Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College men's basketball team suffered an 85-66 defeat to visiting Gordon College in their 2017-18 season opener at Picknelly Arena Wednesday night. The Blazers sit at 0-1 overall, while the Fighting Scot rise to 1-0.
Play was tight early in the first half as a jumper from Gordon freshman Matt Valles (Mattapoisett, Mass.) gave the Fighting Scots a 7-3 lead, but Elms responded as a trey by freshman Michal Ohradka (Feeding Hills, Mass.) capped an 8-2 run to hand the Blazers an 11-9 lead. The Blazers expanded their advantage to 22-16 at the 10:49 mark on a three from Ohradka. Gordon answered with a 12-2 run over the next five minutes, paced by four-point efforts from juniors Garrisson Duvivier (Brockton, Mass.) and Noah Szilagyi (Purcellville, Va.), to regain a 28-24 lead. The sides exchanged buckets, and then a jumper from Elms sophomore DeAngelo Cousar (Bowie, Md.) even the score at 29-29 with 3:42 remaining in the frame. The Blazers used a steal and a fastbreak layup from freshman Dylan Bayles (Greenacres, Fla.) to grab a 36-33 edge, but the Scots closed the period with a 5-0 run to take a 38-36 into halftime.
Gordon came out strong to open the second half, orchestrating a 14-8 run, featuring five-point efforts from senior Eric Demers (Acushnet, Mass.) and junior Jake Haar (Huntington Beach, Calif.) in a five-minute span to harness a 52-44 lead at the 15:32 mark. A free throw from Cousar closed the gap to 54-50 with 13:58 on the clock, but Gordon pulled away with 17 unanswered points over the next five minutes, powered by three-pointers from Demers and junior Noah Szilagyi (Highlands Ranch, Colo.). Elms worked at the deficit with buckets from Ohradka and sophomore Spencer Douglas (Hollywood Hills, Fla.), but Gordon held off the Blazers with a late 9-0 run en route to the 85-66 win.
Ohradka led the Blazers with a career-high 18 points, connecting on 6-of-16 from the floor, including three three-pointers, with three rebounds. Senior Keeshaun King (Jacksonville, Fla.) stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, a career-high eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. Freshman Pablo Ortiz (Newington, Conn.) added a career-high eight points and a career-high six rebounds off the bench, while Cousar added seven rebounds and six points in the loss.
Four scorers netted double figures for the Fighting Scots, powered by a double-double effort from Duvivier with a game-high 19 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Demers poured in 18 points with four assists and three rebounds, while Haar and Szilagyi tallied 10 points apiece.
The teams finished even on the glass with 43 rebounds each. Elms shot 31.6% (24-of-76) from the floor, including 32.4% (11-of-34) from three-point range, and 63.6% (7-of-11) from the foul line. Gordon connected on 50% (31-of-62) from the field, 40% (8-of-20) from three-point, and 60% (15-of-25) from the free throw stripe.
The Blazers will look to move into the win column when they travel to UMass-Dartmouth for the 2017 Hampton Inn Classic Friday and Saturday. Elms will face the host Corsairs Friday at 7:30 p.m. Gordon travels to Salem State for non-conference action Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.