McDaniel entered Saturday’s game against Goucher with a six-game losing skid.
The Green Terror’s lone victory of the season was the season-opener, a 66-62 close one over Penn State-Brandywine. They didn’t let that streak continue as they used a strong defensive effort to defeat the Gophers 69-53 at McDaniel.
Junior guard Austin Cannon led the Green Terror with 19 points, eight rebounds and a steal, Benjamin Young had 16 points and seven rebounds and DJ Harper added 12 points for the Green Terror (2-6).
“We did a great job defensively,” Cannon said. “When we had the hit shots, we hit them and had a good balance of going to the basket, hitting the outside shots and defending all game. That’s how we came up with the win.”
McDaniel set the tone early and built a 17-8 lead with close to 10 minutes remaining in the first half. A pair of free throws from Harper, a junior, and a dunk from Young helped spark a 6-0 run for the Green Terror as they entered halftime with a 31-16 lead over the Gophers (0-7).
The Gophers had a difficult time scoring early in the half, a credit to the Green Terror defense, coach Kevin Curley and Cannon said.
“I know we were getting stops early on and they were having a hard time scoring,” Cannon said. “We weren’t scoring that much but we were doing enough defensively to keep us in the lead and in the end it helped us get the win.”
A field goal and a free throw from Gophers guard Gabe Ceribelli opened the second half and a jumper shot from sophomore guard Dwayne Morton brought the Gophers within 14 of the Green Terror. Dwayne Morton led the Gophers with 19 points and seven rebounds, 17 of those points came in the second half.
Cannon took a rebound and went coast to coast to put the Green Terror up 43-27 with under 12 minutes to play.
“I think we did a good job,” Curley said. “We were able to get to the foul line and make some free throws which is good and I thought we were able to get some transition baskets and cause some turnovers today as well.”
After a brief timeout, the Green Terror garnered four straight free throw opportunities. Cannon went 4-for-4 with 6:20 remaining in the game. Harper and Young each went 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
Young scored the final four points for the Green Terror and Gophers’ sophomore guard Justin Berger closed out the game with a 3-pointer.
Josh McWilliams is the Green Terror’s lone senior this season and the roster is made up of with a majority of juniors. Curley said McWilliams, along with Cannon and junior guard Isaac Ray, have done an exceptional job of leading the team as captains.
“We kind of have half the guys out there that have experience and the other half haven’t had any experience,” Curley said. “I’m trying to blend it all together and have us gain trust in each other on the floor and just kind of working to get better every day.”