SELINSGROVE, Pa. - Susquehanna's Tyler Hoagland made the game-winning basket with two seconds left in regulation, as the Goucher men's basketball team dropped a tough 56-55 decision to the Riverhawks in the Landmark Conference season opener for both teams on Saturday.
With the defeat, Goucher fell to 0-5 overall and 0-1 in the Landmark Conference, while Susquehanna evened up their record on the season to 3-3 with the victory (1-0 in the Landmark).
In the opening frame of the contest, it was a defensive affair, as the game was tied on three separate occasions. Susquehanna, however, was able to take a slim 24-21 lead into intermission, as the last basket scored in the first half was by first-year Jacob Smith (Callaway, Va.), which cut the Riverhawks lead down to three points entering the break.
To open the second half, Susquehanna quickly extended their lead out to eight points (34-26) and remained in control of play entering the final five minutes of regulation up by six at 47-41.
But, the Gophers came clawing back over the next few minutes of play, as a quick 7-0 run gave Goucher their first lead since the opening period at 48-47. After Susquehanna wrestled the lead back with a bucket, first-year John Baker (Cumberland Valley, Pa.) nailed a big three for the Gophers, giving Goucher a 51-49 lead with 2:30 to go.
The Goucher lead held for almost the next two minutes, as the Gophers turned up the intensity on defense to keep Susquehanna off the scoreboard. With 46 seconds left, Baker was fouled, and made two free throws, giving Goucher a four-point lead (53-49).
But, Susquehanna came back with a made three-pointer on their next possession, making it a 53-52 game with 32 seconds left. After a made free throw by Goucher gave the Gophers a 54-52 edge, Goucher was able to get a stop on defense, and Smith made a free throw on the offensive end to put Goucher up, 55-52, with 12 seconds to go.
On the Riverhawks' next trip down the floor, they were fouled and proceeded to make two free throws to slice the Goucher lead down to 55-54 with seven seconds left. Still, up one, Goucher turned the ball over with four seconds left, setting up the eventual game-winning lay-up by Hoagland with two seconds remaining in regulation.
On their final possession, the Gophers turned the ball over again, as Susquehanna clinched the come-from-behind win with a steal.
Overall on the evening, Goucher was led in the scoring column by junior Gabe Ceribelli (Monkton, Md.), who finished with 14 points after going 4-of-5 from three-point range (5-of-7 overall from the field). Smith, meanwhile, ended the day with 13 points, the most in a game on his young career at Goucher.
Rounding out the top scorers on the day for Goucher was Baker, who finished with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the floor. The 12-point performance for Baker was also the best of his short career at Goucher, as well.
The Goucher College men's basketball team returns to action on Wednesday, as they host Gwynedd-Mercy in a non-conference game at the Decker Sports & Recreation Center. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.