SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's basketball team began its 2016-17 season on Tuesday night, earning a 70-52 win against Goucher College at Maggs Physical Activities Center.
Salisbury (1-0) opened and closed the game strong, jumping out to a 16-0 lead to begin the game and getting another 16-0 run in the middle of the second half to seal the victory. Senior Wyatt Smith and junior Chad Barcikowski each had double-doubles in the contest, while senior Justin Witmer finished with 16 points.
In the game-opening run, freshman point guard Al Leder got on the board with a pair of three-pointers on his first collegiate shots as Salisbury hit four three-pointers during the run. Barcikowski hit the other threes, after a Smith layup, and Witmer's fast-break bucket following a Barcikowski steal made it 16-0 just four minutes into the game.
The Gophers (0-1) chipped away at the Salisbury advantage, nearly pulling even when big man Chris Outing hit a contested three-pointer from the top of the key, making it 22-21 in Salisbury's favor with 2:47 left in the first half. The Sea Gulls were held without a field goal for a stretch of more than seven minutes, but buckets from Adrien Straughn and a three from Braedon Dorsey allowed Salisbury to take a 27-25 lead into halftime.
Four points from Smith out of halftime, pushed Salisbury up by seven points, and despite the lead dipping back to two points, Salisbury pulled away over the seven-minute 16-0 run. The three-point shot was key during the run, with Straughn, Dorsey, Witmer, and Barcikowski each getting one.
Barcikowski attempted 13 field goals in the game, all from beyond the arc, making six to finish with a game-high 18 points while pulling down 10 rebounds for the double-double. Witmer also hit four of his eight three-point tries in the game for 16 points.
The game marked the return to the floor of Smith, who missed all of the 2015-16 season due to injury, but he showed minimal rust, making 5-of-13 field goal tries for 12 points. As important as Smith's points were the passes that he made from the blocks, continually feeding his teammates for good looks from the outside leading to a career-best six assists.
Salisbury maintained the edge around 20 points for the remainder of the game to finish off the win. This marks the sixth-consecutive season that Salisbury has opened the season with a win.
Off of the 2015-16 season, in which Salisbury faced a rebounding deficit for the year, the Sea Gulls outrebounded the Gophers by a margin of 43-33 on Tuesday night, with Smith pulling in a game-high 12.
The Sea Gulls return to action on Friday night, November 18 hosting the first night of the Optimist Tournament. Johns Hopkins University and Cabrini University square off at 5:30 p.m., followed by Salisbury taking on The College of Staten Island at 7:30 p.m. The consolation and championship games will be played on Saturday, November 19 at 2 and 4 p.m.