NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The Salisbury University men's basketball team opened Capital Athletic Conference play on Wednesday night against No. 17 Christopher Newport University. The game was a rematch of last season's CAC championship, which the Captains claimed on a buzzer-beater by the final score of 63-62. Christopher Newport edged the Sea Gulls 71-66 in the conference opener.
Jordan Brooks and Johnson Ogunyoye got the sea Gulls (2-2, 0-1 CAC) out to a 6-2 start behind four points from Brooks. However, back-to-back three-pointers from Christopher Newport swung the advantage in favor of the home squad 7-6.
After the Captains (4-1, 1-0 CAC) pushed their lead to three behind a 9-2 run, Chad Barcikowski pulled the Gulls even, knocking down the team's first three-pointer of the contest to level the score at 11-11. It was short lived though, as Nick Parks hit the third three-pointer of the half for Christopher Newport to give the lead back to the Captains.
Al Leder broke a 5-0 scoring run by Christopher Newport, knocking down Salisbury's second three-pointer of the contest to cut the deficit to just two, 16-14. Gary Briddell pulled the Gulls even just moments later with his first basket of the contest, finishing strong at the rim to bring the score to 16-16 with just under 10 minutes left in the first half.
The Captains retook the lead behind two free-throws, but Jack Ferguson gave the maroon and gold their first lead since 6-4 in the opening minutes of the first half. Ferguson hit his first and the team's third three-pointer of the contest to put the Gulls ahead 19-18. Blair Davis pushed the advantage to three, 21-18, just moments later off a layup with just over seven minutes left to play.
Christopher Newport rallied back behind a 10-3 run to go up 28-24 before Ogunyoye netted back-to-back layups followed by a Johnny Fierstein layup, which pulled the maroon and gold within one, 31-30.
Davis knotted the score at 33-33, converting a three-point play after knocking down a layup after contact and hitting the ensuing free-throw. However, a layup by the Captains with 37 seconds left gave them the lead back heading into the break at 35-33.
At the half Davis led Salisbury with eight points while Brooks totaled seven of his own. The team shot 39.3% from the floor while Christopher Newport shot 48.1% from the field and 30% from behind the arc. The Captains also edged the Gulls in rebounds, pulling down 19 to the maroon and gold's 13.
Christopher Newport opened the second half on a 10-0 run, pushing the lead to 45-32 behind two three-pointers. Barcikowski hit two free-throws to break the scoring run and get the maroon and gold on the board.
The Sea Gulls embarked on a 6-0 run of their own to trim the deficit to just eight, 48-40, behind baskets from three different players including Fierstein and Barcikowski.
Braedon Dorsey managed to cut Salisbury's deficit to just six with a jumper of his own before J.P. Krotulis hit his first basket of the contest to make it 51-47 with just over nine minutes left to play.
Brooks and Dorsey netted back-to-back baskets moments later to tie the game at 51-51 with just under eight minutes to play. Brooks knocked down a layup and on the ensuing inbounds pass Dorsey forced a turnover and finished strong at the rim to level the game.
Dorsey continued his prominence embarking on a 5-0 run of his own, to give the Sea Gulls a 56-53 lead. He hit a three-pointer to give Salisbury its first lead since the first half and followed that up with another layup to push the advantage to three. However, back-to-back baskets by the Captains gave them the lead right back at 58-56.
A 9-4 run by Christopher Newport built the lead to 67-60 before a layup from Leder and two free-throws by Briddell cut the deficit to just three with just over two minutes left to play. Barcikowski hit a layup with less than a minute to play to pull the Gulls within one, 67-66.
However, it was not meant to be as Christopher Newport forced a turnover and hit four free-throws down the stretch to clinch the 71-66 win.
Barcikowski finished the night with a team-high 14 points, going 5-of-12 (41.6%). As a team the Gulls went 25-of-67 (35.8%) from the field while the Captains went 25-of-46 (54.3%) from the field and 8-of-18 (44.4%) from behind the arc. Christopher Newport just edged Salisbury in rebounds 35-33 while the maroon and gold committed 15 turnovers to the Captains 23.
Salisbury returns to action on Saturday, December 2 when it hosts Penn State Harrisburg University. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.