|Date:||January 5, 2019|
Salisbury Continues to Improve in Payback-Win over T-P
It was not pretty – though at times it was a thing of beauty. Salisbury came away with a 70-63 win over Trinity-Pawling on Saturday night at the Flood Center, rectifying a one-point loss in Pawling, NY, on December 8. The Knights showed prowess in virtually every phase of the game, managing T-P’s full-court pressure with aplomb, moving the ball with alacrity on offense, hitting open three’s, driving with authority to the basket, establishing position for rebounds, and maintaining defensive intensity throughout the game.
So, what was not to like?
While a win is a win, the Knights continued to waste foul-shots and squandered numerous opportunities in the paint, losing control of the ball or making errant passes into the hands of T-P defenders, missing shots underneath – albeit shots contested by the Pride’s big men. The game was closer than it could have been. The upside, of course, is that Salisbury (4-5) is creating those opportunities and is still improving, while posting wins in three of its last four games.
After being out with an injury earlier in the season, Brandon Roughley appears to be playing with greater strength and assertiveness in every game. On Saturday night, he showed a deft touch from all around the three-point arc combined with authoritative moves to the basket to finish with a team-leading 25 points. Justin Oliveras brought his characteristic lunch-pail ethic to the court, battling for position underneath against T-P’s bigger players and collecting a double-double for his efforts, with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Damani Thomas contributed 10 points and had a number of highlight-reel passes, even if teammates were not always able to convert on the opportunities those passes produced.
Through the game’s first ten minutes, the lead repeatedly changed hands, with neither team able to produce more than a three-point advantage. A no-look pass at 11:08 from Thomas to Oliveras in the paint produced an early highlight and a 9-8 Salisbury lead. A minute later, Oliveras found Roughley in heavy traffic for a lay-up-plus-free-throw that tied the game, 12-12. At 9:14, Oliveras showed his outside touch, connecting on a baseline trifecta for a 15-14 lead, and at 8:14 it was Ford Cousin’s turn to tee off from long range to put the Knights up, 19-18. After T-P had re-taken the lead on the next possession, Roughley checked in from downtown for a 22-20 edge. The display of shooting acumen was not lost on the big crowd at the Flood Center, who roared their approval for the display of long-distance marksmanship.
Then it was time to head back inside. First, Sean Ingoglia took the ball at half-court and drove past three defenders for a lay-up and 24-23 lead at 6:43. Then it was Tyler Carpenter’s turn, grabbing an offensive board at 6:12 and converting the put-back to give the Knights their largest lead of the game, 26-23. At 5:03, Ingoglia drove again, this time drawing defenders before delivering the ball to Oliveras, who made good for a 28-25 lead.
After a defensive stop, Carpenter stepped into the three-point spotlight with a rainbow from the right corner at 4:20 to open a 31-25 advantage – the first time either team had been able to create a two-possession spread. Cue: instant replay. Another defensive stop set the stage for yet another trey, this time Roughley honing in from the right side of the key. All of a sudden, four minutes before halftime, the Knights were up 34-25. An Oliveras block at 3:20 sent the Flood crowd into a frenzy as the Knights continued to ratchet the defensive intensity. Roughley drew fouls on two ensuing possessions but could not translate the opportunities into points. With 1:08 remaining, Oliveras unveiled a spin-move to break free along the right baseline and draw a foul as he drove to the basket. He made both shots to give Salisbury its first double-digit lead, 36-26. T-P narrowed the gap to 36-29 before the half ended.
A Thomas three-pointer at 14:46 produced the first score of the second half, and Roughley echoed at 13:03 to boost Salisbury’s lead to 42-29. With the Pride going cold through the opening minutes, Salisbury continued to take advantage. At 12:37, Roughley powered his way along the left baseline for two, drawing a foul in the process. Although he came up empty on his visit to the charity stripe, the Knights’ lead was now 15, 44-29.
The Pride finally came to life with a five-point run to make it 44-34. Another Roughley drive in the lane drew a two-point foul, and he cashed in on one for a 45-35 edge. Roughley continued to dictate, taking it back inside with a balletic move in the paint at 10:19, good for two points plus a foul conversion. A Cousin blocked shot at the other end put the ball back in Roughley’s hands, and the big man went coast-to-coast for a lay-up and a 50-37 lead.
T-P used another five-point run to close to 50-42, but Roughley was not done. A neat dish from Oliveras gave him another lay-up. Over a five-minute span, Roughley had scored his team’s last 13 points, and the Knights were on top by 52-42. The Pride again narrowed the gap, bringing it down to six at 52-46 before Thomas used a silky move through a clogged lane to finish with a lay-up. Following a defensive stop, Roughley found Oliveras with a pass on the left baseline, and he bulled his way to the hoop for two, followed by a free throw, to push the lead to 57-46. When Thomas drained two foul shots on the next trip down court, it was 59-46 with 5:12 left in the game.
The pattern of brief T-P flurries continued with a 4-0 run to 59-50, but Thomas put a halt to that with a stop-on-a-dime pull-up from the right side of the lane at 4:07, followed on the next possession by a rifle-pass to Roughley for a three from the left side at 3:46. The lead was suddenly back up to 64-50. A 6-0 Pride rally made it 64-56 and kept things interesting, but Parker Stone delivered a clutch drive through the lane to stop the bleeding, though he could not capitalize on the ensuing free throw, leaving the scoreboard on 66-56.
T-P provided further drama, reducing the lead to six points with 1:01 remaining. Two Ingoglia foul shots made it 68-60, but the Pride followed with a three-point play to close to 68-63. Two more missed frees by the Knights gave the ball back to T-P with 34 seconds left, but the defense held, and an Ingoglia pass to Stone led to another two points for the game’s final margin.
“I was very pleased with our effort tonight,” head coach Kyle Dudley remarked afterward, “particularly rebounding the basketball. Dominating the rebound margin was a key for us going into the game, and we did an outstanding job not allowing second-chance points. I was pleased as well with our drive and kick game offensively,” Dudley continued. “We did a great job driving into the paint, drawing defenders and then finding the open man for a layup or open perimeter shot. For the third straight game – all three wins – we led at halftime. We've done a much better job starting games,” Dudley added, “than we did early in the season.”