Next game is Johnson & Wales on Saturday (3PM).  “They’re very athletic,” said Coach Murphy.  “They’ll attack the rim.  If we can keep Parker and Garrisson out of foul trouble then they will struggle to score against us like some teams have.”

Box from the game

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Josh Crutchfield (10) looks to get the ball inside to Garrisson Duvivier

Colby defense

Jake Haar (20) tries for a block

Matt Hanna (11) near three Gordon defenders

Noah Szilagyi drives baseline

Noah Szilagyi (15 points) layin

Parker Omslaer (44) sets a screen for Eric Demers

Parker Omslaer at the foul line late in the game

Parker Omslaer layin

Sean Gilmore (23) defended by Parker Omslaer

Wallace Tucker (55) breaks in

Wallace Tucker (55) in where shots get blocked

 

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