GREENVILLE — It didn’t take long for Andre Gordon to surpass 1,000 career points — but it took Sidney awhile to put Greenville away in a Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division game on Friday.
Gordon needed 11 points to reach the 1,000 mark and hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 33.9 seconds left in the first quarter to hit 12 points on the night. He added another 3 before the end of the quarter to reach 15 points and continued to score until the final buzzer.
Sidney pulled away in the second half to a 95-64 win, but Greenville kept close throughout the first half. Gordon hit a shot in the final minute of the second quarter to help Sidney take a 44-41 halftime lead.
Gordon finished with a school-record 49 points and has 1,038 career points after Friday’s game. He’s the fourth player in school history to surpass 1,000 career points.
“Coach (John Willoughby) got me through it and pulled me to the side yesterday and said, ‘just play your game, don’t go out there and try to do too much,’ ” Gordon said. “I played my game and was relaxing and did what I had to do.”
Greenville (0-7, 0-4 GWOC American North) scored more points in the first half than it did the entire night in a 73-33 loss to Troy two weeks ago. The Green Wave hit 11 3-pointers, eight of which came in the first half.
But after the big first half, Greenville’s shooting cooled and Sidney’s defensive pressure picked up.
“We tried to figure out (at halftime) how we could defend a little bit better on the perimeter,” Willoughby said. “We thought we could contain them, but they were driving by us and hitting those 3’s. We went from our all-out denial defense to more of a gap defense so we could be in a better position to take away the drive and the 3-point shot.”
The change worked.
After Greenville hit a 3 to pull within four points early in the third, Sidney responded with an 8-0 run. Ratez Roberts capped off the run with a three-point play to put the Yellow Jackets up 56-44 with 4:39 left.
Gordon hit a long jumper right before the third-quarter buzzer to reach 40 points and boost Sidney’s advantage to 68-50.
Josiah Hudgins and Roberts added 13 points for Sidney, while Devan Rogers scored 11. Will Coomer led Greenville with 15.
The Yellow Jackets (4-3, 4-2 GWOC North) won’t play again until next Friday when they travel to Urbana for a nonconference game.
Willoughby was pleased the team was able to put the game away in the second half but said improvement is still needed.
“We had a good film session the other night after the Butler game,” Willoughby said. “We saw some of our weaknesses, including the rebounding part of it. We weren’t getting everybody committed to the boards, we just were relying on (Rogers) and Ratez to rebound. I think tonight we had a little bit more of a conscious effort of everybody rebounding.”
Friday’s game was the second time Gordon has scored over 40 points in a game. He scored in the 30’s six times and broke 20 points in 40 percent of the games he’s played.
“He felt it early tonight,” Willoughby said of Gordon. “Most good players know they have it going on that particular night. You never know what triggers it, because if you did, you’d do it all the time. But you have a feeling, especially the way the defense plays, about what you’re going to be able to do. With them coming out and pressuring him full court, it opened up a lot for him. He probably felt that early on.”
DeWayne McCluskey is Sidney’s all-time leading scorer. He amassed 1,745 points from 1985 to 1988.
Friday’s game was the 56th of Gordon’s career. McCluskey surpassed 1,000 career points in 54 games.
Gordon will become Sidney’s all-time career assists leader later this season. Gordon had 311 career assists entering Friday’s game, 36 shy of Ross Hoewischer’s record of 347. Hoewischer played from 1997 to 2000.
Greenville travels to Coldwater on Saturday in nonconference action.
Postgame interview with Andre Gordon following his historic night at Greenville. pic.twitter.com/MmRUJqV04t
— Bryant Billing (@TopBillingSport) December 23, 2017
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.