Letsebe works overtime to lift Goucher

Freshman's key baskets help Gophers defeat Johns Hopkins, 78-65

November 24, 1999|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Freshman forward Thabo Letsebe had to grow up fast last night in overtime for Goucher College, and he did so in remarkable fashion.

Letsebe (Towson Catholic) hit two crucial baskets in overtime to lead the Gophers to a come-from-behind, 78-65 victory over 12th-ranked Johns Hopkins before a crowd of 550 at Goucher.

Letsebe, 6 feet 6, tapped in a shot with 2: 48 left in overtime to run the Goucher lead to 69-64, and he came back 30 seconds later with a sweeping hook for a 71-64 advantage with 2: 18 remaining.

Letsebe had entered the game with 47 seconds left in regulation when junior forward Josh Stolz fouled out for the Gophers after scoring a career-high 17 points and grabbing eight rebounds.

Tavar Witherspoon led the Goucher scoring with 18 points and he also led the team in rebounds with nine. Darrian Lee added 12 points for the Gophers (1-2).

Stolz's constant pounding on the offensive boards in the second half had helped Goucher overcome a 12-point deficit with 10: 46 remaining in regulation.

With Stolz on the bench, it was up to Letsebe to provide a spark and the rookie hit the only two shots he took in overtime. Letsebe was 0-for-4 in regulation and wasn't overly impressive.

Said Goucher coach Leonard Trevino: "I told Thabo he couldn't be a freshman any longer. He had to get right in there and play because we've had too many losses due to injuries and graduation. He loves to win and really played much better late in the game than two brief early stints."

Goucher squandered a chance to wrap up the game in the final 24 seconds of regulation, when it turned the ball over against full-court pressure, and Lee later hit only one of two free throws for a 62-60 lead.

Lee's miss at the line enabled the Blue Jays to force the overtime with Peoples' buzzer-beating tap-in off a missed layup by Matthew Eisley.

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