March 6, 2009


Courtesy of Salem State

The Vikings advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division 3 Men's Basketball Tournament on Friday night by defeating the Tigers of Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology, 83-71, at Widener University's Schwartz Center in Chester, PA.

SSC (22-6), who is making the program's 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance, will play the winner of tonight's first round game between Widener-Virginia Wesleyan College on Saturday at 7:00 pm at Chester.

Trailing by four with 16:16 to go in the second half, the Vikings pulled ahead for good with a 12-0 scoring run that spanned 4:12.  The end of the run saw the Vikings go up 50-42, and they would never be threatened the rest of the way.  SSC would build the lead as high as 15 points.

The Vikings put five players in double figure scoring, paced by a game-high 22 points from sophomore guard Nick Linear (Salem, Mass.).  Senior guard Stevie Celestin (Somerville, Mass.) added 18 points and senior center Dylan Holmes (Groton, Mass.) contributed 11.

SSC was able to overcome a cold shooting first half (14-for-37, 37.8 percent) and converted close to 60 percent of its shots (17-for-29, 58.6 percent) over the final 20 minutes on its way to the victory.

In the first half, neither team was able to gain much of an advantage, as RIT (19-9) took a four-point lead 2:17 in at 8-4 on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Shawn Roe.  The Vikings answered back with a short 5-0 scoring burst to take its first lead of the game at 9-8 on a jumper by junior guard Brennan Bennett (Whitinsville, Mass.).

The Vikings would get the lead to four (12-8) before the Tigers battled back to take a one point lead at 13-12 with 14:30 left on a basket by senior center Mark Carson.  SSC then darted out to its biggest lead to date at 18-13 with 12:19 left on a foul shot by Holmes.

RIT fought back, taking a three point lead with just over eight minutes to go, but was never able to pull away.  The Vikings and Tigers traded the lead nine times in the first half, with SSC taking a 34-33 lead into intermission.

In the second half, RIT built a four point lead twice, the last being a 42-38 lead with 16:16 left on a layup by Carson.  The Vikings owned a 40-32 advantage on the glass, with Ogboin collecting 10 rebounds.  Carson posted 10 boards for the Tigers.

Celestin, who was a perfect 4-for-4 on three-pointers, also dished out seven assists while Linear picked up four steals.

This game report was courtesy of the Widener University sports information office.