By Lucas McCoy
With both teams playing their first game next Tuesday, the Salisbury University men’s and women’s basketball teams hosted the second annual Midnight Madness Wednesday night in Maggs Physical Activities Center. The event serves as a positive way for students and fans to get excited for the upcoming season.
Midnight Madness included the introduction of the players and coaches form both teams, as well as a playful scrimmage between both the men’s and women’s teams. Fans in attendance were able to see the men’s basketball team on the court featuring star returners such as senior forward Gordon Jeter, senior forward Wyatt Smith, and senior guard Justin Witmer.
The men’s team was out on the court in style featuring their new Adidas branded uniforms. Smith put down strong dunks, while Witmer and sophomore forward Chase Kumor lit up the court from beyond the arc. It was also the first time the student body was able to see the new freshmen out on the court.
As the women’s team facing a rebuilding year, some new faces treated the fans as they took the court. It was a very even battle displaying the Sea Gulls with their veteran backcourt leading the way. Sophomore guard/forward Kaylyn French found some open room for shots in the paint throughout the event.
There were also contests that students could participate in for prizes such as dribbling drills, a game of knockout, and a half-court shot challenge. The winner of the half-court shot contest went home with a 60-inch high definition television. Other winning prizes included SU basketball apparel and gift cards to local restaurants.
The second annual midnight madness event served as a great way to have the players and students of Salisbury University come together to show support for both the men’s and women’s programs.
The men’s team is coming off a great 2015-2016 season with an overall record of 21-7, and just one point shy of winning the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament in a 68-67 overtime loss to Christopher Newport last season. With many returning players to the roster, the teams’ expectations are high in that they can return once again to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
“This is our season opener, so it has been great to have the student population come support us with a good turn out tonight,” freshman power forward Antwan Pearson explained after the event.
“A great season is coming up for us, and we think we can go deep into the NCAA tournament. We hope everybody will come out, have fun, and support the team.”
If Salisbury is able to make the NCAA Tournament again, it would be the third straight year, the first time in program history with a stretch like that.
The women’s team was very young with not much experience last season and ended up breaking even with a record of 13-13. The team then lost in the first round of the CAC Tournament. However, that inexperience is long gone and the team is more confident than ever that they can produce a winning record this season.
Midnight Madness marked the first time that fans could see both teams play on their home court since last February. With the number of fans coming out and supporting the event, it was easy to see the excitement Salisbury University students have for the upcoming season.
“Tonight was just a great experience getting both teams and the students together,” sophomore guard Megan Konig said. “It seemed like everybody looked like they really enjoyed the event.”
The regular season will begin for both teams at home in Maggs Gym on Tuesday, Nov. 15. The women’s team will face Virginia Wesleyan College at 5:30 pm, and the men’s team will follow playing Goucher College at 7:30 p.m.