Saturday, June 15, 2024

No. 20 CNU Men’s Basketball Falls to Salisbury in Regular Season Finale, 71-55

(Sydney Smith/CNU Athletics)

SALISBURY, Md. — The nationally-ranked Christopher Newport men’s basketball team trimmed a 20-point deficit to six late in the second half, but the comeback bid would be denied after shooting woes plagued the Captains from the Maggs Physical Activities Center at Salisbury University on Saturday afternoon.

The Sea Gulls held on for a 71-55 win at home on Senior Night as CNU falls to 19-6 overall.

The Captains struggled from the floor all night and trailed by as many as 20 points with 12:37 remaining in the game when Salisbury got a jumper from Cameron Heard to take a 55-35 lead. From there, though, the dominant CNU defense clamped down and held the home team to just one point for a stretch of nearly ten full minutes of game time as the Captains attempted to claw back into the game.

CNU went on a 15-1 run in that stretch, closing to within six, 56-50, after freshman Isaiah Dozier buried a three-pointer off a feed from Jahn Hines with 5:40 remaining. The run included three-pointers from Toa Hollenbeck and Tyson Henderson as the freshman class led the charge. Hollenbeck had eight of the 15 points in the burst with a pair of layups and one free-throw in addition to his triple.

After climbing back to within two possessions, Salisbury finally rallied courtesy of three straight three-pointers to stymie the would be comeback bid. Aidan Camper hit the first off the backboard and added another with less than three minutes remaining to rebuild a 10-point lead. Despite three straight points by the Captains including a layup by Collin Hines, the final dagger came on a four-point play from Reed Rebstock, who connected on a three in the corner and was fouled. He converted the free-throw and forced CNU into a fouling situation.

The Captains continued to press from long range and were unable to trim the lead back to single digits as Salisbury finished out the 16-point win, 71-55. The loss snapped a 14-game winning streak for Christopher Newport against the Sea Gulls and marked the first win in the series for the Coast-To-Coast Athletic Conference rival since December 17, 2016 when Chad Barcikowski lifted Salisbury to a one-point win with a half-court buzzer beater.

As a team, Christopher Newport made just 26 percent from the field (19-73) including a 16.7 percent mark from beyond the arc (6-36). The Captains won the battle on the boards, 54-46, including 23 offensive rebounds.

Hollenbeck led all scorers with 20 points and Collin Hines was the only other Captain in double figures with 13 points. Hines added a team-high eight rebounds while also filling the stat sheet with three assists, two blocks, and two steals.

Salisbury got double-figure scoring from three players including a team-high 17 points from Jordan Oates paired with nine rebounds. Rebstock finished with a double-double scoring 16 points and hauling in 10 rebounds and Calvin Thomas added 13 points.

The Captains will now look to put the regular season behind them as they shift focus to tournament play next week. CNU will travel to Mary Washington next weekend to take on the field at the Coast-To-Coast Athletic Conference Tournament. Official seeding, based on the Massey Ratings, will be released on Monday; Christopher Newport is all but assured of a first-round bye earned by one of the top two seeds in the tournament and would be scheduled to play in Friday’s semifinal round. Fans should tune into and for official information about the 2024 postseason tournament.

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