TOWSON, Md. — After surrendering 15 of the game's first 18 points, Goucher's defense produced its second-best performance of the season. Its offense, however, was never able to get fully in-sync, sending the Gophers to a 60-57 loss at home to Juniata this evening.
Jeremy Hays sank three of his four free throw attempts in the closing seconds for the Eagles (12-4, 3-2 Landmark) to seal a sluggish game in which neither team shot over 40 percent from the field. Julian Livingston (Bowie, Md./Fairmont Heights) grabbed a rebound off the lone missed free throw from Hays during that stretch with a second remaining, but his full court heave fell short.
Goucher (7-9, 2-3) has now lost three straight Landmark games after a 2-0 start, while Juniata snapped a two-game skid.
The Eagles jumped out to a 15-3 lead six minutes into the game, hitting seven of their first 12 shots. After that, though, their offense went ice cold, making only one of its next 13 attempts.
The Gophers went on a 19-4 run during that span. A 3-pointer from Livingston gave Goucher its first lead at 20-19, and Troy DeShields (Seaford, Del./Sussex Technical) converted a layup with 1:52 remaining to give the Gophers their largest lead of the game at three points.
Juniata's offense would finally awake from its slumber, as the Eagles closed the half with an 8-0 spurt to take a 27-22 advantage into the break.
Though Juniata never led by more than eight points in the second half, Goucher was never able to reclaim an advantage. Norman Allen II (Bowie, Md./Riverdale Baptist) got his team closest to a tie game when he finished off a 3-point play with 12:08 left to make it 38-37.
The Gophers would also get within two points on two occasions in the final minute. Livingston sank a pair of free throws with 44 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 57-55. After an extended possession, Hays drew a foul and made both free shots with just over nine seconds on the clock.
Zachary Hall (Catonsville, Md./Catonsville) drilled a jumper with three seconds to go, but the Eagles got the ball into Hays and Goucher ran out of time.
Livingston led all players with 23 points and nine rebounds. Kevin Miles (District Heights, Md./Gwynn Park) added 13 points for the Gophers, and both he and Livingston nailed three shots from long distance. The only time this season that Goucher's defense had allowed fewer points was in a 60-45 victory over Gallaudet on Dec. 14.
Brian Scholly paced Juniata with 17 points, while Hays chipped in 16.
Goucher looks to get back on track this weekend with a Saturday afternoon trip to Drew (8-8, 2-3), which fell 82-72 to Scranton tonight. The Gophers and Rangers split their two meetings last season, with each winning on the other's home court. Saturday's contest will begin at 2 p.m.