Tag Archives: Mike Schauer

Gordon Rallies Past Husson in Opener

Aaron Trigg - Hits crucial three in last minute

Okay, we weren’t actually on a rollercoaster but it sure felt like it. 

Gordon opened its 2009-10 season with a last minute rally that led to a 61-59 win over nonleague Husson (Bangor Maine) at the Bennett Center on Wednesday night.

This game had 21 lead changes (11 in the first half/10 in the second half) so there was plenty of uncertainty over how this one would end as the following four paragraphs will explain.

The Eagles took a 4-point lead (57-53) on a pair of Jay Uhrin free throws with three minutes left.  Unfortunately, for Husson, they would add just two more points (Matt MacKenzie free throws) the rest of the way covering six possessions.

Meanwhile, your Scots closed out the game with four point-producing possessions in an 8-2 run that clinched Win #1.

The key play?  How many times have we seen Brady Bajema bring the ball up as Aaron Trigg runs the baseline, gets a screen from a big man (Jeff Derr on this occasion) and gets an open look from the corner?  You’re right, often.  Tonight it happened in the last minute and Aaron connected on the three from the right corner to give the Scots a lead (58-57) they would never lose.

Husson did have several chances but poor foul shooting (13-25) cost them as Jay Uhrin missed the front end of a one-and-one with twenty seconds left.  Brady got the rebound, was fouled and hit both shots to give Gordon a 3-point lead (60-57).  Husson missed a three but Matt MacKenzie was fouled in the rebounding effort and made both to make things “interesting” (60-59) but only four seconds were left.  Brady was fouled on the inbound play and made the second free throw.  The Eagles were left with time only for a desperation three from in front of the scorer’s table by Brock Bradford that hit the backboard.  Normal breathing among the faithful then resumed!

So the Tod Murphy era begins on a thriller.  Mike Schauer had the same experience when he won a similarly close one at ENC in November of 2002 to start his seven-year Gordon run. 

The Scots started slowly and found themselves behind 16-5 after six minutes.  Not to panic, the Eagles soon after went through eleven straight possessions with zero points and the Scots put together eleven unanswered points to pull in front, 19-18, with 6:49 until halftime.  The rest of the game the lead changes were numerous and the final result seriously in question.

David Dempsey - Freshman starter gets eleven rebounds

We got our first look at two of the new guys (David Dempsey and Scott Nelson).  David (6’5” from Wallingford CT) earned a starting position and quietly was the leading rebounder with eleven.  Scott (6’ from Oakhurst NJ) played only five minutes but is the closest thing to a true point guard I’ve seen since Justin Kaufman graduated. 

One very impressive Scot stat was rebounds.  They had 52, which tops any game from last season.  The shooting?  Not so impressive.  Too many in-close misses as well as low percentage attempts to suit me.  Their 21 turnovers weren’t too tasty either.  But a win was the result and we all left happy over that.

The crowd was excellent.  Pity the second-half, opponent free throw shooter attempting one as the student body verbally thrashes him.  Credit the crowd for some of the Eagles 12 charity stripe misses.

A great assortment of player parents was on hand.  Besides from Massachusetts, I noticed parents from Arizona, Georgia, Ohio, Kansas, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Illinois, and Vermont.  I find it truly remarkable.

The team is right back on the Bennett Center court on Friday night (8PM) facing Maine Maritime (Castine ME) in the opening round, late game of the TipOff Tournament.  Baruch faces Westfield State in the first game.  All four teams will play again on Saturday night.

One of the Gordon parents is a Maine Maritime grad and his cheering habits will be closely watched during Friday’s game. 


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Filed under Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10, Husson

Gordon Scrimmages Emerson

fastbreak with Tim, Aaron, Jeff 11-3-09

A rare breakout led by TMac, Aaron, and Jeff against Emerson

I got my first look at this year’s team on Tuesday night at the Bennett Center in a scrimmage against Emerson. 

The visitors gave the 2009-10 Scots an end-to-end taste of  irritating man-to-man defense.  Open shots were few and that very active Emerson defense prevented Gordon from cashing in on height advantages at every position very often.  But the Scots did put up 83 points as did Emerson.

Without stats and charting, my mission was to make sure everyone was back and also to check out the new players as well as the coach.

Aaron Trigg’s hair may have been different but his arsenal of shots looked the same. 

Ben Gaskill seemed to spend most of the night frustrated with himself.  He did miss a bunch of shots.  However, he looks bigger and was very aggressive around the basket.  Can he stay out of foul trouble?  He’s gone to the facial hair look.

Tim and Brady 11-3-09

TMac and Brady

I’ve seen Brady shoot better.  TMac’s intangibles seldom make a boxscore but the first charge taken was his.

The new guy?  Lefty Dave Dempsey is a player.  His quickness is noticeable and he can create his own offense. 

I also liked what I saw of freshman Scott Nelson of New Jersey.  He handled the ball well against as tough a man-to-man defense as the team will face.  He was the best natural point guard I saw.

