SALISBURY, Md. – Spenser Briggs scored a career high 32 points on Friday and lead the Southern Virginia University men's basketball team to a victory over undefeated Ramapo University in the opening game of the Optimist Classic hosted by Salisbury University.
With a 5-0 record, the Ramapo Roadrunners entered Friday's matchup with Southern Virginia as the 22nd ranked team in NCAA Division III basketball and jumped out to an early 6-0 lead over the Knights in the first four minutes of play.
Southern Virginia still trailed the Roadrunners, 33-26, with 18 seconds remaining in the first half when Jeff Brown sparked an impressive 7-0 run for the Knights to end the period. Brown first hit a three pointer to cut Ramapo's lead to four and then stole the Roadrunner's inbound pass and found Derek Cutler for a layup to make the score 33-31. Briggs came up with another steal on the next Ramapo possession and was fouled as only two seconds remained on the clock. Briggs converted both free throws to tie the game at 33-33.
The game went back and forth for the first 12 minutes of the second period as neither team led by more than five points before a Briggs layup at the 8:08 mark put Southern Virginia ahead by seven (61-54). Although Ramapo would come within two points of the Knights with 3:08 left in the game, Southern Virginia would never trail again as free throws down the stretch gave SVU a six-point victory.
In addition to his 32 points, Briggs played outstanding defense for the Knights, holding Ramapo's Ahmad Hassan to four second-half points after Hassan had poured in 18 in the first 20 minutes of play. Anders Jacobson also played well for Southern Virginia scoring 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
With Friday's win, men's basketball advances to the Optimist Classic championship against host school Salisbury University. The championship will be played Saturday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m.