SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The No. 22 Salisbury University men's basketball team closed the 2018 calendar year with a 78-71 victory against No. 16 Nichols College on Sunday afternoon in the championship game of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tournament.
The contest remained close throughout, including being tied at 66-66 with just under five minutes left to play, but the Sea Gulls were able to seal the deal by scoring 12 of the final 17 points, going 4-for-7 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the free-throw line over the closing run.
A layup by James Foley, with 3:44 on the clock, put Salisbury ahead but a Bisons three-pointer 20 seconds later gave Nichols (10-1) a 69-68 lead.
It was a three-pointer by Gary Briddell, who finished with 11 points, that gave Salisbury (11-1) the lead for good.
Lucas Martin hit twice from the free-throw line to push the lead to four points before a Marcos Echeverria bucket made it a two-point game again, 73-71 with a minute left. But Salisbury scored the final five points, getting a quick layup by Blair Davis, a pair of free throws by Mike Ward, and one from Marquis Roberson.
Davis was named the tournament's most valuable player, while Ward was also named to the all-tournament team. Davis scored seven and had eight assists, matching a career high in that category, and Ward finished with 20 points.
Ward was one of four Salisbury players to finish in double figures scoring, as J.P. Krotulis scored 13 and Martin tallied 11.
The Sea Gulls return to action next Saturday, January 5, when they host Penn State University-Harrisburg. The game, which is scheduled to tip at 4 p.m., will begin the team's closing run of Capital Athletic Conference games over the final six weeks of the regular season.