Getting used to the new coach (Tod Murphy) will take a while.  First of all, Tod is at least a foot taller than Mike Schauer.  Also, Tod’s emotions were tightly in check during this scrimmage while those around during the last seven seasons could recall an occasional Mike Schauer sideline eruption. 

New to the 2009-10 staff is Ryan Smith.  He was quite the shooter back in the day.

Jordan Logan was not in uniform. Yes, this is Jerry’s brother.  Jordan told me that he was surprised that his parents weren’t on hand (for the scrimmage) since it was his 21st birthday.  He was joking but said that his parents (from Marietta GA) would be around for the season opener on November 18th.

That season opener (Husson) will be followed by the annual TipOff Tournament on the 20th and 21st.  I am looking forward to that stretch of home games. 

scrimmage crowd 11-3-09

Plenty of good seats were available at the scrimmage

This is what the scrimmage crowd looked like.

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Filed under Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10, Mike Schauer, Tod Murphy

Meeting New Coach Tod Murphy

Tod Murphy - Gordon men's basketball coach

Tod Murphy - Gordon men's basketball coach

I got my opportunity to talk to the new coach (Tod Murphy) on August 25th in his Gordon College office.  I already knew a little about him because of several internet stories.

In the interview, he told me that he knew nothing about Gordon before he heard about the head-coach opening.  “I wanted to move into a head coaching position and I wanted to do it in a Christian school,” he said. 

Tod had been an assistant at Cal Irvine but wanted to move away from Division One.  “I became disenchanted with the players’ motivations,” he told me.  “I was sure that at the Division Three level the players play because they love basketball not for any sort of scholarship.”

He had been a finalist for several other head coaching jobs in the last four years in California.  As a finalist in the Gordon job, he admitted that he didn’t know what to expect when he was brought in for an interview.  “I felt good about the phone interview, but I wasn’t sure if they offered me the job I would take it,” he said.  “But after coming here and visiting I realized that it was a no-brainer.  I fell in love with the school and the area.”

He said that he is now just as close to the ocean as he was in California.   He did realize, however, that the water temperatures would not be similar!

I learned that he had been a wingman in high school but suddenly grew 4-5 inches his sophomore year and that put him in close to the basket.  He graduated with the Cal Irvine scoring record and said that his development of turn-around, fall-away jump shot was the key to his scoring – “No one could block it.” 

Things were different at the pro level.  “I became more of a role player and a defensive player,” he said.  “I sat on the weakside and if things broke down on the other side, the ball would swing my way for 18-footers.  I also scored on a lot of offensive rebounds.”

He told me that any success he had in the NBA was due to his willingness to, “work his tail off,” and the fact that he has “a good basketball mind.”  “Larry Bird wasn’t a great athlete but mentally he was two steps ahead of everyone else,” he said.  “I wasn’t two steps ahead, like Larry, but I was a half step, and it made a difference.”

He believes that his basketball knowledge and work ethic will help the Gordon program.

Tod was well aware that Mike Schauer had developed a great program and that “the cupboard was certainly not bare.”  He said that he does not intend to change what’s here into “Tod Murphy’s program.”  “I want to continue what Mike Schauer has set up,” he added.

He did say, though, that the offense might be a little different.  “There will be continuity but I want to do more in creating shots for players like Aaron, Brady, Ben, and Greg,” he said.  He expected to use the man-to-man defense we’ve seen for Mike Schauer’s seven seasons.

He confirmed the good news that freshman David Dempsey ( 6’5” – Wallingford CT) is on campus.  One internet report has him as an excellent perimeter player.  An individual closer to the team says that David is the most athletic player this team has ever had.  

Tod looks to shorten the minutes of key players.  “The first 16 games are important and we’ll be ready for them,” he said, “but it’s 17-25 where we want to be peaking for the postseason.”  The frustrating thing for the Gordon faithful has been the team’s inability to win a semifinal game in the tournament.  Maybe fewer minutes will help to change that.

Tod realizes that recruiting will be a challenge.  He also realizes that with five seniors this team will need some replacements next season.  “I did a lot of recruiting at Cal Irvine but that was for Division One players,” he told me.

He said that he grew up a big fan of Jerry West’s.  Nowadays he said that his favorite player is Dwight Howard.  “He’s a tremendous player who works hard and hasn’t lost sight of his Christian faith,” he said.  He admires Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen for the same reasons.  Another player he admired was Kurt Rambis.  “Kurt was similar to me,” he recalled.  “He was a big scorer at Santa Clara but turned into a role player for the Lakers.  He did everything to help that team win games and that’s the kind of player I want to bring here to Gordon.”

Timmy MacDonnell - "He's the type of player I love " -  Coach Murphy

Timmy MacDonnell - "He's the type of player I love " - Coach Murphy

Tod has seen some of the game films and not surprisingly, Timmy MacDonnell has caught his eye.  “He is one hard-nosed player,” said Tod.  “He told me that he had already taken one or two charges per game in summer league.”

Similar to thousands of coaches, Tod said he admired the coaching style of John Wooden of UCLA.  “He stressed preparation,” said Tod of Wooden, “and that’s what I’ll do.  This team has talent.  The important thing will be preparation.” 

