BALTIMORE, Md. – Saturday was a day to salute seniors Pat Goralski (Pasadena, Md./Chesapeake) and Dwayne Morton (Baltimore, Md./Waynesville [Mo.]). It was also the third time this season Goucher College has put a scare in a Landmark Conference playoff contender. The would of, could of's do not make the losses any easier, but if this young team can take what they learned from the senior captains and being in close games like on Saturday the future could be bright for the Gophers despite a 69-64 loss to Moravian College in men's basketball action on Saturday.
After possibly spoiling Elizabethown College's playoff bid on Wednesday with a 76-57 win on the road, Goucher was poised to give another playoff contender in the Greyhounds all they could handle. The Gophers held the lead for most of the first half including grabbing its largest lead of the first 20 minutes at 38-31 with 96 seconds left. The two teams traded the lead in the first eight minutes of the second half before Moravian took the lead for good with 11:42 left, but Goucher stayed in the contest and had nine chances where it could have tied the game depending on the shot the rest of the way.
Morton scored 15 first half points to lead Goucher on the afternoon. It was the senior's 52nd double-digit performance of his career and he now has 1,080 career points to go along with 326 rebounds, 173 assists and 102 steals in 94 career games including 68 starts. Morton also hauled in seven rebounds for the second-straight game and the sixth time in the last 14 contests.
Goralski has played in 68 games including 47 starts and goes into his final two collegiate games with 487 points, 303 rebounds, 103 assists and 57 steals. He finished with eight points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals on the afternoon.
The start of the game had a familiar ring to the last Saturday home game when Morton was chasing his 1,000 point against Susquehanna University on February 1.
Goucher used a 6-2 run to grab a 16-11 lead with 13:46 on the clock with Goralski leading the charge with four points. After a Morton layup at 11:54 to give the Gophers an 18-13 edge, Moravian scored the next seven points and used a 12-2 run to grab a 25-20 lead.
A 6-0 run capped by a Cam Isaacs (Randallstown, Md./Randallstown) trey with 7:58 left in the stanza to give the host a 26-25 edge. After as Greyhound 3-ball, Nieko White (Churchton, Md./Southern) tied the game at 28 with a layup at 7:12.
In the game against the River Hawks, Morton hit a 3-pointer and was fouled on the play to join the 1,000-point club with 7:31 left. The senior was almost at the same spot with 6:39 left on Saturday when he drained a trey and was fouled on the play. This one did not have the same meaning as two weeks ago, but Morton drained the free throw to complete the 4-point play and give Goucher a 32-28 lead. The senior then scored off the glass to extend the margin to 34-28 with 6:04 on the clock.
Morton extend the lead to 38-31 with 96 seconds left in the half on two free throws and Josh Lichti (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) helped maintain the seven-point margin with a layup with 34 seconds left for a 40-33 lead. The Greyhounds scored the last basket of the half to make it a five-point game going into the locker room.
Moravian started the second half by scoring eight of the first 10 points of the final frame to grab a 44-42 edge with 15:09 remaining. Mal Graham (Grasonville, Md./Kent Island) answered with a trey at 13:56 to retake a one-point lead for the Gophers. The two teams then traded a free throw with Darrell Collins (Baltimore, Md./New Town) making the front end of charity tosses at 13:41 to keep the one-point margin at 46-45 and give Goucher the lead for the final time.
After a Greyhound 3-pointer, Isaacs tied the game at 48 on a jumper at 12:55. Graham then tied the game at 50 with 11:54 remaining. Moravian then took the advantage it would not relinquish on a free throw with 11:42 left, but the Greyhounds would not hold more than a five-point edge the rest of the way.
The Gophers played catchup the rest of the game, but could not pull even. In the final 11:42 of the game, Goucher cut the deficit to three points once, two points four times and one point once, but Moravian had an answer each time.
Collins recorded a traditional 3-point play at 2:19 to cut the margin to 65-64 only to see the Greyhounds answer right away with a jump shot. The home team then had four possessions down three points, but could get any closer in the final two minutes of the contest.
Lichti finished with eight points and a career-best five steals while Isaacs had seven points, seven rebounds and four assists. Graham had a career-high seven points and matched a personal best with five caroms. Collins added six points and five rebounds while Ryan Conde (Ewing, N.J./Solebury School [Arcadia]) chipped in eight points.
Goucher concludes its home schedule against Catholic University of America on Wednesday. Game time is 7 p.m. The last time the two teams played at the Decker Sports and Recreation Center Timmy O'Farrell (Davidsonville, Md./Archbishop Spalding) tied the game at the buzzer on a 3-point shot and the Gophers won the game in overtime 84-82 on January 23, 2019.