SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 10 Salisbury University men's basketball team looked like it might take its first loss of the 2016-17 on Saturday afternoon, facing No. 5 Christopher Newport University in a key early-season Capital Athletic Conference battle. The Sea Gulls trailed with 2.9 seconds remaining, down 58-56, when junior Chad Barcikowski grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw, took a few dribbles and sent up a shot from midcourt, getting nothing but net for three points and the 59-58 win.
It was the end of a night in which Barcikowski struggled from the floor, hitting just 2-of-9 shots up to that point with eight of the tries coming from three-point land. But he would have the last laugh.
The Sea Gulls (8-0, 4-0 CAC) trailed through much of the game, but rallied late in the second half on layups by seniors Justin Witmer and Wyatt Smith to tie the game. Smith was fouled on his try and hit the ensuing free throw for the three-point play and a 50-49 lead with just over four minutes to play. The pair led Salisbury in scoring in the game, with Smith going for a game-high 17 and Witmer notching a dozen.
Barcikowski Game Winner Against CNU
Dec 17, 2016
The Captains (6-2, 3-1 CAC) drew even a moment later, but another Witmer layup and a jumper from Barry Bratten pushed the edge back to four points, 56-52, with less than three minutes on the clock.
Those would be the last points Salisbury scored until Barcikowski's buzzer beater.
Christopher Newport got two free throws from Rayshard Brown and a three-pointer from Kevin Regimbal with just over a minute remaining to take the lead, 57-56.
After a miss, Salisbury got a defensive stop and quick outlet from Smith setting up Bratten and Barcikowski in a two-on-one, Bratten kicked to Barcikowski, but his clean look at three wouldn't drop, forcing the Sea Gulls to foul, sending Regimbal to the line with a one-and-one chance and 2.9 seconds showing on the clock.
Regimbal hit the first, and Christopher Newport coach John Krikorian called a timeout to set his defense, up 58-56.
Regimbal's second try hit off the side of the rim, coming to Barcikowski on the left side of the lane. The junior turned and took three dribbles up the right side of the court, launching the three from just inside the midcourt line. The horn sounded just prior to the ball passing through the hoop for the game winner.
Salisbury hit only 5-of-17 from outside, but it was the last one that mattered most as Barcikowski finished with nine points and four rebounds.
After taking a quick 4-0 lead to begin the game, Salisbury saw the Captains charge back with a 10-0 run, getting threes from Regimbal and Justin Hampton and Christopher Newport held the lead through the remainder of the first half.
The Sea Gulls took a brief lead with 12 minutes left in the game, but would not pull ahead again until the closing minutes.
Each team shot well below their season field goal average in the game, which may have been expected as the teams entered as two of the best in the nation in field-goal percentage defense. Salisbury made 35 percent from the floor and the Captains were held to just 31.1 percent on field-goal tries.
An early run on the glass, allowed the Captains to take the early lead, pulling down 12 offensive rebounds in the first half leading to 13 second-chance points. Salisbury allowed just three offensive rebounds in the second half, and the Sea Gulls held a 20-17 edge on the glass in the closing 20 minutes. Smith had six of his eight rebounds in the second half – to go with five blocks – and Jeter pulled down 11 rebounds in the game.
Salisbury will look to extend the program's best start at the D3hoops.com Classic in Las Vegas on December 28 and 29. The Sea Gulls battle Ramapo College on December 28, beginning at 7 p.m., eastern time, and then will take on Hardin-Simmons University on December 29.