At the time of the interview Tod was set up in a rented house nearby but without his wife (Kelly), and daughters Annie (6), Lacey (3 ½) and Kylie (22 months).  “I miss them,” he said.  “They’ll be here from California shortly.  It’s the longest we’ve ever been apart.”

So Mike Schauer and his three sons have left as Tod Murphy and his three daughters are arriving. 

In addition, to be noted is that Tod Murphy is a legitimate 6’9” and looks lean enough to be able to show as well as tell his players something. 

Mike Schauer was a serious 3-point scorer at Wheaton.  Tod was a serious in-close scorer at Cal Irvine.  I’ll be curious to see what Gordon’s developing inside game becomes in 2009-10 as Ben, Jeff, Jon, and Greg are coached by someone who knows the inside game personally. 

I will own up to the fact that I’m excited about the New England Patriots as their season is about to start.  I’m now also ready to get just as excited about this year’s Gordon College Fighting Scots team after having met the coach.  Bring on the season!

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Tod Murphy Named to Succeed Mike Schauer

Gordon's new men's basketball coach - Tod Murphy

Gordon's new men's basketball coach - Tod Murphy

June 15, 2009 – Gordon announcement

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Tod Murphy as the new men’s basketball coach. For the past six years, Murphy has been the lead assistant coach at the University of California at Irvine, his alma mater.  Prior to that, he spent two years as an assistant at the University of California at Riverside. At Irvine, Murphy was also the recruiting director, offensive coordinator, and principal scout. UCI finished tied for third last year in the Big West Conference.

A 6′ 9″ forward, Murphy had a stellar playing career.  At UCI, he set the career scoring record and was an honorable mention All-American.   Upon graduating from UCI with a degree in economics, Murphy helped lead the Albany Patroons to the Continental Basketball Association title, and was selected the MVP of the playoffs. He then became the starting forward on the first Minnesota Timberwolves club in 1989, winning the team’s defensive player of the year award and leading the NBA in fewest turnovers per minute. Over his five years in the NBA he also completed stints with the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, and Detroit Pistons. Following his NBA days, Tod played for several top international clubs, including teams in Italy, Greece, Spain and Japan.

Known as a fierce competitor with high integrity and a humble spirit, Murphy has been praised by his peers as the consummate team player, willing to adjust his game or his priorities to do what best serves the team.  At UCI, he regularly led worship services for players who wished to participate, and he is known for his personal attention and care for the welfare of his athletes.  He, his wife Kelly, and their three young daughters look forward to being a part of the Gordon community.   Pray for them and for the team as we enter this transition together.

Mark Sargent

Additional information I have found about Tod online

(2004 off the Cal-Irvine website)
As for Murphy, players flash a genuine smile and beam when they hear of his name.
‘He’s huge. He just does a lot of the little things and he’s also good off the court,’ said forward Nic Campbell. ‘He often has some of the guys over at his place to eat dinner so that we can get some team bonding going. He’s just a great guy all-around.’
Murphy, a former NBA player, seems to get nothing but rave reviews since joining Douglass’ staff at the end of last season.
‘He’s a unique coach because he goes on the court and scrimmages against us,’ said center Adam Parada. ‘He’s played professionally so he has the experience and because of that, he has the point of view from the big man.’
UCI’s biggest gain from Murphy’s presence just might be his experience from his well-traveled playing career.
‘We’ve always had really good big-man coaches. But he’s different because he brings a different type of coaching style,’ Parada said. ‘He has the experience of being on the court opposed to some of the other coaches we’ve had, who have just been coaching all their lives. He’s been in the team setting for his whole life so he knows what’s going on.’

(From the UC Irvine website) Tod Murphy, one of the most prolific players in UC Irvine history, is in his sixth season as an Anteater assistant coach in 2008-09.
Murphy graduated from UCI with a B.A. degree in economics in 1986. He was the CIF 4A Player of the Year at Lakewood High School in 1981-82 and then competed at UCI from 1982-86 under Coach Bill Mulligan. Murphy ranks No. 2 in UCI history with 1,778 points and 837 rebounds. He was first team All-PCAA (now Big West) as a junior and senior, and he was named to the All-District 15 team in 1986. Murphy, who earned Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American honors at UCI, was inducted into UCI’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
Murphy was selected by the Seattle Supersonics in the third round (53rd overall) of the 1986 NBA draft. After sustaining an injury, he subsequently played for the CBA-champion Albany (N.Y.) Patroons in 1987-88. Murphy played in Villalba, Spain, during the 1988-89 season, then joined the NBA-expansion Minnesota Timberwolves in 1989. He was a member of the Timberwolves’ original starting five against Seattle Nov. 3, 1989. During that season, Murphy scored 24 points in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers and he pulled down 20 rebounds in a contest versus the Los Angeles Clippers.
He was traded to the Houston Rockets for the 1992-93 season, then returned overseas to play in Italy, Spain and Japan until 1998.
Murphy returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach in May 2003 after serving two years as an assistant at UC Riverside.
Murphy and his wife Kelly have three daughters, Annie, Lacey and Kylie. His brother, Tim, is an assistant coach at Big West rival Cal Poly.

