WENHAM, Mass. — The Roger Williams Men’s Basketball team survived a second-half rally to beat host Gordon College 57-52 at the Bennett Center on Tuesday night.
Led by senior point guard Ryan Palumbo’s (Warwick, R.I.) 16 points, the Hawks won a tug-of-war game with the Scots to break Gordon’s three-game winning streak in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Roger Williams broke an eight-game losing streak in the process, which started with Gordon’s win in Bristol in late January.
The game followed an eerily similar trend for the visitors from Rhode Island, racing out to an early 10-4 lead as they have in many of their games during the lengthy skid. Josh Syska (Peabody, Mass.) and Andrew Wasik (Gainesville, Fla.) both hit shots from deep over the first four minutes of play.
Gordon (11-13, 8-9 CCC) answered back with a made layup from Jason Dempsey (Wallingford, Conn.) and a three-pointer from CCC Rookie of the Week Jaren Yang (San Francisco, Calif.) on back-to-back possessions. However, from there Gordon’s offense went stagnant, scoring just two points over the next eight minutes of the half.
Turnovers and missed layups plagued the Scots at spurts of the game, allowing Roger Williams to eventually take a double-digit lead with five minutes to play in the first period. Freshmen Yang and running mate Dylan Marshall (Purcellville, Va.) sparked the Gordon offense in the late stages of the half by cutting the Roger Williams’ lead back down to five.
Hawks’ senior forward Joseph Henry (Medway, Mass.) and Gordon’s Sam Johnson (Chatham, Mass.) traded triples in the final two minutes to send Roger Williams to a 27-22 halftime lead.
Neither team was able to gain any semblance of control at the beginning of the second half, as Roger Williams’ lead hovered between one and six. A couple of hard-working offensive possessions from Johnson allowed Gordon to take its first lead of the game at the 9:52 mark of the second half.
The two teams traded buckets back and forth for nearly five minutes when Hans Miersma (Whitinsville, Mass.) hit two free-throws to knot the game at 45 with 5:19 to play.
Trevor Fahmy (Bedford, N.H.) became the hero for the Hawks in the waning minutes. The 6-8 center drained his first three-point attempt of the season with time running out on the shot clock to put Gordon down by three points and gave Roger Williams the lead for good.
Gordon could not the big shot to answer on the other end, only scoring seven points the rest of the way to drop only its second of its last six games.
Palumbo (16 points), Syska (11 points) and 11 from Josh McCourt (Lincoln, R.I.) led the way for the victors. Roger Williams shot 45.1-percent from the field on the second-best field-goal defense squad in Division III and only committed 12 turnovers to Gordon’s 18.
Dempsey led a well-distributed scoring effort for the Scots with 11 points. Yang pitched in 10 points as well. However, Gordon didn’t have a dominant effort from any one player as they have had over the last three weeks. Miersma was held to only five points and only one make from the field, but paced Gordon’s rebounding effort with nine. The senior forward also increased his conference block lead with three.
After shooting 41-percent from the field in the first half, the Scots could only must a 9-of-33 performance in the second.
Roger Williams (8-16, 6-11 CCC) outscored Gordon 22-2 off turnovers.
The Hawks will be back in action on Saturday for a pivotal matchup at home against the University of New England with playoff seeding on the line. Gordon matches up with Eastern Nazarene in Quincy, Mass., a team that currently sits third in the CCC.
– Release courtesy of the Gordon College Sports Information Department