TOWSON, Md. — It's never been difficult for Goucher to get up for Catholic, the only team the Gophers have faced at least once every year since the school added men's basketball as an intercollegiate sport in 1990-91.
Never mind the fact that the Cardinals entered tonight's game in the Decker Sports & Recreation Center nationally ranked and undefeated in the Landmark Conference. It was a game head coach Leonard Trevino's squad absolutely had to win to remain in contention for a spot in the conference's upcoming postseason tournament.
For the first 20 minutes, Trevino's Gophers did more than just hold their own against the No. 16 Division III team in the nation according to D3hoops.com. They were 17-for-31 from the field (.548), made nine of the 14 shots they took from 3-point range, went to the free-throw line 11 times and missed only twice, owned a 19-18 edge in rebounds and committed only three turnovers.
At one point, Goucher was up 49-36, but Catholic managed to trim its deficit to seven points by the end of the first half.
The Cardinals continued to narrow the gap in the early stages of the second half until a layup by Corey Stanford with 13:27 remaining provided them with a 59-58 advantage. After the lead changed hands four times in a span of just over two minutes, Catholic went ahead to stay on a made mid-range jumper by Bryson Fonville.
Fonville's basket ignited a run of 16 consecutive points by the Cardinals (20-3, 14-0 Landmark) who went on to record a 100-85 victory over the Gophers.
Goucher put together an even longer point-scoring streak in the first half, turning a four-point deficit into a 46-33 lead with a 17-0 spurt that featured 3-point field goals by Kevin Miles (District Heights, Md./Gwynn Park) and Jesse Mondry (Medford, Ore./South Medford) and concluded with a conventional three-point play by Norman Allen II (Bowie, Md./Riverdale Baptist).
During the first half, Alex Noble (Clinton, Md./Surrattsville) knocked down three shots for Goucher that were each worth three points, while Mondry, Tucker Canary (Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair) and Miles were successful from distance twice.
In the second half, however, the Gophers (4-18, 3-10 Landmark) made just one of their eight 3-point shots and they were 10-for-23 overall (.435).
Kyle Phanord and Jay Howard combined to score half of Catholic's 100 points. Phanord, after scoring 11 points in the opening half, added 17 to his total in the second period to finish with 28. He made eight 3-point shots in the victory.
In addition to scoring 13 points, Fonville broke the Decker SRC single-game record for assists by handing out 15 of them. The former mark of 13 was established against Salisbury on Jan. 17, 1998 by Goucher's Mike Doyle.
Miles finished with 16 points to capture scoring honors for the Gophers.
Goucher plays its final home game of the season on Saturday with Scranton serving as the opponent. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.