LANCASTER, Pa. – Senior Travon Vann scored 21 points on 6-for-13 shooting but the Salisbury University men's basketball team fell, 75-55, to Eastern Connecticut State University in the first round of the Sponaugle New Years Tournament at Franklin & Marshall College's Mayser Center on Wednesday.
Salisbury (10-4) will play in the consolation game on Thursday, facing either tournament-host and No. 17 Franklin & Marshall or Plattsburgh State University at 6 p.m.
Vann added four rebounds, four assists, two blocks and one steal to lead the Sea Gulls. Classmate Trent Epps chipped in with eight points and four boards, while junior Tim Harwood had eight points and three rebounds.
Eastern Connecticut State (7-4) opened the game on a 7-0 run, broken up when Epps hit a jumper at the 14:08 mark. The lead grew to 10 at 12-2 when Brian Salzillo hit the first of his seven three-pointers in the half.
A basket by Vann and three-pointer from Elijah Gore cut the deficit to 18-13 with 6:53 left. Harwood made it a 21-16 game at the six-minute mark but Salzillo followed with a three of his own on the next possession to restore an eight-point advantage.
Harwood knocked down another three to pull Salisbury to within 24-20 with 5:16 to play, but Eastern Connecticut State finished the half with a 19-2 spurt to take a 43-26 lead into halftime.
Three minutes into the second half, Trachone Preston nailed a three to give ECSU a 20-point, 52-32 lead. A pair of free throws from Joe Ives made it a 63-36 game with 10 minutes left and the Warriors never looked back.
ECSU shot 53.3 percent for the game, connecting on 24-pf-45 shots. The Warriors were 65.2 percent from three-point range (15-for-23). Salzillo finished with 25 points, three rebounds and an assist. He shot 9-of-13 overall and 7-for-10 from long range.
Salisbury scored a game-high 22 points in the paint and nine on second-chance opportunities.