WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Senior Trent Epps posted a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds and classmate Travon Vann tallied 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as the Salisbury University men's basketball team topped The College at Old Westbury, 76-63, in the opening round of the 15th annual Tip-Off Tournament at Lycoming College on Friday.
With the win, Salisbury (2-0) will face the host Warriors, 88-45 winners over Pennsylvania State Wilkes-Barre earlier in the day, in the championship game Saturday at 3 p.m.
Vann was 6-for-12 from the floor and 10-of-13 from the free-throw line in 30 minutes while Epps finished 6-of-8 from the field and made four of his six foul shots.
As a team, the Sea Gulls got points from nine players, shooting 42 percent (26-for-61) from the field and 40 percent (10-of-25) from three-point range. SU, which was also stout on defense, turned 25 Old Westbury (0-1) turnovers into 33 points.
With Salisbury leading, 5-2, a minute into the game, the Panthers embarked on a 10-0 run, taking a seven-point advantage when Tyrik Tucker was fouled on a dunk. Tucker knocked down the free throw with 16:54 remaining for a 12-5 edge.
Tim Harwood (nine points, two steals) hit consecutive three-pointers to cut the lead to 12-11 a minute later but Omari Trebuse knocked in a three of his own, from Kerel Mitchell, with 8:16 remaining to take a 26-21 lead.
Salisbury finished the half strong with a 15-5 run to take its biggest lead of the first 20 minutes, 36-29, with 3:06 left when Elijah Gore and Brandyn Wilkerson hit three-pointers sandwiched by a foul shot from Rashawn McCarthy.
The Sea Gulls led, 37-33, at the break.
Salisbury kept Old Westbury off the scoreboard for the opening four minutes of the second half, extending its lead by nine to 49-33 on a pair of Epps free throws. Five players scored in the run, which began with a Chris Viqueira three-pointer at the 18:32 mark that made it 40-33.
Mitchell hit a free throw and jumper to move the SU lead under double figures at 53-46 with just under 10 minutes to play, but Vann and Epps scored the next six to make it a 59-46 advantage at the eight-minute mark and the Panthers couldn't get closer than seven the rest of the way.
Mitchell and Tucker recorded 22 and 19 points, respectively, to lead Old Westbury. The Panthers shot 44 percent for the game, connecting on 25-of-57 shots, and outrebounded the Gulls, 40-36.