NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The No. 20 Salisbury University men's basketball team suffered a heart-breaking loss in the Capital Athletic Conference championship game on Saturday afternoon, falling at No. 3 Christopher Newport University, 62-61, on a last-second shot from Tim Daly.
The contest was destined to be a thriller, as the last four meetings between the teams had been decided by just one or two points, with two of the games going to overtime. It was earlier this season that Salisbury had handed the Captains a last-second loss on junior Chad Barcikowski's half-court buzzer beater, and on Saturday, Daly returned the favor.
The second-seeded Sea Gulls (20-7) established an 11-point lead near the midway point of the second half following a three-point play from junior Terray Quickley with 11:42 showing on the clock. It marked the only time all game that either team would push a lead to double figures.
The 52-41 lead diminished slowly, with the Captains (25-2) getting field goals on consecutive possessions from Aaron McFarland.
Barcikowski hit a three-pointer and a few minutes later scored on a layup, each time making the lead nine for Salisbury and the advantage was still at nine following a pair of Wyatt Smith free throws with 3:07 left.
Christopher Newport's leading scorer on the year, Marcus Carter, got seven points for the top-seeded Captains over the next two minutes, after scoring just nine over the game's first 37 minutes. The Carter outburst brought the Salisbury lead down to 62-59 with 59 seconds left in the game. It was the first time the Captains had been within one possession since the 13:16 mark of the second half.
The Sea Gulls missed from in the paint on the other end and the Captains cut the lead to one on a pair of free throws by Brown with just under 20 seconds. Christopher Newport brought the full-court press, forcing a timeout by Gordon Jeter who was looking to inbound the ball. Out of the timeout, Jeter sent the ball toward the three-point line over the pressure defense, seemingly placing a perfect pass to Barcikowski, but Carter charged up to pick off the pass from midcourt.
The Captains took advantage of the final turnover, getting the game winner out of a scrum for the ball on the side of the court, 25 feet from the basket. Kevin Regimbal shoved a pass to Daly just inside the three-point arc, and the big man squared up and drained the effort for the 62-61 lead with 1.2 seconds left.
Salisbury would get one chance, sending a pass the length of the court, but the effort was cut off, and the Sea Gulls never got a shot off.
Barcikowski scored 11 in the second half, finishing with a team-high-tying 18 points, matching the effort of Smith, who also pulled down 10 rebounds. Smith scored 14 of his points in the first half, getting six of the final 10 points of the first period, with the Gulls taking a 30-25 lead at the break.
Jeter finished with 10 points and eight rebounds while Quickley scored 10 points, as well.
The win gave the Captains their second CAC title and the automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. Salisbury will await the selection show, which airs on ncaa.com on Monday, February 27 beginning at 12:30 p.m., to see if they will earn an at-large bid to the field of 64.