SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's basketball team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament with a win over Eastern Connecticut State University on Friday, and now the Sea Gulls will take on Trinity (Conn.) College on Saturday, March 7; the opening tip is set for 7 p.m.
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How we got here
Junior Wyatt Smith put together a career game for the Sea Gulls to lead the team to their first-round victory over Eastern Connecticut, 66-54. Smith shot 16-for-20 in the game for a career-high 37 points, along with pulling down nine rebounds. Salisbury controlled the game in the post, as sophomore Gordon Jeter also hit double digits, scoring 14 points on six-of-nine shooting. As a team, the Gulls scored 44 points in the paint and pulled down 36 rebounds, while shooting 52.1 percent from the floor to push the team into the second round of the tournament.
How they got here
Despite falling into an early deficit and trailing at halftime 30-23, Trinity outscored Colby-Sawyer College 37-25 in the second half to win its first-round matchup 60-55. The Bantams ended the game on an 8-2 run to take the victory. They were led by a balanced offense that saw four players reach double-digit scoring, with George Papadeas leading the team with 12 points.
The two programs have never met before, making this NCAA tournament matchup the first ever game between the two schools.
Reaching double digits
With the win over Eastern Connecticut, the Sea Gulls are now on a 10-game winning streak since an 84-56 victory over Southern Virginia University on January 31. During the streak, Salisbury is averaging 71.2 points per game, while holding its opponents to only 60 points per game. Smith has put together five double-doubles during the span, while the team has had six 20-plus point scorers and is shooting 46.1 percent. The Salisbury defense is holding opponents to only 38.6 percent shooting.
The Bantams enter the game winners of eight of their last nine games. They are led by Jaquann Starks' 13.4 points per game, while the team is shooting 41.7 percent from the floor. The Trinity defense is holding its opponents to 62.8 points per game and are 15th in the country in opponent's field-goal percentage, holding teams to 38.3 percent shooting. Pulling down 39.4 rebounds per game, the Bantams hold a 7.7 rebounding margin, which ranks 16th in the nation.
With a win, the Sea Gulls or Bantams will move on to the round of 16, taking on the winner of another second-round contest between Stockton University and Bates College. The game will be set for Friday, March 13, with the time to be determined.