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Game #24 – Down Goes Undefeated UNE

(Wenham) Winners of 19 in a row?  Wow! 

Hadn’t lost since November 25th?  Terrific! 

Undefeated in the Commonwealth Coast Conference? Impressive!

The University of New England Nor’easters (20-4 overall/ 11-1 in the CCC) can put all those lofty accomplishments behind them after your Gordon College Fighting Scots defeated them, 82-75, before a revved up Bennett Center on Wednesday night.

You can look at the boxscore of this one and read this writeup but it won’t capture the excitement that this game generated from beginning to end. 

Because UNE had been so successful for so long this season, the hope going in was that Gordon could ride the Bennett Center wave, hang in with the talented visitors for as long as possible, and maybe steal one at the end.

And that is what happened.  A layup by Marchale Robinson put UNE up 60-58 with 6 ½ left but the Scots were hanging close late into the game.

The next 3 ½ minutes UNE got away from what it does best – driving to the basket – and missed all three attempts from long range.  Throw in a turnover and a missed front end of a 1-and-1 by Jaykyri Simpson. and the visitors had nothing to show for five straight possessions.

Meanwhile, your Scots used the 3 ½ minutes to tally thirteen points and stun all of us by surging to a 71-60 advantage. 

The last three minutes of the game were painfully slow and tense. Down one end it was hope-for-the-best defensively while at the other end it was one pressure free throw after another. And while UNE did make three 3-pointers in the last two minutes, the Scots answered back with nine straight free throws to minimize the damage.

The place where the Scots looked to be in the most trouble was after a layup by Quentin Thompson had narrowed things to 76-72 with 36 seconds left.  Brady was stripped in the frontcourt but recovered to hound UNE’s Johnnie Jefferson into a turnover in front of the UNE bench and gave Gordon the ball back.  Consecutive free throws by Brady, Austin Bentson, and Aaron Trigg followed to seal the deal.

Maybe you heard the collective Bennett Center sigh of relief that followed the final buzzer?

Home crowd celebrates as 82-75 score shines in the distance after UNE upset

Home crowd celebrates as 82-75 score shines in the distance after UNE upset

Coach Mike Schauer went with a very short bench and it paid off.  The Scots faced constant pressure anywhere they had the ball and ended up with 21 turnovers for the game but, and this is a very important but, only two of the give aways came in the last 6 ½ minutes.  And it was during this period of strong ball management, with veterans on the floor, that the game was won.

Aaron Trigg - leading scorer with 27 points

Aaron Trigg - leading scorer with 27 points

Brady Bajema - 19 points and 7 assists

Brady Bajema - 19 points and 7 assists

There were some eye-catching stats;
 (1) Gordon held UNE to the lowest rebound total (18) for an opponent.  They had been averaging 34 rpg.
(2) Senior Jaykyri Simpson (10-for-11 with 23 points) is the most dangerous 1-on-1 player in the CCC.  He has the jets to get to the basket but that speed led him into a couple of offensive fouls in this game.
(3) Aaron Trigg led all scorers with 27 points, in a 40-minute performance against the best team in the CCC.  Toss in six rebounds and three assists.  He has my vote for MVP in the CCC.
(4) UNE had only six assists, which is ten assists under their CCC league-leading average.  Good defense or selfish offense?
(5) Brady did some damage to his league-leading 3-point shooting percentage (53.8%) with a 1-for-4 evening but his seven assists should boost him in that important category.  His 19 points were huge.

Gordon (18-6 overall/ 8-4 in the CCC) travels to Newport to face an excellent Salve Regina team (also 8-4 in the CCC) on Saturday afternoon.  A win there will assure your Scots 3rd place and a home game in the first round of the CCC playoffs next Tuesday night.  A loss?  They could fall as far as 6th and play on the road Tuesday night.

David Flight - honored before the game

David Flight - honored before the game

Gordon’s lone senior, David Flight, was honored before the game.  His appearance on court in the last few seconds drew some rousing applause.

UNE had a good group of fans travel south from Biddeford on a snowy evening.  It seemed to me that their support of the Nor’Easters just brought out the enthusiasm in the Gordon crowd.  Both support groups had plenty to cheer about.

Ben Gaskill leads the CCC in defensive rebounds.  He got eight more in this game as well as two blocks.  He took a turn at trying to deal with UNE’s driving guards.

Timmy MacDonnell drew a couple of offensive fouls and also tried shooting free throws without his googles on. 

6-7 Greg Walker continues to be the go-to guy down low.  At times he was covered by 5’9” Steve Belmonte.  Now that’s a mismatch!  Greg appeared to sprain an ankle in the first half.  He did play afterwards and totaled 13 points.

UNE hosts Nichols on Saturday.

One game left in the regular season.  Can you believe it?

Box Score

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Game #22 – Scots Score Twenty Straight in Defeat of Bates

Brady Bajema - 20 points including 15-of-16 free throws

Brady Bajema - 20 points including 15-of-16 free throws

(Wenham) Gordon returned to its winning ways with some of the sweetest foul shooting (24 of 26) you will ever see and defeated non-league Bates, 64-52, at the Bennett Center (That’s right!) on Thursday night.

