Tag Archives: University of New England

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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Filed under Gordon men's basketball 2008-09, UNE

Lunar Eclipse Spectacular but Not Scots – Game #24

(Biddeford, Maine) – There was a rumor floating around after this game that at some point in the second half the referees decided to leave and go outside to look at the lunar eclipse.  They apparently were so impressed with the lunar eclipse (and it was spectacular) that they sent Gordon Coach Mike Schauer outside to look when they came back.

Okay, that’s not exactly what happened.  But a hard-fought game between the University of New England and Gordon turned nasty in the second half leading to a number of unbecoming technical fouls and ejections on both sides.  In my opinion a lot more whistle blowing early in the second half might well have prevented what developed later.

One thing that will not change is the final score: UNE 72 Gordon 59.  Trust me, the Nor’Easters are for real.  They have players that can beat a team one-on-one and they can force turnovers with their aggressive trapping and pressing.

All that didn’t seem to faze the Scots in the first half, however, and they were up 39-37.  “Gordon had everything scouted,” said UNE Coach Jason Mulligan.  “We were taken out of our game by their preparation.”

Nothing seemed to change early in the second half, in fact, a Brady Bajema (sophomore-6′2″-Whitinsville MA) three at 16:15 on a feed from Justin Kaufman (senior-5′11″-Redding CT) gave the Scots their largest lead of the game, 44-39. 

The next 7 ½ minutes?  A disaster for Gordon and the segment in which UNE caught up and took the game over.  “In the second half we got back in our groove in the full-court pressure and it got loud,” recalled Coach Mulligan.  “That loudness is something that wasn’t happening here much in the past.  Obviously winning brings people out and the noise the crowd created helped us tonight.”

The Nor’Easters went on a 14-2 run during this stretch and Isaac Stickney (16 rebounds/16 points for the game) and Jaykyri Simpson with six points each did most of the damage.  Three of the baskets were on offensive rebounds.  UNE had ten of those in the second half.

“In the second half they (UNE) increased the physical nature of their play and we weren’t able to match it and respond to it,” explained Gordon assistant coach Jeremy Martin afterwards.

And where the Nor’Easters were able to cash in on their physical play with high percentage shots in close the Scots launched low percentage 3’s.  Gordon dialed long distance five times during those 7 ½ minutes and never got an answer.

“People make comments about defense but if you don’t make shots it’s not always the defense that’s responsible,” said Coach Mulligan.  The Scots had plenty of good long-range looks, so their 1-for-10 result in the second half on 3-point attempts was very surprising.  Make a couple of those 3’s and this game would have been in the one-possession zone a lot longer than it was.

Instead, with nine minutes to go UNE held a 53-46 advantage.  Gordon got to within four points a couple of times thereafter (55-51 and 57-53) but never within four and in possession of the ball.  The Nor’Easters turned up points on almost every possession in the end game and as the frustrations mounted, the UNE margin increased and they won going away, 72-59.

The win pushes UNE (9-3) past Gordon (8-4) in the Commonwealth Coast Conference standings with only Saturday’s games left.  UNE is at Nichols and Gordon hosts Salve Regina.

By my unofficial figuring: if Gordon wins and Western New England loses at Colby-Sawyer (they’re undefeated at home) then the Scots will host Western New England in the first round of the CCC playoffs.  If Gordon, UNE, and Western New England win on Saturday then, brace yourself, Gordon comes right back up to Biddeford for another try at the Nor’Easters.  Wouldn’t that be something!

You couldn’t help but be impressed with UNE’s two junior imports from Texas – Jaykyri Simpson and Johnnie Jefferson.  Jaykyri had Justin covering him and he still went 10-for-13 with 21 points and six assists.  Johnnie was 5-for-8 with 13 points.  “I got those guys from Texas here after I got here,” explained Coach Mulligan.  “I was blessed.  The Lord sent the right people.”

With Justin, Jon Marstaller (senior-6′5″-Naples ME), Mike Schnackenberg (senior-6′6″-South Portland ME), and Keith Krass (Senior-6′2″-Beach Park IL) being honored Saturday, and ending their Gordon careers after this season, it might not be a bad idea for the Gordon coaching staff to take a look in Texas for some replacements if this is what’s out there.

