Men's basketball suffers first loss of season, falling to Ramapo, 66-65

Men's basketball suffers first loss of season, falling to Ramapo, 66-65

LAS VEGAS – The No. 5 Salisbury University men's basketball team began play in the 7th Annual Classic on Wednesday night, taking the first setback of the season, falling to Ramapo College, 66-65.

Salisbury (8-1) took an early 6-2 lead with three-pointers from senior Justin Witmer and junior Chad Barcikowski in the opening minute of play, but Ramapo scored six straight points to earn an 8-6 edge.

The contest stayed within one possession, with two lead changes and a pair of ties, until the midway point of the first half, when the Roadrunners (10-0) pushed the lead to five points, but Salisbury responded with a three from Braedon Dorsey and another from senior Wyatt Smith, tying the game at 20-20 with eight minutes showing on the clock.

Salisbury hit 6-of-15 attempts from outside in the first half, with Barcikowski getting two of them to lead the way with 10 points at the break.

It was another three from Barcikowski and a jumper from Dorsey which allowed Salisbury to take its final lead of the first half, 25-24, with just under six minutes to play in the first half.

Each team worked through foul trouble in the contest. By halftime, Salisbury saw two starters – seniors Gordon Jeter and Witmer – with two fouls each, while the Roadrunners saw three starters with two fouls. In the opening 20 minutes of play, the teams combined for 26 fouls and 24 free throw attempts.

Ramapo attempted 10 more free throws in the first half, connecting on eight more, more than covering the three-point differential at halftime, with the Roadrunners holding a 34-31 lead.

The Roadrunners began the second half on a 5-0 run to take a 39-31 lead, with Salisbury missing its first three shots of the second period, but the deficit quickly dropped back to three when Barcikowski kicked out to freshman Al Leder for a three-pointer on the right wing, and Jeter scored two in transition, after his steal in the paint.

Ramapo put together a run following a timeout to push the lead to double digits for the first time in the game, leading 51-39 with 10:44 left, but Salisbury would rally, scoring the next nine points over a span of three minutes, making it 51-48, with threes from Dorsey and Jeter during the spurt.

Salisbury gained its first lead of the second half when Barcikowski drove down the right side and kicked to an open Dorsey on the wing. The freshman hit one of his three triples in the game, putting the Sea Gulls ahead 60-59 with just under three minutes to play.

The Roadrunners regained the lead a moment later on Josh Ford's floater in the lane, but Barry Bratten was good on a three in the left corner, just in front of the Salisbury bench, for a 63-61 lead for the Sea Gulls.

But Ramapo scored the next five points to secure the one-point win.

Barcikowski led the way in the game with 15 points, nine rebounds and three assists while Smith finished with a dozen points and nine rebounds. Dorsey scored 11 points off the bench.

The Sea Gulls close out play in the event on Thursday night, taking on Hardin-Simmons University in a contest beginning at 9 p.m., eastern time.

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