SALISBURY, Md. – Anders Jacobson scored with four seconds remaining on the clock to give the Southern Virginia University men's basketball team a thrilling 55-53 victory over its host, Salisbury University, in Saturday's 2010 Optimist Classic championship game.
After beating undefeated Ramapo University a day earlier in the opening game of the 2010 Optimist Classic, Southern Virginia faced off against tournament host Salisbury University in slow-paced, defense-heavy matchup to determine the tournament champion.
Southern Virginia led by as many as 12 in the opening half, but the NCAA Division III Salisbury Seagulls battled back in the second half, taking a 47-46 lead with 9:00 minutes remaining in the game. The Knights would only score a single point on a Travis Van Noy free throw over the next three minutes as Salisbury pushed its lead to four (51-47).
SVU responded to falling behind for the first time in the second half with a 6-2 run over the next two minutes as a Spencer Briggs three-pointer tied the game at 53-53 with 3:14 remaining in the game. Neither team scored for the final 3:10 as increased defensive pressure from both sides stifled all offensive play.
A missed Ky Raymond jumper with 29 ticks left on the clock gave the Seagulls a chance to hold for the final shot of the game, but a trapping defense from Southern Virginia forced Salisbury into a rushed three-pointer, which missed of the back off the rim with eight seconds left.
Spenser Briggs pulled in the missed Salisbury three-pointer and found a streaking Jacobson on the right sideline. Jacobson caught Brigg's full-court pass and absorbed a hard foul from a Seagull defender as he converted the game's first basket since the 3:14 mark to give the Knights a 55-53 lead with four seconds remaining on the clock. Jacobson would miss the ensuing free throw, but Salisbury was unable to advance the ball down the court with so little time remaining.
Briggs who again led the Knights in scoring with 18, was named All-Tournament MVP after scoring 32 the previous day to average 20 points, 5 rebounds and 2.5 steals for the tournament. Raymond was also named to the All-Tournament Team as he average 6.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in two games on a hurt ankle.
With Saturday's win, the Knights not only became the 2010 Optimistic Classic Champions, but moved to 7-6 overall, climbing back above .500 for the first time since their season opening win at Virginia Intermont on Nov. 10. Having won four in a row and five of their last six games, men's basketball will now play host to Virginia Intermont on Wednesday, Dec. 8 in a rematch of their 86-77 win over the Cobras.
2010 Optimist Classic All-Tournament Team
Chris McGrew (Salisbury University)
Spenser Briggs (Southern Virginia University)*
Ky Raymond (Southern Virginia University)
Ahmad Hassan (Ramapo College)
Chris Pinsonault (Anna Maria College)
*Denotes All-Tournament MVP