“We’re trying to change the culture at UNE,” said Coach Mulligan.  “It’s obviously a huge win to beat Gordon here.  Theirs is a program that we aspire to be like.”

After defeating Gordon, Colby-Sawyer, and Endicott in consecutive home games, you can see how on a given day UNE is as good as anyone in the CCC is.  And just think, they were picked by the coaches to finish 11th out of 14 teams this season in the preseason poll!

Gordon collected ten turnovers in the second half on the way to 16 for the game.  The key to any success they hope to have in the CCC tournament next week will be taking good care of the basketball.  The four games in which the Scots turned the ball over the most were; Roger Williams (20),  Eastern Nazarene (17), Salem State (17), and UNE (16).  Two obvious similarities jump out – all were losses and all were on the road.  Gordon’s record nearly assures them of being on the road next Thursday and Saturday if they’re still alive in the tournament.  More efficiency on offense could well be the key to bringing the championship trophy to Grapevine Road a week from Saturday.

There are blessings and there are blessings in disguise.  I was dealing with the latter at game-time.  My wife and our friend Carolyn came out of Biddeford’s 99 Restaurant to find that the car wouldn’t work.  AAA eventually did what they do and we were on our way but missed most of the first half of this game.  Then came the blessing; UNE Sports Information Director Curt Smyth furnished me with the play-by-play of the first half and I was good to go in the second half. 

boxscore UNE 2-20-08

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Filed under Gordon Men's Basketball 2007-08, UNE

Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament Scenarios With Two Games Left

Seven teams have qualified for the eight spots in the Commonwealth Coast tournament with two regular season games left.  The seedings in the tournament are far from decided, however. 

Gordon assistant coach Jeremy Martin has put together; the current seeds, remaining schedule for those teams, and seeding scenarios.  His willingness to share the information is greatly appreciated.

1. Roger Williams (10-1): at Curry, at Eastern Nazarene

2. Curry (9-2): vs. Roger Williams, vs. Endicott

3. Gordon (8-3): at UNE, vs. Salve Regina
   UNE (8-3): vs. Gordon, at Nichols
   WNEC (8-3): at Anna Maria, at Colby-Sawyer

6. Colby-Sawyer (7-4): at Wentworth, vs. WNEC

7. Wentworth (6-5): vs. Colby-Sawyer, vs. NEC
   Endicott (6-5): vs. NEC, at Curry

9. Nichols (4-7): vs. Regis, vs. UNE
*Nichols is still alive by holding the tie-breaker vs. Endicott (W 90-72 on 1/15/2008). If Endicott wins one more game, they clinch a playoff berth. If Endicott loses two and Nichols wins two, then Nichols will be the 8th seed.

Roger Williams: If RWU wins at Curry, they will be the #1 seed.

Curry: If Curry wins vs. RWU and vs. Endicott, they will be the #1 seed by holding the tie-breaker over RWU.

Gordon: If Gordon wins at UNE and vs. Salve Regina, they will be the #3 seed. Additionally, if Curry loses either vs. RWU or vs. Endicott, then Gordon will be the #2 seed by holding the tie-breaker over Curry.

Those are the three schools in control of their own destiny by winning out in the next two games. After that point, it gets complicated with numerous scenarios through the games on Wednesday and it’s hard to know until going into Saturday’s games.

WNEC: If WNEC wins at Anna Maria and at Colby-Sawyer, then they can still get the #2 or #3 seed. To get the #2 seed, they additionally need a Curry loss combined with both a Gordon loss and UNE loss (must finish tied with Curry). To get the #3 seed, they additionally need a Gordon loss.

Seven of eight playoffs spots are sealed, but basically every seed is still in play, including #1, which RWU can wrap up on Wednesday.

There is a lot still up in the air.

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Filed under Colby-Sawyer, Curry, Endicott, Gordon Men's Basketball 2007-08, Nichols, Roger Williams, UNE, Wentworth, Western New England