Livingston, Noble Lead Gophers Past Royals

Livingston, Noble Lead Gophers Past Royals

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Julian Livingston (Bowie, Md./Fairmont Heights) scored 25 points and Alex Noble (Clinton, Md./Surrattsville) added 23, as Goucher withstood a late rally from Eastern Mennonite and defeated the Royals 87-81 to conclude the non-conference portion of its schedule.

The Gophers (6-6) led for the majority of the game, but Eastern Mennonite (6-5) rallied to take a 67-63 advantage with 7:46 left. Livingston and Noble then took charge, scoring 20 of Goucher's final 24 points to lead the Gophers to their first road win of the season.

Goucher committed 19 turnovers, but consistently made its shots both from the field and the free throw line all night long. The Gophers shot a season-high 54.7 percent from the field (including 6 of 10 from 3-point range), and made 23 of 28 free throws (82.1 percent). Goucher's zone defense, meanwhile, held the Royals to 41.1 percent shooting, and only 20.8 percent from long distance.

After Eastern Mennonite scored the game's first two points, the Gophers poured in 10 unanswered to take an early eight-point lead. The run was aided by 3-pointers from Zachary Hall (Catonsville, Md./Catonsville) and Livingston, who made 4 of 5 long-range attempts overall and scored over 20 points for the third time in his last four games.

Goucher held onto its lead for the remainder of the first half, taking a 41-34 edge into the intermission.

A layup from Brian Morton II (Ellicott City, Md./Mount St. Joseph) gave the Gophers their largest lead of 50-38 with 16:18 to go. The Royals, though, gradually chipped away, led by a dominant performance from David Falk, who finished with 20 points, 16 rebounds and eight blocks.

Ryan Bush nailed a 3-pointer to give Eastern Mennonite what turned out to be its final lead at 70-69 with  6:17 to play. Livingston and Noble then sparked a 7-0 run to put Goucher up by six, and the Royals would never get closer than four points for the remainder of the contest.

Noble made 9 of 10 shots from the field, and he added a team-high 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season, while Norman Allen II (Bowie, Md./Riverdale Baptist) chipped in 12 points off the bench.

With the win, the Gophers avenged last season's 66-63 defeat to the Royals, who reached the NCAA D-III Elite Eight four seasons ago.

Goucher has now matched its win total from last year with 13 games still remaining in the season. The Gophers resume Landmark play this Saturday with a 2 p.m. road matchup at Moravian (6-5). The teams split their two matchups last season, with each winning on their home court.