Salisbury University seniors Ray Williams and Segun Odumeru will never forget their final home appearance at the Maggs Center.
They were getting exhausted, their legs were starting to tighten and they were wondering if the game would ever end. But they played on resolutely, determined to finish with a flourish.
In the end, they lost the Valentine's Day marathon to Capital Athletic Conference foe Marymount (Va.), 126-122, after five overtimes in an affair that equaled the NCAA Division III record for the longest game played since the organization began keeping such statistics 34 years ago.
"It's one you're always going to remember," said Williams (Meade), the Sea Gulls' leading scorer who finished with a game-high 41 points and eight assists. "After two overtimes, I was cramping and really stretching my leg out, hurting really. I was saying, `I don't know how much longer this is going to be.' It felt like the first week of practice."
"After the third one I knew somebody had to win and then I started catching cramps," said Odumeru, who scored 23 points. "The entire time we were thinking, `We gotta win this.' When it was over, I felt just the opposite of normal. I could barely walk."
Salisbury coach Steve Holmes kept exhorting his team to play defense in the extra sessions, but the legs weren't there and the fouls were. Three Sea Gulls fouled out, and both seniors had four personals.
"It's real rough to play `D' with cramps and four fouls," Williams said.
"A few of us had four and I didn't want to get knocked out of the game," Odumeru said by phone from Salisbury.
"When you have 11 timeouts you get chances to talk about almost everything," Holmes said. "I blasted them once and the whole crowd heard me. It was a loud screech, just asking them to get one more stop. When it was over, I felt like I had played, too."
Sea Gulls guard Devin Jones played a game-high 62 minutes, Williams 57 and Odumeru 54. Marymount had four starters who accumulated at least 58 as the teams broke a division record for combined points in overtime (102) and Marymount set a single-team record (53).
It all started normally enough with Salisbury leading at the half, 36-32. But the pace picked up dramatically thereafter with both sides trying to outscore each other. Amazingly, it ended with only 31 turnovers between them.
"Neither team was playing good defense," Holmes said. "There was a lot of getting up and down."
Weeknight games are not well-attended. An estimated 250 were in the arena at the start and fewer at the finish.
"We were surprised to see a lot of people leaving after the second and third overtime," Holmes said. "I guess they had a television show to watch."