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Winning streak ends as Gordon falls to Western New England

Mikey Pettway – led Western New England with 24 points including 14 in the second half.

(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.

Garrisson Duvivier had a 26-point second half with seven rebounds and two steals.

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 contributed sixteen points and eleven rebounds versus Western New England

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.

Box from the game



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Gordon rolls in the 2nd half downing Western New England 99-70

Garrisson Duvivier

Eric Demers

(Wenham MA) I should have learned my lesson.

Points are going to be scored in bunches.

Gordon (6-1) rode a 58-point second half to a, 99-70, Commonwealth Coast Conference win over Western New England (2-6) on Tuesday night at the Bennett Center.

Anyone in the building will tell you that the final score was very misleading.  This was a 3-point game (41-38) at halftime.  Gordon had dominated the first part of the half and the Bears the other part.

Noah Szilagyi had a career-high twenty points

“The beginning of the game we were killing it,” explained senior Noah Szilagyi afterwards.  Seven minutes in the score was 17-2 but WN was too good a team to let that last.

Suddenly the visitors began to drain three’s and that lead evaporated.  “We gave up open three’s and against any of the teams we play, they will knock them down,” said GC coach Tod Murphy.

Things changed in the second half.

“We did a good job defensively in the second half,” explained Coach Murphy. “Our wings were getting out high and taking away the reversals.  That second half was the way we want to play every single game.”

Josh Crutchfield and Josh Ribeiro apply defense

Gordon’s rediscovered ability to defend the three and discourage layups put Western New England in a bad way in the second half.

Taking the biggest hit was the Bears best player, Mikey Pettway, who entered the game as the CCC’s top scorer (25 points per game) and left Wenham with a 3-for-10 night and six points.

“The zone defense made it hard on (Mikey) Pettway,” said Coach Murphy.  “He’s the engine of that team.  Our goal before the game was to keep him out of the paint.”

Recall that in the first half the Scots jumped off to a 17-2 start.  Second half they did better!  The halftime 41-38 tight game turned into 58-38 five minutes into the second half.  That’s a 17-0 run.  The Bears missed their first ten shots.

Mikey Pettway tries to shoot over Garrisson Duvivier

“We learned from the first half,” said Coach Murphy.  “Western New England called a timeout when we were up by seventeen.  I didn’t say a word in the timeout.  Our guys said, ‘That’s the same as we did in the first half.  We’ve got to finish it.’”

And that was what they did.  The spread rose into the 30’s and before it was over, thirteen Scots had scored.

Noah: “If we continue to buy in on the defensive end, I think we’ll reap the rewards on offense and it should be a good season for us.”

It’s already been a “good” season; a 6-1 record, including three wins in the conference, and a five-game win streak.

Eric Demers flies in

Plenty of excitement in the house, as both Garrisson Duvivier and Eric Demers were honored for reaching 1000 points last season.

Both continue to add to their career totals.  Eric (1190 points) passed Joe Witherspoon and moved into 13th place on the all-time scorer’s list.  Garrisson (1503) pushed past Jon Marstaller into 6th place.

Plenty of highlight plays before an excited crowd.  Four Gordon jams by my count.

Eric paced GC with twenty-two points while Garrisson and Noah Szilagyi each had twenty points.  Garrisson also added twelve rebounds.

Noah Szilagyi was 8-for-9

The twenty points was a career high for Noah.  The senior reached eighteen points twice in his freshman year.

“Coming into the starting role has been a big blessing,” he explained.  “I appreciated all those times coming off the bench in previous years and having a perspective on that part of the game.  I’m playing with such a talented group of guys.  Nobody can be left on the floor.”

Coach Murphy sees Noah as a key to the defense.  “Noah is very active and has long arms.  He’s perfect for a zone defense.  Deflections are a key to this defense and he’s leading the team in deflections.”

Those of us who were at the Bennett Center for Saturday’s game with Curry noticed a significant difference three days later.  In the Curry game the reserves took over with a 30+ point lead in the second half.  The Colonels went on a scoring rampage and much of the comfortable lead was squandered.  That didn’t happen against Western New England.

Luke Meyer drives

“I gave the reserves a little bit of a hard time after the game on Saturday,” said Coach Murphy.  “I told them that I would hold them to the same standard I held every other player to.”

Coach Murphy: “There aren’t a lot of D3 programs that have the length that we have.  The game is turning into shooting 3’s and shooting layups.  The zone is intended to take away 3’s and when you’ve got two shot blockers inside you take away layups too.  We’re trying to force teams to made mid-range shots and so far it has worked for us.”