The Scots (16-6 overall/ 6-4 in the CCC) were down 33-31 with 10 ½ minutes left in the game. Without any sort of warning, Gordon then proceeded to score the next twenty points before Bates finally lit their side of the scoreboard with a layup from Nick Schmiemann with 3:17 left.

That amazing 20-point run (easily the longest of the season) had the Scots in front, 51-33, and, unlike at Nichols, the free throw shooting the rest of the way by Aaron and Brady (combined 13 of 14) kept the Bobcats a safe distance away.

The win ended a three game slide at home, which had begun to be troubling for all of us. Now the team moves ahead with some confidence to face Western New England (5-5 in the CCC) at 3PM in Wenham.

The race for the six playoff spots after UNE and Colby-Sawyer is way too close at this point with three CCC games to go. The possibility of being on the outside looking in when the season ends still exists. This fact will add to the tension of the last three contests, two of which are at home.

Mike Schauer and Keith Krass look on as Gordon regains its winning touch at home.

Mike Schauer and Keith Krass look on as Gordon regains its winning touch at home - courtesy Ron Harden

Bates (12-11) is a team that Gordon had never beaten until tonight. That is yet another first in the Mike Schauer era. We also have never beaten Western New England at the Bennett Center – okay, we’ve never played them at home. But it could be another Coach Schauer first in the making.

Both coaches could take away a statistical goody from the game. For Gordon it was the delightful season-high foul shooting percentage (92.3%). For Bates it was their rebounding. Their 46 rebounds, including 18 offensive rebounds, were season highs against your Scots.

The field goal shooting was nothing special for either team. The Scots hit their third lowest percentage (34%) of the season. The other lower ones led to losses to Roger Williams and Salem State.

The fingernails-on-the-blackboard stat for the Bobcats was definitely having only four assists combined with 17 turnovers. They had five of those turnovers during the game-deciding, 20-point streak in the second half.

No doubt, Bobcat first-year coach Jon Furbush wasn’t thrilled with his team getting only nine free throws while Gordon had 26. He shared those sentiments with the officials in a loud voice and next thing you knew Brady was shooting two technical foul shots.

By the way, Brady was 14-for-14 from the line in the second half and led all scorers for the game with 20 points.

A memorable play in this one took place in the midst of the big run. Jeff Derr and Jimmy O’Keefe of Bates got tied up chasing a rebound in the Bates end and both went to the floor in a heap. Jeff got up first, hustled down the other end, and nailed a wide-open three.

Austin Bentson - Reaches double figures for the second time this season

Austin Bentson - Reaches double figures for the second time this season

Austin Bentson had his first double-digit (11 points) game since the opener at ENC when he had 16 points. There will never be a question about his passion to defend.

Greg Walker has struggled since the breakout game (22 points/19 rebounds) at Regis. He has had a horde of shots rim out over the last couple of games.

We did get to see quite a shooting show by Marshall Hatch in the last few minutes of the game. He connected on three long shots and totaled 13 points in the second half.

The turnout was better than Tuesday night’s was. I am told that there is a lot of academic activity going on at this time. Students have to make choices over time use. That is why it is always good to see the team salute the home fans after the game.

I noticed that the 7PM start caught a few folks by surprise. At least they saw some of the second half. The game-of-the-year between UNE and Colby-Sawyer starts at 1PM on Saturday afternoon. I’m guessing that some folks will miss that game entirely.

Box Score

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Game #21 – Aaron Reaches 1000 Points but Scots Get Blown Out by Colby-Sawyer

(Wenham) Gordon’s inexplicable woes at home continued as they were beaten like a drum in almost every statistical category by Colby-Sawyer, 90-64, in league play at the Bennett Center on Tuesday night.

The final score pretty well sums up the difference between the two teams on this night.  Colby-Sawyer (17-4 overall/ 9-1 in the CCC) was picked to win the Commonwealth Coast Conference in the preseason coaches poll and now we know why – they can shoot and they can defend.

Gordon (15-6 overall/ 6-4 in the CCC) on the other hand, continues to be a hard team to figure on most counts.  However, we do know for sure that recent games at home (4-4) have been difficult.

After delighting in watching Greg Walker and Brady Bajema carry the team in the last two games, it was our turn to be on the receiving end of a career performance.  Jon Chaloux (6-6/junior) of Colby-Sawyer was just plain unstoppable on offense (5-for-6 on 3’s totaling 29 points) and a nuisance on defense with six steals.

Similar to Brady’s game at Nichols (37 points), you didn’t see a game such as this coming from Jon.  After all, he was averaging 12 ppg. He was 0-for-3 shooting three’s with just seven points in his last game against Salve Regina.  However, in this one he seldom missed (12-for-17) despite the Scots giving numerous players a shot at guarding him.

The crowd was disappointing to say the least but they did give two loud cheers.  The first one was with about eight minutes left when Jon launched one from NBA distance and actually missed.  The other cheer was after the game when it was announced that Aaron Trigg had reached 1000 points. 
Aaron spins in for two of his team-high 17 points.

