Note: National Rankings are from the D3Hoops.com Poll as of February 27, 2017
BEVERLY, Mass. – The Endicott men's basketball team will take on the No. 16 Salisbury University Sea Gulls on Friday, March 3 in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA DIII Men's Basketball Tournament inside The Mirenda Center in Aston, Pa. at Neumann University at 5:30 p.m.
Endicott (22-6) is making its third-consecutive NCAA appearance and eighth overall after earning an at-large bid for the first time in program history. Endicott is in an NCAA Regional pod with host No. 11 Neumann taking on Nichols at 7:30 p.m., while the Gulls will battle the No. 16 Sea Gulls (20-7) for the right to claim the #GoGulls hashtag. The Gulls fell, 67-64, to top-seeded Nichols College in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship on Saturday, but would have the chance for an epic rematch if both teams go on to win their First Round contest.
NCAA TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND: ENDICOTT (22-6) VS. NO. 16 SALISBURY (20-7)
FRIDAY, MARCH 3, 5:30 PM | THE MIRENDA CENTER @ NEUMANN UNIVERSITY | ASTON, PA.
PREVIOUS MATCHUPS: Endicott and Salisbury are meeting for the first time in program history and were two of 21 Pool C at-large teams to receive a bid to join the 64-team field in the bracket this season.
ENDICOTT (22-6) | ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATISTICS | NCAA HISTORY | YEAR-BY-YEAR
After appearing in their third conference title game in the past five years, the Gulls are making their eighth overall NCAA appearance (third consecutive) in program history and first-ever as an at-large selection. Last season, Endicott advanced to the Second Round for the first time ever with an 84-76 win over host No. 22 Catholic, before falling in overtime to Wooster, 91-83. Third-year head coach Kevin Bettencourt, Bucknell '06 has led the Gulls to a 64-23 (.736) overall record in his tenure.
As one of roughly 13 teams from the Northeast Region to enter the NCAA Tournament in 2016-17, this is the first time since the 2005-06 season that the CCC is sending two teams from its conference to the Big Dance. Most notably on their résumé this season, the Gulls defeated No. 24 Middlebury, 93-89, on Nov. 27, 2016 and went on to earn the program's first-ever national rankings during the week following two weeks. Endicott is led in scoring by All-CCC First Team senior guard Kamahl Walker (Worcester, Mass.), whose 502 points this season helped him become the program's all-time leading scorer back on Jan. 31, 2017. Senior guard Max Motroni (West Warwick, R.I.) and senior forward Daquan Sampson (Germantown, Md.) were also named to the All-CCC Second and Third teams this season, respectively. The Gulls' senior class is two wins why of becoming the winningest class to ever come through the Endicott men's basketball program.
NO. 16 SALISBURY (20-7) | ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATISTICS | ARCHIVE
The Sea Gulls earned their third-consecutive berth into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history for also their eighth overall appearance. Last season, the Sea Gulls also were granted an at-large bid before losing to Middlebury, 75-73, in the First Round. Like Endicott, the Sea Gulls also suffered a heartbreaking loss in their respective conference tournament after watching a nine-point lead disappear as No. 3 Christopher Newport sunk the winning jumper with 1.2 seconds left on Saturday, February 25th in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Championship.
Despite opening the season with eight-straight wins, the Sea Gulls have lost three of their past four games coming into the tournament and two of those contests have gone to overtime. The Sea Gulls are led by a three-man senior class of guard Justin Witmer (Gaitherburg, Md.), and forwards Gordon Jeter (Easton, Md.) and Wyatt Smith (Abingdon, Md.) and are coached by Andrew Sachs '90 in his second season at the helm of his alma mater and eighth season overall as a head coach.
WHAT'S AT STAKE: The winner of Endicott/No. 16 Salisbury advances to face either Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) Champion in first-time ever NCAA Regional host No. 11 Neumann University (25-2) or the CCC's Nichols College (23-5) on Saturday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m.
NCAA DIII MEN'S BASKETBALL FIRST/SECOND ROUND SCHEDULE
Friday, March 3, 2017
All games hosted by Neumann University (Aston, Pa.)
Game 1: No. 16 Salisbury (20-7) vs. Endicott (22-6), 5:30 p.m.
Game 2: Nichols (23-5) vs. No. 11 Neumann (25-2), 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2 - 7:00 p.m.