A 27-7 run to open up the second half was the difference, as the Salisbury University Seagulls improved to 2-0 on the early season, turning back the College of Staten Island men’s basketball in what was their season opener, 83-65, in Salisbury, Maryland, as part of the host school’s Optimist Tournament. CSI will play in tomorrow afternoon’s Consolation Game against Cabrini College, a three-point loser to Johns Hopkins University earlier in the evening.
On a night dominated by fouls and free-throws, it was the host Seagulls that paced the lead most of the way, even in the first half when CSI would ultimately take a one-point lead into the locker room at intermission. A three-pointer by Chad Barcikowski got SU up 5-2 in the early-going, and as CSI was mired in poor shooting, the Seagulls improved the lead to 11-3 on a Gordon Jeter jumper five minutes into the game.
CSI would return fire and cut the lead to 14-11 at 12:51, and with strong defense that forced four straight SU turnovers CSI came to within one on a pair of Robert Rossiter free throws. Again, however, SU surged ahead, going up by five on two occasions before assuming a six-point lead at 3:00 on another Jeter jumper that made it 31-25. Then, down by five with less than a minute to go, CSI’s Edin Bracic canned a three with 29 seconds left to cut the lead to two, and with 9 seconds left, Frank Schettino drained another on what would be the final shot of the half to give CSI a 37-36 lead at the break.
In the second half, however, the Seagulls took control. Barcikowski and Justin Witmer hit back-to-back layups to get things started and SU hardly looked back. Witmer would later drain a three and so did Al Leder to give SU a 46-40 edge. For the next seven minutes CSI would shoot just 1-12 from the field and the Seagulls continued their fated run, adding another three by Witmer and a trio of free-throws added in.
The Seagulls assume their biggest lead at 10:02, as a Witmer layup made it 63-44. From there, the final 10 minutes were all about CSI trying to claw its way back into the game but the hole was undoubtedly too deep for the visitors. The fouls then ensued and 14 of the game’s 49 fouls were whistled over the next seven minutes. CSI was able to whittle the lead down to as few as 13 with just over four minutes to play with the ball in hand, but after a missed three, SU’s Wyatt Smith put SU back up comfortable en-route to the 18-point win.
CSI was led by Schettino’s 21 points, a mark that included a 10-16 clip from the free-throw line. Bracic had 15 points while Khlaeeq Baum finalized with 11 points. SU was led by Witmer’s 19 points and three three-pointers, while Smith added 16 points and a team-best six rebounds. Both teams shot well from the free-throw line, with CSI going 23-32 (71.9%) and SU going 20-28 (71.4%). Both teams had 28 rebounds. CSI was a -5 in the turnover column (20-15) and shot just 42.2% (19-45) while SU shot 28-50 from the floor (56%).
CSI will now face Cabrini College tomorrow at 2:00pm. Cabrini fell to Johns Hopkins, 67-64, in their first-round matchup.