TOWSON, Md. — Goucher may have liked its chances of knocking off Drew tonight when it went to the locker room at halftime trailing the Rangers, who began the day tied for second place in the Landmark Conference, by just a point.
The key was probably going to be doing a better job defending Kevin Herring II, who torched the Gophers for 30 points in one of last season's head-to-head encounters and was already halfway there again tonight as he scored 15 points while playing all 20 minutes.
Drew quickly extended its lead to seven points thanks to made 3-point field goals on its first two possessions of the second half. The rest of the way, however, the Rangers were just 7-for-25 from the field and Herring added only two points to his total by making two free throws.
Goucher, meanwhile, caught fire in the second half. The Gophers turned in a 15-for-27 shooting performance (.556) and made 16 of the 19 free throws they were awarded as they erupted for 49 points to earn an 83-71 come-from-behind victory.
It took head coach Tom Rose's squad less than three minutes to wipe out the seven-point lead the Rangers took by opening the second half with the two made 3-point baskets. The Gophers (7-11, 3-6 Landmark) went ahead by a point on a 3-pointer by Tre Galloway III (Fort Washington, Md./Paint Branch) with 16:17 left to play. After the Rangers tied the score at 44-44 with a free throw by Kevin-Michael Miller, Ed Oliver (Adelphi, Md./High Point) put the home team in front for good by making a layup with 15:52 remaining.
A run of seven straight points that began with a 3-pointer by Mychal Stefanides (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) turned a one-point lead for Goucher into a 57-49 edge, but Drew still managed to get as close as three points on three separate occasions. The final time the Rangers (9-9, 6-3 Landmark) made it a one-possession game was when Mike Klinger sank a pair of free throws to make the score 64-61 with 6:41 left to play.
Over the next five minutes, however, the Gophers limited their opponent to just two points and their lead ballooned to 78-63 on a basket by Kevin Miles (District Heights, Md./Gwynn Park) with 1:20 showing on the clock.
Miles led all scorers as he contributed 20 points to the victory. Troy DeShields (Seaford, Del./Sussex Technical) and Stefanides both tallied nine points in the second half to bring their total to 14 and 13 points, respectively.
In addition to scoring 13 points, Stefanides was credited with five assists and four steals, the most steals by a Goucher player in a game so far this season.
Klinger, who came in averaging 22.1 points per game against Landmark opponents this season, supplied the Rangers with 11 points in the second half to finish with 17 and tie Herring for team-high honors.
The Gophers get a crack at the team that now owns sole possession of second place in the Landmark Conference on Wednesday when they welcome Juniata to the Decker Sports & Recreation Center for a 7 p.m. contest. The Eagles defeated Moravian, 79-62, tonight.