Free Throw Woes Haunt Gophers in Nailbiter
WINCHESTER, Va. — Goucher had a chance to force overtime in the team's opener, but could not manage to extend the game, falling 72-70 to Centenary (La.).
After trailing 8-2 early, Goucher (0-1) charged back to take a lead as large as nine in the first half before a pair of Centenary threes over the last :47 caused the Gophers to settle for a 33-31 edge at the half.
That 6-0 run accounted for two of the team's nine three-pointers on 27 attempts. Goucher, on the other hand, was only 3-for-19 from long range.
Early in the second half, Goucher extended its lead to eight, but Centenary (1-0) rallied back to take the lead, 51-50, with 10:57 remaining.
A three gave the Gents their largest lead of the second half (6), but Julian Livingston (Bowie, Md./Fairmont Heights) immediately answered with a 20-footer to bring the game back to a single-possession lead.
Brian Morton II (Ellicott City, Md./Mount St. Joseph) then pulled up to hit a jumper to pull Goucher within one with 1:41 left.
Each team received offensive rebounds on their next possessions, but when the second-chance opportunities came up empty, Goucher was forced to foul to extend the game.
Jonathan Blount, who accounted for 27 of the Gents' points to lead all scorers, hit both shots to make the lead three once again.
Livingston had a look from the wing to tie the game, but hit the front of the rim, with the offensive rebound keeping Goucher's chances alive. Out of a timeout, Centenary chose to foul Norman Allen II (Bowie, Md./Riverdale Baptist) instead of allowing another tying attempt.
Allen hit the first and intentionally missed the second, but coach Leonard Trevino's squad could not come down with the rebound to try to send the game to overtime.
Goucher had plenty of chances from the free-throw line, attempting 40 from the charity stripe but only netting 21 of the attempts.
Richard Harris (Clinton, Md./Surrattsville) notched his third career 20-point game, ending one short of his career high of 21 set last year against Moravian.
The only other Gopher in double digits for scoring was Trae Lindsay (Baltimore, Md./Patapsco) who scored 11 and added a team-high nine rebounds.
With the win, Centenary advances to tomorrow's championship game at 8 p.m., while Goucher will play in the consolation game at 6 p.m.