TOWSON, Md. — Goucher welcomed the newest member of the Landmark Conference to the Decker Sports & Recreation Center tonight. It took Elizabethtown only a few minutes to feel right at home.
During the first four minutes and 20 seconds, the visiting Blue Jays went 1-for-7 from the field, missed their only two free-throw attempts and also committed a turnover. Then they managed to score points on four consecutive possessions and turned a three-point deficit into an 11-7 advantage.
Thanks to lay-ups on back-to-back possessions by Troy DeShields (Seaford, Del./Sussex Technical) and Norman Allen II (Bowie, Md./Riverdale Baptist), Goucher battled back to tie the score at 11-11. The Gophers even had a chance to regain the lead, but a steal by Matt Lane led to a fast-break layup by Josh Eden that put Elizabethtown up 13-11.
The Blue Jays never trailed the rest of the way as they opened up a 35-22 cushion by the end of the opening period and led by as many as 30 points in the second half before settling on a 71-48 victory that allowed them to retain sole possession of fourth place in the conference standings.
The Gophers (3-13, 2-5 Landmark) were down only two when DeShields sank a pair of free throws midway through the first half, but then head coach Leonard Trevino's squad managed to score only three points over the next six and a half minutes. Only seven points separated the two teams until Joe Bodnar landed a shot from 3-point range with 1:49 remaining before halftime and Tyler Simpkiss did the same just two seconds ahead of the horn ending the first half.
The closest Goucher got at any point during the second half was when Tucker Canary (Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair) nailed a 3-pointer to make the score 37-27 in favor of Elizabethtown.
Three players shared scoring honors for the Blue Jays (7-9, 5-3 Landmark). Simpkiss, who was coming off a 30-point performance against Drew, contributed 12 points to the win, as did Lee Eckert and Jake Sweger.
Goucher didn't have a double-digit scorer for the first time in 2014-15. The Gophers shot 19-for-50 (.380) and made only one of their 10 three-point tries, plus they were out-rebounded 45-29.
Up next for Trevino's troops is Susquehanna, which currently holds down third place in the Landmark. The Gophers and Crusaders will go at each other Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Decker SRC.