Aaron spins in for two of his team-high 17 points - courtesy Ron Harden

Aaron reaches the 1000-point milestone at the free throw line.

Aaron reaches the 1000-point milestone at the free throw line - courtesy Ron Harden











The Bennett Center blues defy explanation.  For six seasons visiting teams have come to Wenham expecting to lose or possibly to steal one with a great performance.  A big crowd would be expected and it would be noisy.  This year, since the William Paterson game in November, the Scots have lost an unheard of 4-of-5 at home.  What’s with that?

One way to lose at home, or anywhere for that matter, is to start slowly on both ends against a good team.  That’s what happened in this one.  The Chargers made their first five shots before missing.  James Tobin, however, converted the missed shot.  Therefore, 3 ½ minutes into the game, Gordon trailed, 14-2, and Coach Mike Schauer had already burned a timeout early to stop the bleeding.

Brady hit a three to narrow the lead to 22-11 with 11:10 left and thoughts of a comeback danced in some of our heads.  Enter Jon Chaloux.  He dominated the next 4 ½ minutes collecting nine points as C-S went on a 14-point run to put this one out of reach early (36-11).

In this disastrous segment, Coach Schauer used another timeout and then watched his team commit turnovers in five of the next six possessions.  The top three scorers on the team found themselves on the bench in the middle of this nightmare.

Later Brady hit a couple more three’s in the last minute before Chris Cox was left all alone for a buzzer-beating layup.  C-S led 48-26 at the half.

The Scots had a run of eight in the second half as Jon Chaloux finally missed a shot.  A couple of converted rebounds by Ben Gaskill highlighted that run.  This put the score at 71-52 with 7:20 left but that was as close as Gordon would get.

The good news is that Gordon has another game on Thursday.  The sting of the C-S loss will fade as they take on non-league Bates at 7PM at the Bennett Center.  Tough game?  Gordon has never beaten Bates and, I’m shocked to be saying this as a negative, the game is at home. 

The CCC game of the year will certainly be Saturday at Colby-Sawyer (9-1) when UNE (10-0) visits New London.  Gordon gets UNE at home on February 18th.  That one scares me already.

This was the first non-crowd I’ve seen at home in years.  The Pit was numerically pitiful.  Have the students jumped off the team bandwagon?  I would hope not.  This is a good team and almost all the players are underclassmen.  Come out and give them some support.  (Hints to the team: Get off to a good start next game so that the fans have a reason to get involved and afterwards make it very obvious to the crowd that you appreciate their being there.)

A couple of bright spots in recent games have been freshmen JT Himmelstein and Jon Himottu.  Coach Schauer has used them early which is a sure sign of his confidence in them. 

Box Score

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Game #15 – Gordon Dominates End Game to Win 11th at Curry


Aaron Trigg - Crunch-time standout

Greg Walker - Collects double/double vs Curry

(Milton) Gordon’s Greg Walker led all scorers with 22 points in the game but it took Aaron Trigg’s five points in the last 1:54 to give the Scots an exciting 66-61 win against Curry College on Saturday afternoon in Commonwealth Coast Conference action.

Gordon (11-4 overall/ 3-2 in the CCC) came close to letting this one get away. They ran up a 45-32 advantage five minutes into the second half but Curry (4-12 overall/1-4 in the CCC) followed with 14 unanswered points in the next five minutes and took the lead, 46-45.  

Sophomore Austin Bentson finally stopped the bleeding with a couple of offensive rebounds that he turned into five points.

The teams were even, 61-61 with just under two minutes left. This is how the Scots took over and won the game.

A well run inbounds play gave Aaron an opening on the left and Tim MacDonnell found him. Bang. After Greg drew an offensive foul to give Gordon the ball back, Aaron ended up with a loose ball down the other end and squirmed in for a layup with 40 seconds to go. Now up by four the Scots fouled Gerald Cohen on a put back but saw him miss both attempts with 23 seconds left. Aaron was fouled after collecting his eighth rebound and closed the scoring with a free throw.

What helped make this game close was that the Colonels had no one who could guard 6-7 Greg Walker while the Scots were left defenseless by the moves to the basket of 5-9 Quashed Simmons.

Greg was able to get position in the lane most of the game and when he got the ball in there his assortment of shots produced five baskets in each half. He also gathered five rebounds in each half to get his first career double/double.

Quashed took the game over for Curry in the second half. After just two points in the first half the speedy senior totaled 19 points in the second half. Everyone in the stands, and on the floor for that matter, knew he would drive to the basket on nearly every possession but he still pulled it off time after time. Fortunately, for Gordon, TMac and Aaron were able to keep Quashed from getting a shot after the game was tied at 61.

This one produced several eye-catching stats. The Scots were awesome on the boards with 46 rebounds including a season-high 17 offensive rebounds. The Colonels came in averaging 36 rebounds but had just eight boards in the first half and 23 for the game.

The stat of concern was another Gordon game with 25 turnovers. Aaron and Brady Bajema had 15 between them. Way too many passes to the wrong team! Curry’s 14 steals were a season-high for Gordon opponents.

