By Jean DePlacido
---- — WENHAM — The Bennett Center was rocking as the Fighting Scots took on Commonwealth Coast Conference arch rival Endicott in a doubleheader. Gordon pulled out a 68-66 thriller in the men's game, but the Endicott women prevailed, 58-42 in the opener.
The men's game was a barnburner with Gordon a disappointing 1-4 coming into the conference opener while Endicott was 4-1. The game was deadlocked four times in the second half, the last one when the Gulls' Andre Makris finished off a fast break to knot it at 66-66 with two minutes remaining. Makris had a dozen points and three blocked shots in 23 minutes. Park Thomas answered at the other end to put the Fighting Scots ahead with 41 seconds remaining.
After Endicott called a time out, Kamahl Walker attempted a three-point shot that hit the rim and bounced out. Lachlan Magee came up with the rebound, but his shot was blocked, and with eight seconds remaining the Gulls inbounded the ball. Makris took an outside shot that didn't fall at the buzzer.
"What a difference it made when we played defense in the second half," said Gordon College coach Tod Murphy. " We always seem to shoot better in our building. This team is built on defense and rebounding. We gave them way too many offensive rebounds tonight (23), and it's tough to win when you do that.
"We got off to a great start, but they came right back. We didn't do everything right, but we did do enough to win."
Gordon was lights out from three-point land in the first half led by Luke Hamilton, who hit four of the five three's he attempted and finished with 15 points. They went on a 16-0 run to pull ahead, 28-15, but the visitors fought back to cut it to 40-36 at the half.
Senior guard Greg Jacques had a game high 21 points and four steals. His quickness caused problems for Gordon and resulted in turnovers. Jacques led a 6-0 run by Endicott to start the second half with back to back baskets to knot it at 40 all, and then Daquan Sampson (12 points) gave the Gulls their first lead when he hit a jumper.
Gordon regained the lead on back to back three-pointers by Hamilton and Park Thomas, who had 15 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
"Hamilton had a big night with those three's," said Murphy. "And I can't say enough about the job Thomas did. He hit his free throws (7-8), and that was so important late in the game."
Center Hans Miersma, who had eight points seven rebounds, and five blocks, had to sit out much of the second half in foul trouble. He came out of the game after picking up his third, and when he went back in with just over nine minutes left quickly got called for his fourth.
"Hans is our man in the middle, and even when he's not scoring he changes the game," said Murphy. "We want him out on the court, and tonight we didn't have him in there for a while."
Alex Carnes was also in double figures with 12 for the Fighting Scots, who were outrebounded, 51-47. Both teams were in foul trouble, and Gordon hit 23 of 29 while the visitors were 14-19.
In the first half of the doubleheader the Endicott women improved to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the CCC led by Kelsey Cuddy with 13 points, six assists, and three steals. Samantha Crough was high rebounder with 11 and also had 10 points.
The visitors led, 25-19 at the half and increased the lead to 10 points early in the second half before Gordon fought back to cut it to four points on a driving layup by Brooke Kratche, who was one of three players for her team with 12 points. Lauren Kranyak and Fredi Nielsen also had a dozen each.
"Gordon is incredibly resilient," said Endicott coach Brittany Hutchinson. "They work so hard all the time and never give up. We struggled offensively in the first half and overall struggled to get our shots to drop.
"In the second half we were more patient with our offense. Cuddy did a good job guarding their best player No. 34 (Kratche). She's been averaging 19 points a game, and only had 12 tonight. Sam Crough hit the boards hard and had a team high 11."
Gordon dropped to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in the conference. One of the problems was not controlling the boards. Endicott had 17 offensive rebounds to Gordon's six and an overall 48-35 advantage.
"We can't give up that many offensive rebounds," said coach Julie Brown. "A good team like Endicott is going to take advantage of that. They are big, strong, and smart. I thought we competed well, but we have to keep getting better.
"Clancey Adams did a nice job on the boards. She was our leading rebounder (7), and I'm excited to see her competitive spirit out there. We need more of that."