Goucher clinches berth in Div. III tournament Gophers dump Salisbury for CAC title, 83-67

March 02, 1997|By Bob Clark | Bob Clark,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Senior Predrag Durkovic and sophomore Bakari Ward came up big in the second half last night to lead Goucher College to an 83-67 victory over visiting Salisbury State for the Capital Athletic Conference tournament championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.

The win raised the Gophers' record to 22-5 overall and avenged their only CAC loss of the season, a 58-55 loss to Salisbury in mid-February. Salisbury, which dropped to 22-5 overall, is in the running for an at-large bid. The field will be announced tonight at 8 o'clock.

Goucher led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but that lead was sliced to 38-30 at halftime and then to 49-47 with 13: 20 left in the game.

But Durkovic, a 6-foot-7 center from Zagreb, Croatia, scored four of the next five points in the game, building a 54-47 lead with just over 10 minutes to play.

The Sea Gulls could never get closer than five points after that, and Durkovic hit 10 of 12 from the foul line down the stretch to seal the victory.

"It was just a tremendous effort for this team with one senior and two juniors," said Durkovic. "I don't think we had anything to avenge against [Salisbury]. We knew if we focused more this time, they couldn't beat us here."

Goucher coach Leonard Trevino praised his senior: "Durkovic really picked us up when we needed it. We're such a young team, but he has the experience. He's helped us to three championships in his four years."

Ward led the Gophers with 19 points, and Durkovic finished with 18 points, 14 in the second half. He also had 12 rebounds, four assists and two blocks.

Salisbury was led by sophomore Shawn Johnson with 22 and senior Bill Lancaster with 20.

After the teams had traded a pair of baskets in the first three minutes of the game, the Gophers used their first of two scoring spurts in the opening half to open a 15-4 lead.

Damian Pitts started the 11-0 run off a feed from Clay Nunley and 2: 30 later Durkovic converted a feed from Maurice Bowie for the 11-point advantage.

Leading 17-11 midway through the half, Goucher struck quickly again, running off a 12-2 spurt in 1: 17 to build a 29-13 lead #F sparked by Ward.

The Gophers increased the advantage to 31-14 with just over seven minutes left in the half, but the Sea Gulls cut deeply into the 17-point bulge.

Lancaster and Johnson highlighted a 14-3 run that brought Salisbury back to trail 34-28 with 1: 11 left.

Pub Date: 3/02/97

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