ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. — The shots in the closing minutes that had been going against Goucher nearly all season long finally fell in its favor this afternoon.
The Gophers scored nine points in the final 67 seconds, including a dramatic go-ahead 3-pointer from Alex Noble (Clinton, Md./Surrattsville) with 16.5 seconds remaining, to rally for a 61-57 victory at Elizabethtown.
Noble finished with a team-high 16 points. Goucher trailed 57-56 when he swished a long three from the top of the circle in the final minute. After the Gopher defense forced a missed 3-pointer from Joe Bodnar with five seconds to play, the senior co-captain sank two clutch free throws to seal the win.
Chris Outing (New Windsor, N.Y./James I. O'Neill) added nine points and a game-high 14 rebounds, helping Goucher register a 40-29 advantage on the glass, while Brian Morton II (Ellicott City, Md./Mount St. Joseph) had a strong all-around effort with six points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.
The Blue Jays (8-13, 6-7 Landmark) trailed for large portions of the first half, but 16 Gopher turnovers helped the home team take a 28-26 lead into the intermission. Tyler Simpkiss scored 13 of his game-high 22 points before the break to pace Elizabethtown.
Goucher took better care of the ball in the second half, committing only three more turnovers, but the Blue Jays still maintained a 53-45 edge with five minutes left on the clock.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Noble and Tucker Canary (Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair) quickly brought the deficit down to two points. The Gophers were hot from long distance all afternoon long, hitting 8 of 16 attempts from beyond the arc compared to 6 of 19 shooting from Elizabethtown.
The Blue Jay lead was 55-52 when Morton drove in for a layup with 1:07 to play. Eight seconds later, Morton gave Goucher the lead, as he stole an outlet pass from Phil Wenger and dribbled in for another layup.
The Blue Jays took their final lead before Noble's heroics on a Josh Eden jump shot with 44 seconds left.
The Gophers entered today with a 1-9 record in single-digit contests, including last-second defeats to nationally-ranked Amherst and Scranton. Canary contributed 11 points and four assists to the team's second close victory of the season, and Jesse Mondry (Medford, Ore./South Medford) chipped in a season-high 10 points off the bench.
Goucher (4-17, 3-9 Landmark) hit 43.1 percent of its shots from the field overall, and its 50 percent shooting output from 3-point range was its best percentage of the season. This was the second time this season that the defense has held an opponent under 60 points, and the team is now 2-0 when that occurs.
Today's win splits the season series between the Gophers and Elizabethtown, with each winning on the other's home court. Goucher returns to the Decker Sports & Recreation Center for its next contest, a 7:30 p.m. matchup against nationally-ranked Catholic on Wednesday.