KINGS POINT, N.Y. — Goucher entered Liebertz Gymnasium this afternoon with all the momentum it could ask for. Tom Rose's squad upset Juniata, 60-54, just three nights ago, which was the team's fourth win out of its last five Landmark Conference contests.
Unfortunately, the momentum didn't carry over as David Smith scored 22 of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy's 82 points, leading to a 16-point victory.
Right from the get-go, Smith made his presence known. He nailed a 3-point shot 55 seconds into the contest to give the Mariners a 5-0 lead. The home team extended its lead to nine with 15:10 remaining in the opening half but the Gophers came roaring back as Mychal Stefanides (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) scored four of the team's next six points to cut the lead to three.
After Robbie Kennedy knocked down Merchant Marine's second 3-point shot of the day with 12:05 on the clock, scoring was scarce for the next two minutes. Goucher used a 5-0 run to cut into the home team's lead again but Smith made a layup to extend the advantage back to five.
The Gophers (8-12, 4-7 Landmark) couldn't make up anymore points in the final seven minutes of the first half as they scored only seven points, resulting in a 10-point deficit at the break.
Goucher held Smith to only one 3-pointer in the opening 20 minutes of play but that would change quickly in the second half.
Merchant Marine's first possession of the second resulted in Smith's second made shot beyond the arc. From there, he was lights out — making his next four 3-point attempts, to finish with 22 on the day.
The Mariners (10-8, 5-6 Landmark) held a double-digit lead for the remaining portion of the contest.
Preston Padgett scored 17 points for Merchant Marine while Matt Miller added 14 in the win.
Stefanides notched 13 points in his 33 minutes of action while Kevin Miles (District Heights, Md./Gwynn Park) scored 10.
Goucher returns to the Decker Sports & Recreation Center on Saturday for a 2 p.m. tip-off against Elizabethtown.