By Peter McClelland
(Wenham) The Gordon men’s team poured in 15 straight points in the last 5 ½ minutes of the first half against the visiting Nichols Bisons (2-3) and cruised to an, 82-62, win in Commonwealth Coast Conference action on Saturday afternoon at the Bennett Center. The Scots are off to a nice start (4-0), ” but it’s early,” cautioned Gordon coach Mike Schauer.
“They beat us in every aspect of the game,” said Nichols’ coach Dave Sokolnicki afterwards. “Getting down by 20 at the half took the pressure off of them to have to make plays later. Our defenses just couldn’t cool them off for long enough for us to get back into this one.”
Senior Scott Beebe continued his high-scoring ways totaling 23 points. He showed his usual long-range accuracy (5 for 9 on 3’s) but he also found space inside for drives and jumpers. Teams ahead will be spending practice time trying to figure out how to contain him.
Joe Witherspoon paced all rebounders with nine and tossed in two rally-stopping threes in a two-minute span when Nichols had narrowed the gap to 17 points early in the second half. The second trey just beat the shot clock.
“We expect big things from Scott and Joe,” said coach Schauer. “In order for us to be tough to guard we have to get help on offense from other. Today Elliott Blackstone (12 points/6 rebounds/4 assists) and Scott Allenby (13 points/6 rebounds/3 assists) were there for us. They made good decisions and defended well.”
On paper both teams matched up evenly with neither team having a true center and both having a number of shooters. Nichols was shooting 44% from long-range coming in and kept that pace (22/51) in this game. However, Gordon started hot and never cooled down (32/57).
In the early going Gordon rained down 3’s (first 18 points were on three’s) while the Bisons found openings inside. The Scots built their edge to 28-18 with seven minutes left in the half but the visitors from Dudley narrowed things to 30-24 with 5 ½ remaining.
Then Gordon went on a 15-point run that Nichols had no answers for. Most of the damage was done inside on lay-ups by Elliott Blackstone and Ryan Smith. Joe Witherspoon closed the half by getting open under the basket on an inbounds play as the half ended.
Nichols played with more energy in the second half after coach Sololnicki yanked his starting five two minutes in but Gordon had enough scorers to assure a comfortable win. Nichols 10-1 run in the last 2 ½ minutes made the score seem closer than it actually was.
Next up for Gordon is Salem State on Tuesday night.
Nichols best player (Brian Cardozo) was held scoreless. “He has a bad leg but insisted on playing” – Sokolnicki
Gordon handled pressure (Nichols pressed after made baskets) very well. They never tried to score after breaking the press but were content to get everyone involved with passes.
Scott Allenby was 3 for 3 from long range.
A Josh Sylvester dunk was a major crowd pleaser.
Tim Shaw found someone his own size to guard.
Ryan Smith made a great up-fake and found a way to put the ball in when the defender landed on him.
The Gordon Dance Squad put on a nice show at halftime.