Updated: Jan 24, 2019
The Salisbury University men’s basketball team is firing on all cylinders to start its 2018-19 campaign. Through six games, the Sea Gulls are averaging 79.8 points per game and shooting a Capital Athletic Conference best 48.3 percent from the field.
The strong offensive play is paired with aggressiveness on the defensive side of the ball, as the Sea Gulls are averaging 9.5 steals per game and 3.5 blocks per game.
The success of SU, however, is in large part due to its plethora of weapons on offense. There are many different players on this team that can step up on any given night, which is a crucial component for this team and its 11-man roster.
Currently, four Sea Gulls are averaging double-digit points per game. Sophomore guard Gary Briddell leads the team with 15.3 points per game while also leading all CAC players in three-point percentage, shooting 56.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Junior forward James Foley is second on the team in points per game with 13, followed by senior guard Blair Davis (12.3) and sophomore guard Mike Ward (10.8).
“I’m very fortunate and blessed to have great talent underneath me, and the guys are very humble about how good they are,” SU interim head coach Brian McDermott said. “These guys continue to find new and different ways to make their teammates better.”
Salisbury continued its impressive start Wednesday night hosting Goucher College. The same offensive firepower led the Sea Gulls to their first 100-point effort in over ten years, taking the victory 101-71.
The Sea Gulls got off to a fast start, taking a quick 10-4 lead off the back of five points from Foley. Goucher did cut the lead to just one multiple times in the first half, but was unable to pull ahead.
Two late first-half runs gave Salisbury an 18-point lead at the break, with a 16-4 run led by six straight points from Foley and a 12-2 run in which Briddell scored 10 points. Salisbury went into halftime leading 52-34.
At the half, Briddell led the team with 16 points, shooting 5 of 5 from the field, including four three-pointers. Foley was not far behind, dropping 15 points in the first half.
Foley continued to make his mark on the game in the second half with two statement dunks leading to a season-high 21 points on the night. He was one point shy of a career high in points and one rebound shy of his second double-double of the year.
A three-pointer from freshman forward Terrance Williams in the left corner stretched the Salisbury lead over 30 points, giving Salisbury an 86-55 advantage. For Williams, it was his first career points in the maroon and gold.
Six Sea Gulls finished the game in double figures. Along with Foley’s 21 and Briddell’s 18, sophomore guard Johnny Fierstein tallied 12 points alongside a career-high seven assists. Davis, Ward and senior forward Chase Kumor each scored 11 points.
Salisbury will look to continue this level of offensive production as it opens CAC play on Saturday, traveling to St. Mary’s College of Maryland (2-5). Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.
“It’s nice to get a win at home, but tomorrow is a new day,” McDermott said. “We’ll regroup and we’ll get ready for St. Mary’s … I think the guys are excited about the opportunity to play in the conference.”
The Seahawks fell in both matchups against the Sea Gulls last season, 73-50 and 69-46, respectively.
“Definitely a big first game for us,” Davis said. “We just gotta go on the road, have the mentality that we’re already down, and just play out and play hard.”
By NICK LEWIS
Featured photo: SU sophomore guard Gary Briddell makes his way out to the court as a starter. Nov. 16 (Emma Reider image).