SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's basketball team clawed its way back from a 20-point halftime deficit to claim a thrilling, 78-76 overtime victory against Frostburg State University in the opening round of the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament on Tuesday night at Maggs Physical Activities Center.
Trailing 46-26 at the break the fourth-seeded Sea Gulls (19-7) were unable to maintain offensive rhythm in the opening 20 minutes knocking down just 34.5 percent of their attempts as opposed to Frostburg's 52.9 percent from the floor.
However, the fifth-seeded Bobcats (10-16) were unable to sustain the momentum and Salisbury guard Mike Ward took control in the second half, scoring a team-high 22 points including 18 in the game's final 25 minutes.
Blair Davis helped spark the Sea Gull offense in the second knocking down a jumper less than 20 seconds in. However, one of his most important plays came three possessions later when he found a cutting Foley off a perfectly executed pick and roll, which Foley hammered down. The play set the tone for the remainder of the half.
Three-pointers by both J.P. Krotulis and Gary Briddell helped trim the deficit to 13 before both Mike Ward and Briddell knocked down back-to-back layups to bring the game back to single digits, 57-48, with 11:01 left to play.
Ward continued his dominant second half knocking down a clutch three-pointer with 7:10 left to play while also drawing contact to convert a big and-one situation pulling Salisbury back within eight, 64-56. He would knock down two more threes over the next three minutes, scoring 10 of Salisbury's 12 points during the time, cutting the deficit to four points with just over three minutes to play.
A three-pointer by Davis got Salisbury within one point with less than a minute to play and after an offensive foul was called against Frostburg State to give Salisbury possession, Ward got to the free throw line with 16 seconds left, calmly burying both tries for a 71-70 lead, the first for Salisbury since 8-7.
Frostburg got to the line in the closing seconds, hitting one of the two tries, sending the game to an extra session which Ward put his mark on quickly, burying a three-pointer on the first possession of overtime, getting fouled and finishing off the four-point play. Salisbury never trailed again.
Ward was good on 4-of-9 three-point tries in the game while Salisbury made nearly 50 percent of its attempts from outside in the final 25 minutes of play.
Lucas Martin scored 14 points to go with seven rebounds and a pair of blocks while Davis and Briddell each scored 13. Davis dished out six assists.
With the win, Salisbury now heads to top-seeded Christopher Newport University for a CAC semifinal contest, this Thursday, February 21. The Captains topped eighth-seeded Southern Virginia University, 89-59, on Tuesday night.