SALSIBURY, Md. – The No. 20 Salisbury University men's basketball team begins play in the postseason on Thursday night, as the No. 2 seed in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament, hosting third-seeded York College of Pennsylvania, in the semifinal round, tipping off at 7 p.m., at Maggs Physical Activities Center.
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How we got here
The Sea Gulls earned the No. 2 seed in the CAC field, with a 14-4 record in the CAC and a 19-6 record overall. With the second seed in the tournament, Salisbury earned a first-round bye in the tournament. The Sea Gulls enter the game, with a perfect 12-0 mark in home games during the 2016-17 season.
How they got here
The Spartans are the third-seeded team in the CAC tournament following an 11-7 regular season in league play and a 17-9 record overall. York hosted Wesley College in the first round of the CAC tournament, earning a 102-91 victory to advance to Thursday's semifinal contest. The victory was the first CAC playoff win for the Spartans since the 2011-12 season, when York won the CAC championship.
Scouting the Spartans
York enters Thursday's game with three players scoring at least 10 points per game, led by junior guard Matt Scamuffo, who is good for 16 points per game, the third-highest average in the CAC. Junior Blayde Reich scores 13.5 points per game and Dalton Myers averages 11.8 per game. The Spartans lead the CAC in steals per game, averaging over nine takeaways per contest (32nd nationally), with Jared Wagner's 2.2 steals per game ranked 37th in Division III.
Last time we met
The teams squared off twice during the season, both meetings coming in the past five weeks, and both meetings were decided by five or fewer points, with the home team winning each time. The Spartans won the meeting in York, Pennsylvania on January 14 by a 78-74 score, handing Salisbury its first CAC loss. Three weeks later, on February 4, Salisbury claimed a 77-72 win in Maggs Physical Activities Center. Junior Terray Quickley led the Sea Gulls in that win, scoring 23 points off the bench, while classmate Chad Barcikowski scored 17. Scamuffo led the Spartans with 35 points.
Salisbury comes into Thursday's game with three seniors on the roster and the trio has been key to the program's success over the past four years and the 2016-17 season. This year, three of Salisbury's top scorers are seniors Wyatt Smith (15.4 points per game), Justin Witmer (12.0), and Gordon Jeter (9.2). The three are also three of the top four rebounders, with Smith pulling in 8.2 rebounds per game and Jeter grabbing 6.8 per game. Jeter and Witmer each reached 1,000 career points this season, with Witmer hitting the mark in the last meeting with York, connecting on a three-pointer to do so. Smith, who has spent just two years in maroon and gold, has scored 752 points while playing for Salisbury.
The winner of Thursday's semifinal game will head to the CAC championship contest on Saturday, February 25, against either top-seeded Christopher Newport University or fourth-seeded Marymount (Va.) University. Those teams will faceoff at 8 p.m., on Thursday.