ASTON, Pa. — The Endicott men's basketball team pulled together when it mattered most to finish off No. 16 Salisbury University, 71-68, Friday night inside The Mirenda Center in the opening round of the NCAA DIII Tournament.
FRIDAY, MARCH 3, 5:30 PM | THE MIRENDA CENTER @ NEUMANN UNIVERSITY | ASTON, PA.
In a strong defensive showing from both sides in the early going, Endicott started the game with a 5-0 run before the Sea Gulls stormed back to go up 15-10 at 12:00 for their largest lead of the contest.
The Gulls regained the lead, 21-18, on freshman guard Keith Brown's (Pelham, N.H.) trey at the 5:12 mark.
Senior guard Max Motroni (West Warwick, R.I.) led the floor with 12 of his 18 points on the night in the first half as Endicott grew its edge to an eight-point margin and took a 31-25 lead into the locker room at the break.
After trading buckets for most of the second half, the Gulls played tight defense and scored 20 points off 13 Salisbury turnovers in the game that proved to be the difference.
Senior guard Kamahl Walker (Worcester, Mass.) made arguably his most important layup of the season to give Endicott a 69-68 advantage with 21 seconds left and hit an ensuing pair of free throws.
One last inbound play with 0:02 on the clock was Salisbury's only hope for a game-tying miracle, but the airmail pass was batted away by none other than the Gulls' two-sport student-athlete Chris Lipscomb (West Springfield, Mass.) channeling his best leaping tight end in the end zone impression.
Walker's game-high/season-high 32 points carried the Gulls into the NCAA Second Round of 32 for the second time program history.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- The game featured eight tied scores and 16 lead changes.
- Endicott is now 2-2 in the NCAA Tournament under the direction of head coach Kevin Bettencourt in his third year with the program.
- Endicott is now 2-1 against nationally-ranked opponents this season.
- Endicott is now 1-0 against Salisbury as tonight was the first-ever meeting.
- The Gulls' senior class is now one win shy of becoming the winningest class to ever come through the Endicott men's basketball program.
- Lipscomb chipped in five points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds to go with his timely defense.
FOR THE FOES
- 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 (also a Pool C at-large bid).
- Salisbury placed three student-athletes in double figures as senior forward Wyatt Smith (Abingdon, Md.) led the way with 15, followed by 13 from senior forward Gordon Jeter (Easton, Md.) and 11 from senior guard Justin Witmer (Gaithersburg, Md.).
- Jeter also pulled down a game-high nine boards as the Sea Gulls out rebounded the Gulls, 43-34.
- The Sea Gulls have now lost four of their past five games.
- 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 (Endicott and Nichols) from its conference to the Big Dance.
- 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.
Endicott (23-6) 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: Endicott 71, No. 16 Salisbury 68
Game 2: Nichols (23-5) vs. No. 11 Neumann (25-2), 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
Endicott vs. Winner of Game 2 - 7:00 p.m.