Ahead are two non-conference games with Colby (Thursday) and Johnson & Wales (Saturday) both at home.  “The next two games will be monsters,” said Coach Murphy.  “Colby has size and they’re a lot like Endicott.  It will give us a chance to see if the zone will work against teams like that.”

Box from the game

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

AJ Terry shoots in traffic

Eric Demers and his father

Brett Bowman lines up a three

David Massillon dunks

Eric Demers and Mikey Pettway

Eric Demers dunks

Eric Demers gets to the basket

Garrisson Duvivier draws a crowd

Garrisson Duvivier dunk

Garrisson Duvivier and family

Mikey Pettway looks for a shot

Parker Omslaer dunk





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Gordon holds off Western New England 84-77 on Senior Day

Gordon seniors and their families

Eric Demers (41 points) reached a new career high in points

(Wenham MA) Don’t let that final score fool you.

Western New England led by a point (74-73) with 2:38 left in this game. The outcome was anything but certain.

But the Scots (14-7) were offensively efficient down the stretch and posted a, 84-77, win on Saturday afternoon at the Bennett Center.

Special day for the Gordon faithful as the Scots four seniors (Jaren Yang, Steve Vampatella, Jake Hart, and Graham Tienhaara) were honored.

Traditionally, the Gordon seniors start on Senior Day.  That put first-time starters Steven Vampatella and Graham Tienhaara out there to open the game.

The senior foursome plus Eric Demers got off to a terrific start.  “I thought that Gordon came out with terrific energy,” said Western New England coach Colin Tabb afterwards.

Graham Tienhaara spins left for two in the early going.

By the time Graham Tienhaara went to the bench, he had six points and Gordon had a seven-point lead.  “Graham got us off to a great start,” said Gordon coach Tod Murphy.

Behind Eric Demers’ twenty-point first half the Scots were ahead, 48-38, at halftime.

Sixteen days ago, the Golden Bears (8-12) routed the Scots, 101-83, in Springfield so you had to expect that they would make things interesting in the second half.  And they did.

Mikey Pettway had thirty-one points and scored his 1000th point in the previous meeting.  This time around Mikey was off (13 points) but freshman EJ Day (28 points) more than made up for it.

“EJ Day is going to be a load to go against over the next three years,” said Coach Murphy.  EJ, like Mikey, displayed the ability to get shots off from anywhere despite being 5-10.  EJ made three’s and showed his quickness getting to the rim.

Freshman EJ Day (28 points) carried the Bears

Gordon led by sixteen (60-44) with 16:44 left.  But WNE didn’t go away.  Over the next 6+ minutes they overwhelmed the cooled off Scots.

An 18-2 run evened the teams at 62-62.  We had ourselves a ballgame!

What happened during that stretch?  Gordon made one of nine shots, including five three’s, and had three turnovers.  Then there’s Western New England: The Bears made seven of thirteen shots, with three of those seven baskets coming after they had grabbed offensive rebounds.

Gordon recovered to regain the lead but could never push their margin past three points.  Finally the Bears caught GC and went ahead (74-73) with 2:38 left on two EJ Day free throws.

Jaren Yang made pressure free throws late in the game

The rest of the way: “We made the plays we had to,” said Coach Murphy.  Eric Demers immediately made a three to give GC the lead for good as it turned out.  But there was also a key layup by Garrisson Duvivier in the last minute assisted by Jaren Yang.  Free throws were crucial and Jaren, Eric Demers, and Jake Hart made them.  Actually, Jake missed one but miraculously the ball stopped dead on the back of the rim with fifteen seconds left.  That’s a jump ball and the possession arrow favored the Scots. So Jake’s missed shot gave Gordon a fresh possession.

Eric Demers put up a career-high forty-one points with twenty in the first half and twenty-one in the second half.  In this breakout season, Eric has been able to get off shots against defenders of all sizes and speeds and shoot over 50% in twelve of the games.

Junior Garrisson Duvivier had his 15th double/double of this season.  He had sixteen points and fifteen rebounds.

Ahead is a neighborhood battle with Endicott on Wednesday night (7:30PM) in Beverly.  The winner of that game will be in second place in the Commonwealth Coast Conference behind Nichols.  In the previous Gulls/Scots matchup it was GC winning in overtime.  Realizing how hostile the atmosphere can be at Endicott, it would behoove the Scots to defeat the Gulls and avoid having to play a tournament game in Beverly.