Coach Schauer shortened his bench in this one and came away with twelve points, twelve rebounds, and only one turnover from Austin, Jeff Derr, and Jon Himottu. They were difference makers.

The Scots are now an impressive 7-2 on the road. That’s good because the next two games are also away from home. Tuesday night they’ll be at Hellenic College in Brookline to face nonleague Newbury at 5PM. Thursday night it is off to Henniker (NH) for a date at 7:30 with New England College.

Miller Gymnasium is the only gym that I have ever been at where the folks in the stands are library-quiet when either team shoots free throws. Why?

Trivia learned in the stands: Erin Thames of the Gordon women’s team and Aaron Trigg were born on the same day. Interested me because my daughter (Stephanie) and Gordon coach Jeannine Cavallaro were also born on that day – November 28th.

Box Score

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Filed under Curry, Gordon College Men's Basketball 2008-09, Mike Schauer

Game #12 – Scots Rally and Rout Anna Maria

(Paxton) 91-62. 

That was the final score but if you’re thinking blowout you weren’t on hand for most of the first half on Tuesday night.

Your Scots were down 28-18 with 5:41 left in the first half.  Coach Mike Schauer had already blown his top and as hard as it might be to imagine, the thought of losing to the 3-10 Amcats entered the realm of possibility.

But the next 9 ½ minutes were a transformation of unbelievable proportions.  Gordon went on a run the likes of which I cannot recall seeing in the seven years I’ve been following this team.  The Scots ran off 22 unanswered points into the second half and then after the Amcats finally got a basket (Brad Peterson layup) they ran off 11 more unanswered points.  We’re talking a 33-2 explosion!

Aaron Trigg 29 points

Aaron Trigg
29 points

Let’s just say that when the dust finally settled four minutes into the second half, Gordon led 51-30 and what thereafter needed to be decided was the shape of the final score.  Aaron Trigg and Brady Bajema went wild during this decisive segment each netting 14 points while hitting from everywhere.

With the win Gordon bounces back from the tough OT loss at Wentworth and now are 1-1 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference and 9-3 overall.  The Scots have been on the road for seven of the last eight games where they compiled a 5-2 record. 

The Scots now return to the friendly confines for two – ENC on Saturday (3PM) followed by Roger Williams next Wednesday (8PM).  Gordon defeated ENC in the season opener at Quincy (76-45) but that won’t keep their highly-supportive fans from traveling to Wenham on Saturday.

Brady Bajema  23 points

Brady Bajema 23 points

This game marked the return of #4 – Brady Bajema.  He had missed the last two games with an infected knee.  He actually spent three days in the hospital because of it.  But he was back for this one (23 points including 16 in the first half) and combined with Aaron Trigg (29 points with 22 in the second half) to total 52 points. 

Brady’s 23 points were a career high.  Aaron’s 29 points are his third straight game with at least 20 points.

The Amcats rank 13th in the CCC in defending 3’s and that was evident in this game as Gordon made 10 of 15 from long range.  Many of Brady and Aaron’s 3-point attempts were of the pregame-wide-open variety.  The Scots shot a season-high 61.5% from the field for the game. Obviously, defense is an area that Anna Maria needs to work on.

Speaking of needing work, the Scots committed a season-high 25 turnovers.  Sure they won by 29 anyway but in what should be closer games ahead, they probably won’t be as fortunate with this sort of carelessness.   Dribbling and passing in traffic appears to be the culprit from my perch in the stands.

If you were an attendee in Paxton, you left with a thought or two about the sound system.  It was clearly set at, “Uncomfortable,” for the duration.  I learned long ago that some places will punish you with noise and so I always carry earplugs.  They sure came in handy at Anna Marie.

Even with the earplugs in, I could see that Amcat coach Shawn Conrad was letting the referees have it in the second half.  With 6 ½ minutes left they decided that Coach Conrad would be better off watching the game from another location.  Last time I saw that happen was in Gordon’s game at UNE last season.

Freshmen JT Himmelstein and Adam Herod both put up the first points of the Gordon careers.  For JT it was his first minutes as well.

Ben Gaskill<br/>13 rebounds

Ben Gaskill
13 rebounds

It is interesting to watch how players develop under Coach Schauer.  Ben Gaskill could hardly find any minutes when Jon Marstaller and Mike Schnackenberg were around.  They graduate and Ben becomes the team’s top rebounder (career high 13 against Anna Maria) and an excellent defender.  I saw him at 6-9 covering one of Anna Maria’s guards in the second half.

The developing players are Jon Himottu and Jordan Kelly.  The minutes are small at this stage but likely to increase.  Just going against Greg Walker, Ben, and Jeff Derr daily in practice will make them better for when they have to step up down the line. 

I had some concerns a few years ago about Anna Maria surviving as an institution.  The numbers were down and a visit to the campus was depressing.  This time around there were kids in the stands and a lot of excitement.  Athletic director Dave Shea told me that they are on the way to building a turf field like Gordon has and are offering football in the fall of 2009.  Gordon used to have a flag football team back in the day that played other colleges.  I declined to add football to my Gordon collection of mediocre athletic accomplishments and stayed on the sidelines as a spectator.


