SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's basketball team will travel to No. 11 Christopher Newport University on Thursday night for a semifinal matchup in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament. The contest is slated to begin at 8 p.m.
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How we got here
After earning the fourth seed in the CAC tournament, Salisbury (19-7) hosted fifth-seeded Frostburg State University. The first half went in the Bobcats' direction, with Frostburg State opening up a 46-26 lead at halftime, but the Sea Gulls battled back to force overtime and pick up the win, 78-76. Mike Ward scored 18 of his team-high 22 points in the second half and overtime, connecting on four tries from beyond the three-point arc, including a four-point play at the beginning of the extra session to give Salisbury the lead for good.
How they got here
The Captains (23-3) went 12-2 in CAC regular season play to earn the top seed in this week's tournament, taking down eighth-seeded Southern Virginia University in quick fashion on Tuesday night, 89-59. The Christopher Newport lead was up to 10 points in less than four minutes and at 20 points with six minutes left in the first half. Jason Aigner led the Captains with 23 points while Marcus Carter scored 18.
Last time we met
Christopher Newport won both meetings against Salisbury this season, most recently a 91-74 win in Salisbury a week ago. In that game, the Sea Gulls were able to jump out to an 11-4 lead early in the contest, but the Captains were able to take their first lead of the game with seven minutes left in the first half and held the advantage the rest of the way. Four Captains scored in double digits, led by Aigner's 21. Blair Davis scored 23 to lead the Sea Gulls, to go with six assists.
Scouting the Captains
Christopher Newport enters the game as the most stifling defensive squad in the CAC, surrendering just 63.2 points per game, while scoring 79.1 points per game – second only to Salisbury's 80.7 points per game. Aigner and Carter lead Christopher Newport in scoring with 15.6 and 15.5 points per game, respectively.
We meet again
Salisbury and Christopher Newport have met in the CAC tournament in four of the past five years since the Captains joined the league. Last season was the only year in which the programs did not meet in the tournament. Three of the four contests have come in the championship game, most recently a 63-62 defeat in the 2016-17 CAC championship game. Salisbury's lone win in the playoffs against CNU came at the end of the 2014-15 season, when the Sea Gulls earned a 58-57 win in the title game.
The winner of Thursday's game will advance to the CAC championship game on Saturday, February 23, taking on the winner of the other semifinal contest between second-seeded York College of Pennsylvania and third-seeded University of Mary Washington.