SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's basketball team hosts Christopher Newport University on Tuesday in a Capital Athletic Conference tournament first-round game. The opening tip is set for 8 p.m.
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How we got here
Salisbury wrapped up its season with an 88-66 win against Frostburg State University on Saturday. Freshman Justin Witmer came off the bench to score a career-high 25 points in the win. Dominic Milburn adeded 11 points, while Conor Strickland netted 10 and pulled down a team-high six rebounds. The Sea Gulls finished the season with a 14-11 mark, including a 9-7 record in the CAC, holding the tiebreaker over CNU to capture the fourth seed.
How they got here
Christopher Newport finished the season 17-8 with a 9-7 conference mark. The Captains secured the fifth seed with a 59-56 win over Marymount University. Senior Tra Benefield scored 17 points, but was 4-for-17 from the field, and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Captains.
Christopher Newport holds a 22-5 record all-time against the Sea Gulls, with Salisbury holding a 4-9 mark when the contest is in Salisbury. The Captains are in their first season in the CAC, with the teams splitting this season's meetings.
The last time we met
The two teams met twice this season, the last being Feb. 5 in Salisbury, with the Sea Gulls winning 83-58. Senior Tim Harwood led the Sea Gull attack with 20 points. Milburn and the freshmen trio of Gordon Jeter, Charles Porter and Witmer each added 11 points for Head Coach Josh Merkel.
Tim Daly led the Captains with 16 points and Benefield chipped in 10.
Streaking in the second half
The Sea Gulls finished the season going 10-2, including a three-game winning streak. Before the run, the Sea Gulls were on the cusp of missing the CAC tournament but played their way to a first-round home game. During that time, Milburn has scored in double figures in every game. Prior to the game on Jan. 18 against Frostburg, Milburn had been used sparingly and his emergence has sparked the Sea Gulls.
Scouting Christopher Newport
The Captains are led by senior guard Benefield, who averages 18.1 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per contest. Guard Mike Cherry is second on the team with 13.6 points per contest. CNU gets strong rebounding from Tim Daly, who is pulling down 5.6 boards per game, good for second on the team.
The winner of the first-round game will advance to the CAC semifinal round on Thursday and will play top-seeded Wesley College in Dover, Del.