Royals Turn Back Gophers, Crush Playoff Hopes

Royals Turn Back Gophers, Crush Playoff Hopes

SCRANTON, Pa. — Goucher, which went into its final game of the regular season needing a victory over Scranton and loads of help in order to snare the final spot in the Landmark Conference's upcoming championship tournament, couldn't pull off what it needed to do. The Gophers, despite a 29-point performance by sophomore forward Julian Livingston (Bowie, Md./Fairmont Heights) bowed to the Royals, 93-76, this afternoon, bringing down the curtain of their 2013-14 campaign.

Over the first 10 minutes of the contest, the two teams were never separated by more than five points. The Gophers (10-15, 5-9 Landmark) were down just one before a made 3-point field goal by Cody Toler (Laurel, Md./Reservoir) with 13:24 left to play in the first half put them back on top, 13-11. After that, the Royals (22-3, 12-2 Landmark) tallied five straight points to assume a 16-13 advantage, but head coach Leonard Trevino's squad battled back to tie the score at 16-16 on a basket by Troy DeShields (Seaford, Del./Sussex Technical) and a free throw by Norman Allen II (Bowie, Md./Riverdale Baptist).

Starting with a 3-point basket by Michael Barr that snapped the 16-all deadlock, however, Scranton showed the first signs of gaining control of the contest. The Royals outscored the Gophers, 18-7, during a span of more than five minutes, opening up a 34-23 cushion when Tommy Morgan nailed a shot from 3-point range with 5:01 left to play before halftime. Still, with Livingston accounting for eight of the points, the Gophers closed out the period with a 17-10 run and were down only 45-40 after 20 minutes.

A conventional three-point play by Brian Morton II (Ellicott City, Md./Mount St. Joseph) 2:20 into the second half had the Gophers trailing only 49-45, but three of Scranton's next five possessions resulted in 3-point baskets — two by Barr and the other by Justin Klingman — which allowed the Royals to expand their lead to 60-47.

The closest Goucher would get the rest of the way was when Kevin Miles (District Heights, Md./Gwynn Park) connected on a 3-point attempt with 12:18 left to play, making the score 63-56. That's when the Royals, who had already clinched being the No. 1 seed in the Landmark playoffs, started putting significant distance between themselves and their opponent. Thanks to a 21-4 run in which the Gophers managed only a layup by Miles and a pair of free throws, the home team owned a commanding 84-60 lead with 6:16 remaining.

Livingston, who was 10-for-22 from the field and made all four of his free throws, was Goucher's only double-digit scorer. He supplied the Gophers with at least 10 points in 20 of their 25 games this season while averaging 17.1 points per contest. He also led the team in rebounds (8) and assists (5) in today's finale.

Ross Danzig captured scoring honors for Scranton as he finished with 22 points.