CHESTERTOWN -- Andre Foreman might be the premier talent in all of Division III basketball, but it's his new supporting cast that makes Salisbury State a bigger factor in the NCAA picture.
Foreman, a senior forward who could become the state's all-time leading scorer before the month is over, was slowed by host Washington College last night, but the Sea Gulls got 31 points from sophomore guard Dameon Ross to pound out a 93-82 victory. It was the 10th straight for Salisbury State, which is ranked No. 12 in the nation.
The Sea Gulls were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season, but coach Ward Lambert and assistant Andy Sachs brought in six players who are among the first 10 for a deep squad that is the NCAA's top-scoring team. Ross was the biggest addition, as the graduate of DuVal High in Prince George's County was a scholarship player at Old Dominion in 1988-89 and spent a semester at Allegany Community College.
"He's super important to us," Lambert said, who was winning here for the first time since the late 1970s. "When we need a pressure shot, he's there. He gives us two legitimate big-time scorers at our level. He has the green light to shoot anytime."
Ross, who was still undecided about his college plans when he met Foreman at the 3rd Street courts in Ocean City last August, is thriving in the Sea Gulls' up-tempo style. He made only 11 of his 26 attempts against the Shoremen, but Lambert probably wanted him to fire more often. He had six assists and 12 rebounds, helping Salisbury State to a 63-47 advantage on the boards.
The Sea Gulls stumbled early, falling behind 9-2 in the first four minutes before Ross had four three-pointers and 14 in all during a 16-4 run that lasted less than three minutes.
Washington cut through non-stop full-court pressure for a 66-65 lead with 8:28 left, but in the next minute Ross fed Foreman, nailed a follow, and Foreman scored in transition for a 71-66 Sea Gull edge that never got smaller than three points. The Shoremen were still in it before Ross drained his seventh three for an 88-79 lead with 1:53 remaining.
Foreman was leaned on all night by Charles Cummings, a sophomore guard out of St. Paul's. Foreman finished with 21 points, five below his average, and he was 3-for-18 from the field at one point, as the Sea Gulls made just 28 percent (13-46) of their shots in the first half. Foreman, who now has 2,505 career points, still made himself useful with a season-high 19 rebounds.
Point guard Bret Grebowsky, a De Matha grad who spent two seasons at Clarion (Pa.) State, had 12 points. Washington got 22 points from senior guard Allen Lester, and junior center Darren Vican had 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Next Wednesday is a big night for both teams, as Salisbury State is home against No. 5 Glassboro State and Washington plays here against No. 13 Johns Hopkins, the team to beat in the Middle Atlantic Conference Southeast.
SALISBURY (11-1) -- Grebowsky 5-8 0-0 12, Ross 11-26 2-3 31, Gosweiler 3-6 1-3 7, Foreman 9-28 3-6 21, Cromer 1-8 5-6 7, Farrell 0-4 0-0 0, Jarrett 1-4 0-0 3, Zdrojewski 4-8 0-0 8, Wolfe 0-2 0-0 0, Jefferson 1-1 2-4 4. Totals 35-95 13-22 93.
WASHINGTON (7-7) -- Lester 8-20 6-8 22, Cummings 3-7 1-3 8, Vican 9-17 2-4 20, Rupert 2-7 4-6 8, Liddy 3-8 2-4 8, Basel 0-2 0-0 0, Dutton 3-5 2-3 8, Swanson 1-2 0-0 2, Ronstandt 1-3 0-0 3, Poe 1-3 1-4 3. Totals 31-74 18-32 82.
Halftime -- Washington 41, Salisbury 39. Three-point goals -- Salisbury 10-25 (Ross 7-14, Grebowsky 2-3, Jarrett 1-1, Foreman 0-2, Cromer 0-2, Wolfe 0-1); Washington 2-12 (Cummings 1-3, Ronstadt 1-3, Lester 0-4, Basel 0-1, Poe 0-1). Fouled out -- Zdrojewski, Rupert. Rebounds -- Salisbury 63 (Foreman 19); Washington 47 (Vican 12). Assists -- Salisbury 12 (Ross 6); Washington 15 (Lester 8). Total fouls -- Salisbury, 24. Washington, 22. A -- 650