Alvernia's rally ends Goucher's big season Gophers wind up at 23-6 after 60-55 Region defeat

March 09, 1997|By Bob Clark | Bob Clark,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Just when it looked as if Goucher was about to extend its trip through the Eastern Region of the NCAA Division III tournament, the visiting Alvernia Crusaders wouldn't allow it.

The Gophers were leading, 40-32, after a quick start in the second half, but Alvernia took control of the game with a 17-6 run over the next eight minutes and ousted the Gophers, 60-55, at Goucher last night.

"We went away from what we had done successfully to that point," said Goucher coach Leonard Trevino. "You let a good team like Alvernia back into the game and that's going to be trouble."

The win raised Alvernia's record to 24-4 overall and sent the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference regular-season champion into the Eastern sectionals against Rochester Tech.

Goucher, which closed the most successful season in its history with 23 wins and six losses, was led by Tavar Witherspoon and Predrag Durkovic with 19 points each. However, super sub Bakari Ward could never get on track after sitting out most of the first half with foul problems and finished with three points, well below his 14-point average.

Junior guard Damien Hunter led Alvernia with 34 points, 18 in the second half, as the Crusaders took the lead with 10: 32 to play and held on.

"Goucher came out stronger than us, but we hung in there," said Hunter, who was 14 of 14 at the foul line (seven in the final 2: 40).

"Goucher made some nice plays early in the second half, but my guys wouldn't quit," said Crusaders coach Jack McCloskey. "We started matching up in a zone because we didn't feel we could play a man-to-man with Goucher's quickness and it paid off."

Goucher was still within a basket (53-51) with 3: 50 remaining, but the Gophers didn't get another field goal after that.

In a first half in which both teams had a difficult time from the field, Goucher fell behind, 8-3, in the first four minutes. Then Witherspoon and Maurice Bowie keyed a 10-0 run over a span of 2: 47 to put the Gophers ahead, 13-8, a lead they held throughout the first half.

Alvernia battled back to 19-17 with 6: 30 left in the half, but Goucher put together another spurt. Witherspoon and Durkovic led an 8-2 run to build a 27-19 advantage with just under three minutes left before intermission.

The Crusaders countered with a 9-2 run of their own, pulling within a point at halftime, 29-28.

ALVERNIA -- Walker 4-8 0-1 8, Hunter 9-27 14-14 34, Lowrie 2-8 0-0 4, Anders 2-4 0- 2 4, Less 3-4 0-0 6, Hayes 1-2 2-2 4. Totals 21-54 16-19 60.

GOUCHER -- Bowie 2-4 0-0 4, Nunley 0-5 0-0 0, Ward 1-11 1-1 3, Pitts 3-4 0-2 6, Williams 1-4 2-2 4, Witherspoon 7-13 5-8 19, Doyle 0-3 0-0 0, Durkovic 5-16 8-9 19. Totals 19-60 16-22 55.

Halftime -- Goucher 29-28. Rebounds -- A 38 (Walker, Less 8), G 40 (Durkovic 9). Assists -- A 9 (Hunter 3), G 8 (Doyle 3). A -- 539.

Pub Date: 3/09/97

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