SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 20 Salisbury University men's basketball team plays for the Capital Athletic Conference championship on Saturday, February 25 at No. 3 Christopher Newport University, with the contest beginning at 4:30 p.m.
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How we got here
With the second seed in the CAC tournament, Salisbury had a first-round bye and met York College of Pennsylvania in the semifinal round. Neither team could open a lead beyond six points in the game that remained close throughout. So close, the teams needed two overtimes to determine a winning team, with the Sea Gulls claiming the 86-80 victory, led by a career-high 13 points from sophomore Jack Ferguson, 17 points from senior Gordon Jeter and 16 each by classmates Wyatt Smith and Justin Witmer, who returned from injury after missing the previous four games.
How they got here
The Captains went 23-2 in the regular season, including a 17-1 mark in CAC play, to earn the top seed in the conference tournament. With the top seed, Christopher Newport received a first-round bye, and rolled to a 25-point win in the semifinals against Marymount (Va.) University on Thursday night, 78-53. Marcus Carter scored 18 points and Tim Daly added 17 in the victory.
Last time we met
The teams split their two meetings this year, with Salisbury claiming a 59-58 win at Maggs Physical Activities Center on December 17 on Chad Barcikowski's buzzer beater from mid court. The Captains got their revenge in Newport News, Virginia on January 25, with a 55-53 victory. Tim Daly and Rayshard Brown each scored 13 points to lead the Captains in that contest, while Smith had 17 for the Sea Gulls.
Scouting the Captains
Christopher Newport enters the game riding an 18-game winning streak. The last loss for the Captains was the defeat at Maggs Physical Activities Center on December 17. The CAC's top seed has gone 13-0 at home this year. Christopher Newport is the top-ranked defensive team in the nation, surrendering just 56.2 points per game this season. In CAC play, the Captains have allowed 56.8 points. Four Captains are averaging double figures scoring per game, but none are scoring more than 12.2 points per contest, led by Carter, who also grabs 6.6 rebounds per game.
With Salisbury's win in the CAC semifinal game, Salisbury reached the 20-win mark for the seventh time in program history, and it marked the third-consecutive 20-win season, which is a first in program history. Salisbury won 21 games in each of the past two years, and Salisbury's 1991-92 campaign, when the Sea Gulls went 28-2, was the winningest season in program history.
The winner of the CAC championship earns the league's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, which begins next weekend. The NCAA tournament bracket will be revealed during the selection show on NCAA.com on Monday, February 27.