BY NICK FORBES – SPORTS EDITOR
Senior forward Josh Miller’s 20-point scoring output coupled with his 15 rebounds led the Susquehanna Crusaders past the visiting Goucher Gophers 98-67 in a Landmark Conference battle.
“I always try to play consistent. I’m always playing off my other players,” Miller said. “They’re giving me opportunities to score. It was just letting the game come to me.”
The Gopher’s enjoyed a brief lead at the beginning of the game, holding a 2-0 lead for 88 seconds before the Crusaders sprayed home four straight three’s, two of which came from Miller.
That would be Goucher’s only lead of the game.
The 15th ranked Crusaders did what they do best: spread the defense around the perimeter and shoot three-pointers with deadly accuracy.
Susquehanna shot just under 50 percent from beyond the arc, on the way to improving its record to 16-1 overall as well as a perfect 8-0 mark at home.
Miller was one of four players for Susquehanna to reach double figures on the night. Junior forward Danny Weiss contributed in the post with ten points and senior guard Brandon Hedley and junior guard Steven Weidlich also had 17 points and 13 points respectively.
While Miller led the high-powered Crusaders offense, the defense was also pressing the Gophers into tough shots and turnovers.
Early in the first half, Goucher was forced into back-to-back shot clock violations, stemming from the Crusaders’ suffocating defense.
Susquehanna forced the Gophers to commit 15 turnovers as well, holding them to 26 points in the first half.
The Crusaders capped the half with an emphatic jam from sophomore big-man Langston Ellison, which allowed the Crusaders to coast into the half with a 42-26 lead and all the momentum behind them.
In the second half, the Crusaders kept their foot on the gas, continuing their outstanding three-point shooting as well as working the ball inside and driving the lane, thanks to efforts from Weiss and sophomore center Ryan Traub.
Hedley came on strong for the Crusaders in the second half, netting 16 of his 17 points in the final 20 minutes, including shooting 4-5 from beyond the arc. This led the Crusaders to their sixth 90-point performance of the season.
For Susquehanna, it was a return to their winning ways after suffering their first loss of the season on Jan. 16 while visiting Landmark rival Drew.
“We definitely took the Drew loss to heart, but at this level we don’t have time to weep over a loss,” Miller said.
“We still trust each other just as much and we came in ready to go against a good Goucher team.”
The rest of the schedule is paved with challenges for the dominant Crusaders, including a matchup with a 13-4 Juniata squad as well as a rematch against Drew, this time on Susquehanna’s home court.
Head coach Frank Marcinek remained confident as ever saying that his team is up for any challenge.
“We just keep talking about being consistent,” Marcinek said. “If we can keep it that we’ll have a chance to win an awful lot.”
After their matchup with Elizabethtown for Jan. 22 was cancelled, the Crusaders faced rival Catholic on Wednesday, Jan 27.
The Cardinals handed the Crusaders their worst loss of the season by a final score of 101-80.
Miller led Susquehanna with 23 points. He added eight rebounds as well.
The Crusaders will look to bounce back when they play at Juniata on Feb. 3.