DOVER, Del. – The sixth-seeded Salisbury University men's basketball team saw its season come to an end in dramatic fashion at No. 2 seed Wesley College on Thursday night as the hosts escaped with a 75-74 victory in the Capital Athletic Conference semifinals.
With the victory, the Wolverines (17-9) advance to the CAC championship where they will take on St. Mary's (Md.) College; the Seahawks defeated the University of Mary Washington 79-57 in the other semifinal contest.
The Sea Gulls (12-15) trailed 73-67 with 2:27 remaining in the contest, but SU senior center Chris McGrew closed the gap with a layup to bring the score to within four. Following a steal by senior guard Eric Johnson, SU pushed the ball down the court where junior guard Mike Atkins drained an open three-point attempt to bring the score to 73-72. A layup by Wesley's David Johnson extended the Wolverine lead to 75-72 with 1:36 remaining.
Johnson got fouled with 44 seconds remaining and converted both free-throw attempts to cut the lead to one. Following a missed layup by Chris Douglas, Atkins pulled down the defensive rebound and stormed the ball up the court before SU head coach Steve Holmes called a time out with 1.8 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing play, the Sea Gulls looked to get the ball to McGrew in the post, but a Wolverine defender tipped the ball away to hand Wesley the victory and a berth in the CAC championship.
In the opening minutes of the game, Salisbury jumped out to a 5-0 lead on a McGrew layup and a three-pointer from junior forward Mike Maczko. Wesley responded with a made three by Douglas off an assist from Paul Reynolds. SU held the lead for the majority of the first half, before another made three by Douglas gave Wesley a 35-34 lead with 2:46 remaining in the stanza. The Wolverines would take a 38-35 lead into the locker rooms.
Wesley led the entire second half of play, including the feverous final minutes of action that resulted in the one-point victory for the hosts.
McGrew put up a valiant effort for the maroon and gold in his final collegiate contest, as the center poured in a career-high 34 points (13-of-17 from the field) which enabled the Burtonsville, Md., native to tally 1,004 career points in his time with the maroon and gold. McGrew is now the 30th player in program history to have reached the 1,000-point plateau.
Maczko (eight rebounds) and senior guard David Pearman each chipped in with 11 points.
The Wolverines received a pair of stellar performances from Douglas and Darrell Johnson, as they each recorded 22 points in the contest. Reynolds collected a double-double, scoring 15 points and pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds.
Tonight's game marked the final contest in the maroon and gold for seniors Chris Edwards, Johnson, McGrew, Pearman and Alex Politsch.