The Andre Foreman era and the most successful season of coach Ward Lambert's 22 years at Salisbury State came to a close Saturday night.
The Sea Gulls were inconsolable for a few minutes after visiting Jersey City State knocked them off, 97-83, in the NCAA Division xTC III quarterfinals, but then they began to savor the accomplishments attained by a program that never had been mentioned among the nation's small-college elite. Of the 17 men's teams in Maryland affiliated with the NCAA, Salisbury State was the only one still playing Saturday.
"They're aren't too many 28-2 teams in the nation," said Lambert, sucking on an orange and still able to smile after Saturday's season-ending setback. "We would have liked to gone a little further, but I'm pleased with the season. I only wish that more people had seen Andre [Foreman] play. I'll probably only get one like him in my career. Obviously, he's really going to be missed."
A 6-foot-6, fifth-year senior forward from nearby Berlin who was relatively unnoticed out of Stephen Decatur High in 1987, Foreman finished his career with 2,940 points and 1,315 rebounds. With 29 points and 17 rebounds against Jersey City State, Foreman finished 1991-92 with averages of 25.8 points and 11.8 rebounds, marks that actually lowered his career averages to 27.0 and 12.1, respectively.
Last month, Foreman became the all-time leading scorer in Division III history. Two years before that, his ability to run the court led Lambert to retool his style of play and adopt the up-tempo, pressing attack popularized by Paul Westhead, when he coached Loyola Marymount.
It helped attract talent such as sophomore guard Dameon Ross, junior point guard Bret Grebowsky and junior forward Ed Farrell, transfers who helped Salisbury State advance in the NCAA tournament for the first time. The center of attention, however, remained Foreman, a first-team All-American last year and a leading candidate for Player of the Year this time.
Forwards Kevin Cromer, Joe Zdrojewski (Arundel) and Kyle Jefferson (Hammond) are also back next year, but Foreman will be nearly impossible to replace.
Senior center Jamie Gosweiler also will depart, and the Bel Air High product often was overlooked the past four years, while racking up 1,097 points and 615 rebounds. He played in 112 games, a Salisbury State record, and averaged 14.3 points as a sophomore in 1989-90, when Foreman sat out for academic reasons.