Mikey Pettway (13 points) drives against Garrisson Duvivier

Two concerns in this game (for me) were the squandered lead and the twenty turnovers.  Players not named Eric and Garrisson need to lighten the scoring load on those two to prevent point-droughts when either of them cool off.  This afternoon’s twenty TO’s was the third time it has been that high.  The other two times were losses.  The Bears’ pressure had no part in the turnovers.  It was the passing.  Too many high-risk attempts.

Nice gathering afterward to hear the coaches retell the exploits of the four seniors.  The players will be missed.

Three weeks from now I could be writing about Gordon’s third CCC title in the last eight years.  Hope so.

Jaren Yang collected his 4th career block this afternoon for those keeping track at home!

“I was hoping to get Steve and Graham back into the game at the end, but it was so close,” said Coach Murphy.

Battle for a rebound – Garrisson had 15 rebounds vs Western New England

“Gordon took us out of the normal flow of our offense today,” said Coach Tabb.  “They didn’t leave certain shooters and it kept us from getting clean looks.”

“Good teams have to win tough games like this one,” said Coach Murphy.

Gordon has won ten of their last twelve games.

Gordon has now won nine of their last ten games with Western New England.

Western New England had a win over top-ranked Nichols at Nichols in early January.  They meet again in Springfield next Saturday.


Eric Demers 30

Garrisson Duvivier 28

EJ Day 23 (28 points)

Tim Reilly 17 (15 points)

Gordon 95

Western New England 70

Box from the game

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

Jaren Yang with parents

Jake Hart and family

Graham Tienhaara and family

Steve Vampatella and family

Coach Tod Murphy talks about his four seniors

Eric Demers layup with senior Steve Vampatella in the background

Jake Hart

Garrisson Duvivier (16 points) puts up a shot

Jaren Yang shoots a technical foul shot

Tim Reilly (15 points) contests an Eric Demers’ layup attempt

Two of the CCC’s best go head-to-head

Eric Demers makes a tough shot late in the game




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Western New England ends Gordon’s win streak 101-83

Junior Mikey Pettway reached 1000 points in tonight’s game.

Garrisson Duvivier (26 points, 17 rebounds)

(Amesbury MA) They came to see junior Mikey Pettway get his 1000th point and that’s not all they got.

The entire Western New England team played like thousand-point scorers as the Bears (7-8) dominated the Scots from beginning to end.

The GC winning streak ended abruptly at six. Also ending was a nine-game winning streak the Scots had against the team from Springfield (MA).

Mikey Pettway got his 1000th point in the first half and he got GC’s top scorer (Eric Demers) in foul trouble in that first half as well.

The Golden Bears feasted from long range in the first half making nine from out there.  The home team never trailed.

Despite the loss, Garrisson Duvivier outdid his amazing game of two days ago against Roger Williams.  Tonight’s was better because Garrisson missed only seven shots.  Who knew that he would become such a good foul shooter (8-for-9)?  26 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists.

That six-game win streak carried some weight despite the fast start by WNE.  The Bears will cool down and the Scots will shoot by them….at least that was what I thought would happen.

Eric Demers had 27 points in limited minutes

Into the second half, I was feeling pretty smart.  Eric (Demers) came out making shots and 3+ minutes into the second half the score was 55-50.  But then Eric picked up his 4th foul and had to come out.

I said to myself at the time, “Someone is going to have to pick up a lot of scoring or this game is going to get away from us.”  That “someone” never appeared and Western New England continued to roll offensively.  By the time Eric (and his four fouls) returned (9:39) the home team led, 74-57, and the cows had left the barn.

Eric put up some points, thereafter, and Garrisson had his way in close but the Bears offense never ran out of good shots as they collected 101 points.  That is the third time an opponent has scored 100 points against GC and none of the games ended happily for the team from Wenham.  Obviously, the Gordon defense had a subpar evening and it cost them.

Ahead, on Saturday, is a trip to Milton for a game with Curry.  The Colonels have yet to win a Commonwealth Coast Conference game this season.  Last year they nearly upset the Scots in Milton.

Jaren Yang continued his run of good numbers with fourteen points and six assists.  Jaren made four three’s for GC.

A key to the recent Gordon successes has been the contributions of the second unit.  Those contributions didn’t happen in this one.  Instead of closing the gap against WNE, the gap widened.

