“They had some issues with (the press),” said first-year Lowell (5-3) coach Bobby Michalczyk, a Salem State Hall of Fame basketball player. “That allowed us to get some turnovers and get some easier transition baskets, rather than work so hard on offense in a halfcourt set.”
Lowell was dealt a huge blow in the final minutes of regulation. The Raiders appeared to have the tying basket from Andre Ruff with a chance for a three-point play and the lead, but point guard Sean Bryan was called for a foul away from the ball. The foul was Bryan’s fifth and it negated the basket.
“That was tough. He’s our starting point guard and is really good. He gets called on some bogus call to foul him out of the game, which had no bearing on the play,” Michalczyk said. “That’s a serious impact on us. That one particular play was a tough pill to swallow.”
In overtime, Lowell had a chance to tie or take the lead with less than a minute to go, but Salem forced a turnover.
The Witches built their lead in the first three quarters behind some balance. Dominguez led the way with 22 points and Martinez-Rodriguez contributed 20 points and seven rebounds. David Kazadi came through with a double-double, posting 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Shakir White knocked down three triples for nine points and Keys scored all eight of his points in the second half and overtime.
Martinez-Rodriguez also played well defensively, limiting Lowell’s Dewayne Thomas to 14 points. Ruff led the Raiders with 22 and Bryan finished with 13.
“We had a good scouting report and did a nice job defensively to force them into bad shots,” Doyle said. “We had help with David and Rashad and Bryan did a really nice job against No. 11 (Thomas). The last two times we scouted him he’s had 30 and 26 points. He ended up with 14, but I thought (Martinez-Rodriguez) did an outstanding job limiting him.”