(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.