SEASON PREVIEW - New era of men's basketball begins under Williams

SEASON PREVIEW - New era of men's basketball begins under Williams

SALISBURY, Md. – After making their way to their fourth NCAA Tournament in five years during the 2018-2019 season, the Salisbury University men's basketball team is looking forward to building on their success this upcoming season.

Last winter, the Sea Gulls finished with an overall record of 19-9 and 8-6 in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC). "Our main focus is to simply improve and get one percent better every day," said first-year head coach Maurice "Mo" Williams. "That one percent could be in the classroom, in daily life or at practice."

The team returns six from last year's squad, headlined by All-CAC Second Team junior guard Mike Ward. Ward led the team and ranked ninth in the CAC in scoring with 14.9 points per game. Ward was also third in the CAC in three-pointers with 73 threes in 2018-19. Fellow junior guard Gary Briddell averaged 13.0 points per game and shot 50.2 percent from the floor, including 41.1 percent from beyond the three-point line. Seniors J.P. Krotulis, Lucas Martin and Ryan Lott will factor in down low for the Sea Gulls while junior Johnny Fierstein will play that swing role for the team.

"All the returners worked very hard in the offseason. All of the returners will be playing meaningful minutes. [The returners] understand what we are trying to do on both sides of the ball and off the court. The veterans are doing a great job with being vocal leaders, being great student-athletes and being the guide for some of the newcomers."

The newcomers include several transfers and freshmen to the 2019-20 team, including freshman guard D'Angelo Tull who Williams' coached in high school. Tull led the team with 13 points off the bench against UMES in the "10 Mile Tipoff" a week ago. "There are several new players to watch on our team. I believe that the Sea Gull fans will like what they see from our roster."

The team looks to push the pace on both sides of the ball. "We can be an attacking team both offensively and defensively," Williams said. "Fans can see the ball moving a lot more than before, playing that uptempo pace and coming at the opponents. On defense, we have very athletic pieces. We can use that athleticism to our advantage and pressure the ball up-and-down the court."

The Sea Gulls will play five NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago, including the season-opener against Rosemont. Salisbury will take on Rowan at home on Dec. 20 before traveling to Wooster, Ohio to take on Marietta as part of the Great Lake Invitational on Dec. 28. Once Salisbury enters conference play, they will take on national runner-up Christopher Newport and York twice.

The maroon and gold were ranked fourth in the 2019 CAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll and received one first-place vote back on Oct. 29. Salisbury will host Christopher Newport, who is ranked ninth nationally and the CAC favorite for their alumni game on Jan. 20.  

The Sea Gulls will open the season on Saturday, Nov. 9 as they travel to Glenside, Pa. for the Arcadia Tipoff Tournament where they will take on Rosemont at 2 p.m. The Sea Gulls will close out the tournament on Sunday, Nov. 10 where they will either play Arcadia or Rutgers-Camden.

To view the CAC preseason poll release, click here


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