Gophers Bounce Cardinals, Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

Gophers Bounce Cardinals, Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Cody Toler (Laurel, Md./Reservoir) made only two baskets the entire game tonight. Both were 3-pointers — and both were huge for Goucher.

The first one provided head coach Leonard Trevino's squad with a 57-56 lead over Catholic, its first since it was 2-0 in the opening minute of the contest. A free throw by Louis Khouri of the Cardinals accounted for the only point either team scored over the remaining 1:49 of regulation, so the Landmark Conference contest went to overtime with the two teams deadlocked at 57-57.

Midway through the five-minute extra session and with the score still knotted up at 59-59, Toler again landed a shot from 3-point range, putting the Gophers ahead to stay. They went on to record a 78-71 victory over the Cardinals.

The win ended a 12-game losing streak against Catholic that the Gophers have had to endure since it began in 2007-08.

More importantly, it kept Goucher in the mix for the final spot in the Landmark's upcoming postseason tournament. The Gophers will not only need to knock off Scranton on Saturday, but they will also need wins by Catholic (over Moravian), Drew (over Juniata) and Susquehanna (over the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy) to finish in a four-way tie for fourth place and secure a playoff berth.

Throughout most of the first half, it looked as though the Gophers' flickering playoff hopes would be extinguished by the Cardinals (14-10, 8-5 Landmark), who opened as much as a 14-point lead. Only a successful 3-point attempt by Kevin Miles (District Heights, Md./Gwynn Park) just before the buzzer cut the deficit to 33-22 at the break.

Goucher didn't make much headway into reducing Catholic's lead during the first seven minutes of the second half before going on a 17-7 run that featured made 3-point baskets by Alex Noble (Clinton, Md./Surrattsville), Julian Livingston (Bowie, Md./Fairmont Heights) and Miles and left the Gophers only one point behind the Cardinals.

Catholic built its lead back up to five points (56-51) on a layup by Jared Prince with 3:45 left to play, but the only point the Cardinals would score in the remainder of regulation was the free throw by Khouri. In between, Miles buried a 3-pointer to bring the Gophers (10-14, 5-8 Landmark) to within 56-54 and Toler connected on his first 3-pointer to put them up 57-56.

A layup by Goucher's Troy DeShields (Seaford, Del./Sussex Technical) and two free throws by Catholic's Kyle Phanord were all the scoring that took place in OT ahead of Toler's second made 3-point field goal, which ignited a run of nine consecutive points by the Gophers. After attempting only eight free throws during regulation, they were 14-of-17 at the charity stripe during the final 1:27 of the extra period.

The 21 points the Gophers scored in OT is a new school record, beating by three the number of points they scored following regulation when they downed York, 86-76, on February 4, 1998.

Noble, who was 9-for-18 from the field and a perfect 8-of-8 at the foul line, was the leading scorer for Goucher in tonight's victory as he wound up with 28 points. Miles furnished the Gophers with 15 points and eight rebounds; Livingston with 14 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.

Noble also led the Gophers in rebounds with an even dozen.

Khouri captured scoring honors for the Cardinals, who have already clinched a playoff berth despite having dropped three in a row. He tallied 30 points while playing a total of 42 minutes.