Meanwhile, the Bears had six players in double figures.  Their best stat?  They had twenty-one assists and six turnovers.

You watch the way Western New England played tonight and you could see how they could defeat Nichols.  The Bears consistently made shots and the Bison had some cool spots.  The “cool spot” for Gordon tonight was early on and they never recovered.

Avelino Damoura made his Gordon debut in the final minutes.

Efficiency Chart

Garrisson Duvivier 42

Mikey Pettway 25 (31 points,6 assists)

Jaren Yang 22 (14 points, 6 assists)

Eric Demers 21 (27 points)

Alex Sikorski 19 (14 points)

Western New England 121

Gordon 91

Box from the game





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Gordon wins conference opener 73-62 over Western New England

Mikey Pettway (16 points) drives on Garrisson Duvivier

Mikey Pettway (16 points) drives on Garrisson Duvivier

Jaren Yang (17 points) looks to pass

Jaren Yang (17 points) looks to pass

(Wenham MA) This was anybody’s game until the Scots pulled away in the final 6 ½ minutes to defeat Western New England, 73-62, on Wednesday night in the Commonwealth Coast Conference opener for both squads.

The Golden Bears (1-4) trailed by just two (59-57) with 6:32 left but went into a serious scoring drought over the next 4+ minutes and never recovered. The visitors had only Mike Gelineau’s free throw to show for the extended dry spell.

Meanwhile, Gordon (3-2) collected nine points over those 4+ minutes to gain control of the outcome. An offensive putback by Sam Johnson started things. Then it was Jaren Yang from long range and finally two free throws and a layup by freshman Garrisson Duvivier.

The sequence of almost unanswered offense put GC in front (68-58) for good.

Sam Johnson shoots a free throw. The GC junior had his third double/double of the season

Sam Johnson shoots a free throw. The GC junior had his third double/double of the season

Both Garrisson and Sam registered double/double’s for Gordon. Garrisson now has two straight DD’s while, for Sam, it was his 3rd of the season.

If the Efficiency Stat is any kind of a gauge, and I believe it is excellent, then Jaren Yang had his best game in a GC uniform. The young man from the Left Coast came out at 19 getting seventeen points and having only two missed shots from the floor. Better shot selection has been the key, in my opinion, to Jaren’s strong start in the 2015-16 season.

Efficiency Stat

Garrisson Duvivier 21 (12 points/12 rebounds)

Jaren Yang 19 (17 points)

Mike Gelineau 13 (18 points)

Mikey Pettway 13 (16 points/3 assists)

Eric Demers 12 (17 points/4 assists)

Gordon 81

Western New England 52

Sam Johnson led all rebounders with thirteen.

Mike Gelineau (18 points) fires over Eric Demers

Mike Gelineau (18 points) fires over Eric Demers

During that deadly dry spell the Golden Bears missed four layups, a jump shot, a three, and a free throw. That’s cold!

Eric Demers recovered from his 6-for-25 cold spell on the road, over the past two games, and was a warm 7-for-14 at the Bennett Center tonight. The talented freshman also had four assists.

Season high in turnovers for Gordon (21). Some were on extra passes while some others were on unsuccessful attempts at highlight-reel passes. I’m a big fan of assisted baskets. GC had thirteen of them in this game.

Good to see Richie Armand in uniform. Last time Gordon faced Western New England, Richie hit a three (his only shot of the game) with five seconds left to defeat the Golden Bears by two. Word was that Richie was the fifth option for that final shot but found an open look and drained a game-winner.

The rest of December Gordon will play on the road. They start that 4-game slate with a visit to CCC opponent Roger Williams on Saturday afternoon. Can GC get its first road win in Bristol?

Box Score

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

Jaren Yang in a den of Golden Bears

Jaren Yang in a den of Golden Bears

Luke Meyer and Mikey Pettway

Luke Meyer and Mikey Pettway

Garrisson Duvivier in the lane

Garrisson Duvivier in the lane

Garrisson Duvivier (12 points) finishes

Garrisson Duvivier (12 points) finishes

Nathaniel Martin and Udoka Obiora contest a loose ball

Nathaniel Martin and Udoka Obiora contest a loose ball

Josh Ribeiro blocks out

Josh Ribeiro blocks out

Mikey Pettway breaks after a Gordon turnover

Mikey Pettway breaks after a Gordon turnover

floor burns

floor burns

Andre Joyner looks for an opening

Andre Joyner looks for an opening




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