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Filed under Anna Maria, Gordon College Men's Basketball 2008-09

Game #11 – Gordon Falters Down the Stretch in Wentworth OT Loss

(Boston) Gordon squandered an 8-point lead in regulation with 2:10 to go and a 2-point lead with 2.4 seconds to go in regulation and then fell in overtime to Wentworth, 73-70, on Saturday afternoon.

No way to open the Commonwealth Coast Conference season.  Now 0-1 in the season that counts the Scots (8-3 overall) will need to regroup Tuesday night on the road at Anna Maria in Paxton.

Brady Bajema (6-2 junior Whitinsville MA)

Brady Bajema (6-2 junior Whitinsville MA)

If there ever was a game that got away it was this one.  It sure didn’t help that the Scots were minus Brady Bajema for the second straight game.  Coach Schauer told me before the game that Brady was in the hospital.  I had learned earlier that he had a knee infection.  After the game, Coach Schauer told me that Brady should be back.  He didn’t say when.

Minus Brady’s 12 points per game, the struggle in this one was scoring points.  Things really got dicey in the overtime when Greg Walker fouled out with 2 ½ minutes left in OT and later Aaron Trigg departed for the same reason with 47 seconds left.  The Scots trailed by just two, 71-69, when Aaron left.  Those who know this team can see that the top three scorers on the team were unavailable in the last 47 seconds. 

The way those last 47 seconds played out went something like this: Austin Bentson made one of two free throws and Brendan Monteiro followed with two of two putting the Leopards ahead 73-70 with 35 seconds left.  The Scots needed a three and they launched three of them (Timmy MacDonnell, Jeff Derr, and David Flight) but came up empty.

The travesty for Gordon was that this game got to overtime.  Wentworth ran six straight to get up 49-45 with 8 ½ left in the game.  Then the Leopards went six possessions getting three turnovers and three misses.  Meanwhile the Scots made baskets on five of their six possessions to run ten straight points to lead, 55-49, with 3:46 remaining.  The last basket in this sequence had Aaron penetrating down the lane finding extra coverage and feeding Ben Gaskill for a layup.  Pretty play. 

Later it was a pass from Greg Walker that resulted in another Ben Gaskill layup and gave Gordon the 61-53 advantage with 2:10 left.  If you were there, you would have thought that the Scots had this one wrapped up.  Sorry, you would have thought wrong. 

To lose a lead of that sort you have to turn the ball over.  The Scots did that on the next three possessions (TMac, Aaron, Austin).  And then you have to miss free throws.  The Scots did that on the next two possessions.  Both Austin and Greg missed the front end of one-and-one’s. 

In the meantime, Wentworth, sensing they still had a chance, came all the way back with eight straight points to tie at 61 with 20 seconds left.  The Scots still were in good shape, however, since they could put the ball in the hands of the CCC’s #2 scorer, Aaron.  He did his thing dribbling and eating the clock before heading into the lane and drawing a foul with 2.4 seconds to go.
Scots gather around Coach Mike Schauer during last minute of regulation at Wentworth.

Scots gather around Coach Mike Schauer during last minute of regulation at Wentworth.

After a timeout, Aaron went to the foul line, calmly swished the first one, and rattled the second one in to give Gordon a 2-point lead.  Before any of us could get started celebrating, Wentworth’s Shane West had taken the ball out of bounds and thrown a full-court pass.  Not a very high percentage play, for sure, but when Ben Gaskill, who was playing in back of Matt Abbott,  jumped in front of him when the ball was in the air, disaster struck.  The ball was thrown just high enough to get over 6-9 Ben and into the hands of Matt Abbott.  He went in alone for the game-tying layup at the buzzer.  It reminded me of that Southwest Airlines ad, “You wanta get away?”  May it long be remembered that no one person ever loses a team game!

Aaron Trigg (6-1 junior Overland Park KS)

Aaron Trigg (6-1 junior Overland Park KS)

The overtime loss negated a remarkable double/double turned in by Aaron.  When was the last time you remember someone scoring double figures (24 points) and handing out double-digit (12) assists.  Usually you get one or the other.  Most double/doubles involve points and rebounds. 

One of the best matchups was Aaron against another All-Conference guard (senior Todd Doyle).  Both got their points – Todd had 23 and is the CCC’s third highest scorer.  Both are tireless defenders.

I was impressed with the Wentworth big men – Shane West and Matt Abbott.  There were some turnovers (nine between them) but there were numerous setups inside that produced layups.  And also, of course, was the pass from Shane to Matt that gave Wentworth a chance to win in overtime.

TMac got the start for Brady and logged 38 minutes.  Not surprisingly, he dove out of bounds chasing a ball and later required medical attention. 

Wentworth (4-9)  is still on break.  The crowd was small but Tansey Gym is one in which sound seems louder.  The place was rocking as Wentworth pulled even and later won the game. 

After the road game with Anna Maria, the Scots return to the Bennett Center on Saturday (January 17th) for an afternoon contest with Eastern Nazarene.  Make plans accordingly.

Box Score

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Filed under Gordon College Men's Basketball 2008-09, Wentworth