(Amesbury MA) Wake up, call!
Silky Sullivan was a famous race horse. His specialty? Starting slowly and then coming on fast to win at the end. A special camera was often used to show how far back the horse was….before he would rush up late to win.
The Gordon College Fighting Scots were no “Silky Sullivan” this afternoon in Springfield against Western New England. They did get the bad start part right but not the rest of it.
The result was a 94-88 frustration against the Bears.
The Scots (16-2) started badly on both ends of the court (trailed 50-33 at the half), but we had seen this before.
In the second half, Gordon shifted into comeback mode and turned a 57-36 deficit into a very tight, 66-63, close one in 8 ½ minutes. Shots started falling on one end and not-so-much down the other end.
With 10 ½ minutes to go, you “knew” where this was going…….or so you thought. WN came in 5-12. WN had collapsed in the second half at the Bennett Center in December and lost 99-70.
Credit the Bears, they “forgot” what was supposed to happen and in the next two minutes had a triple (Tim Reilly), another triple (Mike McGuire), and a jump shot (Mikey Pettway). The Scots went scoreless. The lead expanded back to eleven (74-63) and the Scots lost playing catchup the rest of the way.
Wasted in the second half was a performance by Garrisson Duvivier that may have been the best half anyone in a Gordon jersey every played. Check these 2nd half numbers: 26 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals!
As great as GD’s performance was, it wasn’t enough.
Why? Blame WN senior Mikey Pettway. The Commonwealth Coast Conference All-Star has a 20-point average. First time against the Scots MP had a surprising six points on 3-for-10 shooting. He’s a lot better than that and this afternoon he was, especially in the second half. Mikey ended with twenty-four points, getting fourteen of them in the second half (along with four assists). Mikey’s play was crucial because the Scots had awakened to the possibility of a game being lost and were playing with urgency.
The Bears (6-12) shot 50% and were adept at making the mid-range jumpers that the Gordon zone seems vulnerable to. They dared to go to the basket against the GC shot blockers and often got away with it.
Gordon struggled mightily from long range connecting a season-low five times on twenty-four attempts. The team averages eight made three’s a game. Get the average and today’s result was a W.
After sixty-four days the Scots (16-2) have their second loss.
Not a good start to the second time through the other eight teams in the CCC. Other coaches in the games ahead will be studying the video of today’s game for ways to defeat GC when it is their team’s turn versus the Scots.
Good luck to them on that one. The Bears played better against Gordon than anyone else has to date. The efficiency number (subtract bad stats from good stats) confirmed the excellence of Western New England this afternoon. Good shooting (50%), rebounding (42), assists (18), and low turnovers (10) show what it takes. And don’t forget Mikey Pettway getting twenty-four points. Teams will have to play well to defeat Gordon.
UNE will be at the Bennett Center on Tuesday night and their style (press, shoot 3’s, and wholesale changes) is entertaining to watch. Maybe not so much for Kendall at the scorer’s table trying to keep track of stats!
Parker Omslaer had one of his best games for Gordon. The 6-11 sophomore registered his third double/double (16 points/11 rebounds) and had a career-high six blocks.
The returned students should be in the house on Tuesday night. The Scots could use the energy boost that a good partisan crowd can bring. The team is well worth the look.