SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's basketball defeated visiting College of Staten Island 83-65 in the night cap on day one of the Optimist Tournament on Friday night. The Sea Gulls used a 47 point second half to cruise to the victory and advance to the championships game Saturday afternoon.
Salisbury (2-0) dominated the paint scoring 43 points and received a lot of help getting 16 points from their bench. Justin Witmer led the Sea Gull attack with a team-high 19 points while teammate Wyatt Smith netted 16 points of his own all in the second half.
After a back and forth battle in the first half in which Salisbury virtually held the lead 19:59 second before a half court heave by the Dolphins (0-1) gave Staten Island the lead at 37-36 heading into the break. Witmer was kept in check most of the opening half scoring five points but Gordon Jeter came through tallying 13 first half points.
Trailing by one entering the second half Jeter set the tone for the rest of the game when he blocked a potential easy layup less than 20 seconds into the half. Chad Barcikowski and Witmer each tallied layups on back-to-back possessions to give the Sea Gulls a 40-37 advantage and a lead that never was relinquished. A three pointer by Witmer sparked an 18-4 run in which six different Sea Gulls scored including Smith who netted four points, dished out an assist, and tallied one block during the run.
Smith continued his strong second half performance netting 12 points over the final five and a half minutes including the final basket of the game to make the score final at 83-65. Twice in that time span Smith finished off a pass from Jeter, who finished with four assists for the game, while also netting four points from the foul line.
Overall, four different Sea Gulls netted double digit points including Barcikowski and Jeter who scored 12 and 14 respectively. As a team Salisbury posted a much better second half going 16-for-25 (.640) from the field and 3-for-8 from 3-point range for a percentage of .375. For the game the Sea Gulls were 28-for-50 from the field and .350 from 3-point range.
Salisbury will take on Johns Hopkins University in the championship game tomorrow at 4 p.m. Hopkins defeated Cabrini University 67-64 in the earlier game on Friday night. Cabrini will face Staten Island in the third place game at 2 p.m.