TOWSON, Md. - Sophomore Dwayne Morton (Waynesville, Mo./Waynesville) poured in a career and game-high 21 points, but it wasn't enough, as visiting Wilson pulled away over the final minute of action to take a thrilling 67-63 win over the Goucher College men's basketball team in the 2017-18 season opener for both squads on Wednesday night at the Decker Sports and Recreation Center.
In the contest, it was a nip and tuck affair in the first half, as the biggest lead either team had in the period was a Goucher six-point advantage with 1:16 left (29-23). Wilson, however, ended the half on a 6-0 run, tying the game up at 29-all entering intermission.
The visiting Phoenix rode the wave of momentum they built at the end of the first half into the second, as they eventually opened a 10-point lead on the Gophers with 13:45 to go in regulation (46-36).
With 10:38 left, Wison still led by double-digits at 52-42, but Goucher finally countered back, as an emphatic 12-0 run by the Gophers over the next four minutes gave the Gophers their first lead since the end of the first half at 54-52. The run was punctuated by a three-pointer by junior Gabe Ceribelli (Monkton, Md./Hereford) that tied it, who then followed that up with a lay-in to give the Gophers the edge.
Over the next few minutes, both teams traded the lead, as things came to a head with Goucher leading, 63-60, with 1:15 to go after Morton made a pair of free throws. Here, Wilson took control of the contest, as after a made lay-in made it 63-62, they forced a Goucher miss. This was followed up by a successful three-point play that gave the Phoenix the lead back at 65-63 with 38 seconds left.
After another Goucher miss, Wilson was able to collect the defensive rebound, then sunk two more free throws to go up four with 18 seconds left. The Gophers were unable to score again down the stretch, as the Phoenix pulled away late with a 7-0 run to end the contest.
Overall, Morton was a balanced force on the offensive end all evening in his career-best night, as he scored 11 points in the first half and 10 more in the second. Elsewhere, Ceribelli finished with 17 points in his first game at Goucher, while freshman Jacob Smith (Callaway, Va./Franklin County) posted a double-double in his first collegiate game, finishing with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Goucher College men's basketball team returns to action on Saturday, as they host Salisbury in another home non-conference match-up. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.