TOWSON, Md. — Goucher's Landmark Conference game against Susquehanna tonight would have never gone into overtime had Julian Livingston (Bowie, Md./Fairmont Heights) not been fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws with two-tenths of a second remaining in regulation.
The contest wouldn't have gone into a second OT had the Crusaders not missed a layup and a tip-in in the final two seconds of the first five-minute extra session.
And it would have required yet a third OT to determine a winner had Alex Noble (Clinton, Md./Surrattsville) not landed a 3-pointer with three-tenths of a second showing on the clock that ultimately provided the Gophers with a scintillating 100-97 victory when the Crusaders were unable to get off a shot before the final buzzer.
By winning, Goucher snapped a six-game losing streak that dated back to the Gophers' first encounter this season with Susquehanna, an 88-77 win by the Crusaders back on January 15.
Overtime didn't seem very likely tonight when Steven Weidlich nailed his fifth 3-point basket of the game for Susquehanna with 6:10 remaining in the regulation to put his team up by nine. Goucher, however, responded with a 16-7 run, tying the score at 79-79 on a 3-pointer by Kevin Miles (District Heights, Md./Gwynn Park) with :11 remaining.
Following a timeout, the Crusaders (12-8, 4-5 Landmark) regained the lead on a made 3-pointer by Brandon Hedley, leaving only 1.5 seconds for the Gophers (8-12, 3-6 Landmark) to work with. After a long in-inbounds pass, Livingston got off a shot from behind the 3-point stripe, drawing a foul by Wally Rutecki. The sophomore forward, who was 5-of-7 at the free-throw line up until that point, converted all three pressure-packed tries to make the score 82-82 after 40 minutes.
Livingston, who supplied the Gophers with 27 points during regulation, opened the scoring in the first OT with his fourth successful 3-point basket of the contest. Still, Goucher needed a medium-range jumper by Noble with :31 remaining and then the two missed shots just before the buzzer by Susquehanna to force a second extra period.
The Crusaders tallied the first four points of the second OT, thanks to a pair of layups by Harley Sellinger, who finished with team-high totals of 24 points and 17 rebounds. The Gophers came back to tie the score at 95-95 on a layup by Miles and at 97-97 on a layup by Livingston, capping his career-best 34-point effort.
The next three possessions —two by Susquehanna and one by Goucher — ended with turnovers, resulting in the Gophers getting the ball with :48 left to play. They put a shot with :21 remaining that missed, but Cody Toler (Laurel, Md./Reservoir) saved the possession with a crucial offensive rebound. After that, they worked the clock and set up the last-second 3-point try by Noble that produced the final margin of victory.
It was the first time a Landmark Conference team had scored 100 points the entire season and the first time head coach Leonard Trevino's squad reached triple digits since a triple-overtime 105-104 triumph over Cabrini back in 2004-05.
The first half of tonight's game featured five ties and no fewer than nine lead changes, plus the two teams were never separated by more than five points. Goucher led 38-37 at the break, but midway through the second half, Susquehanna was out in front 60-52.
In addition to hitting the game-winning 3-pointer, Noble had a spectacular all-around performance: 26 points, team-high 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals and one blocked shot, all while playing a total of 42 minutes.
Troy DeShields (Seaford, Del./Sussex Technical) contributed 19 points and six rebounds to the victory, while Miles delivered 12 points off the bench.
The top scorers for Susquehanna, after Sellinger, were Hedley with 23 points, Jake Eskin with 18 and Weidlich with 15.
Four of Goucher's final five regular season games will be away from the Decker Sports & Recreation Center, starting with a Landmark Conference affair against the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., on Saturday, beginning at 12 noon.