WCU wins SSAC ChampionshipBy FROM WILLIAM CAREY,
MONTGOMERY – No. 12 William Carey University captured the 2018 SSAC Men's Basketball Tournament Championship defeating Dalton State, 83-76 in the title game at the Cramton Bowl Multiplex in Montgomery.
Saturday’s win was the Crusaders second SSAC Tournament Title with the last coming in 2014.
After trailing in the early minutes of the first half, Carey took charge and opened a 24-15 lead with 9:21 to play in the half on three-point basket by Troy Salvant (Sr./Marrero, La.). However, the Crusaders were unable to extend its lead and the Road Runners began to chip away and eventually tied the game at 33 on a basket by Isaiah Box with 1:55 left in the first half.
Carey answered back on its next possession as John Cornish (Sr./Olive Branch) nailed a 3 to put Carey back in front but Box struck again and tied the game with a 3-pointer of his own. WCU would take a 38-36 lead into the break thanks to Quinton Williams (Jr./New Orleans) bucket in the closing seconds of the half.
The second half was much different from the first half as the two teams traded the lead back and forth the entire half. The first eleven minutes of play, featured six ties and five lead changes before Dalton State took a 63-59 lead with 9:52 to play.
The Crusaders dug in on the defensive end and put together a 14-6 run to open a 71-68 lead with 2:56 to play. With the Crusaders clinging to a 74-72 lead with less than a minute to play, Salvant hit the biggest shot of the night as he drilled a 3-point basket to give the Crusaders the cushion it needed.
Adrian Williams (Jr./Jackson) and Salvant combined to go 6-for-6 at the foul line in the final thirty seconds to seal the win.
For his efforts, Salvant was named SSAC Men's Basketball Tournament MVP. Maurice Stephens (Sr./Gulfport) was also named to the All-Tournament team.
Salvant led the Crusaders with 20 points, while Maurice Stephens added 17 points, six rebounds and four assists and John Cornish finished with 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from distance. The Crusaders shot 50 percent for the game and 46 percent from 3-point range, compared to 44 percent and 35 percent for the Roadrunners.